Boys golf: Fox Valley scouting

By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 8/21/2016 6:33 PM
  • Andrew Abel is one of the six players back in action from last year's 12th-place state tournament team at Geneva.

      Andrew Abel is one of the six players back in action from last year's 12th-place state tournament team at Geneva. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Burlington Central's Joe Sherman is in pursuit of a fourth straight state tournament appearance this fall.

      Burlington Central's Joe Sherman is in pursuit of a fourth straight state tournament appearance this fall. John Starks | Staff Photographer

Aurora Central Catholic ChargersCoach: Mark Frantzen (third year)

Last season: 7-6 in dual meets; fourth in the Metro Suburban Conference West; fourth at the Class 2A Kaneland regional.

Top returning athletes: Mac Cowen, sr., Sean Grimm, sr., Will Tack, sr., Jack Gehrke, Jr, Jevin Mueller, Jr, Tyler Wiesbrook, Jr, Connor Griffin, Jr, Tristen Avalos, Jr

Top newcomer: Nathan Turco, fr.

Outlook: Cowen is the unquestioned senior leader for the Chargers this fall as the senior was the Freeport sectional champion to punch his ticket to the Class 2A individual state finals for a second consecutive year. "The last two years, (Cowen) has been in the top 30," Frantzen said. "He wants to be in the top 10 this year." Grimm and Tack should see plenty of starting opportunities as the Chargers' other seniors in the program. But the five juniors for Aurora Central could hold the key for a successful season. "I am pretty stacked on the junior side," Frantzen said. But Turco could be a wild card for the Chargers.

Aurora Christian EaglesCoach: Andy Zorger (first year)

Last season: 8-0 in dual meets; Northeastern Athletic Conference champion; Class 1A Westminster Christian regional champion; fourth at Byron sectional.

Top returning athletes: Devin Johnson, sr., Brett Seward, sr., Matt Buhrt, sr., Chase Lietz, sr., Ricky Hochstrung, soph.

Outlook: Johnson was in the red to win the Westminster Christian regional and later advanced to his first state tournament via his sub-80 round at the Byron sectional. The Eagles' seniors will carry the team this fall. "If they shoot what they're capable of, we should be pretty good," Zonger said. "I'm not sure who is going to pick up the slack if (any of the seniors) have a bad day. (The seniors) have had pressure situations before." Aurora Christian narrowly missed qualifying its entire team to the smallest-class state tournament last fall. "They should have good senior years," Zonger said of his top four.

Bartlett HawksCoach: Jim Dinkheller (fourth year)

Last season: 3-4 in dual meets; tied for third at Upstate Eight Conference Valley; sixth at the Class 3A Larkin regional.

Top returning athletes: Nate Gorniak, Jr, Brett Gravarek, sr., Alex Salatino, sr., Chris Meyer, sr., Joey Tomazin, Jr, Nick Pavell, Jr, Justin Everson, Jr

Outlook: Dinkheller is hopeful a year of seasoning will make all the difference for the Hawks. "We were extremely young last year," Dinkheller said. "I am looking forward to much more successful maturity. I have been looking forward to the season." Gorniak will start the season as the top-rated player for Bartlett. Dinkheller will look to his three senior starters for guidance. "I think we can be relatively decent," Dinkheller said. "In golf it is all relative." In the Upstate Eight Valley, Bartlett will look to contend with defending champion West Aurora and South Elgin. Tomazin, Pavell and Everson will complement Gorniak as the nucleus of the Hawks' junior class.

Batavia BulldogsCoach: Tim DeBruycker (14th year)

Last season: 4-4 in dual meets; third in the Upstate Eight Conference River; fourth at the Class 3A Oswego regional.

Top returning athletes: Robert Carr, sr., Rocco Carbonara, sr., Justin Schutt, Jr, Cam Marbach, sr., Lucas LaRocco, sr., Drew Holl, sr.

