Crystal Lake South's John Lishchynsky doesn't rattle easily.
That was clear as the Gators senior tied a career low with a 3-under par 69 to win the individual title at Monday's Class 2A Burlington Central Sectional, leading South to its first sectional title in 21 years.
"He’s so nonchalant about everything. He just goes out there and he’s so cool about it," Gators coach Curt Wadlington said. "He doesn’t show any stress. You would think he’s sitting at home watching TV on his couch."
Lishchynsky, who also won medalist honors at regionals with a 1-under 71, will look to stay red hot at the Class 2A boys golf state tournament, beginning Friday at Weibring Golf Course at Illinois State University in Normal. The Gators are making their second state trip in as many years and sixth in program history.
Also in Class 2A, Prairie Ridge junior Eddie Winkelmann will make his first state appearance. McHenry senior Truman Keppy is going for the third year in a row in Class 3A. He will be joined at The Den at Fox Creek in Bloomington by Crystal Lake Central sophomore Eric Klutke, who is making his state debut.
South completed back-to-back perfect seasons in the Fox Valley Conference, going undefeated in duals, and won both regional and sectional titles. The Gators' last sectional title came in 1998, when they took third at state in Class AA.
Lishchynsky said putting was the difference at sectionals, where he sank five birdies.
"It feels good that I can be this consistent again," Lishchynsky said. "Both times I shot 69, it was mainly my putter. Sophomore year, I was kind of like this. Junior year, I fell off a little, but now I'm back and a lot better, I think."
South won regionals by one shot over Prairie Ridge with a 305 and sectionals by two shots over Boylan with a 308. Junior Will Stewart, who won the FVC Tournament individual title, took fourth at regionals and sectionals.
Junior Tanner Coakley posted the Gators' third-best score at regionals and sectionals. Junior Ricky Falbo and seniors Ethan Wiggs and Jack Roberts also will play at state.
"I think they’re getting tested now," Wadlington said. "Anytime you get thrown into a stressful situation and work your way through it, you always grow. I see a lot of growth in them right now. I think they’re starting to realize that, even if one of them is having a bad day, another can lift them up."
The Gators started the year eager for another chance at state. Now, they're hoping to finish. South took 10th last year after the first round was canceled because of snow.
"I think they're all hoping it turns out a little bit better than last time," Wadlington said. "If they go down there and do what they can do, I think they can cause some trouble and be a disturbance."
Stewart is happy to get another shot.
"We’ve got one more to go, so we’ll see how we do," Stewart said. "It’s going to be fun. Like last year, it was so fun; it was one of the best times in my life. I love this group of guys. We hang out all the time.
"I’m happy for John again, and I’m happy for the seniors to go back."
CLASS 1A AND CLASS 2A GIRLS
Crystal Lake Central co-op senior Molly Lyne has a tough time believing it, but she'll be playing in the Class 2A state tournament at Hickory Point in Decatur for the fourth and last time. Lyne, who attends Cary-Grove, took third as a freshman, 12th as a sophomore and 15th as a junior.
Lyne admittedly has not played her best golf in recent weeks, but all that mattered was getting one last chance, she said. Lyne was selected as the Northwest Herald Girls Golfer of the Year the past two seasons.
"I still see myself as that freshman or sophomore coming in," Lyne said. "Once it’s over, it will hit me for real, but I'm still in high school mode. It means everything to go back, because it is hard. Lately, my game has been pretty off. Going into sectionals, I was the most nervous I have ever been."
Lyne, Huntley senior Katie Matustik and Jacobs senior Roslyn Leitner will play in the Class 2A state meet. Matustik is the first Red Raiders girls golfer to go to state, while Leitner also is making her debut.
Lyne and Matustik, good friends off the course, were paired in the same foursome at sectionals.
They'll again play in the same group Friday.
"I’m very close with her; I talk to her every day," Lyne said. "It’s good to have someone else there, because you can kind of feed off each other. State is different than other tournaments. It’s louder, there are so many people, and it’s just full of excitement."
Johnsburg junior Ellie Johnson, who won the Kishwaukee River Conference individual title, and Marian Central junior Lauren McNulty will play in the Class 1A tournament at Red Tail Run in Decatur.
Johnson is a two-time state qualifier. McNulty is there for the first time.
Class 3A Boys Golf State Tournament
Friday and Saturday, at The Den at Fox Creek in Bloomington
Local teams: None
Local golfers: Truman Keppy, McHenry, sr.; Eric Klutke, Crystal Lake Central, so.
Class 2A Boys Golf State Tournament
Friday and Saturday, at Weibring at Illinois State University in Normal
Local teams: Crystal Lake South (John Lishchynsky, sr.; Will Stewart, jr.; Tanner Coakley, jr.; Ricky Falbo, jr.; Jack Roberts, sr.; Ethan Wiggs, sr.)
Local golfers: Eddie Winkelmann, Prairie Ridge, jr.
Class 2A Girls Golf State Tournament
Friday and Saturday, at Hickory Point in Decatur
Local teams: None
Local golfers: Roslyn Leitner, Jacobs, sr.; Molly Lyne, Crystal Lake Central co-op, sr.; Katie Matustik, Huntley, sr.
Class 1A Girls Golf State Tournament
Friday at Saturday, at Red Tail Run in Decatur
Local teams: None
Local golfers: Ellie Johnson, Johnsburg, jr.; Lauren McNulty, Marian Central, jr.