DEMOTTE | Moments after North Newton advanced from Saturday's Kankakee Valley Sectional with a second place finish, Kayla Leach posted on Facebook the team photo from the awards presentation.
The Spartans had cause for celebration, placing in the top three of the sectional for the first time in school history. They advance to next Saturday's LaPorte Regional.
"We're surprised, but we always knew we had a chance to get out," said Alicia Watts, who carded a 93 to lead the Spartans.
"We're awesome," said Taylor Watkins, who shot a 105 on the challenging Sandy Pines Golf Course.
As expected, Twin Lakes took top honors with a 395 to win its 14th straight sectional title, followed by North Newton's 400 and Rensselaer's 402 for third place.
K.V. was fourth with a 403, followed by Hanover Central (415) and Lowell (422) to round out area teams. Top three teams and top three individuals not with an advancing team qualify for the regional.
Amber Little carded a 100 for the Spartans, who also got a 102 from Kaylee Zylo and a 132 by Leach.
"I'm not sure we've even had anybody that's gotten out of the sectional before," North Newton coach Barb Peregrine said.
North Newton (14-4) lost to Hanover, Rensselaer, K.V. and Lowell during the regular season, and topped them all at sectional.
"Words can't express how we're feeling at the moment," Peregrine said. "It's a great day for us."
Bobbie Jo Culp's 92 paced the Bombers and tied her for second-low medalist with Twin Lakes' Taylor Russell. Katie Davisson shot a 98 for Rensselaer.
"I think it's pretty awesome," Culp said. "We've come out of sectionals quite a few times. I've been out of sectionals since my freshman year, so it's pretty cool to see my team pull together and make it out."
Lowell junior Vicky Nichols fired a 90 to take overall low medalist honors and advanced as an individual with K.V.'s Tara Beere (94) and Emily Tucker (95).
Nichols rebounded nicely on the back nine with a 42 after shooting 48 on the front.