Outlook: It will be an unknown dynamic for Batavia for its home dual matches and decades-old invitational this season. The Bulldogs' longtime home course -- Fox Valley in North Aurora -- closed at the end of the last golf season. The team will play out of Pheasant Run in St. Charles. "Not very," DeBruycker said when asked how familiar his players were with the new layout. "I think we are getting a little more comfortable (at Pheasant Run)." The good news for Batavia is the team drew home dates against both St. Charles high schools and archrival Geneva. "We are going to try and play consistent (golf) for the entire year," DeBruycker said. "I do have six returning seniors, but only one all-conference player in Robert. We are going to ride (the seniors) all year."

Burlington Central RocketsCoach: Tom Davies (second year)

Last season: 10-2 in dual meets; second in the Big Northern East; third at the Class 2A Genoa-Kingston regional; seventh at Freeport sectional.

Top returning athletes: Joe Sherman, sr., Anthony Divito, sr., Jordan Souvigny, sr., Zach Power, sr., Ryan Lomas, sr., Jack Green, Jr, Anthony DiBartolo, Jr

Top newcomers: Timmy Brdnick, fr., Trent Shockey, fr., Jake Betancourt, fr.

Outlook: Sherman has an unprecedented chance to etch a signature accomplishment in Central athletic history. "Joe has a unique opportunity," Davies said. "He will be the first person to qualify for the IHSA state tournament all four years. He wants to get a team down (to Normal)." The Rockets have a new league destination this fall as its athletic programs will call the Kishwaukee River Conference home beginning this fall. Sherman has four classmates to augment the Rockets' ambitions. "We have a really strong senior class," Davies said. The five seniors will start the season at the top of the Rockets' starting lineup. Davis said it is not out of the realm of possibility for one of the trio of freshmen to make an impact by the end of the season.

Cary-Grove TrojansCoach: Chris Gotsch (third year)

Last season: 6-1 in dual meets; second in the Fox Valley Conference Valley; third at the Class 3A Crystal Lake South regional; seventh at the Rockford East sectional.

Top returning athletes: Zach Beaugureau, sr., Colin Baily, sr., Trevor Brandon, so., Ben Stogis, Jr

Top newcomer: Trevor Beaugureau, fr.

Outlook: Much will be expected of the elder Beaugureau this season for the Trojans as he assumes the leadership mantle from Kyle Irlbacker, the lone state qualifier for Cary-Grove last season. The senior enters his final golf campaign firing on all cylinders. Beaugureau was the McHenry County player of the year for the summer circuit. "(Zach) was one hole away from getting down to the state tournament," Gotsch said. "I'm hoping to see him take that next step. We're hoping to see a continuation with where he left off last year." The Beaugureaus' father, Scott, is a local head professional. Gotsch expects the younger Beaugureau to have an immediate impact. Baily is the Trojans' other returning player with postseason experience from last fall.

Crystal Lake South GatorsCoach: Curt Wadlington

Last season: fourth place at the Class 3A Crystal Lake South regional.

Athletes in program: Nathaniel Zachner, sr., Jarrett Natrop, sr., Patrick Rainey, sr., Jack Murphy, Jr, Bruce Smith III, Jr, Griffin Coakley, so., Casey Hunter, so., Eric Bregenzer, so., Daniel Minogue, so., Nolan Rainey, so., Ethan Wiggs, fr.

Outlook: Zachner, Coakley and Hunter figure to be the Gators' mainstays after qualifying as at-large competitors to the Rockford East sectional last year.

Dundee-Crown ChargersCoach: Bob Sweeney (13th year)

Last season: 2-7 in dual meets; sixth in the Fox Valley Conference Valley; sixth at the Class 3A Crystal Lake South regional.

Top returning athletes: JP Anderson, Jr, Josh Zahara, Jr

Top newcomers: Luke Landry, sr., Ryan Anderson, sr., Sean Sibley, sr.

