After two fairly consistent rounds with his driver and irons, St. Laurence standout Jordan Velez wasn’t sure what happened on his last hole Saturday at the Class 2A state finals.
“I hit it 40 yards to the right,” Velez said. “I was just like, ‘Oh, that’s great.’ But somehow I hit a crazy shot for par. I’m glad I didn’t end up with a bogey on my last hole in high school.”
Velez said he fired a low trajectory shot under “a bunch of trees” to save par. He finished 1-under over his final six holes to end Saturday at 4-over 75. His two-day total of 154 placed him 14th. It was the best postseason run of his career for the four-time state qualifier.
“It’s been a great time, for sure,” Velez said. “Golf is a great sport and I’d like to keep playing and progressing — you can always get better.”
Velez hopes to play in college next year. He said Saint Xavier and a few small schools in Iowa have shown interest.
Strong year for the Southland girls
Led by the play of four Division I recruits, the Southland wasn’t forced into many mulligans this season.
Lincoln-Way West’s Alexis Biedryzcki (Michigan State) took third in Class AA and Lincoln-Way East’s Kelly Sterling (UIC) finished sixth, which was the first time since 2010 that more than one individual from the area finished inside the top 10.
T.F. South’s Maggie Sloan (Loyola) placed 22nd and Sandburg’s Frankie Saban (Bradley) was 35th. Only Sloan, a junior, will be back next season.
Sandburg’s fifth-place finish in Class AA was the best from a Southland program since Homewood-Flossmoor took third in 2010.
A little seasoning for Homewood-Flossmoor
Homewood-Flossmoor junior Jack Mulligan played in his third state finals on Friday and Saturday. The rest of the Vikings made their first trip to The Den at Fox Creek in Bloomington.
“It was good experience to get on this course since we have five juniors,” Mulligan said. “Hopefully we’ll be back next year.”
One player that stood out for the Vikings was Preston Genett. After carding a 91 on Friday, Genett responded with three birdies on Day 2 for a 3-over 75.
No trophy, no problem
With its fourth-place run in Class 3A, Providence finished one spot shy from earning a state trophy. But that didn’t stop the Celtics from giving some glowing critiques after improving their score by 20 strokes from Friday to Saturday.
“I’m really proud of the way these guys fought back,” said three-year starter Dom Cascino. “When you have six guys break 80 on the final day, that’s really good.”
Along with three-year starter Kevin McEneany and four year-starters Mickey Brick and Will McCabe, Providence is set to graduate one of the program’s best classes ever.
Brick believes the Celtics could be strong again next season with sophomores Ricky Costello, sixth in state, and Michael Cascino, Dom’s brother, slated to return.
“I think we have the best coach in the state, regardless of sport,” Brick said of coach John Platt.