Chester's Jarrett James remained cool under pressure and shot 74 to capture the IHSA Class 1A regional golf championship Tuesday, Oct. 6, at Acorns Links Golf Course to advance to sectionals.
The regional tournament, hosted by Waterloo Gibault Catholic High School, featured 10 schools: Chester, Dupo, Gibault, Marissa, New Athens, Red Bud, Sparta, Steeleville, Trico, and Valmeyer.
The top two teams -- Gibault (338) and Trico (357) -- and top five individuals advanced to the 2020 IHSA Class 1A Sectional Tournament, which will be hosted by Zeigler-Royalton High School at the Franklin County Country Club in West Frankfort on Tuesday Oct. 13.
The Chester Yellow Jackets missed a trip to West Frankfort by just 10 points, finishing third with 367. Other team finishers were Marissa (4th, 370); Sparta (5th, 377); Steeleville (6th, 382); Red Bud (7th, 401); New Athens (8th, 422); Valmeyer (9th, 431); and Dupo (10th, 445).
James' winning performance was just two strokes over par -- giving him his 14th title of the season.
James, who finished 12th in last year's state tournament, had three birdies for the day. He typically can hit at least 270 yards off the tee and is a very cool, calm, and consistent player. Nothing really rattles him. He ended up with a six-shot lead over his nearest competitor, Gibault junior Ian Bollinger, who finished second with 80.
James has had offers to continue playing at the college level next year and has visited at least one school to date.
Yellow Jacket teammates Jaden Mott, 92 (+20); Clayton Andrews, 99 (+27); Chance Mott, 102 (+30); Luke Miller, 103 (+31); and Kaden Freytag, 104 (+32); did their best to get Chester to the sectionals but fell short.
The winning Waterloo Gibault Hawks were led by Ian Bollinger, followed by Ryan Kruse, 83; Ryan Bollinger, 85: Alex Sweeney, 90; Landan Vollmer, 90; and Conner Kincheloe, 99.
The second-place Trico Pioneers were led by senior Tyler Compton, 84; Zach Thies, 90; Ross Coleman, 91; Peyton Lovel, 92; Logan Cleland, 103; and Daniel Vogt, 105.
Joining James in qualifying for sectionals as individuals were Avery Hamilton of Steeleville, 88; Mason Ethington of Sparta, 89; Alex Dagner of Marissa, 91; and Owen Stallings of Red Bud, 91.
Senior Day win
Chester High School hosted a Senior Day match against Trico Thursday, Oct. 8, at the Chester Country Club to close out the 2020 season.
"To wrap up the boys' season, they hosted the Trico Pioneers for a senior day match and finished the year with a win, 158-163," said head coach, Chris Toledo. "With the win the Yellow Jackets finished the 2020 season at 44-10."
Chester's top two golfers, James and Jaden Mott, were neck-and-neck throughout the day. Both James and Mott are seniors and have had a very healthy, competitive battle all season long.
Mott birdied the last two holes to shoot an even par 36 for the match. This accomplishment tied his personal-best score to beat James by one stroke, 36-37.
"These two young men don't realize what they have done for this program over the last four years. They have not only provided us with great golf, they are great teammates that want to make everyone around them better," Toledo said.
Other varsity players also made good contributions for the day as they have all year, including Kaden Freytag, 42 (+6); Chance Mott, 44 (+8); Gage Hasemeyer, 48 (+12); and Clayton Andrews, 50 (+14).
Coach Toledo said: "A couple of new PR's were set today, including Aiden Blechle who shot 51 (+15) and Nate Heffernan who shot 52 (+16). Other JV performances today include Lucas Thompson, 50; Matt Korando, 51; Reed Welborn, 51; Jared Landeros, 54; Brock Vasquez, 62; and Isaiah Ferrell, 64."
"Our four seniors, Jarrett James, Jaden Mott, Matt Korando, and Nate Heffernan will definitely be missed! We appreciate all of the hard work that you have given to this program. Thanks to all of our boys for a great season."