Junior Addison Watanabe and her Lyons Township High School girls golf teammates have a special fan.
Known as Grandpa Steve, Watanabe’s grandfather Steve Catlin is a mainstay at the Lions’ matches, home and away.
“Every match. He’s only missed conference. That’s why we played bad. We needed him,” Watanabe said after the IHSA Class 2A Shepard Regional.
Thanks to Watanabe, Grandpa Steve has one more event to attend – the Class 2A state meet Oct. 7-8 in Forsyth. Watanabe earned her first individual berth via the Hinsdale South Sectional on Oct. 3 at Village Greens of Woodridge by being among the 10 best scores for players not among the three advancing teams. The Lions were sixth (337), 16 strokes from third.
Watanabe (78) shared the seventh best score, and senior Maeve McDougal (80) was one stroke from the four-player playoff for the final two individual berths. Other scorers were juniors Victoria Halon (85) and Keira Kessler (94), senior Jaden Mahler (97) and junior Kayla Sinars (112).
The Lions equaled their 337 that earned second at regionals Sept. 29 at Lincoln Oaks Golf Course in Crete.
McDougal (81), Watanabe (83), Kessler (85) and Mahler (87) were seventh, eighth, 10th and tied for 12th. Sinars and Halon (89s) tied for 14th.
LTHS boys golf
After being the only junior in last year’s IHSA Class 3A state-qualifying team lineup, LTHS senior Jack Berry hoped to repeat the feat Oct. 3 with a lineup otherwise of all juniors.
The Lions finished eighth (323) at the Conant Sectional at the Bridges of Poplar Creek, 22 strokes from the third and final qualifying team. No Lions were among the 10 state-qualifying individuals not from the three advancing teams.
Joe Stetler (78) was one stroke from the playoff for the final berths. Other scorers were Berry (80), Anderson Palm (81), James Frehner and Kevin Larmon (84s) and Charlie Novak (85).
“The pin placements were pretty tough. I definitely left a couple of shots out there but I’m pretty satisfied with how I played,” Stetler said.
The Lions tied for second in the West Suburban Conference Silver among many successes after their senior-heavy 2021 lineup that also included then-sophomores Novak, Frehner and Larmon. Palm missed that season with an injury.
“It’s a young team,” LTHS coach Brian Kopecky said. “We’ll play really good and then have some bad holes. That’s been our bugaboo.”
On Sept. 28, the Lions (297) won the Payton Regional by 10 strokes.
Novak (71) was regional champion by one stroke over Berry (72) after returning from a wrist injury that sidelined him from the WSC Silver Meet. Palm (6th, 76), Stetler (tied for 7th, 78), Larmon (tied for 9th, 79) and Frehner (tied for 12th, 80) were top 12.