DECATUR — A year ago, Central Catholic High School had high hopes entering the Class 1A Girls State Golf Tournament.
However, the Saints eventually finished seventh. But this year, Central Catholic proved up it was ready and wouldn't falter.
Sophomore Katie Steinman's 1-over-par 73 on Saturday helped Central Catholic hold off a back-nine challenge by Massac County as the Saints claimed the school's first state golf title at Red Tail Run Golf Club.
Central Catholic, which finished second in 2009 and third in 2008, shot 328 for a two-day 668 total, seven strokes ahead of Massac County. Pinckneyville took third (687).
"Massac County was the defending champion, and we knew they weren't going anywhere," said Saints coach Dean Glesing. "We talked all season about mental toughness and every shot counts and you never know which score we're going to count, so every kid has to contribute to the best of their ability all through the match.
"The kids took it to heart and played mentally tough. That's something we've developed over the course of the season. It wasn't necessarily there last year when we made it to state. It's been a focus for us all year."
Pontiac freshman Dani Grace Schrock followed the lead of her older sister and earned medalist honors after shooting a 2-under 70 for a 146 total. That was a stroke ahead of Macomb junior Emma Thorman (72) and two strokes in front of defending champion Ali Schrock (74) and Eureka freshman Allison Pacocha (77).
Eureka senior Carolyn Pacocha tied Steinman for sixth after a 74-152.
"I know Katie wasn't satisfied with her score Friday and thought she left some strokes on the course," said Glesing. "She was determined to go low today, and she did that for us."
Two other sophomores, Faith Glazebrook (83-166) and Kylie Hundman (86-171), followed Steinman in Central Catholic's lineup. The Saints' lone senior, Madison Clark, shot 86-179, along with freshman Annika Snyder (87-184) and sophomore Francesca Lee (100-195).
"Golf is always a team effort. You have to take four scores," said Glesing. "That's been our strength the last two years is the depth of this team, which is pretty unusual at the Class 1A level."
There will be a ceremony at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday in the Central Catholic auditorium to honor the team. A cake reception will be held in the school cafeteria immediately following the ceremony.