Girls’ golf: Janess wins state championship


Barrington girls golfers, from left, Caroline Smith, Mara Janess and Sophia Sulkar display the Fillies’ Class 2A state runner-up trophy Saturday at Hickory Point Golf Club in Decatur. Janess won the individual championship, while Smith was tied for third and Sulkar tied for fifth.

For two days at the Hickory Point Golf Club in Decatur, the Stevenson and Barrington girls’ golf team were in a tightly-contested match race for the Class 2A state championship.

When it was over on Saturday, the Patriots (601) won in a photo finish by 1 stroke over the Fillies (602), who were second for the fourth straight year.

Barrington sophomore Mara Janess got to pose in the winner’s circle for individual honors after winning a one-hole playoff over Glenbrook South junior Maria Perakis.

Both athletes navigated the first 36 holes in 147 strokes (3-over par) before Janess’ par on the 37th hole made her Barrington’s first state champion in program history.

Incredibly, the Fillies had two more players in the top five as senior Caroline Smith tied for third with Stevenson’s Emily Duan and sophomore Sophia Sulkar tied for the fifth with Patriots freshman Allie Santos. The Fillies had never even had two golfers place in the top five.

“It was a heavyweight fight for two days and give Stevenson all the credit,” Girls; Varsity Golf coach, Tim Martin said. “They played great and pulled it out but our girls played great, too, and I’m proud of them.”

Janess has been on a roll since late last season when her game started coming together and she ended up 19th in Decatur.

“Going into the playoff hole, I knew Maria was a very good player,” Janess said. “I was just hoping to stick to my process, stay relaxed and stick to what I always do and it obviously it paid off.”

“As a sophomore, that’s an unbelievable accomplishment,” Martin said. “She was so locked in and just played flawless golf for two days. She has been so good this season and seemingly didn’t miss a shot the last two days few days. She is a genius around the greens and really thinks her way around a golf course.”

Seniors Caroline Smith, Samantha Saile, Phebe Chen, and junior Sophia Denison greatly impacted the Fillies to a great finish with Stevenson.

“Samantha easily had her best round in four years with a 76 on Friday which put us in a great position, ” Martin said. “Sophia Dennison continued her strong play in the postseason where she has played so well in the highest-level environment. Her 81 on Friday was her best round in Decatur and her best of the season. And Phebe had an 82 which we needed to stay in the hunt. After a tough start, she buckled down and was fantastic.”

Martin was grateful to many as well as proud of the turnout in Decatur.

“A big thank you goes out to my seniors,” he added. “They have given so much to the program over the last four years. They put in so much hard work and set such high standards. And of the course, they are amazing young women. I’d also like to thank the parents and the community for the support. This was an unbelievable team. It’s been the greatest privilege for me to coach this team.”