All season long, St. Charles East coach John Stock preached that his Saints needed to play as a team.
At Wednesday’s Upstate Eight River meet at St. Andrews in West Chicago, Stock saw his group perform just as they have all season to win the tournament and the overall conference title.
All four of the Saints’ counting scores were between 78 and 81, helping them to a 318 team total, which was 14 strokes clear of second-place Geneva. East ran through the dual meet season unbeaten, as well.
“We’ve worked all year on being a team,” Stock said. “Today was another example of the team coming through. Congratulations to them. The guys played well and we’ll take an exhale and get ready for Tuesday and see what Mill Creek brings (at the Class 3A Geneva Regional).”
Leading the way for the Saints was Ronnie Griggs, who shot a 78. Colin Johnson shot a 79, Kyle McWeeney shot an 80 and Daniel Haugen carded an 81. Griggs and Johnson finished second and third, respectively, in the individual standings.
The medalist was Larkin senior Jon Lenz, who shot a 75 on a day in which low scores were hard to come by. That was the best score in either division of the UEC Wednesday. He came into the meet at the top of the individual standings with his brother Dan, who shot an 86.
“I think hearing that people were struggling actually helped me,” Jon Lenz said. “I think I had like five holes left and I was just doing OK and I heard the scores were high and I picked it up. I was able to birdie three of my last five holes (Nos. 6, 8 and 10) to win it.”
Geneva’s lone loss in the regular season came to East, and the Vikings knew that a strong showing Wednesday could get them into the conference title mix. Alas, the Vikings shot a 332 with nobody breaking 80. Andrew Abel’s 80 was the team’s low score.
“We struggled out there today, that’s for sure,” Geneva coach Eric Hatczel said. “If you look at the scores, the majority of them did not have good back sides. The front nine scores were pretty god. When we saw our guys going through the front, we were pretty hopeful in terms of where we could finish. The back nine was just a struggle.”
It was tightly packed atop the team standings behind East. Batavia placed third with a 335, led by an 82 from Andrew Nelson. St. Charles North shot a 336 behind an 82 from Jaron Gandy.
The other notable individual finish came from Streamwood’s Chase Pantle, who carded an 81.