Boys Golf: St Charles North edges Geneva to win regional crown

Story Image (L-R) Batavia's Nathan Podraza, St. Charles North's Dan Shepherd and St. Charles East's Max Kelly wait to tee off on the 4th hole during the IHSA Boys Golf Regional at The Highlands of Elgin Tuesday. October 2, 2012. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
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Updated: October 2, 2012 8:31PM

For the second time in less than a week, St. Charles North stole the show at a postseason golf tournament.

The latest win came on Tuesday at The Highlands of Elgin where the North Stars shot 318 to edge Geneva by two strokes to capture the Larkin Class 3A Regional title.

St. Charles North junior Raghav Cherala won the individual crown by five strokes with a 1-over-par 73.

It comes on the heels of St. Charles North winning the Upstate Eight Conference River Division title last Wednesday at St. Andrews in West Chicago. That’s where the North Stars will advance next to compete in Monday’s St. Charles East Sectional. St. Charles North senior Dan Shepherd was the individual winner by five strokes there.

On Tuesday, Shepherd shot a 78 to tie with two other golfers for second place. Jason McAleese added an 82 to contribute to the North Stars’ victory. Three other golfers (Matt Samuelson, Ryan Dal Dagan, and Santonio Salamone) shot 85 for St. Charles North.

It’s the first regional title since 2002 for the North Stars.

Geneva and third-place St. Charles East (324) also advance to sectional competition.

“It’s been a real nice week for us,” said St. Charles North coach Rob Prentiss. “First of all we have a great group of kids. And our top two guys are something special.

“Dan and Raghav have really carried us here in the postseason. Now we are really looking forward to the next challenge at the sectionals. We are going up against a lot of quality teams, but it’s our home course and I really feel good about how we are playing right now.”

Cherala struggled some on the front nine with a couple bogeys, but hit his stride on the back nine where he birdied holes 13, 16 and 17. On the par-three 13th hole Cherala put his tee shot within 15 feet and then made a tricky 15-foot downhill putt.

“That hole really got my confidence back up,” said Cherala, who has advanced to sectionals the past two years but has yet to qualify for state.

“I just started hitting more at the pins and gave myself more birdie chances. I’m feeling real comfortable right now. I like the tempo I am playing at and I’m sinking some putts.”

Colin Lillibridge (79), Nate Desens (79), Brett Hassels (80) Alex Schreiber (82), Sam McKinney (82), and Pat Cuscaden (84) all advance for Geneva.

Advancing for the third-place Saints are Connor McCadam (79), Brad Riva (81), James Thompson (81), Luke Molloy (83), Max Kelly (83) and Mick Vyzrat (88).

The top 10 individuals not on the top three qualifying teams also advance to the sectional.

That includes Jon Lenz (78) and Dan Lenz (80) from Larkin (330), which finished fifth overall.

John Lenz made consecutive birdies at holes 7, 8 and 9 to finish in a three-way tie for second place along with Batavia’s Danny Ritchason.

“I had a little rough start with some three putts,” said Lenz. “But I started making some putts and played real consistent after that. Next week should be a lot fun at the sectionals.”

Also advancing from Batavia (325), which finished fourth in the team standings, are Peter Rudd (81), Billy Zwick (82), and John Hvasta (82).

South Elgin had three sectional qualifiers with Deven Meredith (81), Tyler Brown (82) and Andrew Dylo (83) all advancing.

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