Outlook: Sweeney has an unusual circumstance this season as seniors Landry, Ryan Anderson and Sibley are first-time members of the Chargers' squad. JP Anderson and Zahara are the known commodities for Dundee-Crown. "We will be counting on JP and Josh to consistently post low scores in our matches and tournaments," Sweeney said. "However, in order for us to be competitive and successful as a team, we'll need to have our newcomers make significant contributions."

East Aurora TomcatsCoach: Megan Rodriquez (second year)

Last season: 0-9 in dual meets, sixth at the Upstate Eight Conference Valley; ninth at the Class 3A Oswego regional.

Outlook: East Aurora, according to an email received by area coaches from AD Dennis Renner, has canceled its early-season dual meets due to a lack of players. The school hopes to recruit some athletes to field a team at some point this season.

Elgin Academy HilltoppersCoach: Tom Schneider (second year)

Top returning athletes: Henry Stone, sr., Ben Bohenick, sr., Kacy Kawell, sr., Preston Desch, Jr, Alex Mead, Jr, Neha Karna, so., Jack Peak, so., Katie Peak, so., Derek Warren, so.

Elgin MaroonsCoach: Mike Sitter (second year)

Last season: 3-7 in dual meets; fifth in the Upstate Eight Conference River; eighth at the Class 3A Larkin regional.

Top returning athletes: Michael Johnson, Jr, Jack Sitter, Jr, J.J. Meyer, sr., J.C. Fontmann, Jr

Outlook: Like some of its sister schools, the central issue for Elgin is turnout. But even with their limited numbers a year ago, the Maroons still made strides by finishing fifth in the River Division of the Upstate Eight Conference. Johnson advanced out of the Larkin regional and returns as the top player for Elgin. "He golfed really well," Sitter said of the postseason Johnson scripted last fall. "Golf is such an individual sport. You need everybody to get better fast (for team success)." The Maroons' regular-season highlight last season was defeating Larkin in the schools' league dual match. "It was the first time they ever beat us," Larkin coach Tim Jones said.

Geneva VikingsCoach: Eric Hatczel (third year)

Last season: 6-1 in dual meets; second in the Upstate Eight Conference River; Class 3A Larkin regional champion; third at the St. Charles East sectional; 12th at state finals.

Top returning athletes: Andrew Abel, sr., Tyler Isenhart, soph., Spencer Monroe, sr., Jack McDonald, soph., Hudson Taylor, sr., Charlie Vyskacil, sr., Casey Prentiss, sr.

Top newcomer: Nick Geen, Jr

Outlook: The Vikings return six of their seven players who constituted their first downstate qualifier for the program in 26 years last season. "There is so much potential with the kids that we have," Hatczel said. "We graduated only a couple of boys. There's plenty of juniors, plus others coming up from the frosh-soph team." Abel and Isenhart had tremendous runs during the conference and postseason last year. "Geneva is the deepest team (in the River)," Batavia coach Tim DeBruycker said. "They are the favorites. They have almost everyone coming back." Geen is a transfer from Aurora Christian. "We are extremely optimistic, but at the end of the day, at the end of the season, we have to shoot the number," Hatczel said. Isenhart shot a 65 Saturday at the Limestone-Coyote Creek Classic downstate.

Hampshire Whip-PursCoach: Jeff Howe (11th year)

Last season: 5-6 in dual meets; fourth place in Fox Valley Conference Fox; fifth place at Class 2A Genoa-Kingston regional.

Top returning athletes: Myles Miller IV, sr., Mark Spitzer, so., Clayton Staszewski, sr., Marcos Toledo, sr., Colin McQuillen, sr., Craig Bracke, so.

Top newcomer: Matt McQuillen, fr.

Outlook: Howe enters the season with high expectations. "We had a really good tryout," Howe said. "My expectations continue to grow. We can build a contender for a conference championship, I believe. I think we have a shot." Miller and Spitzer will contend to be the top-ranked player in the program. "Myles is probably going to be our No. 1," Howe said. "(Spitzer) and Myles are really neck and neck. They are anxious and ready to go."

