Scouting the DuPage County and Fox area boys golf season

The DuPage County and Fox area enter the season with an abundance of talented boys golfers and teams.

Aurora Christian's Wil McCracken, a junior, is the top returning golfer after a solid showing the last two seasons. Sophomore Ashton Medows and freshman Jacob Baumann are players to watch on a young team.

At Marmion, sophomore Regan Konen is part of a young team that includes senior Jude Bohr, sophomore Evan Paganelis and junior Dominic Howard.

"We have a lot of young talent that should develop as the season progresses," Marmion coach Lou Solarte said.

Bartlett coach Chris Pemberton's third season at the helm is shaping up to be a nice collection of players from various classes. Junior Jayden Patel, senior Trey Holly, sophomore Robby Coyne, junior Mitch Davis and senior Aaron Ryniec are among the players slated to be in the rotation.

"Our consistency should make us competitive with every conference opponent this year," Pemberton said.

Burlington Central fell one stroke away from winning the Fox Valley Conference in 2021, but seniors CJ Strout, Ivan Larson, Matthew Lemon and sophomore Matthew Kowalik are all looking to take the next step in their games to overcome heavy graduation losses.

"While we lost some very talented players who could go low last year, we might actually have more depth this year," BC coach Thomas Davies said. "I wouldn't be surprised if this team made some serious postseason noise."

Elgin benefits from the return of all-conference senior Derrick Graves along with Ben Heinrich, Dylan Phamanivong and Alex Jesberg. South Elgin has a strong returning group, sparked by Kian Petal, Matthew Murphy, Nick Martinez and Nic Heinrich. The Storm won the Upstate Eight Conference title last season.

Dundee-Crown coach Bob Sweeney enters his 18th year looking to build on last season's fourth-place effort at regionals. Seniors Jake Russell and Mason Morawski and sophomore Jarod Russell are back from last season.

"I feel confident Jake will post consistent scores that will provide a competitive foundation in each match or tournament we play," Sweeney said. "I'm excited to watch our younger and returning players progress over the course of the next two months."

DuKane Conference MVP and state qualifier Austin Frick heads the list of Geneva's returners, which also includes all-conference players Jesse Balc and Tyler Quisling, and Ryan O'Rourke, Laksh Patel, Eli Sladkov and Krish Shah. Matt Trimble and Liam Kellegan are two newcomers to watch.

"We are fortunate to have seven players returning this season," Vikings coach Eric Hatczel said. "They all bring good experiences from last year creating a good bond in the program and they look to build from last season."

Huntley senior Brendan Busky and juniors Nathan Elm and Nooa Hakala form a competitive trio with potential. Busky had a nice postseason run last year while Elm and Hakala gained valuable experience.

"(Brendan) put in a tone of work and we believe that he can absolutely make a trip to Bloomington," Huntley coach Collin Kalamatas said.

Hampshire junior Eric Brown and sophomore Seth Gillie, both sectional qualifiers in 2021, are a solid pair at the top of the lineup. Freshman Nolan Adamczyk has already proven to be a golfer to watch.

Cary-Grove senior Maddux Tarasievich and junior Erik Pietrzyk are the core returnees for the upcoming season.

"Having Maddux put in so much time and effort last season and reach his goal of getting downstate has been contagious," Cary-Grove coach Chris Gotsch said. "Seeing Maddux's success, we've had several players step it up this summer."

Kaneland first-year coach Patrick Carter is looking to top last season's six-win conference showing. The Knights have seniors Gabe Gooch and Rocco Rosati scheduled to be team leaders.

Wheaton Academy seniors Sam Dykema and Wyatt Brown joins juniors Freddie Chan and Joe Luchtenburg looking to defend last season's first-place showing in the Metro Suburban Conference and third place effort at state.

Benet heads into the season looking to replace star golfer Jack DiTrani, the 2021 East Suburban Catholic Conference Player of the Year. Benet coach Martin Gaughan pointed to the development of senior Ryan Dannegger and sophomore Charlie Davenport as building blocks for the Redwings.

"Ryan and Charlie both had every solid summers in events," he said. "They will be two key players for our team. Both have the ability to shoot low."

Naperville North, which finished in fourth place in the DuPage Valley last season, returns seniors Zach Wu, Peter Christiansen and David Richardson to go with juniors James Driscoll and freshman Daniel Chang.

"We're excited about this year's group," Naperville North coach Ryan Hantak said. "The juniors and seniors have worked hard to improve and we added a strong freshman in Daniel."

Waubonsie Valley is poised to extend its streak of conference titles. The Warriors have won four DuPage Valley Conference championships in the last five years. Conference MVP Salil Khanduja leads the charge after placing 12th in state last season.

"We lost some seniors to graduation but we're hopeful that players like Chris Wagner and Arjun Iyengar will step up and take a leadership role," Waubonsie Valley coach Eric Flodberg said.

Naperville Central senior Dan Rabinovich and juniors Matthew Sims and Joey Cerney all competed in sectionals last season to form the anchor of a strong team.

