By JOSH RIZZO and BLAKE TOPPMEYER
Herald-Whig Sports Writers
Palmyra golf searches for similar experience
Trevor DeHaan wants the Palmyra boys golf team to have a similar experience to last season.
As a team, the Panthers won district and sectional titles to qualify for the Class 2 state tournament.
Then to take a break from stresses of the two-day tournament, they went and saw a movie.
"I'd like to see us all get to state again," said DeHaan, who is a sophomore. "We went to see â€˜The Avengers' in-between rounds to get our minds off golf and give ourselves a rest. It was fun."
Palmyra the first step toward that goal Monday, when it shot a 353 to repeat as Class 2 District 3 champions.
Step two will be to repeat as sectional championships Monday at Norwoods Golf Course in Hannibal, Mo.
Junior Hunter Baggett, who was the medalist at districts, believes Palmyra's balance will propel it in the postseason. Blake Hubbert, Taylor Leftwich and Mitchell Sutter have also stepped up to make the Panthers more consistent.
It's an attribute they lacked at times last season.
"Our whole team has been solid, its not just one guy doing good, keep it consistent," Baggett said. "Last year, we had some up-and-down rounds. You can't have that during districts and stuff this time of year."
Palmyra finished in eight place as a team last season.
DeHaan hopes the Panthers' experience -- Palmyra returns four of its top five from last season -- will lead to a better finish.
"That experience helped. All of them are going to be tough courses," DeHaan said. "Getting that experience and learning how to lay up when you need to lay up, not just go for the green that can get you in trouble."
Hannibal wins NCMC title
Hannibal coach Eric Hill found out from Twitter that the Lady Pirates won the North Central Missouri Conference on Tuesday night.
Moberly, which has won the last five NCMC titles since Hannibal won in 2007, lost to Kirksville 4-3, giving the Lady Pirates the title.
Finding motivation for their last few games won't be tough for Hill. His girls are determined to add their name to the record board in Korf Gymnasium.
Hannibal (15-5, 11-0 NCMC) hasn't allowed a goal in conference play this season and has only allowed 16 goals total.
The school record for goals allowed in a season is 40.
"I think that's on their mind, so much that I'm worried that if we do give up a goal Wednesday there might be a letdown," Hill said. "I think there will be because they want to get that record not only for our goalie Kaitlyn (Edge), but as a team. Normally, when you look up on the wall its for offensive records, not for defense."
The Lady Pirates have three regular season games remaining. Hannibal will play Moberly Saturday in Moberly, at Elsberrgy Monday and against Southern Boone at home Wednesday.
After losing to QND 3-1 Tuesday, Hill also wants to enter the district playoffs on a high note.
"We definitely want to get the win against Moberly and go into districts knowing we beat every district opponent twice this season," Hill said. "And we've shut out everyone so far, so we are more motivated."
Niewohner handles long day in stride
Lizzy Niewohner was probably the last player who needed Tuesday's softball game between Quincy Notre Dame and Quincy High School to go into extra innings.
The QND junior had caught all seven innings of the junior varsity game preceding the varsity contest and caught all nine innings of the varsity affair. QND's starting varsity catcher, junior Kristen Gengenbacher, was absent due to a family commitment.
Niewohner has seen more varsity action this season, oftentimes catching one game of doubleheaders, with Gengenbacher sometimes playing a different spot in the infield.
"She's steadily improved," QND coach Eric Orne said of Niewohner. "(Tuesday) she got incredible workload. She's a good kid and a hard worker. She's kind of one of those blue collar kids you need on the team."
Six area teams claim top seeds
Three area baseball teams and three softball teams claimed top seeds in their respective IHSA regionals. Seeds were released Tuesday.
On the baseball side, Griggsville-Perry and Liberty claimed No. 1 seeds in the Class 1A Griggsville-Perry and Unity regionals, respectively. West Hancock is the No. 1 seed in the Class 2A Macomb Regional. In the Griggsville-Perry Regional, Brown County is No. 3, Western is No. 5 and Pleasant Hill is No. 6. At Unity, Central is No. 2, Payson Seymour is No. 3, Southeastern is No. 4 and Unity is No. 5. Illini West is No. 3 at Macomb, and Pittsfield is No. 4 at the Class 2A Auburn Regional.
In softball, Brown County and Griggsville-Perry are the No. 1 seeds at the Class 1A Mount Sterling and Liberty regionals, respectively. West Hancock is the top seed at the Class 2A Cartage Regional. At Brown County, Central is No. 3 and Unity is No. 5.
At Liberty, Western is No. 2, Liberty is No. 3 and Payson Seymour is No. 4. Pleasant Hill is the No. 5 seed at the Class 1A Carrollton Regional. Illini West is the No. 3 seed at Carthage.
Brown County honored for field
For the fourth straight year, Brown County was named one of the recipients of the Pioneer Fields of Excellence Award for its football field.
Pioneer recognized 73 community, high school and college fields from around the country out of a pool of more than 270 applicants. Other high schools receiving the award in Illinois were Charleston, Mascoutah and Monticello.
In Missouri, the Ballwin Athletic Association, City of Chesterfield Parks and Recreation Department and Lincoln University were honored.
Quincy Notre Dame center Matt McPherson announced his commitment last Friday to play men's basketball for NCAA Division III Lake Forest (Ill.) College. McPherson averaged nearly nine points and seven rebounds per game during his senior season with the Raiders and helped QND finish 21-8 and make it to the Class 3A Galeburg Regional title game. ... Illini West senior Brody Gronewold signed with John Wood Community College to play men's basketball Wednesday. During his senior season with the Chargers, Gronewold helped Illini West finish 16-12 and make an appearance in the Class 2A Warsaw Regional title game. Gronewold averaged 20 points, 4.1 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game during his senior season. Other Illini West athletes who announced their college decisions Wednesday were Addison Ufkes (John Wood, softball), Jalen Tallman (Joliet Community College, softball), Andrew Brackenbury (Monmouth, football), Ben Gittings (Monmouth, football), Kaleb Spiekermeier (St. Ambrose, football) and Holly McDowell (Culver-Stockton, volleyball).