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updated: 8/24/2013 2:28 PM

Boys golf: Scouting the Fox Valley

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  • Burlington Central's Matt Weber, chips to the 11th green during the Geneva Boys Golf Invitational at Mill Creek Golf Club in Geneva Thursday. Weber's 69 led the Rockets to a school-record 298 at the tournament.

    Burlington Central's Matt Weber, chips to the 11th green during the Geneva Boys Golf Invitational at Mill Creek Golf Club in Geneva Thursday. Weber's 69 led the Rockets to a school-record 298 at the tournament.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • South Elgin senior Devin Meredith could be one of the top golfers in the Upstate Eight Conference this season.

      South Elgin senior Devin Meredith could be one of the top golfers in the Upstate Eight Conference this season.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

By Mike Miazga
Daily Herald Correspondent

Bartlett Hawks

Coach: Jim Dinkheller

2012 finish: Fifth place UEC Valley

Top returning golfers: Seniors Cal Fanslow (41 average), Chris Dungey (41 average), Cody Lewis (42 average), junior Mike Coyne (42 average)

Outlook: Lewis and Fanslow both shot 77s in the postseason last year. "Cody and Cal have a positive attitude and are considered the team leaders," said Dinkheller, who also is impressed with the team's overall mental attitude. Dinkheller said the team is focused on turning in a good showing in the conference and in the state postseason.

Burlington Central Rockets

Coach: Deb Twenhafel

2012 finish: Fifth place Big Northern Conference

Top returning golfers: Seniors Matt Weber, Jeremy Crosby, juniors Andrew Sherman, Austin Niesel, Jacob Ledebuhr, Steven Wisniewski.

Key newcomers: Sophomore Thomas Perry, freshmen Joe Sherman, Jordan Souvigny, Anthony Divito.

Outlook: Weber and Sherman headline a list of returning golfers for the Rockets. Weber helped Central set a new program-record for lowest team score at the recent Geneva invitational where he won the individual title with a 69. Sherman helped Central qualify for sectionals last year and ended up advancing to state as an individual. "Matt has matured into a very good leader," said Twenhafel. "He worked with some of the boys this summer and has done a great job of getting their confidence back strong." Niesel and Sherman also worked on their games over the summer. "Having those three together (Weber, Sherman and Niesel) is great," said Twenhafel. The team has its sights set on the BNC title and a run in the postseason. "We just want to play one match at a time right now," said Twenhafel.

Cary-Grove Trojans

Coach: Kelly Muzzy

2012 finish: Fourth place Fox Valley Conference

Top returning golfers: Seniors Daniel DePrey, Brandon Diblasi, junior Pete Kalamaras

Key newcomers: Junior Mike Altendorf, sophomore Kyle Irlbacker, freshman Zach Beaugureau

Outlook: The Trojans won a regional title last year and return all-conference performer DePrey from that group. "We should be competitive this season," said Muzzy. "We will need to find a solid 3-5 man to make a run at postseason play." DePrey was busy working on his game in the offseason. "Daniel spent his summer hours practicing at Blackstone in Marengo and played a full tournament venue on the IJGA and had a lot of success." Diblasi, the team's No. 2 player, also worked on his craft at Blackstone. "Our season will hinge on whether we can find two to four other players who can complement these young men." Kalamaras is working on a new swing, while Beaugureau is the son of McHenry Country Club head pro Scott Beaugureau.

Crystal Lake South Gators

Coach: Curt Wadlington

2012 finish: Fifth place Fox Valley Conference

Top returning golfers: Grant Gassensmith, Brandon Dahl

Key newcomers: Sophomore Aaron Hetherington, Nate Zacher

Outlook: Wadlington fields a squad with a mix of veteran and younger players. "We will have a good mixture of upperclassmen who will lead us," he said. "We will tie them in with some underclassmen who are eager to play well and learn. I hope as a team we will work well with each other and look to improve as one collective group." Wadlington said the FVC will be competitive as always. "The conference got better this year," he said. "We will have our work cut out for us to compete at the top level. I am hoping we are up to the challenge and ready to play to the best of all our abilities. The conference will be very competitive with a chance to have an impat on many levels down in Bloomington at the end of the season." Wadlington has been impressed with Dahl's work ethic, Gassensmith's leadership and the potential freshman Zacher displays.

