Raghav Cherula has unfinished business to begin the boys golf season.
"It's definitely disappointing because I usually play so well during the regular season," the St. Charles North senior golfer said of not qualifying for the state tournament the last two years. "I need to make sure I play like this when it really matters."
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Cherula, the two-time defending Upstate Eight Conference River Division player of the year, made his comments after shooting a 73 Thursday at the Geneva Invitational.
It is a rare year in the area as there is not a single Class 3A returning state qualifier among male golfers.
But there is a bevy of talent when it comes to the local players.
Kaneland senior Matt Yonkovich is one of only two local golfers to have participated in the state meet last year as he made the state cut in Class 2A.
"My expectations are that (Brody Kuhar) and I get back down this year," Yonkovich said after firing a 74 at Geneva. "We're going to do the best we can to get the team back down there again."
The four local programs in the Upstate Eight Conference have the River Division title as their primary goal.
"We have finished second the last three years, ever since we joined the conference," Geneva coach Bill Koehn said. "We have been knocking on the door."
Batavia coach Tim DeBruycker has an unusual dynamic this season.
"I have only one person who was even in my top eight the last year," DeBruycker said. "I am hoping we will be OK by the end of the season."
St. Charles North coach Rob Prentiss has one established commodity.
"Our No. 1 (Cherala) is kind of a proven player who is back for his senior year," Prentiss said. "He is the two-time defending River player of the year. Matt Samuelson is back from a solid junior season."
St. Charles East, meanwhile, will seek its title behind the senior contributions of Jacobs, King, Riva and McAdam.
"We're going to be inconsistent," Stock said. "We just want to get better. I told the guys during tryouts, 'Let's get more consistent.'"
Koehn, on the other hand, has the first in many years: a freshman as his No. 1 player in the person of Lillibridge.
The four local schools will vie with Neuqua Valley and Waubonsie Valley for league supremacy.
"It's a very tough conference," Lake Park coach Dan Batka, a Batavia resident said. "We're going from one tough conference to another (the DuPage Valley).'
West Aurora enters its final year in the DuPage Valley with high expectations.
"Based upon the past, Golich and Newsome should be right there," West Aurora coach Jay Bauer said. " I think we can really make some noise this year. I think we can be more competitive than we have been in a while."
Marmion enters its second season in Class 3A this year.
"We don't need anyone feeling sorry for us," Marmion coach Doug Roberts said.
Aurora Central Catholic has opened the season with scores never witnessed before in program history.
"We have a lot of experience," ACC coach Jim Parker said. "We're hosting a regional, so I have hopes we will get out as a team in the regional. (This season) is going to be interesting."
Senior Sean Herrald is the unquestioned leader for the Chargers this fall.