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WOOD RIVER - The high school fall sports season officially got underway yesterday, Monday, August 15, as local boys golf teams began their fall campaign.
Belk Park Golf Course hosted the Hickory Stick Invitational which included 20 schools, most of them from the area.
Teams around the Riverbend included Marquette Catholic, Jersey, Southwestern, Granite City, Triad, Father McGivney, Civic Memorial, Maryville Christian, Metro East Lutheran, East Alton Wood River, and Roxana.
Almost all the schools participating sent out five golfers with their scores totaled together to give each school their overall final score.
Coming in first place at 318 was Mascoutah. Their best score of the day was a 76 by Jacob Floreck. In second was Litchfield, with an overall score of 331.
Marquette finished third at 333. Salem was fourth with a score of 334, the Griffins came in fifth at 344, Trenton Wesclin and Civic Memorial tied for sixth with a pair of 357 scores, in eighth place was Vandalia at 359, Triad came in ninth with a 361 and Waterloo Gibault Catholic rounded out the top ten with a 364. In 11th place was Hillsboro at 373, Granite City came in 12th with a 381, Metro-East Lutheran was 13th with a score of 412, in 14th place was Jersey with a 418, New Athens finished 15th with a 427, Maryville Christian came in 16th with a 453, host school East Alton-Wood River was 17th with a 464 and Piasa Southwestern was 18th with a 468.
The highlight locally though was Marquette Catholic. The Explorers rounded out the podium finishing third on the day with a score of 333. Marquette was led by Aidan O'Keefe's even-par 72. That was the lowest round of the day which earned him medalist honors. Rounding out the scores for Marquette, Will Schwartz shot an 83, Mike Wilson an 86 and Matt Kane and Sean Williams both shot 92. Marquette beat Salem by a single stroke to earn a podium finish.
Father McGivney Catholic's Joey Hyten and O'Keefe's teammate William Schwartz also finished in the top ten, while Mascoutah won the team championship in the Hickory Stick Invitational, one of the biggest opening golf tournaments of the new season, Monday at the Belk Park Golf Course in Wood River.
O'Keefe with an ever-par 72, was two shots ahead of runner-up Tug Schwab of Litchfield, who carded a 74. Mascoutah's Luke Simmons was third with a 75, Jonah Beesley of Vandalia and Jacob Florek of Mascoutah tied for fourth with a 76 each, Connor McCall of the Vandals was sixth with a 78, in seventh place was Jairen Stroud of Salem, who had a 79, the Hawks' Cohen Jackson was eighth with an 81, Hyten came in ninth with an 82 and Schwartz tied with Brogen Gregg of Salem, A.J. Odle of Litchfield and Greg Adams of Mascoutah for 10th, all shooting an 83.
To go along with Hyten's score, the Griffins saw Riley Knobloch shoot an 86, Brandon Reed was right behind with an 87, Bradley Goodwin had an 89 and Drew Villard fired a 90.
Connor Wells led the Eagles with an 87, while Zach Fitzgerald, Sam Buckley, and Manny Silva all shot a 90 and Matt Lyman shot a 103. Owen Twyman and Benjamin Hudson both led Triad with an 87 each, while Gavin Helmkamp had a 92, Bryce Laycock shot a 95 and Tanner Massie came up with a 106.
Brady Smallie led the Warriors with an 89, with Brandon Nicol right behind with a 90, Trevor Harrison fired a 96, Lucas Haddix shot a 106, and Payton Fedorsak had a 108. The leading golfer for Metro-East was Cole Renken, who had a 97, while both Jacob Kober and Charles Fedder each shot a 101, Eric Neath had a 113 and Harry Mueller shot a 119.
Bryce Becker was the leading golfer for the Panthers, shooting a 102, with Ethan Gullander coming up with a 103, Adam Coffman carding a 106, Logan Huitt shot a 107, and Bradley Desit fired a 116. Jeff McAteer led the Lions with a 106, while Logan Schwenk fired a 111, Luke Laughlin fired a 118, Hughes Pfieiffer carded a 119, and Brody DeVary had a 124.
Timothy Melton was the leader for the Oilers with a 91, with both Issac Thornton and Matt Bruce shooting identical scores of 123 and Camden Siebert shooting a 127. The Piasa Birds were led by Nic Ragsdale's 118, going along with Dylan DeLong, who had a 117, Benito Biciocchi and Chase Cummings, who each shot a 118, and Ike Austin, who shot a 120.
In addition, three golfers from Roxana competed as individuals, with Troy Holbrook firing a 119, Nick Cotter shooting a 123, and Connor Anderson coming up with a 125.
The Explorers, along with a handful of other teams are supposed to be back at it today (August 16th) if the rain clears up.
Play is currently scheduled to start at 1 p.m. for the Alton Tee-Off Classic held at Spencer T. Olin Golf Course.
As for all the other schools and their finishes, the complete scorecard can be found below.