GURNEE — Senior Becca Lindblad finished with an 82 on Monday to help the New Trier girls golf team win the Class AA Warren Sectional and advance to this weekend’s state tournament, but her day was far from over.
Lindblad had hockey practice later that night.
She has hockey practice twice a week.
“After golf practice on Mondays and Tuesdays, I leave straight from golf and go to hockey at 8 o’clock,” Lindblad said.
Lindblad’s hockey practices with Chicago Young Americans typically last until 10:30 p.m., she added, and then she usually stays up to do homework once she gets home.
That’s the balancing act Lindblad has endured throughout high school. It’s helped her become one of the state’s best hockey players — Lindblad has verbally committed to Connecticut — and a key contributor on a golf team that’s a contender to win the Class AA state title.
It’s been hard for her to juggle two sports and schoolwork, though.
“I’m not really good about getting the homework in early — or planning ahead,” Lindblad said. “It’s tough, but I’ve just got to put my head down through the fall.”
During her first three years of high school, Lindblad played club hockey and hockey for New Trier simultaneously. She said she decided to not play for the Trevians this year because it got to be too much.
That means this is the last week she’ll balance playing for two teams in the same season.
Loyola had to return to the Warren Sectional on Tuesday to finish its round because the Ramblers were one of four teams on the course Monday when play was suspended due to rain.
The Ramblers knew New Trier had shot a 323 and Prospect had carded a 330. That left Loyola and Libertyville vying for the sectional’s third and final berth in the Class AA state meet, which begins on Friday in Decatur.
“Since we were playing with [Libertyville in the same groups], it almost kind of became a match-play finish, like, ‘If you can beat the girl you’re playing with, we’ll be just fine,’ ” Loyola coach Jim Jackimiec said.
Loyola advanced to the state meet comfortably. The Ramblers’ 333 put them in third, and Libertyville finished fourth with a 343. Juniors Nicole Wetoska and Blake Yaccino both shot 81s for Loyola. Sophomore Margaret Hickey finished with an 83 and junior Madison Banas carded a 88. Although Loyola didn’t have any players break 80, the Ramblers’ performance at the sectional showed the strength of the squad.
“They are competitors,” Jackimiec said. “Our character has been the same all year; we don’t have anybody we’re expecting to go out and shoot par, but we’re a very balanced team. It was a team effort all the way, when you look at the scores. They’re good scores, but we need everybody to kind of contribute.”
Glenbrook North, Glenbrook South
Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South both had two entrants at the sectional, but none of them advanced to the Class AA state meet.
Glenbrook North junior Amy Hong was the closest to qualifying. Her round of 84 was three shots away from the state cut. Glenbrook North sophomore Emma Vickery shot an 86.
Freshman Sophia Lau recorded Glenbrook South’s low score at the sectional (90). Glenbrook South junior Arina Kim finished with a 97.
Growing up, golf had a minimal role in Peggy and Tina Giordano’s lives.
The sisters would occasionally tag along with their dad and uncle when they went to the driving range. They played 18 holes maybe once or twice a year, Peggy Giordano said, but golf was an afterthought compared to ice skating.
The Giordano triplets were all competitive figure skaters before high school, and Angel Giordano was the United States National Juvenile Ice Dance champion in 2010.
Peggy Giordano decided to stop ice skating before high school, however.
“I gave it up going into freshman year, and I did that because I dislocated my right knee for a third time,” she said. “I said I couldn’t do it anymore. When I stopped skating, that’s when I started playing golf seriously.”
Peggy Giordano joined Evanston’s girls golf team as a freshman.
Tina Giordano decided to stop skating the following year. She joined the school’s girls golf team as a sophomore.
“Peggy was kind of my inspiration to join golf,” Tina Giordano said. “I’ve been watching golf all of my life. I like to watch it, and I really like to hang out with Peggy. She was really good at it, and so I was like, ‘Well, it’s something we can do together.’ ”
The sisters improved drastically in high school. Peggy Giordano estimated her score dropped about 40 strokes since she played at the regional as a freshman, and Tina Giordano said her goal when she was a sophomore on Evanston’s JV team was to simply finish a round.
“Now I can drive a ball and get it on the green and have some pars,” Tina Giordano said. “… I feel like I can actually play golf.”
The Giordanos’ high school careers ended at the Class AA Loyola Regional on Oct. 8. Peggy Giordano shot 98, while Tina Giordano finished with a 104. Neither advanced to the sectional, but that isn’t how they measured success on the golf course.
It was more about personal improvement and the joy of being together.
“I love playing with her,” Peggy Giordano said. “She makes it a lot of fun.”
Niles West’s Amanda Lee and Sara Dym left the Glencoe Golf Club disappointed with how they played at the regional, but they also were encouraged. Lee, a sophomore, shot a 104. Dym, a junior, shot a 103 in windy conditions at the Loyola Regional. Neither player advanced to the sectional.
Lee and Dym were upbeat about the future of the team, however. The four Wolves who played at the regional all have at least one year of eligibility remaining, and many of them experienced significant improvement in the last year. Dym, for example, said her score has dropped by about 20 strokes during that time.
“Hard work,” said Dym, when asked how she’s gotten so much better. “You’ve just got to practice.”
Dym added that she practiced every day for about two hours. She said that playing in a lot of tournaments will help her and her teammates develop in their second varsity seasons.
Lee agreed. She said she needs to play more competitive tournaments to have a better chance of advancing out of the regional next season.
“I need to get used to this kind of pressure in order to improve,” she said.