BY SAM SCINTA WEEKLY REPORTER
O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Township High School Girls Golf team kept its stellar record, capped off with perhaps its most impressive accomplishment yet; a win at the IL/MO River Challenge played at The Orchards in Belleville.
Unlike some of the Panthers’ earlier tournaments, where they won by double digit strokes, Saturday proved to be a different animal, with a serious challenge from Missouri power St. Joseph’s Academy pushing the Blue and Gold to the brink.
Sophomore Briana McMinn would provide the pivotal score of the afternoon for the Panthers, but not quite in the way you’d expect. McMinn placed sixth on her team with a 95, which normally isn’t enough to qualify for the team’s score. However, St. Joseph’s Academy and OTHS were locked in a tie at 329, and the tie-breaker required the scores go to each team’s sixth golfer to determine a winner.
Junior star Emily Marrs, part of the core of Panther juniors who have led the team all season, produced O’Fallon’s best score of 80, eight strokes over the course’s par-72. Marrs’ score would be good for a tie for second, as Cor Jesu star Katie Kreuss took home individual gold. Edwardsville’s Paige Hammel would also shoot an 80.
Fellow junior Natalie Meinkoth would tie for sixth on the day with an 81. Alyssa McMinn placed in eighth with an 82, while Brooke Boatman would round out the O’Fallon athletes in the top 15 with an 86, good for eleventh place.
The tournament in Belleville was the capper to an overall solid week for the Panthers, who defeated Belleville West last Tuesday by a score of 169-217, led by Meinkoth’s 39 and Boatman’s 41. Marrs would shoot a 44 while Paige Gibson rounded out the top four with a 45.
The Panthers would then win the Belleville East Invitational at Yorktown Golf Course on Thursday, finishing ahead of 14 area teams. Meinkoth would again pace the Panthers, shooting an invite best 53. Marrs would place in ninth with a 59 while Boatman and Briana McMinn rounded out the Panther four with a 62 each.
O’Fallon’s perfect record would come to a heartbreaking end on Sunday, falling to Edwardsville by two strokes, 162-164. Marrs and Boatman would lead the way with a 39 each, while Meinkoth shot 42 and Alyssa McMinn took home a 44. A 164 would have won every meet the Panthers took place in this season until Sunday.