SPRING VALLEY — With the COVID-19 pandemic putting the IHSA state boys' golf tournament on the shelf for 2020, the postseason road came to an earlier-than-usual end for the Riverdale Rams on Wednesday.
Looking to end their season on another high note after running their Three Rivers Conference and Class 1A regional-title streaks to seven straight apiece, the Rams had another of their championship runs ended by a slim margin at the Peru St. Bede Sectional.
Despite placing five of its six golfers in the top 20, led by junior James Moorhusen's fifth-place individual showing, Riverdale's bid for a fourth straight sectional team crown was denied by Elgin Academy, which tallied 333 strokes to edge the Rams by three and win its first sectional championship.
"We fought to the end today," said Moorhusen. "Our two seniors, Jordan Gorgas and Hayden Musser, both stepped up in a big way and finished their careers off with a lot of class."
On a windswept day at the par-72 Spring Creek Golf Course, Gorgas shot an 86 to finish in a four-way tie for 14th place; Musser's round of 87 put him among an eight-way logjam for 18th place.
"It was a grind out there with the conditions; it was difficult with the wind," said Moorhusen, who posted 10 pars on his scoreboard to finish with an 81, three strokes behind individual champion Jann Atendido of Elmhurst IC Catholic.
"I feel like all of us played our best. Sure, we wanted to extend (the sectional title streak) to four straight, but we just came up short. We're always looking to the future. This will light a fire under all of us, and we're all going to work hard for next year, I can tell you that."
Joining Moorhusen in the top 10 were two of his fellow juniors, Ben Nelson and Sam Willems. Nelson shot an 84 to tie Fulton junior standout Ian Wiebenga for eighth place, while Willems' round of 85 earned him part of a four-way share of 10th place.
"This will definitely motivate us for next year, but we would've made it to state if we were having a tourney this year," Nelson stated. "That's good to know. It's disappointing to lose, but we played our best. Congratulations to Elgin."
If normal rules had been in place, the Rams' second-place finish would have earned the team a fourth-straight trip to the Class 1A state tournament where they would have had a chance at a fourth-straight team trophy.
Instead of dwelling on Wednesday's disappointment of the sectional title streak being snapped, Willems prefers to focus on the just-concluded season and gauge it by such achievements as a 13-0 dual-meet record in the Three Rivers Conference and the aforementioned seventh straight regional title.
"It was still a successful season," he said. "We'll look back on everything we did this year, and come back stronger next year. There's still work to be done."
Top 10 for Steamers' Wiebenga: To earn his top 10 finish, the Steamers' Wiebenga tightened up his game after notching two double bogeys and a triple bogey on his first nine holes, scoring seven pars down the stretch to secure his share of eighth place.
His older brother Patrick capped his prep career by shooting an 89 to finish in a tie for 30th place, while fellow Fulton senior Josh VanderPloeg turned in an 87 to earn his place among the eight-way tie for 18th.
Another senior playing his final high school meet Wednesday was Erie-Prophetstown's Bryce Rosenow, who shot a 98 and finished tied for 59th place.
Get in the game with our Prep Sports Newsletter
Sent weekly directly to your inbox!