Bartlett HawksCoach: Jim Dinkheller
2013 finish: Sixth place UEC Valley
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Top returning players: Senior Mike Coyne (40 avg for 9), Anthony Dutkovich (41 avg),
Key newcomers: Senior JC Grabarek
Outlook: Coyne was a sectional qualifier a year ago. Grabarek is back with the program after taking a year off to concentrate on lacrosse. "The kids work hard and have a positive mental attitude," Dinkheller said. "I am excited about this season. If we can make a few putts we have a chance to have a good year. The Upstate Eight always is a tough conference. There are good players in the conference from top to bottom. We will need to work hard and stay positive. We want to improve our conference finish from last year. We have players that can step up and be leaders and I think can make that happen." Dinkheller likes the way Coyne, Grabarek and Dutkovich have looked in practice. "Mike, JC And Anthony have been playing well and need to take that into matches. They need to stay positive, make some putts and stay away from a big number on a hole."
Cary-Grove TrojansCoach: Chris Gotsch
2013 finish: 7-2, 4-2, third place Fox Valley Conference Valley Division
Top returning golfers: Junior Kyle Irlbacker, sophomore Zach Beaugureau, Pete Kalamaras
Outlook: Gotsch takes over the program from longtime coach Kelly Muzzy. "We have a great group of kids this year who have spent their summer on a golf course," said Gotsch. "If the top of the lineup plays the way they are capable of, then we should be able to compete for a Fox Valley Conference championship and have a shot to get out of the regional." Gotsch has been impressed with Irlbacker and Beaugureau's development. "Kyle and Zach should be our 1 and 2," he said. "They spent a ton of time on the golf course and have been working with Zach's father, Scott Beaugureau, who is a pro over at McHenry Country Club." The Trojans recently shot a 324 and took second at their own Cary-Grove invitational.
Crystal Lake South GatorsCoach: Curt Wadlington
2013 finish: 8th place FVC tournament
Top returning golfers: Junior Brandon Dahl, Ryan Benoit
Key newcomers: Nate Zacher
Outlook: The Gators feature a roster filled with underclassmen. "We are junior-heavy and are focused on getting better," said Wadlington. "We hope to build and improve as the year progresses." Wadlington noted Benoit has taken steps forward with his game. "Ryan is working very hard to improve," he said. "I see him only getting better as the season progresses."
Dundee-Crown ChargersCoach: Bob Sweeney (8th season)
2013 finish: 0-9 FVC, 14th place in FVC tournament.
Top returning golfers: Senior Jeremy Gregory
Key newcomers: JP Anderson, Josh Fougerousse, Andrew Livengood
Outlook: Sweeney noted the team has set a number of goals this season, including creating a more competitive mindset in each player; win at least 5 dual matches; finish in the top half of each tournament it plays; and finish in the top half of the conference tournament. Sweeney said Gregory will provide key leadership for the group. "The team's strength will center around Jeremy," he said. "He competed in a number of tournaments over the summer months to improve his overall game. We'll also rely on his leadership on and off the course, which will be vital in helping develop a solid work ethic and competitive mindset with our younger players." Freshman JP Anderson also will help. "JP will be a welcome addition to the squad," said Sweeney. "He also played in a number of 18-hole tournaments over the summer in preparation for the high school season."
Elgin MaroonsCoach: Andy LaScala
Top returning golfers: Senior Josh Hegel
Key newcomers: Freshman Jack Sitter
Outlook: The Maroons will look to improve on their 2013 conference finish (last in the Upstate Eight River). Hegel is the team's top returning veteran, while ninth-grader Sitter will provide immediate help. "Jack is someone we have high hopes for," said LaScala. The coach has seen improvement with the group thus far. "I see us improving from last year and we may surprise a few people," said LaScala.
