Lady Bruins win first regional in nine years
KEWANEE — There was a moment of shock before the St. Bede girls golf team fully realized what it accomplished Oct. 10.
The Lady Bruins carded a 384 to win the Class 1A Kewanee regional by five strokes over the host Boilermakers. Peoria Notre Dame placed third with a 397. It was the first regional title for St. Bede since 2010.
Meanwhile, Putnam County’s Ali Ciucci, a senior, shot an 88 to place second individually behind Kewanee senior ace Riley Hansen (79) of Neponset, who claimed her fourth straight regional medalist honors.
Ciucci’s freshman sister, Gracie, shot a 112 to grab the last individual spot.
“It felt really good,” said Ali Ciucci, who birdied No. 16. “I was not expecting second place, that’s for sure. When I saw the final scores, I got really excited and I was proud of myself.
“My drives were really good today, but my short game was not as good as it usually is.”
Ali Ciucci shot a 44 on the front and back nines.
“She was just consistent throughout the whole round,” PC coach Chelsi Straughn-Niewinski said. “She had a couple holes where she had double bogeys, then she’d bounce right back and didn’t let it get out of control. She didn’t have anything higher than a six, which is always helpful.”
Ali Ciucci is hoping to shoot a career best on Monday and qualify for the state tournament for the first time.
“I hope to shoot in the low 80s since I know the course pretty well,” Ciucci said. “That’s really all. I hope to shoot a personal best, so better than 84.”
Straughn-Niewinski said the younger Cuici probably surprised herself.
“When she came in, I don’t think she thought she’d make it,” Straughn-Niewinski said. “I started looking around at the scores and said, ‘I think you’re going to be in the last spot,’ and she’s like, ‘No way.’ She was pretty excited once she found out she did make that last spot.”