ALGONQUIN – Prairie Ridge senior Delainey Peterson was concerned before Wednesday’s IHSA Class AA Crystal Lake Central Girls Golf Regional.
The beautiful forecast from a few days earlier was drastically revised and included rain. And the Wolves’ warmup swings were not exactly those that stirred confidence.
“Danielle [Roulo], Robin [Manarik] and I were on the range next to each other hitting pretty badly,” Peterson said. “They were going all over the place.”
Once into the round, the shots usually went where the Wolves intended. Peterson and Manarik shot 12-over-par 83s, Roulo had an 84 and Michelle Nalepa added a 90 as Prairie RIdge won its first girls golf regional in school history at Golf Club of Illinois.
The Wolves, who edged Crystal Lake Central by a stroke in the Fox Valley Conference Tournament last week, finished with 340 to beat the Tigers this time by 25 strokes. St. Charles North (368) was third to grab the other team qualifying spot in Monday’s Burlington Central Sectional at Randall Oaks.
“It’s awesome to see how it turned out,” Peterson said. “We’d like to shoot in the 70s, but the rain kept on coming down most of the day. In the 80s today seems like par, so I’m happy with 83.”
Peterson and Manarik tied for second, while Roulo was fourth. St. Charles East’s Paige Jordan won the individual title with an 82. Central, which co-ops with Cary-Grove and Crystal Lake South, got 88s from Larisa Luloff and Bailey Bostler. Brianna DiGrazia shot 94 and Ann Bandolik had 95 for the Tigers.
Local indivduals who qualified in the 10 spots not on qualifying teams were Marian Central’s Samantha Leicht (89), Emily Olivera (95) and Claire Castetter (92) and McHenry’s Delaney Buenzli (91). McHenry’s Kaylee Ross shot 97 to tie for the 10th spot with two Geneva players, but lost to the Vikings’ Nicole Hassels on the third playoff hole.
Although the temperature remained around 60 and there was little wind, the rain that started around 11 a.m. made it tough on the players.
Manarik thought it affected putts, as players did not know how fast the ball would roll on the wet grass. Bostler said her hands were constantly damp and cold, making gripping the club more difficult.
“I’m pretty proud of that  considering the conditions,” Manarik said. “It’s a great feeling [as a team], especially ending our senior year with this. I’m proud of them. We really pulled through.”
Peterson, Manarik, Roulo and Nalepa have played together most of three years and were determined to win Prairie Ridge’s first regional title. Wednesday’s round was particularly gratifying for Roulo, who had struggled a good part of the season before the FVC Tournament.
“Everything was off the toe; I couldn’t get anything into the air,” Roulo said of her slump. “In the summer I was on fire. At the beginning of the year, I shot a 74, then two or three weeks in everything started going wrong. I worked hard on my short game and that helped me get it back. To come out here and do well feels great.”
Wolves coach Patti Hie said the top four players all dropped their averages by about three strokes this season.
“They’re not just golfers anymore, they’re competitors,” Hie said. “They rose to the occasion when they needed to. This is something we’ll cherish for a long time.”
The rain likely contributed to no player breaking 80 and only 10 shooting less than 90.
“The conditions weren’t great,” said Bostler, a junior at South. “I’m pretty pleased with that . We competed well and hung in there with the weather like this.”