Elgin Academy HilltoppersCoach: Bill Pearson
2013 finish: Third place Independent School League tournament
Top returning golfers: Senior Gannon Cottone, juniors Frankie Bisconti, Elliot Gorman, sophomore Henry Stone
Outlook: Bisconti qualified for the state tournament and along with Cottone earned all-conference honors. Gorman advanced to the sectional tournament. "We have depth and experience," said Pearson. "We would like to be very competitive within our conference and are looking to compete for a top spot in the conference. We would like to advance beyond the regional tournament." Pearson noted Stone is one golfer to keep an eye on. "Henry has the ability to play a solid game of golf," he said. "With continued improvement he could produce low scores on a consistent basis. He was the most improved golfer from last season."
Hampshire Whip-PursCoach: Jeff Howe
2013 finish: 4-1 Fox Valley Conference Fox, second place
Top returning golfers: Seniors Drew Doran, Jack Tuttle, junior Nick Swierczynski, sophomore Miles Miller IV
Outlook: Hampshire, which tied for the top spot in the Fox with Crystal Lake Central during the regular season, but lost to the Tigers in the conference tournament, return a key core of four players in Doran, Tuttle, Swierczynski and Miller IV. Both Doran and Swierczynski qualified for sectionals last season. "The four returning guys all played varsity together last year and were very supportive of one another," said Howe. "They have a great competitive spirit and they all work hard to succeed." Howe sees his group in contention once again in the FVC Fox. "We should be competitive this year," he said. "Those four returning varsity players put us in a good situation to be successful. I anticipate those four will advance to sectionals this year. We have the talent to be successful again and I would expect we will finish at or near the top of our conference." Miller IV gained valuable experience over the summer. "Miles played a lot of competitive golf this summer and had a lot of success," said Howe. "I expect him to start strong and continue to be a big contributor to our team."
Harvest Christian Academy LionsCoach: Jeff Boldog
2013 finish: 1-4 Northeastern Athletic Conference
Top returning golfers: Junior Chad Jakel, sophomore Drew Fugiel
Key newcomer: Freshman Drew Lewis
Outlook: Jakel, an all-conference selection, is back after missing the sectional cut by a single stroke. "Chad has the length off the tee to shorten courses," said Boldog. "As he continues to work on his short game, he will see a significant drop in his scoring average. He has the desire and work ethic to make it happen." Boldog is looking forward to a season of improvement. "We are a young and energetic team that is willing to put in the work to get better every day," said the coach. "I am looking forward to seeing the progress of each player over the course of the season."
Huntley Red RaidersCoach: Jim Rolando (8th season)
2013 finish: 1st place FVC Valley (undefeated); 2nd place FVC tournament
Top returning golfers: Seniors Trent Craig, Jake Bowser, Andrew Mendonca, juniors Jake Grabner, Danny Spoeth
Key newcomers: Seniors Owen Siddons, Kyle Bencko, junior Ryan McGran, sophomore Geoff Miller
Outlook: While Huntley graduated five of its top seven golfers from a team that finished in the top 16 in the state (best finish in school history for any Huntley golf team) and set numerous new records for low 9-hole score and 18-hole tournament score, the team still has plenty left in the tank. Craig and Grabner were all-conference selections and Craig played in the state tournament. Grabner also earned a top 10 sectional finish. "The good news is the next three top returners were right behind those seniors and would have been varsity starters in almost every other year," said Rolando. Huntley's coach would like to see his golfers continue the program's recent run of success. "We want to continue the strong tradition of Huntley boys' golf that has been developed over the last four or five years. We would like to compete and contend for another FVC Valley Division title and do the same in the FVC tournament. We have another tough tournament schedule this year at some of the best courses in the area that should help get everyone ready for a run in the state series." Rolando sees a competitive Valley Division in 2014. "Any of the teams in the Valley could win the division," he said. "I would pick Jacobs as the early favorite since they are the defending tournament champions, but Cary-Grove, South, McHenry and Dundee-Crown should all be very competitive."
