NORMAL | Illiana Christian High School boys golf coach Jack Rudenga delivered a simple message to his team following the first round of the Class 2A state tournament in Normal on Friday.
"We've got nowhere to go but up," Rudenga said.
The Vikings struggled to a first-round 66-over-par 350 and sit in last place in the 12-team field at Illinois State University's Weibring Golf Club.
The Vikings are 29 strokes behind leaders Belleville Althoff and University High heading into today's final round.
"It was a little bit of nerves, a little bit of bad luck," Rudenga said while pointing out the Vikings' main issues came off the tee.
"Tomorrow we'll see if we can finish our season with a good taste."
Brothers Jon Zandstra and Matthew Zandstra posted the Vikings' lowest scores with an 82 (42-40) and 87 (47-40), respectively. Senior Chris Tempelman carded a 90 (44-46) and Senior Jake Boender added a 91 (41-49).
Jonathan Zandstra is the only Illiana Christian golfer with previous experience at Weibring, but Rudenga thinks his team will make adjustments from Friday's tough round.
"I think these kids can rebound," Rudenga said. "We just need to focus a little more, and tomorrow we'll play how we're capable of playing."
U High's Adam Baracani is the individual leader with a 1-over-par 72 (35-37).
In the Class 3A state tournament at The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington, Homewood-Flossmoor's Jack Mulligan is in a tie for 70th place after his first-round 83 (39-44) and teammate Alex Cueller is in 112th with a 98 (48-50).
Beecher's Zach Aring fired an 81 (41-40) and teammate Michael Barber shot an 83 (38-45) at the Class 1A tourney at Priarie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington. Aring is in a tie for 36th while Barber is in a tie for 46th.
In the girls AA tourney at the Hickory Point Golf Club in Forsyth, Marian's Bree Veazey is in a tie for 16th place with a 79 (40-39) and Thornton Fractional South's Maggie Sloan is in a tie for 50th with an 85 (40-45).