State trophy escapes Nazareth’s grasp
Nazareth Academy's Dan Saladino watches his shot during the final round of the 2011 2A state final tournament held at the Weibring Golf Course in Normal. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 19, 2012 2:34PM
NORMAL — Senior golfer Jay Karas knows no one can ever take away the history he helped create at Nazareth.
He will, however, lament for the moments that could have been.
Competing in its third consecutive Class 2A state tournament, Nazareth placed fifth Friday at Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State University in Normal. The second round Saturday was canceled because of heavy rain, so first-round results became final.
“Ending that way was pretty disappointing to all of us,” Karas said. “It was a little emotional, but at the same time we’re pretty proud of the legacy we left behind at Naz. We broke so many records the last three years and we’re proud of that. It’s something I’ll remember for a long time. Not many people get the opportunity to go to state even once, so three times is special.”
Nazareth shot 325 Friday, behind Belleville Althoff (321), Normal (321), Washington (323) and Waterloo (323).
Senior Ian Smith carded an 8-over 80 to tie for 24th individually and lead the Roadrunners.
“We expected to get a trophy and were sitting in the position we wanted to be,” Smith said. “Playing in the rain has always been a strength for us. You heard all the kids complaining, but we were so pumped for it. We had all this determination to get it done (Saturday) and didn’t get the chance. It was still pretty special to be part of this team.”
Nazareth also received contributions from Karas (81), freshman Matthew Clark (81) and seniors Bob Lively (83), Joe Mara (88) and Dan Saladino (90).
The Roadrunners matched last season’s fifth-place performance after placing 10th two years ago.
“We couldn’t have played any worse (Friday), so I was extremely confident we would’ve done better (Saturday),” said Mara, who contributed on all three state teams. “We wanted to win, but we would’ve been happy with top three and bringing some hardware home. It was special to be part of something that had never been done before at our school. Making history is pretty cool.”
Karas was confident the Roadrunners would have moved up the standings Saturday.
“We had five seniors and were the deepest team at state,” Karas said. “We had five guys that could put up good scores at any time. A lot of teams had two or three guys that could do that, so it speaks to our depth.”