Top teams: Hinsdale Central, Waubonsie Valley, Benet, Naperville Central, Wheaton Warrenville South, Naperville North, Neuqua Valley, York, Metea Valley, Wheaton Academy.
Top athletes: Addison Trail: Francesca Capparelli, fr. Ally Galvan, jr., Al-Baab Khan, sr., Lina Mannino, sr.; Benet: Isabella Abdullah, soph., Annie Arnold, jr., Abby Bitto, soph. Emma Schramko, soph., Gretchen Schramko, sr.; Downers Grove North: Elizabeth Eboli, sr., Gracie Holler, jr., Courtney Katz, jr.; Downers Grove South: Sarah Hodges, sr., Emily Tom, jr., Taylor Troha,sr., Noelle Wozniak, sr.; Glenbard East: Sam Katsikas, soph., Grace Ludwig, soph., Anna Mahay, sr., Jillian Ostrowski, jr.; Glenbard South: Amanda Carroll, jr., Abby Johnson, sr., Elana Kozak, soph., Holly Taylor, sr.; Glenbard North: Alex Baertschi, jr., Rebecca Ellers, soph., Jasmine Tvazor, sr., Ashely Wing, sr.; Glenbard West: Claire Graham, sr., Morgan Riley, sr., Cori Szabo, sr.; Hinsdale Central: Erin Bruns, jr., Selina Geng, soph., Jessica Lee, soph., Danielle Smith, sr.; Hinsdale South: Kailey Hoel, jr.; IC Catholic Prep: Maddie Hurt, soph.; Lisle: Melanie Beibelman, sr., Bella Daly, jr., Alexis Gustes, sr., Mary Sullivan, sr. Metea Valley: Kristi Chin, soph., Katelyn Kline, jr., Niquole Mangel, jr., Stephanie Tom, sr., Naperville Central: Riya Anand, soph., Lydia DeMoss, jr., Caskey Novak, sr., Stephanie Robinson, jr., Kate Ryan, sr.; Naperville North: AJ Barr, soph., Emily Harrington, soph., Maddie Krejci, jr., Lauren Nay, fr., Jaycie Waite, jr.; Neuqua Valley: Natasha Nash, soph., Lauren Rouck, jr., Iris Ruff, sr., Stephany Stumphauzer, sr., Jessica Yuen, jr.; St. Francis: Maggie Byrne, sr., Andrea Culotta, sr., Elli Pointner, jr., Olivia Saccemeno, jr.; Waubonsie Valley: Kerrigan Boose, fr.; Kayla McHale, jr., Arushi Singh, fr., Bing Singhsumalee, sr.; West Chicago: Alex Dimas, sr., Elyssa DiRaddo, sr.; Wheaton Academy: Meredith Bult, soph., Hailey Farmer, jr., Chrislyn Herring, soph., Megan Herring, sr; Wheaton North: Mikayla Harrington, sr., Keely Sharke, sr., Samira Tungare, jr.; Wheaton Warrenville South: Kelly Anderson, sr., Annalee Dannegger, soph., Priya DeSal, soph., Sarah Hauenstein, fr., Peyton Vollum, fr.; Willowbrook: Madison Aiello, sr., Amanda Dinella, sr., Therese Flicek, sr., Allison Kelley, sr.; York: Megan Backman, jr., Breanna Failla, sr., Ellen Foley, jr., Elise Rantis, sr.
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Scouting report: Jessica Yuen and Bing Singhsumalee would be teammates had the opening of Metea Valley not altered the Indian Prairie School District boundaries. As the second week of the girls golf season commences, the spotlight on the two will be as unmistakable as it is glaring.
Last year at the Class AA tournament in downstate Forsyth, Singhsumalee was the overnight leader for a second time after the Illinois-bound Waubonsie Valley senior opened with a bogey-free, 2-under-par 70. But Yuen, the Neuqua Valley junior, played in the final pairing after opening with a 73. Yuen was flawless on the final day of the season, becoming the first player in Neuqua Valley history to win a state championship with a two-round 2-under total of142. Singhsumalee had to settle for a second-place tie with Loyola senior Isabelle Kane.
