By Randy Whalen
"It gets late early out there."
The above quote was by the late, great Yogi Berra in reference to baseball.
But it could be about the high school golf season. It starts earlier than any other fall sport and it's also over earlier.
The season is now in the homestretch, with the postseason next week. But last week both the Joliet Township boys and girls golf teams celebrated their seniors and look forward to seeing what can happen in the upcoming regional.
"It flies on by," Joliet senior Lincoln Chizmark said. "But the season is going well and the team is doing well. We have a lot of seniors and are looking forward to the postseason."
Chizmark shot a one-under 35 to lead the team on Wednesday, Sept. 13 against a depleted Romeoville team in a Southwest Prairie Conference matchup on the front nine at Inwood Golf Course in Joliet.
"My driver and approach shots were working well," said Chizmark, who is a 4-year varsity golfer.
As a team, Joliet shot a 151 on the day. The other carded scores for the team were junior Mitch Fulayter (37), senior Tommy Fellows (39), and senior Zach Taylor (40).
The Spartans only had two varsity golfers. They were seniors Danny Myers (37) and Tyler Noe (47).
"It goes pretty fast," Joliet first-year coach Britt Charlie said of the season. "We've recently played well in tournaments We were sixth at Lemont (318) out of 15 teams and tied for eighth (313) out of 28 teams at the Providence Invite.
"Our conference record isn't where we want it to but we've been very competitive. Mitch Fulayter, who is the only junior on the team, has been playing well. We're moving forward and going in with a positive attitude for the state tournament."
The next day, Thursday, Sept. 14, Joliet hosted Plainfield North in the final SPC dual meet of the season at Inwood. Joliet ended up with a 154 and tied the Tigers. But ended up losing on the fifth score tiebreaker. Fellows (37), Chizmark (38), Fulayter (39), and Taylor (40) were the top Joliet (3-6 in SPC play) scores.
It was also Senior Night as Joliet Township honored the rest of its seniors. They are Michael Bozarth, Christian Chignoli, Will Ogrizovich, Parker Sloan, Sean Thoele, and Casey Tyrell.
The SPC meet is this Wednesday, Sept. 20 at Blackberry Oaks in Bristol. The following week, on Wednesday, Sept. 27, Joliet is in the very tough Class 3A Lincoln-Way Central Regional at Balmoral Woods Country Club in Crete. Last season Joliet advanced to the sectional as a team for the first time in at least 25 years and will need another strong showing to do the same this season.
"All the Lincoln-Way's, Sandburg, Lockport, and Minooka are there," Chizmark said of the regional. "It's a good tournament and last year we made it out. I'm looking forward to it and I still believe in the team."
On the girls' side, Joliet Township had a strong end to the SPC regular season. On Wednesday, Sept. 13, the team won a close one 185-187 over host Plainfield North at Whitetail Ridge in Yorkville. Juniors Nina Mayfield (43), Jersy Hauert (44), Sami Ankeney (49), and senior Emily Smith (49) led the way.
The next day was Senior Night and Joliet celebrated its only two, Emma Schlismann and Smith, with a 171-194 win over Plainfield Central at Inwood Golf Course. The team finished the SPC regular season with an 8-1 record. Ankeney had a personal best of 41 to lead the way. Mayfield also shot a 41, while Hauert had a 44. But in her final home match, Smith scored a 45 and had an eagle for the second time this season on the 17th hole.
"That was actually my second eagle of the season," said Smith, who also had an eagle on Tuesday, Sept. 5 in an SPC win over Romeoville at Inwood. "Getting the eagle on my senior night was a really fun way to end my season. I drove the green and had a tricky 5-foot putt!"
Joliet Township coach, Jim Grzetich was very happy for Smith.
"Senior Night was phenomenal as we shot our lowest score of the season (171)," Grzetich said. "It seems as if we are peaking at the right time. On senior night, our only varsity senior, Emily Smith had a rocky start, but she righted the ship beginning with her second eagle of the season on hole 17.
"Emily never gave up and ended up scoring for us that day. It really speaks to her character and will to win. She embodies all the characteristics we preach and strive to achieve. She leads this team both on and off the course, by example. She established herself as a top varsity player this past summer and hasn’t looked back Emily put in countless hours of practice and play on her own time this past off-season and it has really shown this fall."
Last Saturday, Sept. 16, the Joliet Township girls finished ninth in a loaded 23-team field at the 34th Annual Providence Celtic Swing at Green Garden Country Club in Frankfort. Hauert led the way with a personal best 81, Mayfield (91), Ankeney 93), and Smith (96) rounded out the top four team scores.
"At the beginning of the fall, we really wanted to see who we are, losing three senior starters from last season," Grzetch said. "I think we have established ourselves as a top team in the SPC, finishing 8-1 overall in conference play. We also, continue to trend lower both in 9-hole and 18-hole scoring. Shooting our lowest score of 171 on senior night and shooting a 361 at the Celtic Swing, we are trending lower.
"Like senior night and the Celtic Swing, we always seem to have 1-2 girls really shine and step up. If we could get all six players to click on the same day, we could really make some noise at The SPC Tournament and IHSA regional."
The SPC Tournament is this Wednesday, Sept. 20 at White Tail Ridge. Joliet is in the Class 2A Bradley-Bourbonnais Regional, which will be held on Thursday, Sept. 28 at Green Garden Country Club.
"We have some big matches coming up in the next weeks that we have been preparing for all season," Smith said. "I believe if every girl can really focus on the match at hand we can go far as a team. Every practice, match, or tournament has taught us something and we have grown throughout the entire season. We know what we need to do and it comes down to being able to execute it.
"I'm very excited for the upcoming postseason matches!"