Girls golf: Scouting northwest
This year's girls golf season will be the last for the dean of area coaches, Barrington's Jodi Schoek, whose teams have often been among the top in the state. The Fillies are expected to enjoy another stellar season as Schoeck closes out a 32-year career.
Barrington recorded its second straight runner-up finish in Decatur last fall.
Here's a breakdown of Schoeck's two-time defending Mid-Suburban League champs, plus the rest of the teams in the northwest suburbs within the Daily Herald coverage area.
Barrington: The Fillies return six varsity players from 2017 when they were undefeated for the third consecutive season in the Mid-Suburban League and a fourth straight regional crown. One of them is junior Caroline Smith, who placed second in the 2017 Class AA state tournament. That was the best finish in the state tourney by a Barrington individual and she produced a record lowest two-day total of 75-70.
Smith won the MSL meet as a freshman and sophomore.
Also returning is defending sectional champion Nicole Ciskowski, a senior who ranks among the top golfers in the state. Other top golfers on the roster are seniors Ishani Majmudar, Olivia Lee and Emily Harwood, juniors Phebe Chen and Samantha Saile, sophomore Sophia Denison and freshmen Mara Janess and Sophia Sulkar.
Schoeck has guided the Fillies to 17 regional titles and five sectionals.
The Fillies shot 305 in the sectional and a 300 in the state finals, both program records.
"This team has seen it all during the time they have been playing together," Schoeck said. "They are all in with their passion for the game and their commitment to the team. We will build momentum and confidence off the work every player did in the winter and the summer. This group plays with a lot of energy and looks forward to making some great memories this season. They are anxious to get started and to welcome our new players to the team."
Buffalo Grove: First-year coach Jeff Grybash expects his team to be competitive and determined as he takes over for Matt Meyers. The Bison golfers include junior Alisa Patel, senior Katie Gordon, senior Zoe Childs, senior Claire McLoone, freshman Eva Ruterschmidt, senior Cailin Camilo, junior Kelly Allaire, senior Elise Boudart and junior Megan Fontanetta, who was an all-area softball player last fall.
"We have a very competitive and determined group of young ladies who are dedicated to really putting in the time and effort to improve their games," Grybash said. "We are looking forward to what the season has in store and hope to be playing our best golf when it matters most."
Conant: With the graduation of seven seniors, coach Megan Hebert is looking at this season as a bit of a rebuilding one.
The Cougars roster will be headed by senior Michelle Zhang (medalist at the Knights Invite last year when she shot a 72), senior Alyssa Brand, junior Annika Brand, junior Demitra Ganas, senior Kristen Frawley and senior Sydney Tong.
"The girls have been working hard all summer and are ready to compete," Hebert said.
Elk Grove: Coach Kristen Gierman is hoping to see her Grenadiers consistently break 200 this fall, relying on their skills to score from 120 yards
Her top golfers include senior Margaret Cronin, senior Reyna Shino, junior Teodora Evtimova, a sectional qualifier last year, and sophomore Grace Majer.
"We hope to push more golfers through the IHSA state series come October," Gierman said.
Fremd: Coach Christine Vlaming says her 2018 team has great energy and enthusiasm. "We enter this season with more playing experience and that will help us work toward reaching our goals," said the former Barrington pitching standout. "We are looking forward to growing and improving at each opportunity."
Vlaming's roster includes junior Kellie Liu, sophomore Aerin Oh, junior Liz Prigge, sophomore Mayu Aso, junior Alex Prigge, senior Shreyah Prasad and junior Victoria Fitzgerald.
"We enter this season with more playing experience," Vlaming said. "That will help us work toward reaching our goals. We are looking forward to growing and improving at each opportunity."
Hersey: Hersey coach Dan Vesper will have three seniors (Kelly Hannon, Casey Byer and Renae Curtis) leading his club but there are a few juniors and sophomores ready to contribute. "We also have an incoming freshman (Sydney Ohr) who has been playing in a bunch of tournaments this summer to get ready to make an impact right away, too," Vesper said. Madeline Ritter is a returning junior while Ohr and junior Kathryn Costello are newcomers. "We should have a really balanced team score-wise," Vesper said "And the girls always work so well together; pushing each other to get better while having so much fun. We have a great group of young golfers to help us continue to get better over the next few years, too.
Hoffman Estates: Hoffman Estates coach Dan Canace has a ton of turnover on the varsity level as six seniors graduated, two who qualified for sectionals last year. The Hawks will be led by two underclassmen (Maya Evans and Jayley Fairgrieves).
"We will be expecting them to carry us as juniors this year," Canace said. Two other juniors who will contribute are Matilda Prusnick and Hannah Rabbani. "Our strength is in our junior class. So we're inexperienced, but the girls have put in a lot of work over the summer."
Canace is hoping the Hawks will be more competitive in the MSL this year.
"But we know that's going to be a challenge with all of the talent in what's arguably one of the best conferences in the state," Canace added "We are bound to go through some growing pains with the youth of our team but I'm very excited and optimistic to see what our girls can do out on the course this year."
