WEST CHICAGO – The West Chicago boys golf team will never forget Oct. 2.
Competing in their first-ever Upstate Eight Conference tournament as part of the Valley Division, the Wildcats stunned the rest of the field by placing first at the event with a score of 313. Waubonsie Valley was the runner-up with a 316 in the tournament held at St. Andrews.
“When they found out what they did, they were extremely excited,” said coach Neal Golysko. “It was really a good moment and something they won’t soon forget.”
Senior Ryan Orr placed second individually after losing in a playoff to Waubonsie Valley’s Jason Marrs. Both shot a two-over par 73 through 18 holes.
“I know he is happy with second,” the coach said. “Obviously he would have loved to take medalist honors, but he proved a lot to himself and to everybody out there that he can play good golf.”
Nick Tomei added a fourth-place finish with a 77, Mike Miller was seventh with an 81 and Dino Parducci placed eighth with an 82. Ryan Hancock and Mitch Henke both added scores of 84.
Making the outcome even more special was the fact that West Chicago had gone 1-5 in league dual meets, with the one victory a forfeit over East Aurora. But that mark was a bit deceiving with the Wildcats dropping a couple of those matches on tiebreakers.
The team’s previous best score in a tournament this season was a 317 at their own invite.
“We definitely shocked the conference,” Golysko said. “Everyone played really well. I didn’t have many expectations going in just knowing all the strong schools the conference has.
“I figured we would be in the middle of the pack. But once I saw the scores coming in and saw Ryan scored a 73, I thought we might have crept up a little bit. I didn’t realize it would turn out to be a win in the division.”
Overall, the team’s initial season in the new conference has been a success.
“It’s actually been a really easy transition,” Golysko said. “All the schools are really good and the coaches have been very accommodating. The boys knew they would be playing stiff competition and even though we had a 1-5 record in conference, they didn’t have to hang their heads low because they played good golf. We just didn’t get the breaks we wanted.”