Top teams: St. Charles North, Geneva, West Aurora, St. Charles East, Rosary, Aurora Central Catholic, Batavia, Kaneland
Top athletes: Aurora Central Catholic: Amber Weaver, sr., Jordyn Sundberg, sr., Caitlin Cerza, jr., Samantha Miller, sr., Liza Buckley, jr., Samantha Gaddis, jr.; Batavia: Lauren Anderson, sr., Becca Haseman, jr., Erin Ewert, sr., Emily Clark, jr.; Geneva: Mary Clare Novak, sr., Allison Henry sr., Allison Karas, sr., Nicole Hassells, sr., Darby Lillibridge, fr.; Katherine Flatt, soph., Reilly Krohe, jr., Natalie Saeger, jr.; Kaneland: Tori Guyton, sr., Julia Van Gemert, sr., Dominique Lee, sr., Paige Guyton, soph.; Rosary: Jenna Streich, sr., Morgan Martinez, jr., Madison Taylor, sr., Reis McCue, jr., Mariella Fazio, sr.; St. Charles East: Reagan Stanton, soph., Kacie Geffney, soph., Mary Ellen Combs, jr., Nicole Jordan, fr., Bailey Griggs, fr., Riley Sullivan, fr.; St. Charles North: Gi Furrie, soph., Kate Lillie, soph., Gabi Spinazze, sr., Alina O'Donnell, sr., Morgan Snook, sr., Kayla Janchik, jr.; West Aurora: Mackenzie Fabrizius, sr.
Scouting report: Kaneland will have a new look as the girls golf season enters its second week.
In recent years, the Knights have had only a handful of girls who have competed for the school. The Guyton family has been the face of Knights' female golfers for the last seven years.
Hayley Guyton was a four-time Class AA state qualifier who was the top-rated player on the Knights' boys team her junior and senior years. Guyton, now a senior at Illinois State, was state runner-up as a junior in 2009.
Tori Guyton has been a three-time sectional qualifier for the Knights, and the senior is joined by classmates Van Gemert and Lee. Paige Guyton will enable the Knights to field a four-member team for tournament and state series play.
The Guytons have a rich golfing pedigree as their father, John, is the head professional at Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton, the oldest 18-hole golf course in the United States and one of the charter members of the American governing body of the sport, the USGA.
"It should be a lot of fun," Tori Guyton said of the Knights having the bare minimum of players to field a team.
The elder Guyton is looking to exorcise three years of near misses at the sectional.
"I have been frustrated with how my season has ended the last three years," Guyton said.
Kaneland coach Mark Meyer urges caution for the girls this fall.
"We don't technically have a girls team," Meyer said. "They're just kind of tagging along (with the boys)."
Van Gemert also has sectional experience as an individual, and the younger Guyton has promising athleticism.
"Paige has a hate-love relationship with golf," Tori Guyton said. "But she is a natural at (golf). She is impressing me with how good she is getting at it."
Among the known commodities in the area, St. Charles North returns half of its six starters from a team state appearance last fall. Furrie is one of the top underclassmen in the state, and fellow sophomore Lillie as well as senior Spinazze are back to anchor the North Stars' fortunes.
"They want to do it again," said St. Charles North coach Irish Whalen, one of three first-year coaches locally. "As long as (Furrie) can stay consistent, she will definitely be a (state) contender. (Along with Lillie) they are going to push each other. Gabi is going to be a strong No. 3 for us."
For the other Upstate Eight Conference programs in the area, Geneva figures to be the second-strongest team among the River programs. But the conference does not have divisional distinctions for girls golf.
St. Charles East is dominated by underclassmen, and Batavia looks to rebound after failing to advance any players out of the Neuqua Valley regional last year.
West Aurora returns to its roots in the Upstate Eight after a 17-year stint in the DuPage Valley Conference.
Eric Hatczel has turned the reins at Geneva over to Doug Ross after taking over the boys program. Ross has an interchangeable lineup with both veterans and youngsters; Lillibridge is the No. 1 freshman in the area this fall.
Hall of fame St. Charles East coach Rod Osborne will have a decidedly youthful look as the program is bereft of any seniors. In addition to the players anticipated to contribute, Osborne has a second-echelon of potential starters in three more underclassmen: Grace Westerhoff, Breanna Sheehan and Rosemary Dundy.
"They have put in a lot of hard work over the summer," Osborne said of his outlook.
Anderson returns as the top player for Batavia.
"My expectations for this year are to play better than last year," Anderson said. "I have been playing some of the best golf I have ever played (entering the season). I was disappointed with how my season ended last year, not making it to the sectional."
Rosary had a program first last season after qualifying its entire team for the Class A state tournament in Decatur. But the Royals have been bumped to Class AA this season.
"We lost five seniors," Rosary assistant coach Paul Iwanski said. "It's going to be tough (competing at AA), but nothing is impossible."
Aurora Central has a decidedly upper-class look as Weaver is the Chargers' senior leader.
"It's time that we deliver better than in the past," ACC coach Cliff Pensyl said. "Our success will depend upon how much Caitlin and Sam (Miller) have improved since last year."
Key dates: Aug. 29, Champaign Centennial Shootout; Sept. 6, Homewood-Flossmoor Invitational; Sept. 10, Aurora City Tournament; Sept. 13, Waukegan Invitational; Sept. 13, St. Viator Invitational; Sept. 20, Rockford Guilford; Sept. 27, Naperville North Invitational; Week of Sept. 29, Conference championships; Oct. 4, Rosary Invitational.