Neuqua Valley’s Jessica Yuen repeats as Class AA state champion

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DECATUR — Anybody could forgive you if you took a double-take at the final individual standings at the Class AA state meet at Hickory Point in Decatur.

For the second straight year, it was Neuqua Valley junior Jessica Yuen and Waubonsie Valley senior Bing Singhsumalee at the top of the standings. And for the second straight year, it was Yuen bringing home the state title.

Yuen and Singhsumalee each shot 69s on Saturday. But Yuen shot a 73 Friday, two strokes clear of Singhsumalee, and that was enough to give her another state title. She also finished second in a rain-shortened meet her freshman year.

“It’s completely fitting,” Neuqua coach John Keller said of the close friends being at the top of the leaderboard yet again. “Bing played an incredible round. Jess was just amazing. We would tell her, all right, here’s your aiming point, and that’s where she’d be. She just has ice in her veins. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that she’s the best high school golfer we’ve ever had in Illinois.”

Singhsumalee posted her 69 over an hour before Yuen finished. Through her 15th hole, Yuen led by a stroke. But Yuen sunk a long birdie putt on 16 and carded another birdie on 17. That allowed her to play the 18th conservatively, but her lone bogey of the day didn’t harm her.

“It is satisfying,” Yuen said. “Compared to last year, it was the pressure of winning state. I had a couple of swing changes. Mostly mental pressure, but I figured something out after regionals and preparing for state.”

Singhsumalee did her part. She made the turn at 37, but ended her high school career with a flourish. She had four birdies and no bogeys on her back nine, coming in with a 32 to turn up the heat.

“I’m glad that I was able to finish my high school career with a good 18, and nine,” Singhsumalee said. “I’m just looking forward to starting a new chapter of golf (at the University of Illinois).”

Singhsumalee finished her career with two second-place finishes and a fourth.

“I’m speechless right now, just to think what she’s done the last four years,” Waubonsie coach John Keller said. “I’ll never have another player like her ever again.”

The Warriors finished seventh as a team with a two-day total of 679, one stroke behind Prospect and Sandburg in a tie for fifth. Waubonsie shot a 350 on Friday, but improved 21 strokes Saturday to move up .

Freshman Arushi Singh tied for 53rd, junior Kayla McHale tied for 78th and freshman Kerrigan Boose tied for 90th.

“For the second day, they had an awesome day,” Farnan said. “It was amazing to me that they were able to handle the pressure like that.”

Metea Valley junior Niquole Mangal tied for 25th with a 162. Her teammate, junior Katelyn Kline, tied for 38th at 165.

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