Dundee-Crown Chargers

Coach: Bob Sweeney

Top returning golfers: Senior Shane Lubecker, junior Jeremy Gregory

Key newcomers: Juniors John Fougerousse, Jim Lewandowski, sophomores Andrew Livengood, Josh Fougerousse

Outlook: Sweeney sees his young team progressing as the season wears on. "Being a young team with minimal varsity experience from all our players, we may struggle to post a good team score, especially early in 18-hole events," he said. "However, as the season progresses and we have small personal and team successes, our confidence level should rise and hopefully our scores will go down. I'm looking forward to working with these players. They have demonstrated a positive attitude and are determined to improve. Specifically, I would like to see our guys improve their personal-best scores, which in turn will lead to better team scores." Sweeney said Jacobs, Huntley and Cary-Grove are top-tier contenders in the FVC Valley.

Elgin Academy Hilltoppers

Coach: Bill Pearson

2012 finish: Third place Independent School League

Top returning golfers: Senior Michael Palmer, junior Gannon Cottone, sophomores Frankie Bisconti (2012 ISL all-conference), Elliot Gorman

Outlook: Bisconti, Palmer, Gorman and Cottone all return with varsity experience. "Those four core players all have the ability to score," said Pearson. "Frankie is a talented golfer with a high ceiling. Michael and Elliot both have the ability to make improvements to their game that will have a great impact on the team. Michael is extremely athletic and Elliot has a great swing that will enable him to produce good scores. Gannon has a complete tool box that breeds consistency. They support one another and are focused on the team goal." Pearson said the team will be competitive in a tough ISL that features two-time state champ North Sore Country Day, Latin School, Northridge Prep and F.W. Parker. "North Shore and Latin always produce strong teams," said Pearson. "They will be tough, but we look forward to the challenge."

Elgin Maroons

Coach: Andy LaScala

Top returning golfers: Senior Jimmy Stearns, junior Josh Hegel

Outlook: "We have a young and inexperienced team," said LaScala. "It will be a tough season scoring-wise." LaScala lauded the summer work of Stearns and Hegel. "Jimmy and Josh worked hard over the summer," he said. LaScala feels his team will make strides as the season goes along. "We don't expect to be competitive at the beginning of the season but look to improve as the year goes on," he said.

Hampshire Whip-Purs

Coach: Jeff Howe

2012 finish: Fifth place FVC Fox Division

Top returning golfers: Seniors Geoff Beck, Joe Carrozza, Connor Evinger, Mike Bruscatto. Juniors Drew Doran, Jake Tuttle, Nick Swierczynski.

Key newcomers: Freshman Myles Miller III.

Outlook: Beck was a state-qualifier last year, while Doran earned all-conference honors. "Geoff is the senior leader of this team," said Howe. "He has a great outlook for himself and his teammates and takes being successful very seriously." Howe feels the team will be improved this season. "We have experience and great student leadership on the team," he said. "With Geoff as a returning state qualifier, I think we have a chance to go deeper in postseason play than we have in the past few years. These boys have played a lot of golf together in the past few years, both in season and in the off-season They all have worked very hard to improve and their efforts have paid off."

Harvest Christian Academy Lions

Coach: Jeff Boldog

Top returning golfers: Sophomores Chad Jakel, Jackson Thiel

Key newcomers: Freshman Drew Fugiel

Outlook: "We are a very young team that has already bonded well together," said Boldog, in his first year as the team's coach. "They bring a lot of enthusiasm and are eager to improve. I am looking forward to seeing how they improve in each match and continue to grow as a team. This year will be a growing year for our team. I think we will see great improvements as we gain more tournament experience and continue to work hard at improving our game and getting more consistent. Everyone on the team is very coachable and eager to improve. By the end of the season, we hope to be vying for a tournament win." Boldog has been impressed with Jakel's game thus far. "He hits it long off the tee and as he continues to improve his short game and gets more consistent with his irons, he will be able to shoot some pretty low rounds," the coach said.

Huntley Red Raiders

Coach: Jim Rolando

2012 finish: FVC tournament champions

Top returning golfers: Seniors Gage Jereb, Tyler Ross, Brad Spoeth, Riley Wicks, junior Trent Craig

Key newcomers: Senior Glenn Miller, juniors Jake Bowser, Andrew Mendonca, sophomore Jake Grabner

Outlook: Huntley returns experience from last year's team that advanced to sectionals. "Many in this group of seniors, plus Trent, have competed at the varsity level since their freshman year," said Rolando. "They all competed in a number of summer tournaments, so they've seen a great variety of tough courses and competed against some of the best golfers in the area on a regular basis. They enjoy golf and most of them are best friends. It's a highly competitive group, but they also are very supportive of each other." Rolando said this group has the goal to be competitive in the Valley Division where he listed Jacobs as a preseason favorite. "We expect to be competitive in the Valley again and in each of the tournaments we play," he said. "We lost four quality seniors from last year's team, but these guys all got the great opportunity to learn from them. Team balance and depth should be our strong points. When we get one or two of them to take it low, that's when we can have that really special round."

