TERRY DUCKETT

EDGINGTON — Heading into the 2021 playoffs, it looked like the Rockridge High School girls’ golf team was set up for a long run in early October.

After winning a Three Rivers Conference tag team title, the Rockets were confident they could go beyond the IHSA Class 1A Alleman Regional, which featured one of the toughest fields in the state.

However, Rockridge’s playoffs ended far too soon as his regional score of 359 shots resulted in a fourth-place finish, eight shots behind TRAC Peru rival St. Bede for the third and final spot in the section team. .

“Some of our girls didn’t have their best days that day,” Rockridge head coach Daphne Graves said. “It’s definitely something the girls take away from 2021. They felt they had a good chance of making it through to the tryouts, and so did I. They’re definitely hungry for that (this season).”

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That hunger showed in another strong start for the Rockets, who are 8-1 in doubles with their only loss coming in Moline. In its first 18-hole tournament in 2022, Rockridge took first place at the Princeton Ryder Cup muster.

“The girls we have on the team right now, all but one played in tournaments last summer, and they all played on their own,” said Graves, whose team also has 18-hole tournaments. coming to Geneseo, Mercer County. and the Stillman Valley.

“It’s not like at the start of the season, it was on, let’s get back to the clubs. The girls were definitely ready, and that allowed us to have the season we started with.”

At Princeton, junior Hannah Graves and sophomore sister Neva Graves both carded 80 to share the individual championship. Seniors Amelia Rursch and Kylee White both shot 94 points to tie for fourth, while sophomores Anna Carroll and Cloee Slaight also shot 94 points and tied for fifth.

Out of six competitions this season, Hannah Graves has medaled in five of them, with Rursch medaling in the other competition. Rursch is the only returner among Rockridge’s three individual sectional qualifiers from last season.

“We have three returning starters from last year, but we’ve lost two key players that we didn’t expect to lose,” coach Graves said. “Victoria Batey moved to Pleasant Valley, and Lillian Dehner (a sectional qualifier with Batey and Rursch) moved to Colorado. We also lost Emma Slattery, who graduated, so I thought we’d take a blow to our university.

“We’ve had kids step up and fill those slots this year. We’re young with three sophomore starters, but they have a great bond and they’re excited about this season.”

The Rockets will get a chance to defend their conference title Sept. 14 when they travel to meet the TRAC at Baker Park Golf Course in Kewanee before diving into postseason IHSA competition.

Besides last year’s near miss at regionals, Rockridge has an extra dose of motivation with the return of Blaine Kernan to the coaching staff as he continues to push forward after being crippled following a car accident on June 21.

“Blaine loves golf,” Graves said. “The girls know his situation, and they’re hanging on to it. Our motto this year is, ‘Do it for Blaine.'”

Weather update Wednesday, August 31 for the Quad Cities area

Photos: Men’s Geneseo Invitational Golf Tournament at TPC Deere Run