Harvest Christian LionsCoach: Jeff Boldog (fourth year)

Last season: 7-2 in dual meets; third in Northeastern Athletic Conference; fifth at the Class 1A Westminster Christian regional.

Top returning athletes: Joe Pepper, Jr, Drew Fugiel, sr.

Top newcomers: Grant Young, so., Nolan Boyce, so.

Outlook: Harvest Christian seeks to build on its breakthrough from last season. "We are hoping to continue making progress this year coming off a record year in wins, qualifying two individual golfers (Pepper was one) for the sectional and a fifth-place finish at the regional," Boldog said. "We will be returning five varsity golfers this year. We have a crop of new golfers this year with five incoming freshmen and three sophomores who are excited about working hard and getting better."

Huntley Red RaidersCoach: Collin Kalamatis (first year)

Last season: 2-6 in dual meets; third in the Fox Valley Conference Valley; fifth at the Class 3A Crystal Lake South regional.

Top returning athletes: Michael Runsey, so., Nick Laughlin, sr., Troy Cunde, sr., Mitchell Los, sr., Yousef Abadi, Jr

Outlook: The Raiders rallied last year in the conference tournament to offset a disappointing regular-season dual-meet record. Kalamatis returns to his alma mater, where he was a former player. "I think the goal is to put these kids in some competitive situations," Kalamatis said. "We don't have a lot of experience. I think you can put us up there with some of the top teams in the Fox Valley." Despite being an underclassman, Runsey will start the season the No. 1 player for Huntley. "I was not surprised at all (to have a sophomore at the top of the lineup)," Kalamatis said. "The hard work he is putting in is already starting to show early in his high school career."

Jacobs Golden EaglesCoach: Gary Conrad (third year)

Last season: 9-0 in dual meets; Fox Valley Conference Valley champion; Class 3A Crystal Lake South champion; sixth at the Rockford East sectional.

Top returning athletes: Garrett Tighe, so., Riley Coakley, Jr, Jack Tulley, sr., Daniel Leitner, Jr, Jared Gray, so.

Top newcomer: Jordan Rodrigues, fr.

Outlook: Tighe, Coakley and Tulley are seasoned veterans of the Eagles' undefeated conference-championship and regional-title teams. "It's going to be hard to follow-up on last season," Conrad said. "We're young, but we have some potential. It all depends on if we can get the momentum going." Leitner, Gray and freshman newcomer Rodrigues will have to fill the void of the Eagles' three graduation losses from a year ago.

Kaneland KnightsCoach: Mark Meyer (12th year)

Last season: 8-4 in dual meets; third in the Northern Illinois Big XII East; Class 2A Kaneland regional champion; seventh at the Freeport sectional.

Top returning athletes: Will Marshall, so., Brett Glennon, sr., Jake Hed, sr., Jacob Milton, sr., Brock Williams, sr., Dan Franck, sr., Jeff VanGemert, sr., Michael Petrick, sr.

Top newcomer: Bryce Stair, fr.

Outlook: Marshall is undoubtedly one of the top returning golfers in Class 2A this season, let alone a superlative underclassman. The sophomore enters his second season coming off a solo fourth-place finish at the state finals in Normal last year. "For Will the sky is the limit," Meyer said. "He certainly has a boatload of talent. He will be one of the anchors." Meyer has the luxury of a senior-laden squad as Glennon, also a returning state qualifier, and Hed are battle-tested veterans. "We'll see where we can take it from here," Meyer said.

Larkin RoyalsCoach: Tim Jones (27th year)

Last season: 2-10 in dual meets; sixth in the Upstate Eight Conference River; ninth at the Class 3A Larkin regional.

Top returning athletes: Cy Kerber, Jr, Noah Zuniga, Jr, Max Anderson, so.

Top newcomers: Jacob Ramos, fr., Mitch Bohne, fr.