"Being an underclassman and winning the state title was unexpected," Yuen said. "There were so many good players who were older than me. I don't know what to expect this season. Not thinking about last year and being the state champion will lessen the pressure."
John Keller has been the only coach in program history, and the Wildcats tasted immediate success after finishing team state runner-up in only their fourth year in existence in 2000. "Jess is a once-in-a-lifetime, coaching-career player," Keller said. "I don't know what it will be like to have the defending state champ. I don't think Jess gets too wrapped up in that. She has been so good since the first tournament she has played in since Day One." Yuen was state runner-up as a freshman at the rain-shortened finals two years ago. Singhsumalee, on the other hand, has one final chance to snare a state championship.
"It is definitely pressuring," Singhsumalee said of leading the state tournament after the opening round. "I just want to keep everything consistent (during the regular season)."
Waubonsie Valley, with only seven players in the program, could vie for an elite team finish this fall as McHale and freshman Singh have already shown signs of complementing Singhsumalee in admirable fashion. "I think our (Nos.) 2 and 3 (McHale, Singh) are very close. Our No. 4 shoots in the 80s, which is what we need," Singhsumalee said. Waubonsie Valley coach Jack Farner has seen enough girls team golf over the past decade to recognize one of its salient features. "Most teams have a top player, maybe not Bing or Jessica," Farner said. "The teams that struggle don't have a fourth score."
Wheaton Warrenville South senior Anderson is another local product who has grand designs for a glorious final campaign. Anderson was sensational in the latter stages of last season. The Northern Illinois-bound Anderson won the prestigious Naperville North Invitational with a red-number score. Three days later Anderson fired a back-nine 32 to win the DuPage Valley Conference championship with another under-par performance. Anderson won the Glenbard East regional and was in prime position for a top state finish after an opening-round 75. Anderson is determined to redeem herself after struggling on the final day of the season last fall. "I can't take (the late-season success) for granted," Anderson said. "A lot of the girls have improved. My main goal (during the regular season) is to get my short game dialed up."
Hinsdale Central enters the season as the top-ranked Class 3A program. The Red Devils return four players, including top-notch underclassmen Geng and Lee, from their third-place state squad from last season. "We lost three key seniors," Hinsdale Central coach Nick LaTorre cautioned.
Naperville North has juniors Krejci and Waite from its first state-qualifying team since the turn of the century. "Having Maddie and Jaycie back from our state team will provide great leadership," Naperville North coach Greta Williams said. "We have several girls from the JV team, who were successful last year, coming in and providing some scores for us. I think we are going to surprise some people."
DuPage Valley Conference rival WW South returns all six of its sectional-qualifying players. Veteran coach Art Tang has promising underclassmen to augment Anderson and Co. "There is going to be a lot of competition to stay in the starting lineup," Tang said.
Naperville Central also returns several veterans from its Rockford Guilford sectional lineup. Metea Valley juniors Kline and Mangel are seeking state appearances this fall. Benet sophomore Abdullah is another individual state qualifier with grand ambitions this fall. "I traveled a lot this summer," said Kline, who also qualified for state as a Benet freshman. "I have been playing the best golf ever." Wheaton Academy and Lisle are schools to watch in the Class A series. Lisle coach Scott Waibel is particularly high on Sullivan. "She is the best player in the history of Lisle girls golf," Waibel said.
IC Catholic sophomore Hunt, the only girl in the program, is one to watch in the Class A individual state tournament.
Key dates: Aug. 29, Champaign Centennial Shootout; Sept. 6, Homewood-Flossmoor Invitational; Sept. 10, Aurora City Tournament; Sept. 13, St. Viator Invitational; Sept. 13, Waukegan Invitational; Sept. 20, Rockford Guilford Invitational; Sept. 20, Providence Catholic Celtic Swing; Sept. 27, Naperville North Invitational; Week of Sept. 29, Conference championships; Oct. 4, Rosary Invitational.
-- Kevin McGavin