Girls golf: Changes aplenty in Mid-Suburban League

  • Prospect's Kelly Kavanagh, a Drake recruit, will help lead the Knights' girls golf team this fall.

      Prospect's Kelly Kavanagh, a Drake recruit, will help lead the Knights' girls golf team this fall. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

Updated 8/17/2019 4:15 PM

The 2019 girls golf season begins with a changing of the guard in the Mid-Suburban League.

Hall of Fame coaches Jodi Schoeck of Barrington and Jim Hamann of Prospect will no longer call the shots at the two programs which were the MSL West and East champs a year ago.


Schoeck retired after leading Barrington to a fourth straight MSL crown while Hamann takes over the boys golf team at Prospect after leading the Knights to state girls titles in 2011 and 2013.

First-year Fillies coach Tim Martin welcomes back Wake Forest recruit Caroline Smith, the defending three-time MSL Champion, a three-time state qualifier and three-time state medal winner including a second-place finish in the 2017 state tournament.

Other key players for the Fillies will be senior Phebe Chen, senior Samantha Saile, junior Sophia Denison, sophomore Sophia Sulkar and sophomore Mara Janess, who finished 19th in the state tournament last fall. Sulkar finished fifth in the 2018 MSL meet.

Barrington has placed second twice in the last three state tournaments and has won four consecutive MSL titles.

Prospect rookie coach Brad Rathe will send out senior ace Kelly Kavanagh, who has verbally committed to Drake University.

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One other new coach in the MSL is Fremd's Jeremy Malinowski, who takes over for Christine Vlaming. Last year's sectional qualifiers Kellie Liu and Liz Prigge will provide leadership for Malinowski's veteran group.

Elk Grove coach Kristen Gierman hopes to see her team build upon the success of its 2018 sectional qualifying season as senior Teodora Evtimova, senior Grace Cloherty and junior Grace Majer will help lead the way.

Senior Taylor Lindsey, junior Natalie Anderson and junior Sarah Tanny, a 2017 sectional qualifier, return for coach Paul Fraser at Rolling Meadows. "The team is hoping to push each other to perform at their best while having fun," Fraser said.

Wheeling's Symantha Rohwedder returns for her senior year for coach Peggy Ellsworth, who also expects good things from seniors Diane Purdes and Michelle Olechno, and sophomores Josephine Stepak and Gaby Plascencia.


Hersey coach Dan Vesper said 2018 was a solid 'sneak-peak' into what the 2019 could look like. "We didn't have anyone average in the 40s last year but our best average was from a freshman (Sydney Ohr). Ohr returns for her sophomore year along with senior Kathryn Costello, who was less than a 1/2 stroke behind Sydney last year. "So I see those two leading the way again," said Vepser who will also rely on Sarah Ebert, Lauren Steininger and Maddie Ritter.

Seniors Alisa Patel (10th place MSL finisher and sectional qualifier), Kelly Allaire and Megan Fontanetta will lead the way for Jeff Grybash's Buffalo Grove Bison who were third (361) behind Barrington (293) and Prospect (229) in last year's MSL meet. "We will certainly rely on their experience and leadership," Grybash said. "One of our goals is to play our best golf at the end of the season."

Last year's sectional qualifiers Kellie Liu and Liz Prigge will provide leadership for coach Fremd coach Jeremy Malinowski, who takes over for coach Christine Vlaming this season. He has a veteran group that hopes to be competitive in league play.

Schaumburg coach Michelle Hinojosa had a young team, that includes sophomore Emily Akers, who scored in all of the Saxons' matches last season. Sectional qualifier Lauren Christians (senior) junior Kaylyn Mackrie, who finished strong last year and enjoyed a productive summer, also return.

Top returning players for Conant coach Megan Hebert are senior Demitra Ganas and junior Molly McFadden (Jr).

Palatine coach Bill LePage said senior and three-sport athlete Olivia Radtke had a productive summer will lead the Pirates on and off the course. Classmate Victoria Simons also returns.

The Maine report: Maine West coach John Hauenstein returns junior Katie Benziger (captain and a sectional qualifier) and senior Anastasia Peric, a three-time sectional qualifier. Freshman Sophia Cupuro can make an impact in the Warriors lineup, too.

Junior Kalena Sultana, a 2018 state qualifier, returns for Maine South coach Kayla Hansen who is hoping to advance another player this fall to the state finals. Others on the roster are senior Theresa Daly and juniors Kendall Bertsch, Alison Biagi, Rachel Hoffman and Maya Kotur.

Northwest suburbs girls golf at a glance

Four-peat?: Last fall, Barrington senior Caroline Smith made history when she became the first Filly to win three straight Mid-Suburban League championships. The Wake Forest recruit did it by defeating her own teammate Nicole Ciskowski (now a freshman playing at Wisconsin), on the third hole of an overtime playoff.

Top 10 MSL: Returning MSL players who were in the top ten of last year's conference meet at Palatine Hills are Barrington's Caroline Smith (72), Prospect's Kelly Kavanagh (73), Barrington's Sophia Sulkar (76), Barrington's Olivia Lee (77), Wheeling's Symantha Rohwedder (78) and Barrington's Mara Janess (80).

Mark your calendar: The defending MSL West and East champs, Barrington and Prospect, tee off in a dual meet at Mt. Prospect Golf Club on Sept. 19.

Fleming flourishing: Prospect's Emily Fleming won two Illinois Junior Golf Association events this summer and finished in the Top 10 in four others.

"I think she is ready to have a dominating season," said Knights first-year coach Brade Rathe, who also welcomes back seniors Olivia Accardi and Ella Knee. Some rising talent includes juniors Emma Preissing, Bella Peshek, Bri Arzbaecher and sophomores Stella Radford and Abby Knott.

Rohwedder ready: Wheeling senior Symantha Rohwedder was fourth-place in the regional last year and second at the Vernon Hills and Arlington Lakes invites. Her sister Adrienne is now a freshman playing for Carthage College. "I am certain she will be looking to top her sister's 10th-place finish at state," said Wildcats coach Peggy Ellsworth.

Nice turnout: St. Viator coach Mick Drewes welcomed more than 25 players on his varsity this season. Two-time state qualifier and junior Cate Reisinger returns for the Lions while Jill Doherty and Paige Klosterman will also be heavily relied on by Drewes.

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