PLAINFIELD – Once girls golf teams get into regional play, the score the team posts suddenly becomes far less important than the place they finish in the field.
That's what Naperville Central had to tell itself after playing in the Class AA Naperville Central Regional at the Redhawks' home course of Naperbrook Wednesday.
The only thing that matters is that Central finished second, which qualifies the Redhawks for Monday's Class AA Homewood-Flossmoor Sectional as a team. The 357 they shot, which was 17 strokes higher than their performance at the DuPage Valley Conference meet last week, becomes irrelevant.
"We survived," Central coach Jane Thompson said. "And at this point of the year, that's all that matters. The girls are very disappointed with how they shot, but like I just told them, we're out and that's all that matters."
Central senior Carolyn Wong won medalist honors after a one-hole playoff with Lemont's Emily Lejman. Wong shot an 83 to pace the Redhawks.
"I struggled a little on the front," Wong said. "On the back nine, I just tried to do my best and it ended up being enough. It's really exciting, because this is our goal, and we did it. It wasn't our best day, but we still advanced."
Wong made the turn at 44, but posted a 39 on the back nine to recover and made par on No. 18 in the playoff for medalist honors.
"She struggled on the front side, but here's where being a senior and being a seasoned veteran comes into play," Thompson said. "She knew full well to calm down. There was still another nine to go. That's being a senior and having that experience to go through that."
Megan Philipp and Sarah Degeeter shot 91s for Central, and Emma Ondik posted a 92 after making the turn at 50.
Naperville North was striving to shoot that perfect round all season, but was not able to come up with it Wednesday. The Huskies' 369 left them five strokes short of advancing as a team to sectionals.
North did advance a pair of individuals. Paige Wollensak shot an 84 and Taylor Arenson a 90 to move on to sectionals.
"I'm happy for Paige and Taylor," North coach Greta Williams said. "They did a nice job to get out. I feel bad for the rest of the girls because I don't think we hit our full potential. That's disappointing because I know how hard they work and how much time they put into it. I wish they could have been rewarded."