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St. Anthony’s Nina Hakman follows through with a swing during a girls golf match against Tuscola, Monday, September 27, 2021, at Effingham Country Club.

A fresh start. A clean slate.

That’s how area boys’ and girls’ golf teams are looking at the upcoming postseason. A feeling that they didn’t have one season ago.

Here, in Effingham County, we are blessed with some quality golfers — and teams — that are looking to make their mark on the upcoming postseason.

On the boys’ side, St. Anthony is red hot heading into Wednesday’s Class 1A Regional. The Bulldogs are hosting the first stage of the postseason at Effingham Country Club, and their main goal is the same as it typically is every season — winning a state championship.

Winning a state title this year would make five for head coach Phil Zaccari at St. Anthony, and he has the team, who has the confidence and ability, to do just that.

The last time the Bulldogs hoisted a state championship was in 2018 when now-senior Thomas Chojnicki was a freshman.

Heading into Thursday’s regional, Chojnicki hopes to end his career in Red and White the way he started.

“I think we have a real good chance of winning state. Getting out of regionals and sectionals, we’ll try and win those, but the ultimate goal is to win state,” Chojnicki said.

Chojnicki has an 18-hole average of 79 in 11 18-hole tournaments this season. He tees off at 9:36 today (Wednesday).

Other local teams competing at Effingham Country Club include Altamont, North Clay, Newton, and Teutopolis.

As for Effingham, the Flaming Hearts play at Richland Golf Club in Olney today (Wednesday). The first tee time is at 9 a.m., with 10-minute increments between each tee time.

Lastly, Windsor (Stewardson-Strasburg) competes at Moweaqua Golf Course. No other local schools are participating in that regional.

Following the boys on Wednesday will be the girls on Thursday, at the same location.

St. Anthony and Effingham are both in the field, along with Altamont, Teutopolis, and Windsor (Stewardson-Strasburg).

It’s the “Last Dance” for seniors Ellie Wegman and Nina Hakman, who are both looking to help advance not only themselves but the team to the state tournament.

However, both know that the road to get there will be a daunting task.

“In order to get there, we need to work as a team and finish strong,” Hakman said.

In three 18-hole tournaments this year, Wegman averages an 82, while Hakman averages a 91, whereas, in nine-hole matches, Wegman averages a 40 and Hakman averages a 44.

Both are playing in familiar territory come Thursday, though, and are hoping to reap the rewards of a course they’ve both played countless times.

Wegman tees off at 9:45 Thursday, while Hakman tees off at 9:18.

Contact EDN Sports Editor Alex Wallner at 217-347-7151 ext. 124 or alex.wallner@effinghamdailynews.com.

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