Palatine: This will be the first time in four years Pirates coach Bill Lepage will not have Jenny Myslinki on the roster. The talented golfer and basketball player is beginning her career at Loyola. Returning varsity players to LePage's squad are junior Olivia Radtke, junior Victoria Simons, senior Amanda Mirczuk and Elise Boudart. Newcomers include junior Julianna Mandarino. sophomore Allison Mirczuk, sophomore Caitlin Quinn and sophomore Chloe Hill.
Prospect: Coach Jim Hamann, who has been one of the most successful coaches in the state, begins his 10th season directing the Knights.
"We feel very comfortable with the formula for how we run our golf program," said the veteran who won state titles in 2011 and 2013. "We will continue to work on our team philosophies and goals."
Topping the Knights' roster are junior Kelly Kavanagh and seniors Emily Fleming, Amanda Stein, Emma Gries, Bennie Okamoto and Taylor DiPrima.
"This is one of the most experienced teams I have ever coached," said Hamann, who returns six varsity players. "We have five seniors and a junior returning from last year's varsity team. The rest of our seniors will lead by example and help get the younger players to buy into what we do,"
Hamann said many of his players are ready to start scoring right now.
"They have the experience, instruction, work ethic, and positive attitude," said Hamann, the 2014 Midwest Golf Coach of the Year and National High School Golf Coach of the Year finalist. "It is just a matter of time until we start seeing some really low numbers. We are also very excited about the players from last year's JV team and our new freshmen all wanting to contribute to the varsity this season.
Kavanagh and Fleming will lead the Knights at the top of the lineup.
"They are both ready for this role and excited to lead us in scoring," Hamann added. "Emma Gries and Amanda Stein will also be a couple of our top scorers. We have a large team and we are going to have a lot of fun together this season. We have hard-working kids and outstanding parents. We expect to be very competitive. The coaches will do everything we can to help our girls accomplish their goals. We will prepare very hard to do our best in every event we play in."
Rolling Meadows: The Mustangs' top golfers include senior Mallory Brand, senior Ashley Kuhel, junior Taylor Lindsey and sophomore Natalie Anderson. "The team has been working hard to improve their game," said Meadows coach Paul Fraser. "Focusing on their pre-shot routines and setting manageable goals for their rounds, they have developed a hunger for success."
The Mustangs qualified for sectionals for only the second time in school history last fall.
"With four returning members of that team, the girls are hoping to see similar results," Fraser added. "With the help of sophomore Sarah Tanny and freshman Jessica Perns, their sights are set on lower team scores."
Schaumburg: The Saxons are looking for continued success from senior and three-year varsity player Tatiana Cooper. "She is our only returning player who competed in the sectional last year," said Schaumburg coach Michelle Hinojosa.
Junior Lauren Christians put in hard work over the summer and is ready to compete at the varsity level this year.
"I'm so proud of many of our players who worked hard on their games in the off-season," Hinojosa added. "We are looking forward to a fun-filled year."
Wheeling: Coach Peggy Ellsworth is expecting a really good year from her returning upperclassmen. Leading the way are seniors Adrienne Rohwedder and Elena Falkiner and junior Symantha Rohwedder. Adrienne was 14th in the 2017 state tourney and she finished in the top three in seven of the eight other tournaments (one first place) in which Wheeling participated.
Her sister Samantha fired a career low 70 at her Barrington Invite where she finished third. "Adrienne would like to improve on her school-record breaking year," Ellsworth said. "She probably broke all of our records. Samantha is a very talented golfer in her own right, and she looks to improve on what was a great sophomore year. She has enough experience under her belt and talent to really have a breakout season."
Falkiner is a four-year varsity player who is also looking forward to a stellar senior season. "She has worked on her game this summer and I expect she will make some great improvements from last year," Ellsworth added. "We have a few new players joining the team and look forward to getting them ready for competition.
East Suburban Catholic Conference
St. Viator: The Lions return a solid core from last year's team that finished tenth in the Class A tournament. They will be led by the 2017 East Suburban Catholic Conference champion, sophomore Kate Reisinger, who was a top-ten medalist at state.
Also returning is Paige Klostermann, an all-conference medalist as a freshman in 2017. "I expect a lot from our seniors (Sophia Solari and Caroline Lavender) who both have three years of varsity experience." Others who will be pushing for playing time are junior Madeline Sebastian, sophomore Jill Doherty and senior Maggie VanVulkenberg. "Madeline has great potential." Drewes said. "Jill was great as a freshman until injuries sidelined her last year and Maggie has been our most improved player. Drewes is assisted by the Lions varsity coach John Scotillo. "We are hoping to return to state," Drewes added. "However, we need to compete in a very tough East Suburban Catholic Conference."
Central Suburban League
Maine West: Program numbers are small but Maine West has five players with varsity experience returning this year. That list includes senior captain Clara Cupuro, junior Anastasia Peric, sophomore Katie Benziger, senior Elisabeth McCrea and senior Melissa Flores.
"Clara and Anastasia have experience competing at the sectional tournament (as individuals) last year," said Maine West coach John Hauenstein. "We are excited about the chemistry of this team and look to build upon significant individual growth from 2017."
Rita Lossau and Madeline Larson also look to break into the varsity lineup.