The Mattoon Invitational boys golf tournament is a grind. Each golfer plays 36 holes on two courses over two days.
Pekin got off to a great start in the tournament Friday. The Dragons were in second place among 35 teams.
The wheels came off a bit Saturday as Pekin fell to fifth place in final standings. Barrington (597), Morton (608), Alton Marquette (614) and Normal U. High (618) finished in front of the Dragons (628).
"A lot of our problems had to do with the courses we played," said Pekin coach Brett McGinnis.
The Dragons played par-72 Meadowview on Friday and par-72 Mattoon Country Club on Saturday. The Mattoon Country Club course is more difficult.
"Meadowview is more open, so you're not punished too badly for mistakes," McGinnis said. "If you miss the fairway at Mattoon Country Club, you're in trouble."
Pekin had a 299 score at Meadowview but shot 329 at Mattoon Country Club.
"Our guys were deflated Saturday after they'd played so well Friday," McGinnis said.
Lance Hays led Pekin over the two days (72-77--149). He was followed by Mason Ghidina (76-80--156), Jacob Hill (73-88--161), Jack Halstead (78-85--163), Carter Taphorn (79-90--169) and Chad DuPage (89-87--176). The best four scores counted each day.
Hill had an interesting day Saturday. He shot 51 on the front nine including a 10 on the par-4 second hole but bounced back with a 1-over-par 37 on the back nine.
Morton's Tommy Kuhl was the tournament medalist with a steady 4-under 70-70--140.
Next for Pekin: At Washington, 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Fairlakes (Mid-Illini Conference match).
On the run at Detweiler
Humbling and an eye-opening experience.
That's how Pekin cross country coaches described their teams' day Saturday at the First to the Finish meet at Detweiler Park in Peoria, hosted by Peoria High.
The Pekin boys team finished 37th of 47 teams in the Class 3A race. The Pekin girls team was 28th of 38 teams in the Class 3A race.
"It was a humbling meet after how well we did (Sept. 3) at the Canton Invitational (second place)," said Pekin boys coach Cole Stoner. "I need to prepare the guys better for getting out of the box at a big meet. And make sure they don't become complacent and fall into an easy pace. They need to look for holes in the pack."
Kolton Dunkelbarger (141st, 16:51.9), Brody Blackwell (169th, 17:05.0), Chase Paul (211th, 17:28.8), Andrew Wolfe (248th, 17:52.2) and Seth Kasinger (250th, 17:53.0) scored for Pekin. There were 431 runners in the race.
Pekin girls coach Erika Gilmore said she told her runners not to worry about personal-record times because of the slick, muddy course.
"I'm sure the race was an eye-opener for the girls because of the number of runners," she said.
Paige Arseneau (89th, 20:01.7), Alex Bassen (160th, 21:21.7), Jayna Riley (180th, 21:52.2), Madison Vicary (203rd, 22:40.9) and Chloe Powell (214th, 22:54.0) scored for the Lady Dragons. There were 333 runners in the race.
Next for Pekin: Morton and Metamora at Metamora, Black Partridge Park, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday (Mid-Illini Conference meets).
West feeds on Pekin
Powerhouse Normal West beat visiting Pekin 8-1 Saturday in a non-conference boys soccer game.
"Tip your hat to Normal West. They outworked us," said Dragons coach Gus Kormah. "It doesn't hurt to have great feeder programs in their community that bring in very good players year in and year out. We'll get there soon. I'm proud of our guys."
Pekin's lone goal was by Michael Geier.
Next for Pekin: At East Peoria, 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, EastSide Centre (Mid-Illini Conference game).
No tennis
Pekin didn't participate in the Jacksonville Invitational girls tennis tournament Saturday because the competition was rained out.
Next for Pekin: Washington, 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, John Moss Courts (Mid-Illini Conference match).
No swimming
There was no report on Pekin's participation Saturday in the Clinton (Iowa) Invitational girls swimming and diving meet.
Next for Pekin: Dunlap co-op, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.