PEKIN -- One golfer was a freshman, playing in the first 18-hole competition of her life.
Another golfer was the reigning Class 1A individual state champion, and one of the best girls high school golfers in the state.
Pekin freshman Rachel Filarski and Eureka junior Allison Pacocha found themselves in the same threesome Saturday in the seventh annual Saints Shootout at Prairie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington.
For Filarski, the round was a priceless learning experience.
For Pacocha, the round became another line on her resume, as she won the tournament with a 4-over-par 76 on a windy day. She made four birdies and didn't shoot worse than bogey on a hole.
Filarski didn't have pre-round jitters because she'd be playing with a state champion. That's because she didn't know she'd be playing with a state champion.
"I found out from (Pekin coach Chris Neville) five minutes before I teed off that I was playing with Allison. I didn't know she was a state champion until Coach Neville told me," Filarski said.
Filarski quickly learned why Pacocha is worthy of the accolades about her.
"I watched her routine. She took her time before each shot, making sure she was totally prepared for it," Filarski said. "She was focused. In the zone."
While she focused on her own game, Pacocha took time to help Filarski.
"She gave me tips about my game and the course. She'd played the course many times, and it was the first time for me," Filarski said.
Filarski shot 103, Pekin's best score of the day. Sydney Hubner (105), Lauren Minkel (113) and Mylee Hansen (116) also scored for the Dragons. Olivia Torrey (126) and Sierra Sitter (131) also played for Pekin.
It also was the first competitive 18-hole round for Hansen and Sitter, both freshmen.
"Sydney (Hubner) improved from our matches earlier in the week hitting the ball from tee to green," Neville said. "She lipped out four or five putts. Had she made them, her score would have been closer to 100."
Pekin scored 438 as a team and finished in 15th place among 16 teams.
"Our team total was about where I thought it would be," Neville said.
Normal U. High (334), Central Catholic (344) and Washington (377) were the top three finishers in the team standings. U. High and Central Catholic were the Class 1A team state champions in 2018 and 2019.
Besides Pekin and Washington, three other Mid-Illini Conference teams competed in the Saints Shootout. Here's how they fared: Morton (5th, 390), Dunlap (7th, 393) and Metamora (8th, 400).
A team's low four scores on the front nine and back nine counted toward the team's score.
Pacocha won't get a chance to defend her state championship because the IHSA has limited the state series to regionals.
If she's disappointed, she's not showing it.
"This year is one of those years. You have to roll with what you get. I'm just happy to spend time with my teammates," Pacocha told the (Bloomington) Pantagraph.
PEKIN 208, MACOMB 211: Led by freshmen Rachel Filarski and Sydney Hubner, the Dragons earned their first victory of the season Tuesday at Lick Creek Golf Course, beating visiting Macomb.
Macomb is no slouch. The Bombers finished sixth at last season's Class 1A state tournament.
Filarski was a medalist for the first time in her career, shooting 46. Hubner shot 50.
Lauren Minkel (55) and Mylee Hansen (57) also scored for the Dragons (1-4). Sierra Sitler (59) and Olivia Torrey (61) rounded out Pekin's lineup.
Laine Torrance (50), Lily Vardaman (53), Ellen Meixner (54) and Trinity Christiansen (54) scored for Macomb (5-2).
"Needless to say, it was a great win," said Pekin coach Chris Neville. "The girls were excited, and so was their coach.
"(Tuesday) validated what we do in practice, with all the focus on our short game, the half-shots, the chipping, when to hit it low, when to hit it high. And putt and putt and putt. The girls are getting feedback during competitions that what we do at practice matters."
Pekin has played four times this season at Lick Creek. After an opening day 234, the Dragons' score has dropped from 223 to 219 to 208.
"We want to see that trend continue," Neville said. "But it will take good practices to accomplish that."
NEXT: Pekin will play host to Illini Bluffs at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Lick Creek.
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.