Boys, Girls Golf Teams have Great Season Despite Restrictions

Lily Heddinghaus, Staff Writer

COVID-19 canceled or postponed most fall sports seasons, but boys and girls golf was an exception. 

Both golf teams had relatively normal seasons. They competed in regular-season matches and tournaments and achieved successful records. But for the athletes, this season didn’t feel normal at all.

“COVID-19 restrictions changed a lot about our season,” freshman Caitlyn Dicks said. “Back in preseason, golf courses were closed, so we had limited practice time. We couldn’t travel at all, except for regionals and sectionals, and there is no state.”

In the middle of the season, IHSA announced its decision to allow golf postseason regional and sectional tournaments. 

“Our most exciting experience this season was finding out we had a postseason,” senior Riley Burns said. “We got to play at regionals and sectionals, and although there is no state tournament this year, we were really happy.”

The boys team took third place at regionals, and the girls, led by sophomore Nicole Johnson, took first place at sectionals.

The regional and sectional tournaments were the teams’ only opportunities to travel this season.

“The main difference in playing during a pandemic was that we couldn’t travel as far as a team or stay in hotels,” junior Mason Babington said. “That was really strange because that is normally a huge part of the season.”

This was Burns’ fourth year on the varsity team, and she helped her team adapt to the COVID-19 restrictions.

“Our season definitely looked different this year, but our coach told me that different doesn’t necessarily mean bad,” Burns said. “For about the first month of our season, we had to wear masks while golfing, and there were many other changes we had to navigate.”

Senior Zack Noll took on that leadership role for the boys team.

“With it being 2020 and a global pandemic going on, I thought the season went pretty well,” Noll said. “We didn’t get to go to as many tournaments as we have in past years. It wasn’t an ideal end to a senior season, but it was still fun, and I’m glad we still got to play.”

COVID-19 restrictions limited the teams’ senior night celebrations as well.

“COVID-19 even affected our senior night,” Noll said. “We had to limit the amount of people who could attend and change how the event was structured.”

But these changes didn’t stop the boys from making memories on the course.

“I think the most exciting moments from this season were definitely winning the conference tournament and Drew Suhre getting a hole in one at St. Clair Country Club,” Babington said.

Despite the circumstances, Burns was impressed with the girls’ consistent record and thinks it was a successful season overall.

“We took second place in almost every tournament, and we took first place in two tournaments,” Burns said. “I couldn’t be prouder of how it turned out. My amazing coaches and teammates, even with all the changes and restrictions, made it a very memorable season. I’m very proud of this team.”