Logan Richardson, a junior at Shiloh, who golfs for Tri-County (Oakland, Kansas and Shiloh sports co-op) and Sullivan's Caden Ellis are to participate in the Illinois High School Association Class 1A state meet Friday and Saturday at Bloomington's Prairie Vista Golf Course. The course measures 6,407 yards and has a par of 72.
Both advanced from the Bismarck-Henning Sectional Monday by being one of the top 10 individuals not on an advancing team. Richardson shot a 3-over-par 75, while Ellis had a 78. In regional play at the University of Illinois Orange Course in Savoy, both Ellis and Richardson finished in a tie for third with 81s.
It is the first time for both Ellis and Richardson to compete at the state meet. Richardson has been close before, missing by two strokes last year and one the year before with an 82 and 86, respectively.
Both players had practice rounds Thursday.
"It means a lot and has been in the back of my mind and a goal of mine," said Tri-County coach Kevin Fleckenstein, who is in his sixth year. "It is something I was trying to prepare Logan for. I wanted to make sure he got over the hump. That made his sectional round even sweeter because of what he has been through. He was able to put that behind him and use it as motivation to prepare well for the region and sectional. He made it into a good thing instead of dwelling on it as a negative."
Richardson's best nine-hole round this season is a 33 shot at Norton Knolls in Oakland, while his best 18-hole round is a 72 shot at Sycamore Hills in Paris.
"I would say his short game has been really strong all year," said Fleckenstein. "What has worked well for him in the regional and sectional is he has been able to avoid trouble. He has put the ball off the tee into the fairway and from there has got up and down."
Richardson earned all-Little Okaw Valley Conference honors with an 83 at Findlay's Eagle Creek. As a freshman, Richardson was also all-conference with an 81 at the Kaskaskia Country Club in Arcola.
Fleckenstein said he has worked with Richardson on the mental part of the game.
"I have been trying to make him realize that one bad shot or one bad hole does not dictate the round," said Fleckenstein. "You can recover from that and I think that comes from age, and he has been making a concentrated effort. For example, in the sectional, he started with a three-putt and a bogey. He came into the next hole with the perfect attitude and that allowed him to play a great round."
Richardson is the first from Tri-County since 2008 when Eric Haughee (then the co-op was Oakland and Kansas) finished in 82nd place with a 170. Shiloh's last state qualifier was in 2013 when Hayden Kile finished 87th with a 182.
Richardson is to tee off at 10:27 a.m. with Decatur LSA senior Dayton Pate, who tied with him at the sectional. Others are Galena junior Jack Einsweiler and Fulton sophomore Andrew Schrader. They are to start on the back nine and are in the final group of the day. Richardson has played with Pate at several meets, including the LOVC tourney.
Ellis won the Central Illinois Conference with a 77 at Eagle Creek, and the Redskins earned the team title. He was third in 2015 at the conference meet with a 78 at Windsor's Fox Prairie Golf Course, good for all-CIC honors.
Ellis was on the first-ever regional champion Sullivan team as a freshman, as he finished sixth overall with an 81.
Last year Sullivan's Leighton Burcham made it to state and finished in 105th place with a 209.
Ellis is to tee off at 10:09 a.m. with Grant Park freshman Ryan Dulin, Table Grove VIT sophomore Cole Hoping and Peoria Christian senior Isaak Ramsey.