Outlook: Jones has been at both ends of the coaching spectrum during his near-three-decade career with multiple state-qualifying teams as well as individuals. But the veteran coach has had to make adjustments in recent years. "I haven't had an underclass team in four years," Jones said of having only five players in the entire program. Jones is undeterred, however. "I'm getting good kids who love the sport of golf," Jones said. "We should be improved from last year." Much will be expected of top-two players, juniors Kerber and Zuniga.

Marmion CadetsCoach: Mike Rodriguez (first year)

Last season: 5-2 in dual meets; fourth in the Chicago Catholic League; Class 3A Oswego regional champion; fifth at the St. Charles East sectional.

Top returning athletes: Nick Huggins, sr., Jimmy Morton, Jr, Sean Regan, sr., Austen Velazquez, so., Will Barnhart, so., Fred Shoaff, sr., Kyle McCullough, sr.

Top newcomer: Peter Thayer, so.

Outlook: Huggins, who survived a mentally demanding playoff to advance as an at-large qualifier out of St. Andrews last fall, was stunned when he heard the news. "I was really shocked (for Marmion) to win the (Class) 3A regional and get moved down," Huggins said of the Cadets being classified in 2A this fall. "I think we have a good shot to advance to state as a team. But we have to earn it." It has been a peculiar road for the program in recent years. "Last year was a strange year for us," said former coach Doug Roberts, who will be an assistant this year. Marmion did not have a single league dual match last season and has relocated to Bliss Creek in Sugar Grove for its home meets. Thayer, a transfer from Minnesota, merits watching.

St. Charles East SaintsCoach: John Stock (17th year)

Last season: 6-1 in dual meets; Upstate Eight Conference River champion; second at the Class 3A Larkin regional; seventh at the St. Charles East sectional.

Top returning athletes: Danny Buetow, Jr, Mike Bertke, sr., Mason Meadows, Jr, Charlie Downing, sr., Connor King, Jr, Dylan Cook, sr., Chris Black, sr., Alex McDonald, Jr

Outlook: Few area golf coaches have the credentials of Stock, the only coach in the Saints' history since the creation of their sister school in the fall of 2000. St. Charles East has six state-qualifying teams, eight conference champions and 13 consecutive team-regional advancers during the span. "I have some pretty high expectations," Stock said. "I have two starters (Buetow and Bertke) coming back from last year. Danny went to state (last year) and Mike went to state as a sophomore. The goal is to play better, play smarter and figure it out." Batavia will host the two St. Charles programs on Tuesday in an early Upstate Eight River test. "The first two weeks we'll know (our prospects) after then," Stock said.

St. Charles North North StarsCoach: Rob Prentiss (17th year; 34th overall)

Last season: 4-6 in dual meets; fourth in the Upstate Eight Conference River; fourth at the Class 3A Larkin regional.

Top returning athletes: Jake Muehlschlegel, sr., Nick Janchik, Jr, Sam Kohler, Jr, Mike Stasczuk, sr., Cole DePaul, Jr, Cade Callahan, Jr, Tyler Barton, sr., Mike Haggerty, sr.

Outlook: Prentiss, who guided the original St. Charles High School to two Class AA state championships during the 1990s, is retiring from coaching and the classroom at the end of the school year. "I like the group," Prentiss said of the North Stars' current roster. "We have a nice mix of juniors and seniors, some newcomers to varsity, some veterans." Muehlschlegel and Janchik are two of four returning athletes who participated at St. Andrews' sectional last fall. "It looks like a fun group to work with."

St. Edward Green WaveCoach: Greg Winters (13th year)

Last season: 7-3 in dual meets; third in the Metro Suburban Conference West; third at the Class 1A Westminster Christian regional; second at the Byron sectional; fourth at the state finals.

Top returning athletes: Steve Poremba, sr., Derrick Soroka, sr., Eric Stepanovic, sr., Ethan Enright, sr., David Cozzi, Jr

Top newcomers: Daniel Parks, so., Oliver Inciong, fr.

