RBHS team photo of the program-record five individual sectional qualifiers. | Bill Stone

Riverside Brookfield High School senior Mayan Covarrubias earned her second trip to the Class 2A girls golf state meet in 2022 by getting the last individual spot in a playoff.

This year Covarrubias cut it close during Monday’s 2A Hinsdale South Sectional at Carriage Greens but only on her ninth hole — in a good way.

Her disappointing tee shot landed near, but not into, the water. She recovered for par.

“I was saved by a foot and it gave me the confidence going into the back nine,” Covarrubias said. “I’m just glad that ball stayed in [play] and not in the water. That would have been bad.” 

She finished with her only two birdies over her final four holes for a 3-over-par 73 to tie for fourth overall and comfortably earn one of the 10 individual state berths for golfers not among the three advancing teams.

Covarrubias is hoping for her best state showing Friday and Saturday at Hickory Point in Decatur. She tied for 70th in 2022 with a 167 (84-83) and missed the second-day cut in 2021 with a 101.

“I’m pretty happy. It’s definitely a feeling of relief [to qualify again],” she said. “It kind of feels like state is my home and where I belong to play. It feels good to know I’m going back and I get another shot at improving from the two years I’ve gone before.” 

The Bulldogs brought a program-record five individuals to sectionals with arguably their strongest season ever. Sophomore Lucia Vazzana (89) was nine strokes from the individual state cut, followed by sophomore Tali Schultz (101), junior Taryn Schultz (102) and senior Sadie Springer (116). Vazzana and Taryn Schultz also were individual sectional qualifiers in 2022.

“I feel like it’s good that we have more people going [to sectionals] this year,” Taryn Schultz said at regionals. “It’s good that we all stepped up and five people went instead of three. Maybe next year we can have the whole team.”

At the Glenbard East Regional Thursday, the Bulldogs were fifth (353), 16 strokes from a top-three finish to advance. In 2022, their fourth-place 355 in a less competitive regional lost out on a fifth-score tiebreaker.

Five individuals advanced by being among the top 10 scorers from non-advancing teams — Covarrubia (10-over-par 80) who was ninth, Vazzana (83) who tied for 10th, followed by Taryn Schultz (94), Springer (96) and Tali Schultz (97), the last individual qualifier by six strokes. Senior Kate Newberry shot 107.

“We weren’t expecting five [qualifiers],” RBHS coach Doug Schultz said. “It is historic, disappointing at the other end because we want that first group to actually make it to sectionals [as a team] but this is a group that’s worked hard so it’s been great. 

“It makes me feel even more special when a person makes it like Sadie who has only been golfing for two years and she’s a senior.”

Springer enjoyed her sectional berth. Her best previous 18-hole round was 113.

“I was nervous,” she said. “[My key was] just not remembering it was regionals.”

Covarrubias said she felt added pressure after regionals. Her 80 there was the state cut Monday. 

“I knew I had to play well under that, and I didn’t want to have to go to a playoff,” Covarrubias said. 

“It definitely is pressure to go back [to state] because now expectations are higher. It puts a lot more added pressure to prove to everybody you aren’t like a one-hit wonder.”