Central Catholic High School grabbed the first-round lead in the Class 1A Girls State Golf Tournament on Friday, while Eureka freshman Allison Pacocha fired a 1-under-par 71 to take the individual lead at Red Tail Run Golf Club in Decatur.
The Saints, led by sophomore Katie Steinman's 79, shot 340 for a two-stroke advantage over Massac County with Pinckneyville lurking in third (344).
Pacocha has a three-shot advantage over defending state champion Ali Schrock of Pontiac and Elaine Grant of IVC. Pontiac freshman Dani Grace Schrock is tied for fifth (76) and Eureka senior Carolyn Pacocha is tied for ninth (78).
University High's Lexi Onsrud shot an 80 and teammate Maddison Murphy had an 83, while Normal Community's Allison Enchelmayer fired 81 at the Class 2A State Tournament at Hickory Point Golf Course in Forsyth. All three made the individual cut for Saturday's final round.
U High didn't advance as a team, finishing ninth with 336 as the top eight teams qualified under the Illinois High School Association's new cut rule which also took the low 24 individuals not on advancing teams.
Class 1A: Central Catholic's other counting scores were by sophomores Faith Glazebrook (83) and Kylie Hundman (85) along with senior Madison Clark (93). The rest of the lineup included sophomore Francesca Lee (95) and freshman Annika Snyder (97).
"They did an awesome job under really bad conditions," said Saints coach Dean Glesing of the cold and rainy weather. "We talk a lot about mental toughness and you have to make every shot count. We did it today. As a team, we did not let it get away."
The Saints hoped to contend last year with four freshmen, but finished seventh. However, Central Catholic knows its work is only half done.
"I reminded them that first place on day one means nothing," said Glesing. "It means you have a target on your back for the other teams within striking distance ... we have to play every bit as good (Saturday) and our scores will have to be better because the weather will be better."
Allison Pacocha started on the back nine and birdied Nos. 10 and 12. She went even-par 36 before eight pars and one birdie on the front.
Ali Schrock's two birdies came on Nos. 1 and 18. She made the turn at 36 before taking three bogeys on the back until her final hole. Dani Grace Schrock had two birdies on the front while shooting 37, while Carolyn Pacocha fired 39s on both sides.
GCMS' Shannon Spangler shot 90 and did not make the individual cut.
Class 2A: Onsrud fired 39 on the front nine before taking a 41 on the back and is tied for 24th place. Murphy made the turn at 41 and shot 42 coming in to tie for 49th.
U High sophomore Jadyn Spinks had 84 to miss the cut by a stroke. Other U High golfers were sophomore Jaiden Mapugay (89), senior Abby Klein (91) and freshman Jaelyn Kelly (95).
Enchelmayer played the back nine first and had a 42 before shooting 39 on the front and is tied for 34th.
Benet Academy's Lauren Beaudreau used six birdies to post a 5-under-par 67 and grab a four-stroke lead over St. Charles North's Megan Furtney in the individual race.
St. Charles North leads the team race after shooting 307, followed by Loyola (318) with Barrington and New Trier tied for third (320).