"This team has great potential," Naperville Central coach Barry Baldwin said. "It will be a season-long process that hopefully shows well in October."

Wheaton North's junior group of Mason Oleniczak, Colin Baker and Henry Brock give hope for a solid two-year run for the Falcons.

"We have no returning seniors which will give us a chance to see how this talented junior class responds," Wheaton North coach Michael Pribaz said.

Wheaton Warrenville South's returning players include Callan Fahey, Tug Webber, Danny Gainor and Trey Harshbarger.

With seniors Ben Orozco and James Tyrrell and junior Conor Lynch the top returnees, Downers Grove South is aiming for a ninth consecutive West Suburban Conference Gold title this fall. Lynch, in his third year on the varsity, is looking to make an extended run in the state series after qualifying for sectionals last season.

Hinsdale South has a big hole in its rotation following the graduation of Billy Gneiser, but coach John Richerson likes his overall depth, which includes Tommy Gneiser and Ryan Flinders.

"I expect us to compete for the conference championship in the West Suburban Gold division and also compete to win a regional," he said.

Montini juniors Anjay Dhir and Danny Peterson join sophomore Jack Barrett and freshman Liam O'Dea as key players on the Broncos.

"Our guys are hungry to learn," Montini coach Eric Scott said. "We have a young team that's put in a lot of work this summer. I'm excited to see what our guys can do."

Six players are back from IC Catholic Prep's Class 1A third-place team from last season, led by seniors Jann Atendido, Nick Zanoni, junior Zazz Atendido and senior PJ Wisniewski.

"The boys have quietly set lofty goals," IC Catholic Prep coach Don Sujack said.

Lake Park senior Josh Lahner is looking to top last season's individual showing at state, while being a leader to a talented junior class.

Westmont is led by a pair of seniors in Hays Templeton and Matt Pecard, while sophomore Briggs Templeton is a golfer to keep an eye on this fall. Fenton junior Sean DiCosola had a solid showing last season, missing sectionals by one stroke. He will be joined by seniors Ethan Freeman and Taylor Siekierski on the Bison.

Glenbard West lost four of its top six golfers from last season's memorable team which won a regional and sectional title. Senior Matthew Valdick and junior Grant Roscich, who won the IJGA Junior Amateur at McCray Memorial in July, are the top returnees.

"We need players without much experience to step up," Glenbard West coach Paul Hezlett said.

Glenbard South claimed second place in the Upstate Eight Conference with a 9-1 record, as senior Brian Uvodich is the top returning golfer.

"We're looking for a strong conference performance this year," Glenbard South coach Phillip Yudys said. "We're excited for some younger golfers to step up and make a difference."

Glenbard North seniors Luke Ruffolo and Shaan Patel lead a promising team filled with experience that competes its home matches on Glendale Lake Golf Course.

"We should have some depth that we've not had recently, so hopefully we can have the best season we've had in a while if all the guys all play to their potential," Glenbard North coach John Chamberlain said.

Juniors Luke Heidendry, Kyle Grutzmacher and Matthew Kane are the core of Lisle's team, according to Lisle coach Yousef Matariyeh.

"My expectations for this year is for the team to become more cohesive as the season progresses," Matariyeh said.

Boys golf at a glance

Top players: IC Catholic Prep senior Jann Atendido, Wheaton Academy senior Sam Dykema, Benet senior Ryan Dannegger, Waubonsie Valley junior Salil Khanduja, Lake Park senior Josh Lahner, Glenbard West senior Matthew Valdick, Glenbard West junior Grant Roscich

Key dates: Regionals Sept. 26-28; Sectionals: Oct 3-4

2021 sectional champions: Barrington, Glenbard West, New Trier, Lockport (3A); St. Ignatius, Breese Mater Dei, Macomb, Crystal Lake Central (2A); Beecher, IC Catholic Prep, Oblong, Sherrard (1A)

2021 state champions: Glenbrook North (3A), St. Ignatius (2A), Vandalia (1A)

2022 state tournament: Oct. 7-8 at The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course (3A), Bloomington Weibring Golf Club, Normal (2A) and Prairie Vista Golf Course, Bloomington (1A)

  Elgin's Derrick Graves hits to the green during the Elgin Boys Golf tournament at Bartlett Hills Golf Course Monday. Steve Lundy/
  Jake Russell of Dundee-Crown watches his chip shot on the eleventh hole during the IHSA Boys Golf 3A Regional held at the Buffalo Grove Golf Course on Tuesday. Mark Welsh/
Wheaton Warrenville South's Callan Fahey, above, and Benet's Ryan Dannegger, right, are two of the top returning golfers in DuPage County. Sandy Bressner/
  Benet's Ryan Dannegger watches a tee shot during Monday's golf match at Stonebridge Country Club in Aurora. Paul Valade/
  Bartlett's Jayden Patel, above, Dundee-Crown's Jake Russell, below left, and Elgin's Derrick Graves, below right, are a few of the area's top returning players. Brian Hill/
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