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updated: 9/18/2012 8:47 PM

Naperville North gets comfortable

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  • Naperville North's Raymond Knoll tees off during the Vern McGonagle Memorial High School Golf Championship, held at the Naperville Country Club.

      Naperville North's Raymond Knoll tees off during the Vern McGonagle Memorial High School Golf Championship, held at the Naperville Country Club.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent

There is no such luxury as home-course advantage when Naperville Central hosts Naperville North in a DuPage Valley Conference boys golf dual match.

"I feel like it's one of our home courses, too," Naperville North coach Ryan Hantak said after his squad extended its conference winning streak to 34 matches with a 146-150 victory over the Redhawks Tuesday at Naperbrook Golf Club.

"We love playing at Naperbrook," said Hantak, whose team plays its home matches at fellow Naperville Park District venue Springbrook.

Naperville North was once again a model of consistency; Iowa-bound standout Raymond Knoll and fellow senior Sean McDonnell had matching level-par 36s to share medalist honors. Nick Harris and Michael Doherty were a shot off the pace to augment the twin low rounds.

In a sign of the evolution of the sport in recent decades, the Redhawks were saddled with the loss despite four equally consistent scores.

There was a time in which 150 was almost a guaranteed victory in the sport.

But greater athleticism, equipment improvements and the overall wider appeal of the sport has had a tremendous influence.

"(One-hundred and fifty is not) good enough when you play Naperville North," Naperville Central coach Barry Baldwin said. "(Our score) was actually high for us. We have been in the 140s all year at home."

Scott Dunsire and David Gizzi had 37s for Naperville Central, while Peter Mandich and Jack Hawes had 38s for its third and fourth scores.

Naperville North will seek its fourth consecutive conference championship next week.

Don't doubt the Wildcats:

Like Naperville North, the Neuqua Valley boys team has already posted some extremely impressive scores en route to a pair of invitational victories.

The Wildcats -- led by Jason Roach, returning at-large state qualifier Nick Rouches, Ian Nebendahl, Jimmy Roach and Jordan Yamamoto -- obliterated the school record with its collective 3-under 285 performance at downstate Bartonville Limestone earlier this season.

The Wildcats' previous school benchmark for an 18-hole tournament was 298.

Neuqua Valley is seeking to dethrone sister school Waubonsie Valley, which has won both Valley Division championships since the Upstate Eight Conference added Batavia and Geneva two years ago and split in two.

Waubonsie Valley, the Aurora City Tournament champion with six players in the 70s last week, is the last school standing between Neuqua Valley and an unblemished Valley Division regular season for the Wildcats.

In addition, Neuqua Valley was given a reprieve of sorts when the IHSA moved the school into the Will County-dominated Class 3A regional instead of the murderous Naperville Central regional.

"The gods are with us, that's for sure," Neuqua Valley coach Spike Grossheusch said of the Wildcats' inclusion in the Pekin sectional complex.

"It should be a good match all the way around (against Waubonsie Valley today at White Eagle Country Club)," Grossheusch said. "We're hoping to break (the Waubonsie Valley two-year winning) trend."

Waubonsie girls streak hits 24:

With an Upstate Eight Conference victory over Geneva today at Springbrook, the Waubonsie Valley girls team can claim back-to-back undefeated seasons.

The Warriors enter the match with 24 consecutive wins.

In a sport with tremendous talent among the younger classes throughout the state, Waubonsie Valley sophomore Bing Singhsumalee, the reigning sectional champion and first-day leader of the Class AA tournament last fall, has had able company in senior Courtney Williams.

"They've actually tied four times this year (for medalist honors)," Waubonsie Valley coach Jack Farnum said.

The Warriors will look to defend their conference and regional championships in coming weeks.

Rebecca O'Bryan, the younger sister of former state champion Thomas O'Bryan, has been the Warriors' mainstay from the third slot.

But Farnum said depth has been routinely showcased.

"(All the girls in the eight-girl conference lineup) have made contributions this year," Farnum said.

Unlike the boys' first postseason assignment, the Aurora and Naperville high schools have been split up.

"We're not ever going to see (Waubonsie Valley) until the state tournament," Naperville North coach Greta Williams said.

The Huskies are also in the midst of an undefeated conference season and look to end the four-year Wheaton Warrenville South run at the DuPage Valley Conference tournament Tuesday at Phillips Park in Aurora.

Naperville North handed the Tigers their lone league loss early in the season.

"It was awesome," Naperville North top player Taylor Arenson said of the Huskies' victory.

"We really brought our 'A' game that day," Naperville North junior Caroline Pierson said.

But WW South can still win the conference championship by winning the tournament outright.

"The girls have been fairly consistent this year," WW South coach Art Tang said. "I think we can make another run to state. I really like our (postseason) draw."

Renee Solberg and Kelly Anderson are the Tigers' state-seasoned veterans.

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