Buffalo Grove has had a youth movement on its girls golf team this season, but the Bison are showing signs of maturity just in time for the postseason.
The Bison were 9-5 in dual meets, then broke through with a second-place finish in the Mid-Suburban League meet Sept. 30. Four Buffalo Grove golfers, including two freshmen, made the all-league team. Junior Emily Carnes took third place with a 78 while freshmen Haeri Lee and Jasmine Yi tied for ninth with 85s and Stacy Mantas grabbed 15th by shooting 87.
“We put it all together in the conference meet,” coach Matt Myers said. “They are all starting to play better. The freshmen played in tournaments [before starting high school] and came to us with experience.”
The Bison entered the Class AA Lake Forest Regional at Deerpath Golf Course on Wednesday with only one senior, Mantas, along with Carnes, Lee, Yi, and sophomores Grace Gran and Katie Fontanetta. Buffalo Grove finished fifth with a team score of 372. Barrington won with a 359.
Lee (85) and Carnes (90) advanced to the sectional meet as individuals.
Carnes, the only returning player from last year’s postseason starting six, and Mantas have used their experience to guide the underclassmen.
“Emily [and I] have taken on the role of leaders,” Mantas said. “We help [the younger players] stay focused. Every shot counts for the score.”
Mantas does not want her teammates to get dejected after a bad shot and let more bad ones follow.
“We show them how to play smart,” Carnes said. “It’s up to us not to let them get down on themselves.”
As the experienced athletes set an example for the freshmen and sophomores, Myers sees additional maturity at all levels, which he credits with landing four players on the all-league team.
“They don’t let their teammates get down,” Myers said. “When one of [the younger golfers] hit a bad shot or two, [Mantas and Carnes] settle them down. They are very good at that.”
Carnes said she thinks the recent success is due to the maturing of her teammates.
“We’re all really concentrating,” Carnes said. “We’re really young and growing up. With all the [improvement] it’s really fun to see. If we click together we can do anything.”
Myers was particularly proud to finish second in the conference meet with no player better than third.
“They are starting to see things as a team,” Myers said. “We hope to advance to the sectionals. It will be the fourth year in a row we’ve done that as a team. From there we’ll see how well we can do as a team [and] as individuals.”