Boys golf scouting reportIn the East Suburban Catholic Conference, three-time state champion St. Viator comes in off another strong season in 2013, where it finished sixth in Class 3A at Bloomington. The Lions will be led by seniors Nick Carlson and Frank Kasper, and other clutch performers include juniors John Carlson, Matt Trimberger, Liam Warner, Preston Drehobl, Nick Guske, Matt Wagner and Kevin Nolan. "Our team has a history of being ready when they state playoffs begin," said long-time Viator coach Jack Halpin. "This year will not be any different."
Mike Godlewski will be entering his 20th season as head coach at Maine West, and will be energized as he expects another "fantastic season" for the Warriors in the Central Suburban North. "Our goals for this season," said Godlewski, "are to finish in the top half of our conference, see continued improvement as the season progresses, get multiple players to qualify for sectional and finish with a 500 record or better and hit double-digit wins." The Warriors return senior Mike Fowler, last year's team MVP, along with classmate Crosely Duckmann along with newcomers Dillon Ronan, a senior, and Troy Johnson and Brad Udil, both juniors.
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Leyden coach Steven Siekierski is expecting a strong effort from his team in the West Suburban Gold this year. "We're looking to finish in the top half of conference," said Siekierski, "and we've got a player returning, (senior) Alex Mennella, who should be able to shoot in the low 40's on a regular basis." Other competitors for the Eagles will include junior Gabe Garcia and senior Matt Wnek, who is returning to the team after not playing his sophomore or junior season.
Buffalo Grove boasted a fourth-place finish at the Mid-Suburban League meet last season, and coach Peter Duffer expects the success to continue in the East Division this campaign. The Bison also had two conference medalists in 2013, along with three sectional qualifiers, and leading the charge will be senior Mike DeSalvo, one of the players who advanced to the sectional tournament. The coach is also looking for a great season from junior Connor Burhop. "We're working to compete after the graduation of three strong players from last year," said Duffer. "I'm anxious to see how much development occurred from last fall to this summer. We have seven varsity players that all have a chance to compete but we will have to improve to be competitive in the MSL."
Elk Grove will be led by senior Jordan Guerrero, who qualified for sectionals as a junior. Also back is senior Brendan DeSilvia, who had a strong 2013 season but unfortunately was not able to compete in the playoffs due to injury. Returning as well are seniors Justin Kawake and Matt Smalley, and coach Mike Meyer says that his team will have a "good group of core juniors" that include Jack McEnroe, Bendon Rathman, and Kyle Zuba. "We have a stronger base this year," said Meyer. "As a team we should do much better in conference this year. We lost some key matches early last season by only a few strokes, but now we have much more depth."
Hersey has some big hitters this year according to coach Dan Caporusso, and the return of all-conference players Max Heeren and Will Fine, both seniors, certainly helps the Huskies' chances. "As in years past we've got some talented athletes who play other sports and can hit the ball a long way," said Caporusso. "Our athleticism and our length will be a strength, but we're also going to work on the sublety of the game, in other words, having a surgeon's touch around the greens." On the roster for Hersey this year will be seniors Austin Pepe, Anthony Baroud, Eric Schuh and Alec Horne, juniors Andrew Stomper, Matt Johnson, Daniel Wof and Kevin Cooke, and freshman Tommy Lumsden.
Prospect coach Tom Martindale says the Knights are looking forward to a good season, and why not? His team has one of the top players in the area in senior Grant Gavin, who has been all-conference the past two years. Another all-conference player, Jack Kavanagh, returns, and Martindale says the Knights will have three other seniors on the roster who had significant experience last year in Johnny Bruno, TJ Swan, and Joe Dellanina. Martindale has high hopes as well for junior John Branch and sophomores Robert Garmoe and Nick Tenuta as the Knights try to build on last year's successes that included an MSL East title and a seventh-place state finish.
Rolling Meadows is a young team, with no seniors, four juniors and four sophomores included in the roster. However, that doesn't stop Mustangs coach Rob Bowers about being excited for the season to begin. "I'm very happy about how hard the guys worked over the summer," said Bowers. "We expect to finish in the middle of the pack again in the MSL, but with a bit of luck on our side we may be able to pull off a couple of upset wins. I do feel we'll be able to stay competitive against the top teams." Bower says that junior James O'Donnell will be his No. 1 player, but he'll be challenged by a talented junior, Nick Rhyan, a two exceptional sophs, Jimmy Ingolia and Danny Luhan.
Wheeling coach Mark Menich says his team "has a big challenge ahead of us" in 2014, but also expects his squad to meet that challenge, be competitive and finish in the top half of the MSL. He'll be relying on players such as seniors Bobby Webber, Tony Moreno, Jorge Rodriguez, Zach Boesen and Jake Jordan, along with junior Joe Ogliore and sophomore Tyler Testa. "I expect," said Menich, "that our guys will work extremely hard."
Barrington won the Mid-Suburban League title in 2013 and will be favorities again out of the West Division despite having only two seniors, Joey Batliner and Kevin Altenberger, amongst the starting six. The rest of the lineup is quite accomplished as well, however -- especially juniors Cole Kempinski and Burke Barsamian, and sophomores Tim Lim and Tom Calbi (a regional medalist in 2013). "We've got six players with varsity experience," said Broncos coach Mike Kallenbach.
Conant is looking to make inroads to the upper half of the West this year and coach Martin Kulak says his team is anchored "by three individuals who have all played very well in our first three tournaments." The Cougars to watch include senior Matt Crance, junior Chris Blaha, and freshman Kevin Andjulis.
Fremd has a new coach, Ryan Moreau, who says the Vikings are looking forward to a "very promising season with two very talented players and an outstanding supporting cast." James Feng returns after winning several summer tournaments, and Payton Kim has already shown a glimpse of his outstanding talent by shooting 74 at this year's Addison Trail Invite. Also stepping up is senior Matt Doherty, who Moreau says is "showing great promise in his senior year after some very low scores over the summer and an extremely consistent game."
Hoffman Estates boasts an anchor player in previous sectional qualifier Jon D'Amico. "As the season progresses," says coach Bob Coakley, "it will not be a surprise if sophomore Conor Windels and freshman Alex Harrington challenge for spots in the varsity lineup." Complementing D'Amico will be classmates Jon Vandiver, Henry Woo, Brandon Harris, Ryan Hasler and Matt Roesch, and competing for playing time will be juniors Jae Suh and Erik Kase. "We're extremely excited about our senior leadership and the experience the seniors bring to the matches," said Coakley. "Four returners have competed in the MSL conference and state tournament series, so we hope those experiences help realize lower scores in October."
Palatine has been very consistent with three consecutive fourth-place Mid-Suburgan League finishes. Pirates coach Mark Johnson expects even better this year, although he knows that "Barrington, Prospect and Fremd are still the top teams in our conference, and will remain so until someone knocks them off the perch -- and I'm hoping we can play well enough to do that this year." Johnson will be counting on seniors Tom Broders, Trace Holloway and Dan Coleman, along with junior Chris Fortunato.
Schaumburg has a new influx of some great young talent, according to coach Chris Zickert. He'll be depending on players such as Miguel Go, who was a sectional qualifier last season. "We're looking to be competitive," said Zickert. "We've got a strong core group of upperclassmen." Seniors leading the way include Brandon Tudor and Justin Lorenz, juniors Nick Stare, Steve Bukielski and Zeke Garcia, and freshmen Nick Tudor and Nzelu Maitha.
-- compiled by Bill Esbrook