In August, Kaneland boys golf coach Mark Meyer projected the 2012 Knights as perhaps his strongest group in eight seasons.
For a time, the Knights fit the ball. For a time, they stumbled.
On Wednesday, Kaneland returned to the top, capturing its third successive Northern Illinois Big 12 East crown.
Medalist Brody Kuhar paced the Knights with a 73 at Senica’s Oak Ridge Golf Club in LaSalle, helping Kaneland to a team score of 310 that was comfortably ahead of runner-up Yorkville (325) and third-place Sycamore (333).
“We really are clicking mentally, and it’s just becoming more fun,” Kuhar said. “We’re having fun with it now. Being with the team all the time and just golfing well.”
Fellow junior Matt Yonkovich followed Kuhar with a 76, while seniors Luke Kreiter (80) and Connor Williams (81) were next.
Navigating a course that switches from wide open on the front nine to more tight on the back, Kaneland relied on adjustments. Kuhar shot 79 in a practice round Monday, and he wasn’t the only one to lower the score that counted.
Birdies on holes 6, 8, 9 and 16 helped Kuhar keep his score low.
“I was just making putts and sticking shots close to the pin to make them,” he said. “I did that consistently all round.”
Kaneland’s team score was eight strokes better than NI Big 12 West champion Ottawa, who’s tournament was played simultaneously but scored separately. The Knights needed to finish at least two places better than Sycamore, which entered the tournament unbeaten in the league dual season.
DeKalb finished sixth, shooting a 349.
“That’s just how it shook out,” Meyer said. “We’re pretty pleased about that.”
Curt Buzzard and Kyle Buzzard each shot an 82 for the Spartans. Felix Mack had an 83.
Nick Bourdages and Ben Melms each had an 84 to lead DeKalb. Chris Clark finished with an 89.
Cogs get BNC East win: Genoa-Kingston defeated Harvard, 28-26, 26-24, behind Bridget Halat’s 14 assists and Olivia Cotton’s 13 digs. Lindsey Sunderlage had six kills for the Cogs and Vanessa Garza finished with 11 digs.
G-K is now 15-9 and 5-2 in the Big Northern East.
“They battled us pretty tough,” G-K coach Todd Foster said. “We came back after losing to them in the tournament and decided to play much more physical this time around and got the ‘W’ out of it.”
Cogs get easy win: Genoa-Kingston defeated North Boone, 12-0, to move to 11-5 and 5-4 in the Big Northern East. Devon Tijerina, Uriel Ortega and Juan Lechuga scored two goals apiece for G-K. Cris Camargo, William Crozier, Erik Tomlinson, Tommy Hansen, Danny Hansen and Eric Garcia each had one.
“We were able to get a lot of people involved today,” Cogs coach Randy Tate said.
Bobcats top Plano: Kyle Hatton, Nick Saltsman, Jake Alstadt and Mike Barr all had goals for Somonauk as the Bobcats beat Plano, 4-2. Somonauk is now 13-2-2.
Barbs get nonconference victory: DeKalb beat Rockford Lutheran, 7-2, in an extended non-conference format.
The Barbs’ Mary Ellen Green won 6-2, 6-1 at No. 1 singles, while Sabrina Killeen and Samantha Volk got a 6-2, 6-3 victory at No. 1 doubles. Nilema Patel and Samantha Myers-Miller were other singles winners for DeKalb, while three other Barbs doubles pairings got victories – Katrina Le and Maria Marungo, Jessica Katrein and Rachel Kelly, and Katie Koca and Morgan Hicks.
“The ladies were relaxed and confident,” DeKalb coach Lance Gackowski said. “Even in our losses we played well.”