Vernon Hills earns right to play in state tournament
ST. CHARLES — If ever a team was prepared for this moment, it was the boys golf team at Vernon Hills.
All season long, the Cougars have played uphill while facing big-school state powers like Lake Forest and Mundelein and Carmel and Stevenson on a regular basis.
But for the IHSA-sanctioned state-tournament series, Vernon Hills drops down in class (based on enrollment) and the Cougars continue to take advantage of the situation.
On Monday, the team shot a 311 score at the Pheasant Run Resort golf course to qualify for this weekend’s Class 2A (small schools) 36-hole state finals.
The top three teams in each of four sectionals across the state advance to the state tournament.
Sterling won the sectional at Pheasant Run with a four-man, 18-hole score of 306. Marmion Military Academy of Aurora, Vernon Hills and Wheaton Academy all tied with 311 scores, and Marmion and Vernon Hills advanced on the fifth-score tiebreaker.
That made a hero for the day of Vernon Hills junior Connor Dickman. The grandson of area prep coaching legend Fred Dickman shot an 83 on Monday, and that fifth score was good enough to send the Cougars to state.
Jake Zoll led the Cougars with a 74, Eric Swanson had 77, Chris Edwards 81 and Russell Hutson 79.
In addition to the team competition, the top 10 scorers not on a qualifying team get to play at state and compete for the individual title.
That list included seniors John O’Connor and Matt Hirsch of Lakes.
O’Connor shot 75 and Hirsch 76 on Monday.
The state tourney will be played at Illinois State University in Normal.