Golfers to watch
Barrington: Molly Fruecht (Sr.), Elsa George (Sr.), Ashley Mallon (So.), Shivani Majmudar (Fr.), Bailee McDonald (Jr.), Allie Quinn (Fr.), Reena Sulkar (Fr), Kelly Umphred (Sr)
Buffalo Grove: Amber Guiao (Sr.), Courtney Meyer (Sr.), Kelli Zickert (Sr.), Colleen Zickert (Sr.), Lauren Guiao (Fr.)
Conant: Carly Bryeans (Jr.), Megan Nagorzanski (So.)
Elk Grove: Marki Kaim (Sr.), Erin Walz (Jr.), Sarah Hartness (Jr.)
Fremd: Jennifer Kim (Sr.), Dorothy Feng (Sr.), Jae Hee Hurr (So.), Sophia Metaldo (So.), Haezi Jung (So.), Kelly O'Sullivan (Jr.).
Hersey: Claire Schwaba (Sr.), Lexi Heidkamp (So.), Alysia Zaucha (Sr.), Lindsay Perkins (Sr.)
Hoffman Estates: Hannah Brostoff (Sr.), Maeve Prusnick (Jr.)
Leyden: Jennifer Feliciano (Jr., who plays on the boys team until state tourney)
Maine West: Olenka Kalinowski (Sr.), Natalie Kozenczak (Sr), Kasia Dzul (Jr.)
Palatine: Carolyn Angillo (Sr)
Prospect: Kiley Walsh (Sr.), Ally Scaccia (Sr), Noreen Caporusso (Sr.), Emma Menich (Sr.), Isabella Flack (Jr) Bridget Brassil (Sr.), Kacie O'Donnell (Jr), Farnkie Corrado (Sr.)
Rolling Meadows: Lauren Hattory (Jr.), Samantha Olson (Sr.).
Schaumburg: Lindsay Leiber (Sr)
St. Viator: Dana Gattone (Sr.), Chrissy Wimberly (Sr.), Courtney Christophe (Sr.), Paige Patano (So.).
Wheeling: Kirsten Caramaba (Sr.)
Mid-Suburban League outlook
It's five MSL championships and counting for Prospect, which won last year's meet at Buffalo Grove Golf Club 324 to 331 over runner-up Fremd. The Knights were led by Ally Scaccia (79) and Kiley Walsh (81) while Isabella Flack and Noreen Caporusso each recorded 82s. Emma Menich (87) had the next best score and all five Knights are back in the lineup this fall. Caporusso, a sectional champ last season, will begin the season on the sidelines as she continues to rehab from knee surgery last May. "I'm just going to let the seniors take the lead," said Knights coach Jim Hamann. "Our only new player is Frankie Corado; everyone else has been in the program. It's the most experience I've had. Walsh and Caporusso have played in three state finals. The girls are very, very hungry. They have worked extremely hard and consistently since October." Fremd coach Christine Vlaming watched her Vikings place second to Prospect in Monday's Early Bird Invite. Seniors Jennifer Kim and Dorthy Feng were in the top 11 of the MSL meet last year. "We have some experience back," said Vlaming, a former standout softball pitcher for Barrington and Rhode Island. "And we have young kids have worked real hard in the summer." Matt Myer's Buffalo Grove Bison were third in the MSL meet a year ago and return everyone but MSL champ Grace Kil. The Guiao sisters (senior Amber and freshman Lauren) tied for seventh at the Early Bird with 78s while Courtney Meyer was right behind with an 81. "We are probably stronger one through six than we have even been," Myers said. "It's a tough conference with Prospect. But all the rest of us are concerned with ourselves and trying to get to that same consistent level. It should be a fine season for us." Last year's MSL fourth-place finisher Barrington is coached by Hall of Famer Jodi Schoeck, who is beginning her 27th season. "We are hoping to make a strong standing in the West," she said. "We have a young group but a strong nucleus returning. The big thing is for us to jell together and keep pushing every day." Schoeck was the 2009 National High School Coach of the year and has guided the Fillies to 11 MSL titles (four straight from 2004 to 2007), 12 regional crowns and nine appearances in the state finals, including third in 1996.
