Boys Golfer of the Year: His season delayed by COVID-19, St. Charles East's Jake Daeschler still turned in strong senior year

Team MVP was regional champ, all-conference golfer

A valuable life lesson was re-affirmed to Jake Daeschler after a crushing end to his sectional golf round last month.

“Just keep pushing; never give up,” said Daeschler, a St. Charles East senior. “I was playing phenomenal golf for 15 holes.”

Daeschler was tied for the individual lead. The next three holes, however, weren’t forgiving.

Daeschler posted two triple-bogeys and bogeyed the final hole of his high school career to finish in a five-way tie for 17th.

“It was obviously a tough way to finish, yeah,” Daeschler said. “It definitely still stings and hurts to this day, but something I can always learn from: It’s not over until it's over and I got to keep focused on my next shot and can’t get too ahead of myself.”

Despite the difficult finish to an otherwise outstanding prep career, Daeschler is the Kane County Chronicle’s Boys Golfer of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Daeschler finished the season No. 6 all-time in St. Charles High School-St. Charles East history with a 38.88 nine hole average. Daeschler was crowned the Class 3A regional individual champion this season and named an all-DuKane Conference selection.

Daeschler’s scores counted in 41 of 42 varsity matches over his three-year career, and he was voted MVP of the team three years in a row, tying Mike Calkin for that honor in St. Charles program history dating back to 1967.

Daeschler also made his first career trip to state last year, tying for 15th individually.

“Great career; great kid,” Saints coach John Stock said. “He was a pleasure. Hard worker, captain, leader. [I have] nothing but good things to say. I’ve been fortunate to have lots of good players and families. It’s just been a lucky [thing] for me.”

Daeschler confirmed he tested positive for COVID-19 in August, delaying his season for two weeks. Despite the diagnosis and weathering manageable symptoms, Daeschler was able to utilize an at-home putting green and an outdoor hitting net to keep his form before returning midway through September.

Luckily for Daeschler, his work meeting at the driving range with teammate Bennett Mortensen several days a week in the lead up to the season also kept him ready for another successful year.

“When I got back, I still had to get used to playing ‘real golf’, not in my backyard or my basement,” Daeschler said. “It was a tough transition. During quarantine when I tested positive, I just tried to at least hit balls every day, keep my feel for the game good and practice.”

Kane County Chronicle All Area Team

Charlie Burke, Marmion, junior: Burke was a top-10 finisher at sectionals and had a 74.1 scoring average throughout the year. Burke tied for fifth individually at the Chicago Catholic League Conference.

Jake Daeschler, St. Charles East, senior: Daeschler was the individual regional champion and finished the season No. 6 all-time in St. Charles High School-St. Charles East history with a 38.88 nine hole average.

Cody Ganzon, Kaneland, junior. Ganzon tied for first place at regionals (73) and third place at sectionals (75). Ganzon was named Interstate Eight all conference.

Alex Lilly, St. Charles North, senior. Lilly finished in the top 10 in the DuKane Conference in terms of points earned. He also earned medalist at the DKC Tournament (74) and qualified for the sectional as an individual.

Cal McKittrick, Geneva, senior. McKittrick was a top-10 finisher in both regionals and sectionals. McKittrick was also named to the all-DuKane Conference team.

Gavin Newkirk, Batavia, sophomore. Newkirk was named the DuKane Conference Player of the Year and earned medalist honors five times during the season. Newkirk also placed fifth individually at regionals.

Josh Pehl, Kaneland, junior. Pehl won first place at the I-8 Conference Tournament (73), third place at regionals (75) and fifth place at sectionals (78).

Carter Williams, Geneva, senior. Williams surged in postseason play, tying for second insidiously at regionals and fourth at sectionals to conclude a strong season of play.