Gracie PiarDECATUR - Marquette Catholic senior Gracie Piar made history by winning the individual championship of the IHSA Class 1A state golf tournament, shooting a one-under-par 71 at Red Tail Run Golf Club in Decatur to finish with a two-day total of eight-under-par 136, the second-best two-day total in the tournament's history, as the Explorers finished second in team standings.

Mt. Carmel won the team championship with a two-day total of 604, with Marquette second with a 640. Effingham St. Anthony Catholic was third with a 659, with Rockford Boylan Catholic and Chicago Latin tying for fourth with each firing a 670, Arlington Heights St. Viator Catholic was sixth with a 682, Metropolis Massac County was seventh at 683 and Wheaton St. Francis Catholic came in eighth with a 687.

Piar won the individual crown, the first for an Explorer golfer since Mary Ellen Jacobs in 2002 and only the second overall, by five shots over Dani Schrock of Pontiac, who had a two-day total of 141, with Boylan's Emma Greenberg third with a 143.

Along with Piar's 136 total, Audrey Cain fired a 156, Clancy Maag and Ava Bartosiak both shot a 175, Lily Montague fired a 186 and Karly Reiter had a 212.

"As a coach it is just incredible," Marquette Catholic head girls golf coach Deb Walsh said of Piar and her other girls' state perofrmance. I am so proud of Gracie and the team. Gracie set goals at the beginning of the year and achieved every single one of them. She had four stellar years at Marquette and overall, the girls were just outstanding at the state tournament."

Coach Walsh commended the area first responders for their escort back to Marquette Catholic and said her girls were completely surprised and so excited about that. She also mentioned how special it was for the Marquette Catholic student body to turn out for a reception at the school when they arrived home.

"It meant a tremendous amount to the girls to have that support of the student body even though it was late in the night," she said.

East Alton Police and Fire and Alton Police and Fire escorted the girls to Marquette Catholic. Rosewood Heights Fire covered for East Alton Fire during that escort time.

East Alton Fire Chief Tim Quigley said he and the other first responders were honored to salute the champion back home.

"It is fantastic to see our youth do so well and it is an honor to show our support escorting them into town," he said.

Ellie Hyten Finishes With 179

Ellie Hyten of Father McGivney Catholic finished the tournament with a two-day score of 179, while Waterloo's Reese Kite fired a 153 and Calli Smith shot a 155.

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