Outlook: It was a bittersweet campaign for St. Edward in 2015. Michael Mattas bested all foes to win the Class 1A state championship, but the Green Wave missed a state trophy by one shot. "That has been our history over the last few years," Winters said. "We have had a history of being close. That is kind of common for us." Poremba is the lone returnee from the Wave state lineup from a year ago. "We're not going to be as deep as last year," Winters said. "The thing about golf is, it's a team and individual sport. For a school our size, it's difficult. We want the boys to improve."

South Elgin StormCoach: Gordon Brown (third year)

Last season: 9-2 in dual meets; second in the Upstate Eight Conference Valley; third at the Class 3A Larkin regional; 12th at the St. Charles East sectional.

Top returning athletes: Nathan Mehta, Jr, Nick Pabloplocki, Jr, Kevin Loader, Jr, Travis Christensen, Jr, Kyle Russell, sr., Chris Wills, sr., Jack Watkins, Jr

Top newcomers: Ben Hepelle, so., Dilan Patel, so.

Outlook: Mehta is the sole returning sectional qualifier for the Storm, which had a strong season a year ago. "Our expectations are high for my varsity group," Brown said. "I would think we could win our side of the conference." The Storm and West Aurora figure to be the top-two contenders in the Valley. Mehta will unmistakably be the key figure for South Elgin. "I know his swing," Brown said of Mehta. "He is probably stronger than my No. 1 from last year."

Streamwood SabresCoach: Rob Wise (first year)

Last season: 2-9 in dual meets; seventh in Upstate Eight Conference River; 10th at Class 3A Larkin regional.

Top returning athletes: Mike Hart, sr., Nick Rottmann, so., Trevor Barousse, Jr, Bobby Chacon, Jr, Cameron Kirk, so.

Top newcomers: Jake Gaston, sr., Raajan Patel, fr.

Outlook: The Sabres can only improve upon their winless dual-match record in the league last fall. Wise has no illusions. "We are so green," Wise said. "I want to build the program up. If we could get a couple of golfers to the sectional, that is our goal. I know we can't get out as a team." Wise is intrigued by senior Gaston coming out in his final year of eligibility. "Jake is a wild card," Wise said. "I can see he has potential."

West Aurora BlackhawksCoach: Jay Bauer (24th year)

Last year: 8-1 in dual meets; Upstate Eight Conference Valley champion; fifth at the Class 3A Oswego regional.

Top returning athletes: Ryan Vanderway, so., Myles Whiting, sr., Aaron Medlin, sr., Hunter Voss, sr., Luke Reimers, Jr, Michael Walker, Jr, Tyler Millen, sr., Mat Fidler, Jr

Top newcomers: Joel Pryer, sr., Kobe Nguyen, Jr, Brice Erdich, Jr

Outlook: The area boys coaches have a decidedly newfound coaching pedigree, but Bauer will mentor the Blackhawks for the final time this fall. "I would like to get to the sectional as a team, then hopefully someone qualifies for state," Bauer said of his chief goal for his last season. "I think we can win conference again." Vanderway is the defending divisional champion and one of the bright underclassman in the entire western suburbs. "He is legit good," Glenbard East coach Chris Wienke said of Vanderway. "We haven't brought up many freshmen," Bauer said of his prized second-year player. "He can probably shoot around par at most events."

Westminster Christian WarriorsCoach: John Wedell (12th season)

Last season: 2-12 in dual meets; eighth in Northeastern Athletic Conference; no team score at Class 1A Westminster Christian regional.

Top returning athletes: KJ Kane, sr., Tim Leahy, so., John Shanahan, so.

Top newcomers: Brian Fu, sr., Andrew Kovachevich, sr., Hagen Zemp, sr.

Outlook: Like a number of small private schools, Wedell has his fair share of intractable obstacles. "We're in a rebuilding mode," Wedell said. "I am hoping to get more kids to come out." Wedell will turn his attention to the Westminster Christian dual-meet schedule to make inroads. "I am hoping we can get some consistency to have my players shoot under 50."

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