Benton High School came within one stroke of becoming a state golf champion this past Saturday.
The Rangers are the Class 2A runners-up in the rain-delayed state tournament at Weibring Golf Club.
Benton finished with a 313 team total, one stroke behind state champion Charleston.
"As a team, we made a great run. Hats off to Charleston. They are a great team and just made one more putt than we did," said Benton coach Reggie Norman.
Senior Brendan Luster led Benton to the second place finish, stroking a 72. His third place finish as an individual automatically placed him on the All-State team. Luster shot a 37 on the front nine and a 35 on the back nine on the par-71 course.
"I couldn't be more proud of Brendan. He picks up this game four years ago and turned himself into one of the best Benton golfers to ever come through this program. His hard work and dedication to this sport is a great example for the younger players," Norman said.
Sophomore T.J. Barger of Bloomington was the match medalist with a 68. Sophomore Alex McCulla of Quincy Notre Dame placed second with a 71. And Carbondale's Drew Hudgins tied Luster for third with a 72.
Benton juniors Brad Hammond and Jared Shaw shot a 78 and 80, respectively, good for 20th and 36th places. Robbie Moore completed the Benton scoring with an 83. He tied for 61st place. Collin Miller (86) and Eldon Owens (88) were not counted in the team scoring.
Quincy Notre Dame (315) placed third as a team, two strokes behind the Rangers, followed by LaGrange Park (318) and Arlington Heights (319).
Herrin's Drew Ringel tied for 20th with Hammond with a 78. Eight golfers shared that placement.
Benton finished the regular season with a 17-1 record. The Rangers won invitationals at Anna, Massac County and Marion, won the Carello Cup, and were Southern Illinois River to River (Ohio Division) champions for the fourth consecutive year.
Norman, completing his fourth season, has led the Rangers to an 83-4 regular season record. The Rangers have qualified for state two of the last three seasons. With a junior golf program now established in the Benton school district, and one of the top junior golfers in the nation in Norman's son, Cy, coming through the ranks, it appears the Rangers will be competing for more state titles in the near future.