Kelly Sterling outstanding for Lincoln-Way East

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Kelly Sterling has had her sights set on older sister Kathy’s school record all season.

The Lincoln-Way East junior picked an ideal time to achieve her goal.

Sterling shot a blistering 3-under-par 31 on the back nine Wednesday at Inwood to finish at 1-under 69 in leading the Griffins to the championship of the Class AA Joliet Township Regional.

Kathy Sterling’s school record was 72 on a par-71 layout.

Not that Kelly Sterling was the only Griffins monster. Teammate Karoline Pirko, who previously never shot in the 70s, shot 73 to complete the ultimate 1-2 punch. Erin Bullington (93), Nell Borys (96) and Micaela Petrarca (96) contributed as East finished with a 331 total.

Providence (353) and Lockport (364) also advanced to Monday’s Homewood-Flossmoor Sectional at Coyote Run. The Celtics counted overall third-place finisher Alyssa Newling (70), Anna Goggins (83), Alyssa Gromala (89) and Arianna Beller (102). The Porters counted Kayla Garritson (87), Breanna Hanus (89), Gina Dubin (94) and Mel Loeffler (94).

Lincoln-Way Central (372), Joliet (384), Lincoln-Way North (385) and Plainfield South (392) kept their collective fingers crossed as scores filtered in, but came up short.

“I had a 68 during a summer tournament last year — and it was at Coyote Run,” Sterling said. “This is my best high school round.

“It’s a good feeling for our team to win the regional. Karoline had a really good round.”

Sterling, whose previous best nine-hole score was 2-under 34, had three birdies and no bogeys on the back nine.

“I made some putts, but for the most part, they were pretty close,” she said.

Pirko said she hopes to play in college. A few more 73s the rest of the postseason and that should not be a problem.

“I came in positive,” she said. “I’ve practiced a lot, so I felt like I deserved a good round. My team was proud when they saw my score. They’re very supportive.”

Newling, a regular on the Providence team that also was second at the regional last year, said the Celtics have played well toward the end of the year.

“We just want to keep advancing,” she said.

“We started out struggling — not Anna and Alyssa, our other four — but they never gave up,” Providence coach Molly Schulte said. “I’m proud of them.”

The top 10 individuals not on advancing teams also will play in the sectional. They include Lincoln-Way Central’s Mary Yonkaitis (87), Clara Scheer (87) and Madeline Karlson (96) and Lincoln-Way North’s Anne Allen (89) and Rachel Chavel (94).

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