Girls Golf: St. Charles East’s Emily Charles second, Wheaton North’s Bridget Craig third at DuKane meet
Medalist Marisa Lerario’s hole-in-one caps off Lake Park’s first-ever conference title
By Kevin McGavin
AURORA – Marisa Lerario did not actually witness the defining athletic moment of her young life.
But any issues the Lake Park junior may have with the Phillips Park Golf Course greenskeeper almost certainly will be easily forgiven.
Lerario aced the 118-yard penultimate hole at the par-72 Aurora layout Sept. 20 to complete a bulldozing 5-under run in a four-hole stretch.
Even more important, the back-nine 32 enabled Lerario to ease past St. Charles East senior Emily Charles for medalist honors with a level-par 72 at the DuKane Conference girls golf tournament.
The Lerario hole-in-one was also far more than symbolic as the Lancers comfortably reversed their lone regular-season loss to Wheaton North with a convincing 327-347 victory over the Falcons.
Founded in the fall of 1994, it was the first conference championship in program history for the Lake Park girls.
“I hit my [pitching] wedge,” Lerario said of her ace. “I wasn’t able to see my hole-in-one. It was kind of a blind shot to the hole. It just rolled in. It was amazing. It’s really an honor that I was able to be a part of a team to help us get that [program first].”
The Lancers’ Madison Place fired a fourth-place 78. Freshman Isha Patel and senior Regan Hankel completed the Lancers’ 20-shot victory with respective rounds of 87 and 90.
With the recent 50th anniversary of the landmark Title IX legislation that fundamentally altered girls sports, Place was contemplative afterward.
“It’s great to see girls playing golf and girls in the industry,” Place said. “I am very thankful for all my teammates and coaches. I was holing the putts when I needed to.”
“Having St. Charles North and Wheaton South with state titles in our conference says a lot about our conference,” Lake Park coach Jeff Henrikson said. “It’s more of a program win, a win for Lake Park for all of its former players and coaches.”
Wheaton North junior Bridget Craig had her designs on an individual championship erode with back-to-back inward-nine double bogeys.
Craig had to settle for third with a 3-over 75.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” Craig said of not being able to secure either an individual or team title. “I think we will be better than ever next year. I had a level of focus on the front nine that I wasn’t able to carry over to the back nine.”
The Falcons also were seeking a first league title in their history.
Glenbard North Class 3A state veteran Nicole McGuire was fifth with a 79.
“I went into the round thinking not so much about my score but about the next shot,” McGuire said. “I was hitting my [putting[ lines.”
Like Lerario, Charles entered the uphill par-3 No. 17 coming off a birdie.
But Charles’ championship lead quickly evaporated as the Lerario ace culminated in a 3-shot swing.
“It was hard to compete with that [ace], but I had to keep playing my game,” said the Saints’ reigning state qualifier. “I had a good round. I had to fight for it. I finished where I wanted to today.”
“Emily did everything she could to win the tournament,” St. Charles East coach Jarod Gutesha said. “She made birdies when she needed them and up-and-downs to save par. It wasn’t meant for it to be with a girl making a hole-in-one.”
St. Charles North defeated city rival St. Charles East 368-373 for third place. Rylee Huddleston and Caitlin Scanlon secured the final two top-10 berths with their rounds of 88 and 89, respectively, to pace the North Stars.
Priorities have changed for Huddleston in the last two seasons.
“I just wanted to join [the] golf [team] for fun,” said Huddleston, a sophomore. “But this year I wanted to make varsity to have an impact on the team.”
Scanlon was in eighth grade when the St. Charles North girls team captured the first state title of any kind for the school four years ago.
“I thought it was pretty cool coming to a team that had such a big impact on the community,” Scanlon said. “I did pretty well today but didn’t have a very good last hole.”