Jacobs Golden EaglesCoach: Gary Conrad
2013 finish: Fox Valley Conference tournament champions, regional champions
Top returning players: Senior Joe Addante, juniors Justin Lenzini, William Walker
Key newcomer: Freshman Daniel Leitner
Outlook: Addante, Lenzini and Walker all were part of last year's squad that won the FVC tournament and a regional title. Leitner is a player new coach Conrad is looking forward to seeing on the course. "Daniel has some great potential," he said. "I am looking forward to see him play on the varsity this year as an underclassman." Conrad takes over for former coach Jeremy Bauer, who is Jacobs' new athletic director. "I'm looking forward to getting to know my players," said Conrad. "We have a lot of talent on the team. These guys are always looking to learn new skills to add to their arsenal. Jeremy did a great job setting a solid foundation of players on this team. The boys have a great cohesion going and have a lot of fun together, but also are very competitive with each other fighting for the No. 1 spot on the team. This creates a great atmosphere to get them ready for high-pressure situations." Conrad sees more success on the horizon for this year's Golden Eagle group. "I believe the team will perform very well during the season," he said. "We are hoping to be in top shape by the end of the year. All the tournaments we are playing in should get us ready for the postseason. The goal is to get the whole team Downstate, which would be awesome. It also would be nice to have another conference title to make it three in a row. We have the depth, we just have to perform when it matters."
Larkin RoyalsCoach: Tim Jones
Top returning golfers: Seniors Dan Lenz, Jon Lenz
Key newcomers: Seniors David Bermudez, Zach Edgar, freshmen Cy Kerber, Noah Zuniga
Outlook: Larkin has only six golfers in its program, thus individual achievements will be more evident. The Lenz brothers have been to the sectional the last two years. and earned all-conference honors in each of those years as well. "The Lenz brothers have been shooting well," said Jones. "With us, we're in one of the toughest regionals and sectionals in the state. As individuals, that makes it tough. You have to be one of the top 8 kids out of nine other teams."
South Elgin StormCoach: Gordon Brown
Top returning golfers: Seniors Brandon Giesey, Ethan Hildebrandt, Erik Dauksavage, Cameron Werba, juniors Dan Smith, Nathan Reeser, Austin Bochat, Chris Steininger, Par even Lakhani, Josh Ruhlin, Steve Zipparro, Joe Guanci
Outlook: Brown is in his first season as South Elgin's coach. "We are excited about this season," he said. "We should be quite competitive and possibly have a chance to win our side of the conference. We have a good mix of seniors and juniors on the varsity squad. We should be solid top to bottom."
St. Edward Green WaveCoach: Greg Winters
2013 finish: 4th place Suburban Christian Conference
Top returning players: Senior Jon Carlson, juniors Michael Mattas, Aaron Worf,
Key newcomers: Juniors Jason Allen, Steve Poremba, Karl Bibler
Outlook: The Green Wave is coming off a 2013 season where it missed qualifying for sectionals on a fifth-score tiebreaker. Mattas averaged 78 for 18 holes and earned all-conference honors and finished fourth at the regional level. Worf averaged 90 last year, but fired a team-low 80 at the Larkin invitational recently. "Aaron has improved greatly over the summer," said Winters. Carlson averaged 92 last year and shot 84 at Larkin. St., Edward is part of the expanded Metro Suburban Conference. "There are a lot of unknowns this year with only one senior and a new conference. I really don't know much about the teams in the conference so far," said Winters. "I expect Michael and Aaron to lead the team and be consistent. Hopefully Jon's senior leadership will continue to elevate his game."
Westminster Christian WarriorsCoach: John Weddell
2013 finish: 11-4 overall, Northeastern Athletic Conference champions and tournament champions.
Top returning players: Seniors Andrew Howard (43.6 avg. for 9), Matt Swing (44.8), junior Dillon Rejman
Key newcomers: Freshman Josh Zahara
Outlook: The Warriors are coming off an impressive 2013 season that saw them win the Northeastern Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament titles and finish third in the regional. Westminster did graduate standout Connor Rejman (39.0 avg), who finished 10th in the state last year and now is playing at Western Illinois. Howard, Swing and Dillon Rejman will step into the top positions this season. "We will try to continue our winning ways despite the graduation of Connor," said Wedell. "Andrew, Matt and Dillon will anchor us and hopefully we will find solid and consistent fourth and fifth players."
Not responding to requests for information: Burlington Central, Streamwood