Jacobs Golden Eagles

Coach: Jeremy Bauer

2012 finish: FVC Valley Division champions

Top returning golfers: Chris Boyle

Key newcomers: Junior Joe Addante, sophomores Justin Lenzini, Billy Walker

Outlook: Bauer likes the amount of talent he has on the roster this season. "Depth will be one of our greatest assets," he said. "Many of the newcomers and returning players provide us with the opportunity to shoot low scores from the first player to the 10th player. I'm not sure we have one player who stands out above the rest, but I'm happy with how consistent we are throughout the lineup." Boyle is a returning sectional qualifier.

Larkin Royals

Coach: Tim Jones

Top returning golfers: Seniors Jack McCracken, Drew Jones, Tyler Kalusa, juniors Jon Lenz, Dan Lenz

Key newcomers: Junior Bryan Sheridan

Outlook: Jones is optimistic about the 2013 season. "We expect to have a good year and possibly contend in the River Division," he said. "We're hoping to get the team to sectionals. Jones is expecting big years from both Jon and Dan Lenz.

St. Edward Green Wave

Coach: Greg Winters

2012 finish: Ninth place Suburban Christian Conference

Top returning golfers: Seniors Dan Winters, Michael Butzow, John Butzow, sophomore Michael Mattas

Key newcomers: Sophomore Aaron Worf

Outlook: Winters, John Butzow and Mattas all qualified for the sectional last year. St. Edward started strong out of the gates this year by winning the Aurora Christian scramble and playing in a tough tournament in Dubuque, Iowa where John Butzow shot 79 and Winters and Mattas each had 80s. "If we all can play well on the same day we can be competitive," said Greg Winters. "All those top guys are capable of shooting under 80. Our Top 4 guys are all capable of scoring for us."

South Elgin Storm

Coach: Jay Bartholomew

2012 finish: Fifth place UEC Valley

Top golfers: Seniors Devin Meredith, Andrew Dylo, Tyler Brown, Jake Reeser, junior Ethan Hildebrandt, sophomore Nate Reeser

Outlook: Bartholomew labels this group one of the better team's he's had. "We have a good core of kids," he said. "They pretty much are around the same score from around 78 to the low 80s. Sometimes they are capable of shooting in the low 70s." Meredith finished in the Top 10 at the recent Geneva invitational with a 73. Bartholomew said the team will be challenge once again in the UEC Valley. "Neuqua Valley, Waubonsie Valley and Metea Valley are tough," he said.

Streamwood Sabres

Coach: George Rosner

Top returning golfers: Seniors Eric Hamlin, Arsenio Pascuel

Key newcomers: Juniors Hayden Holota, Michael Jenig, Eric Polstersdorf, Kyle Kiriluk, sophomore Chase Pantle.

Outlook: Hamlin is a four-year varsity player who played No. 1 for much of last year. "Eric should have a very good year for us," said Rosner. Pantle is a transfer from Highland Park. "Chase is a good one who should really help our team," said Rosner. "He and Eric give us a great 1-2. I think they will surprise many teams. We should be competitive." Rosner added finding additional players who can score will be a key. "We need these players to play well for us to compete against the strong teams," he said. "We do not have a lot of depth so we need all our players to step up their games. If we can get more kids to score, we will compete." Jenik is a heart transplant recipient.

Westminster Christian Warriors

Coach: John Wedell

2012 finish: NAC tournament champions

Top returning golfers: Seniors Connor Rejman (league medalist, state qualifier), Logan Hopp (league runner-up), juniors Matt Swing, Andrew Howard

Key newcomers: Sophomore Dillon Rejman

Outlook: Connor Rejman qualified for the state tournament and was active on the summer circuit this summer. "Connor is poised to make a nice run at state this year," said Wedell. Swing has made improvements and has only been playing on the team. He was one of the 2013 recipients of the Elgin Country Club Junior Membership. Wedell has seen the program take major steps in recent years. "It's been great to see the kids' love of the game grow," he said. "Each year they've worked harder than the year before and they continue to see their individual and team improvements. The respect and care for each other seems to be pretty special." Wedell is looking forward to another strong season. "With the return of all our players from a very strong team, we expect to compete for the conference championship again and fight hard for a spot advancing out of the regional," he said. "With some strong play at the end of the season, we feel there's a good possibility we can get to state as well." Wedell said Dillon Rejman, Josh Edwards, Chris Buhl and Connor McAuliffe will battle for the fifth spot on the varsity lineup. "Hopefully they will put some pressure on our Top 4 players," he said. "With the development of these four players, it gives us a great deal of depth we haven't had in previous years."

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