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Golf travel plans: Alleman, Geneseo look to book another joint trip to state – Quad

The last time Alleman sent its entire boys’ golf team to the state tournament just happened to be the same year that Geneseo made its first such journey.

Two years later, both teams hope to book another joint trip to the state tournament. Unlike in 2015, however, the Pioneers and the Maple Leafs would be traveling in the same class.

While Geneseo’s state debut came in Class 2A two years ago, Alleman advanced in 1A, the seventh time it had qualified for state in that class. That season, the Pioneers brought home a third-place trophy from Bloomington’s Prairie Vista Golf Course.

Now, the two teams look to book state tee times this weekend at Normal’s Weibring Golf Course at Illinois State University, the home of the 2A state golf gathering.

“If we manage to advance, it would be the first time for Alleman, having a team advance to state in 2A golf,” said Pioneer coach Gene Elsner. “We did win a 2A regional title (in 2007), plus our regional title this year.”

Three members of the current Alleman squad — senior Hunter Love and juniors Gabe Beardsley and Ryan Rochholz — got to experience the Pioneers’ bronze-medal state run two seasons ago, an experience that could stand the Western Big 6 runners-up in good stead at today’s 2A Grayslake Central Sectional.

“There’s no substitute for experience,” Elsner said. “We had about four kids rotating through the No. 6 spot (in 2015), and those guys got to be a part of our Western Big 6 winning team that year and part of the postseason. That’s a nice thing to have on a team.”

Geneseo, which finished eight strokes behind Alleman at last Tuesday’s Mendota Regional, came into the postseason after holding off Sterling to win the West Division half of the Northern Illinois Big 12 title. The Golden Warriors will also join the Maple Leafs in Grayslake, having placed third at Mendota.

“This team is a bit like a freight train,” said Geneseo coach Kyle Bess. “They’re slowly picking up speed. I don’t know if they’ve peaked yet, but they’re continuously improving. That’s good news for our guys.”

Of the Maple Leafs’ four seniors, only Patrick Turpin and Devin VanRycke were around for the 2015 run, which saw Geneseo score regional and sectional titles and eventually finish eighth at the 2A state tournament. The other two seniors, Mick Haverland and Will Pace, are in their second seasons with the program.

“Devin and Patrick didn’t go down to state, but they were around those guys, and they rememeber that run,” said Bess. “They want to do that again. I’m proud of the way everyone’s starting to lock in. It was interesting to see them get on the bus after regionals. It was so quiet. I told them, `Guys, we just qualified for sectionals,’ but I think they wanted to win that day. That speaks to their character.”

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