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Alton Marquette's Piar runner-up, Columbia's Kossina fifth in 1A sectional

Alton Marquette's Piar runner-up, Columbia's Kossina fifth in 1A sectional

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SALEM, Ill. — Malia Kossina nearly broke down on the golf course Monday.

This was the last time the Columbia High logo she wore so proudly for four years would be emblazoned on her chest.

Instead of letting those emotions consume her, she molded them and used them.

"I tried to go out with a bang," Kossina said. "I absolutely wanted to make my mark."

The senior did that by tying her personal-best score in regards to par with a 4-over 77 in the Class 1A Salem Sectional girls golf tournament at Salem Country Club.

Kossina, the regional runner-up last week, finished fifth.

"The last few tournaments, I told her to go out there and be decisive and aggressive," Columbia coach Matt Duguay said. "When she does that, she's a really great player."

Mount Carmel's Lillian Gottman won the individual title with a 2-under 71, edging Alton Marquette junior Gracie Piar (1-under 72).

Led by Gottman, the Golden Aces won the team championship with a 312.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois High School Association originally did not have sectional tournaments planned but added them to the schedule Sept. 23. The sectional tournaments marked the end of the Illinois golf season, however.

"It's unfortunate that we don't have a state tournament," Piar said. "But we didn't think we'd have a season at all. I'm very fortunate that we got all the way to sectionals."

Kossina’s fifth-place sectional finish was the highest for a Columbia girl, bettering older sister Mikaela Kossina's ninth-place showing in 2018.

"I love my sister, but absolutely I'm trying to beat her," Malia said.

Kossina was even through 14 holes and tied for second place with three different golfers.

But she made bogeys on Nos. 15 and 16 and double bogey on No. 17 before finishing with a par to solidify the fifth-place effort.

"I just had to adjust and that's the fun part of this sport is that you always have to adjust and it was fun," Kossina said. "I struggled a little bit, but that's OK."

Led by Piar and a 12th-place 83 from junior Audrey Cain, Alton Marquette finished fourth out of eight teams with a 340. Columbia was fifth with a 364.

Piar, who won the regional championship last week, was tied with Gottman going into the final hole and Gottman won the title with a par.

The Alton Marquette junior still notched her third sub-par round of the season thanks to birdies on holes 13, 16 and 17 to pull into a tie for the lead — despite challenging weather conditions.

"I know how to play in the wind because I can play a lot of different shots," Piar said. "It didn't really affect me, I think I played better on the back than on the front nine."

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