With a state crown in 2011 and runner-up state trophy in 2012, Prospect has set lofty expectations. They have already been named a preseason No. 1 team in the state. "Our goals are as high as they can possibly be," said Knights ninth-year coach Jim Hamann, who is assisted by Tim Casper. "If you look at us on paper, we look tough." Hamann is excited about his 2013 group. "All these girls are a joy to be around," he said. "They make every practice, every meet a very exciting time. I could not be prouder of each and every one of them." Hamann's teams have gone 55-0 in MSL dual meets the last five years and are 85-3 in his eight seasons. "But the girls have a lot of work to do," said Hamann, a former golfer for Willowbrook High School and Eastern Illinois. "We are going to have a lot of fun together and our goal is to knock off as many strokes as we can before October. Anything can happen in this game so we want to work as hard as we can to minimize errors."
New era at Hersey
Former underlevel volleyball coach Dan Vesper takes over the Hersey program, as former coach Bob Huber became the assistant principal at Elk Grove. "The door opened for me and I feel so lucky to inherit such an amazing program and group of girls," Vesper said. "Murph is a great teacher, coach, and friend, and he really did a great job building this program. He's going to do amazing things over at Elk Grove High School. They are very lucky to have him."
Vesper has wanted to coach golf ever since he watched the Lake Forest boys golf team win the 2004 state title.
"When I was in my first year of teaching at Lake Forest High School, I worked in the business education department with the varsity boys golf coach (Jim Matheson)," Vesper said. "He was kind enough to let me watch a team win the state championship that year. It was amazing watching such a talented group of young men play that well under such great leadership. After watching Jim with that team, I knew I wanted to do it, too."
Now he gets his chance.
"I have been playing golf since I was about 10 years old and absolutely love it." Vesper said. "It is a huge part of my life, as my new wife, Brittany, knows. I've always loved the difficulty of it and the honor and respect it teaches you."
Over the last few years, Vesper became enthralled with the intricacies of the swing and the game.
"And I love passing my knowledge on." he said. "Normally it's with my buddies or family, but Hersey has given me the great opportunity to pass along my love of the game to the best student/athletes around."
Vesper has coached freshman and sophomore girls volleyball teams at Hersey for the last four years but is excited to move outdoors this fall.
"Like I told the girls on the first day of tryouts, my goal is to not mess up what Murph has built," Vesper said. "He has created such a wonderful golfing family with these girls and they just love it so much. I want to make sure that the girls continue loving the game and continue having fun out there."
Vesper said his returning juniors and seniors are great leaders.
"And we have a spectacular group of younger players who have been getting better every year partly because of the summer camps that Murph stretched all the way down to fourth grade," Vesper said. "I would love for the program to continue growing and for Hersey to become a powerhouse in the area. We have such a talented group of young ladies and I really believe we can go far this year and in the future. It's going to be so much fun."
St. Viator update
The Lions are the defending East Suburban Catholic League champions after finishing second the previous two seasons. As a junior, Dana Gattone was the ESCC Player of the Year in 2012, finishing first in the conference meet. Gattone has qualified for state the last three years and coach Mick Drewes said she had a tremendous summer. Gattone shot a 73 on Wednesday to finish second in the Marian Central Invite. "She is a coaches' dream," Drewes said. "You don't get many like her. Just once in a career do you get a student of the game like her. She makes practice fun for me, that's for sure." The Lions return three other starters in addition to welcoming four freshmen to the program, led by Susie Carlson. Gattone and Wimberly were all-conference last year.
On to the Illini
St. Viator's Dana Gattone has made her verbal commitment to play for the University of Illinois women's golf team coached by Renee Heiken Slone, the 1987 and 1989 Illinois state champion when she played for Metamora High School. At 4-foot-10, Gattone has worked hard to strengthen her game. "She just kept getting stronger and stronger," said Lions coach Mick Drewes, whose only other D-I golfer has been Kaela Klune (Boston College). "Dana has gotten some length with her driver so now she can compete with anyone. Like she said, she'll be the smallest girl in the Big Ten, but she's in the Big Ten."
On the boys team ... for now
Jennifer Feliciano, a junior for Leyden, plays on the boys team during regular season before participating in the IHSA girls tournament. Last season, as a sophomore, she played as an individual in the West Suburban Gold Conference meet and placed in the top 20. "She got hurt during that tournament and was unable to play in the girls regional,"said Leyden coach Steve Siekierski. "But I know she would have advanced to sectionals."
-- John Leusch