By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent
Where: The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course, Bloomington
When: Friday and Saturday
Teams competing: Barrington, Carmel, Hinsdale Central, Lake Forest, Lyons, Loyola, New Trier, Naperville North, Normal West, Oak Park-River Forest, Pekin, Providence Catholic.
The Broncos roster: Seniors Michael Stathakis, Taylor Ganzer and J.P. Talbot; juniors Greg Conrad, Mike Ross and Nick Schippel.
Other local individual competitors: Fremd sophomore Josh Rosenzweig; Maine West junior Tom Kukec; Prospect sophomore Josh Johnson; Saint Viator junior Luke DeTrempe.
Broncos are back: Barrington survived the state's most difficult sectional by finishing third at Hilldale behind Lake Forest and Carmel to advance. It'll be the Broncos first appearance at the Bloomington course in three years and the qualification is something the players are savoring -- especially the seniors. "Our entire team is pumped," said Stathakis. "We got through the hard part -- the sectional against a state-quality field -- and now we can head to Bloomington and relax and hopefully bring home some hardware." Stathakis was in the final group at Hilldale and brought the Broncos home by finishing with a with a 77. Conrad was best in the Fremd-hosted sectional by carding a 76, and it was just another in a stellar string of performances by the junior this season. Conrad won the Mid-Suburban League individual championship and in addition was medalist at the Biltmore Invitational and the Inverness Invite. Stathakis was victorious the Plum Tree tournament for a team which triumphant in five meets in 2011, including the regional at Makray Memorial. Talbot's round of 76 helped lead the Broncos to the MSL title while Ganzer, Ross and Schippel have been strong all season.
Looking to make some noise: Kukec won a playoff at the Homewood-Flossmoor sectional to become Maine West's first state qualifier since 1992, while Rosenzweig's 77 saw him advance at Hilldale. DeTrempe (76 at the Fremd sectional) will look to continue the Viator tradition of success at the state meet, while Johnson fired a 78 at Hilldale then got through a playoff to move on.
Scouts look to repeat: In the team race, Lake Forest will be the favorite to make it two straight titles. Last year's runner-up, New Trier, which is coached by Buffalo Grove graduate Pete Drevline, will be hot on the Scouts heels. Loyola is right in the mix with Barrington and Carmel dark horses.
Individual race: Crystal Lake South's Nick Robles lost a playoff for the championship last season but is back for another try. Look for Conrad and Stathakis to contend while senior Alec Meyer of Waubonsie Valley (medalist at the Bartlett sectional with a 69), senior Tee-K Kelly of Wheaton Warrenville South, Brian Miller of Carmel (Hilldale champ) and Raymond Knoll from Naperviille North will be others to watch.