Huntley girls golf coach Ann Christiansen has worked long and hard to establish her program on solid footing.
"It's taken a long time to build the team up," she said. "Now we have some pretty consistent players."
Christiansen now is reaping the benefits of her foundation building as her Red Raiders are coming off a third-place Fox Valley Conference finish a year ago and return a number of key players from that team.
Seniors Gabby Young, Lauren Gorecki and Danielle Smith are back as are junior Zoe Dowell and sophomore Jillian Young. Freshman newcomer Lexi Lowitzki also will help.
"It will be hard when these seniors leave us," said Christiansen. "They have been with us for four years."
Huntley went 9-3 last year and took third outright in the conference behind perennial powers Crystal Lake (co-op of Central, South and Cary-Grove) and Prairie Ridge.
"We will have a pretty solid team this year," said Christiansen. "The girls practiced so much over the summer."
The Red Raiders started the season strong with a second-place finish at their own invitational and a sixth-place showing at the Marian Central Invite where all four counting scores were 95 or under. Jillian Young led the way with an 86.
"I think we will have a good year," said Christiansen.
Jacobs, which is a co-op with Hampshire this year, returns all-conference performer Kaitlynn Woloszyk, along with Tori Tamburrino and Carly Andersen. Coach Megan Placko noted three new freshman golfers will help as well.
"The girls are looking to improve as individuals as well as growing as a team," she said. "I am looking forward to a great season. We are looking forward to improving our overall record from last season."
The Crystal Lake District 155 co-op team went 7-1 last year, won the FVC title, the McHenry County title and won a regional championship.
However, the team will be without state standout Lexi Harkins, who coach Kathy Speaker noted is competing nationally this year instead of with her high school team.
But Crystal Lake still returns five all-conference players in Ann Bandolik (senior), Bailey Bostler (junior), Brianna DiGrazia (junior), Larisa Luloff (sophomore) and Emily Jean (sophomore). Junior newcomer Alex Siavalis will figure into the varsity equation as well.
"Even without Lexi, we are a strong team this year," said Speaker. "The girls have been working hard all summer playing in a variety of tournaments. We hope to repeat as county, conference and regional champs with a shot at going to state."
Burlington Central, under the direction of veteran coach Deb Twenhafel, returns senior Kirby Debates, junior Jenna Kurosky and sophomore Haleigh Graham. Newcomers to the team include junior Paige Shockey, sophomores Alyssa Mish, Alison Colby, Ashley Stark and Kennedy DeRaedt, and freshmen Sydney Warsaski, Emily Westergaard, Sofie Johnson and Josie Kurosky.
"We'll be really young this year," said Twenhafel. "We did have some girls play a lot of IJGA stuff in the summer. I think this is a team that will surprise people as the season goes on and it gets more experience. We have a lot of room to grow."
The South Elgin, Bartlett, Streamwood co-op team features Olivia Tredup, who did not play last year but returned for her senior season and sophomore newcomer Katie Kirkby.
"We have a team full of new players that are willing to learn and are driven to improve this season," new coach Amanda Huisinga said. "This is a rebuilding year. With a first-year coach and several first-year golfers, we hope to build a strong foundation this year that we can build on in the future."
The team features six players from South Elgin and one Bartlett golfer.
Dundee-Crown is coming off a 6-5 dual meet season and returns seniors Lauren Wendt, Alexis Howe and Andie Huml to lead the way.
"We hope to be more competitive this season," said Chargers coach Laura Herb. "We have a stronger team than last year."
St. Edward hopes to bounce back from a winless dual meet season. Sophomore Ryann Scully and freshman Abrianna Schreurs are the Green Wave's top player so far.
"The team realizes they need to step up their game this year and they're willing to do what it takes to improve and really make a run for state competition," said St. Edward coach Briana Lamp, whose junior sister Elizabeth plays on the team.
The Elgin-Larkin (co-op) rounds out the list of area teams. Westminster Christian does have two individual girls golfers that will play with the boys team until the state series. That duo includes senior four-year player Mikaila Conforte and sophomore Lauren Mason.
There are no returning area girls state qualifiers this year.
In terms of the postseason, on the Class A side Johnsburg's Chapel Hill will host a regional and Genoa's Oak Club will host a sectional. In Class AA, Bonnie Dundee will play host to the Barrington regional, while Golf Club of Illinois in Algonquin will be the site of the Crystal Lake Central regional. Burlington Central will host a Class AA sectional at Randall Oaks in West Dundee.