East Suburban Catholic Conference
St. Viator will boast a strong lineup in its quest to get back to the state finals for first time in three years.
The three time state champions (2008-10) are led by Robert Renner, who recently won the CDGA Junior Am title for the second straight year. The senior, who is also a star hockey player, has committed to Florida Gulf Coast University.
Other returnees will be senior Hudson Lutrhingshausen (2012 state qualifier) and senior Connor O'Grady. Joining them will be senior Ryan Fitzmaurice, junior Nick Carlson, and sophomores Liam Warner, John Carlson and Matt Timberger.
"We'll be trying to back to back East Suburban Catholic titles this year," said Viator coach Jack Halpin, "and that would make it eight of the last 10. But the real rest comes in October when they fight to get back to Bloomington for the state finals."
West Suburban Silver
Leyden looks to continue its success of last season when the Eagles finished fourth in conference and had two all-conference players.
"We don't have much experience on the varsity level," said coach Steven Siekierski, "but we have three returning varsity golfers."
Competitors for Leyden this season will include seniors Travis Cedzidio and Tyler Tiedje, junior Alex Mennella, and junior Jennifer Feliciano, who will play for the boys as the Eagles do not have a girls team.
Central Suburban North
Maine West will be led in 2013 by seniors Nick Klimczak and Scott Bower, and juniors Mike Fowler and Crosley Duckmann. The Warriors are coming off a successful season where they won 13 matches out of 20 and qualified for the state tournament, and saw two golfers (Tom Kukec and Justin Mustari, both grads) make the trip to Bloomington for the state tournament. "We have three team goals this year," said Maine West coach Mike Godlewski. "We want to finish with double digit victories, finish in the top half of our conference, and qualify multiple golfers for the sectional tournament."
Buffalo Grove coach Pete Duffer is excited to see what his three returning seniors, Matt Froemming, Brandon Matchen and Matt Eilrich, can do this season. "I look forward the great improvement I've seen from them," said Duffer. "These top three can score consistently." Also teeing off for the Bison this year will be Connor Burhop, Brendan Ward, Jeff Nelson, Mike DeSalvo and Alex Pietras.
Elk Grove has a key sophomore callup, Jack McEnroe, to complement experienced senior Anthony Bianchini, a four-year standout. "We've got a lot of people we can rely on," said coach Mike Meyer, "and a lot of guys who can fill in." Among the seniors are Devon Chey, Nat Eder, Scott Furlong and Connor Loughlin; and juniors Brendan DeSilvia, Jordan Guerrero, Justin Kawako, Jake Nardi and Matt Smalley.
Hersey completed a 7-win conference season in 2012, and coach Dan Caporusso sees nothing but improvement for the Huskies in 2013. "The kids had an outstanding summer," said Caporusso. "We've got a lot of multi-sport, athletic players and when their golf skills start to match their athleticism, we'll be playing at the highest level." The top returnee will be senior Kenny Mleko, who'll be ably assisted by Matt Johnstone, Max Heeren, Will Fine, Alex Van den Avont, and Karl Taillon.
Prospect returns three starters from its undefeated Mid-Suburban League championship squad last season; seniors Josh Johnson and Reid Dahlstrom, and junior Grant Gavin. "Last year our team was 15-1 overall in addition to being undefeated in conference," said coach Tom Martindale, "so we're looking forward to having a good season."
"I'm excited about this season," said Rolling Meadows coach Rob Bowers, whose team is coming off a 7-4 MSL mark in 2012. "We're very young, but I'm expecting some significant contributions from our underclassmen. One of the major players for the Mustangs will be senior Sean Behrens, who Bowers says has been "playing very well." Joining Behrens will be seniors Alex Miller and Gino Tunzi, junior Darek Weglarz, sophomores James O'Donnell, Jack Horan and Kyle Sheridan, and freshman Jimmy Ingolia.
Unfortunately for the Wheeling program, they've graduated Jack Ferguson, one of the most outstanding golfers ever to grace the Wheeling program. The four-year varsity starter will now be playing at Illinois Wesleyan, and with other major contributors also graduated the Wildcats will be rather inexperienced. "We have a group that is willing to do their best to compete with the rest of the teams in our conference," said coach Mark Menich. "Like many teams we'll look to our seniors to set the tone." Returning players will be seniors Kyle Burgess, Jeremy Schultz and Thomas Winkelman, and juniors Zach Boesen and Jorge Rodriguez. New to varsity in 2013 are sophomores Anthony Moreno and Joe Ogliore, and freshman Tyler Testa.
As usual, Barrington should contend for a Mid-Suburban League title and more with the likes of senior Brad Powell, juniors Joey Batliner, Kevin Altenberger and Richie Waller, sophomores Burke Barsamian and Cole Kempinski, and freshman Tim Lim. The top two for the Broncos, sixth in state last year, will be Powell and Barsamian. "Brad loves play for Barrington High School, and he had our low score in leading us to our sectional championship last season. Burke is only a sophomore but he has plenty of varsity experience." Barrington won Thursday's Woodstock Invitational.
Conant had a major accomplishment last season, finishing second at regionals. This fall the Cougars look to be even more competitive behind first-year coach Martin Kulak. The roster will include returnees Mike Malaret, Zach Prill, Mike Mayers, Jon Chang and Christian Dorman, all seniors. Newcomers will include juniors Matt Crance, Ryan Carman and Tyler Kudla.
Fremd boasts three experienced and talented seniors, Jamie Drost, Dylan Norys and Josh Rosenzweig, who coach Josh Teschner says "should carry us through this season." Another senior Viking is Connor Ostoich, and the roster will be completed by juniors Matt Doherty, Jason Doering and Brian Cull. "If we can get a healthy dose of junior play," said Teschner," we should compete for a conference title and a state berth. Jamie is one of the top players if not the best player in the conference and is primed for a top 10 finish at state. If Dylan can remain consistent around the greens he could qualify for a state appearance, and when Josh returns to form, I'm sure we'll be fighting for a title in every tournament we play."
Hoffman Estates will have a new coach in 2013 as Bob Coakley takes for Dave Grabarek. "I'm looking forward to it," said Coakley. "We're excited about this upcoming season as we graduated only one senior, and we return four seniors with varsity experience." The varsity seniors will be David Rohlfing, Matt DeCarlo, Clayton Zolp and Zack Davis. Also making strong contributions for the Hawks will be juniors Jon D'Amico, Henry Woo (a regional qualifier), Brandon Harris and Jon Vandiver. Completing the roster are senior Taiju Kato and junior Ryan Hasler, who Coakley says "have worked hard this summer to compete for starting positions." Overall, says Coakley, "We have solid leadership and a strong work ethic. We'll have 10 kids pushing for six spots each week and we look forward to playing our best golf in mid to late September."
Palatine is headed for a new challenge this year, according to coach Mark Johnson. "We lost our low two averages from last season -- but this simply means our kids will have to step up, and I'm confident they will. We look forward to competing for the conference title this year and we aim to advance out of our regional as well." The Pirates, who boasted a strong tournament season in 2012 with a second-place finish at the Larkin invite, will be led by seniors Preston Towers and Tim Klein, junior Tom Broders, and sophomore Chris Fortunato.
Schaumburg is looking to move forward after a tough season in 2012, but coach Chris Zickert says that he's "looking for improvement from beginning to end. I'm excited to see how much improvement we can have." Competitors for the Saxons will include seniors Jeff Barrash and Tom Hartney, juniors Brandon Tutdor and Justin Lorenz, sophomores Nick Stare, Zeke Garcia and Steve Bukielski and freshman Miguel Go.
-- Bill Esbrook