Golf season is underway, and here are previews of teams from around the Record Newspapers coverage area.
Coach: Chad Pohlmann.
Top returners: Ty Ahrens, sr.; Brady Monahan, sr.
Key newcomers: Michael Hohlstrom, fr.; Jack Wolcott, so.; Matthew Matile, so.; Wade Menard, sr.
Worth noting: The Panthers, who took fourth at the season-opening Panther Stableford last week, are an interesting blend of experience and youth. Ahrens is a returning sectional qualifier and Oswego’s top returning golfer. Hohlstrom shot the lowest round ever by a freshman at Oswego tryouts and tied for fifth at the Panther Stableford last week. Menard didn’t play much last season because of injury, but Pohlmann has high expectations for him. Wolcott played in regionals as a freshman. The Panthers put in the time during the offseason with a team camp over the winter at Fox Bend and a summer camp.
“We have some nice young players who have put in some time. It’s kind of like the seniors, then the young guns behind them,” Pohlmann said. “I think we’ll have six guys that we can get a decent score from. Your conference tournament, you need four scores, if all six guys can put up a number, you like your chances.”
Coach: Jim Vera
Top returners: Patrick Malm, jr.; Eric Lewis, sr.; Ethan Gustafson, sr.
Worth noting: The Wolves are coming off a historic season, winning the program’s first-ever Southwest Prairie Conference and regional championships behind conference and regional champ Camden Bonney. Oswego East will have a much different look this season with Bonney, state qualifier Gavin Hjelle and Michael Hugelier – the backbone of the Wolves’ tremendous success the past few years – all having graduated. Malm was Oswego East’s No. 4 golfer last year and shot an 85 in regionals, Eric Lewis the No. 5 last year and Gustafson No. 7. Andy Lewis and Banks, fifth at the Panther Stableford last week, were Oswego East’s top fresh-soph players last year, and Lewis played up on varsity at the end of the year.
“We obviously lost a lot from last year, but we don’t consider this year a ‘rebuild’ or a throwaway,” Vera said. “We hope to compete in the SPC, and our goal is to continue to improve and hit our stride by the time we get to the SPC Tournament. Our success last year will help golfers like Malm, [Eric] Lewis and Gutafson, who had a chance to play with pressure at regionals and sectionals. They put a lot of time in over the summer, and are hopeful that it translates to more success.”
Coach: Scott Smith
Top returners: James McTighe, jr.
Key newcomers: Chris Schweitzer, so.; Braden Lee, so.; Adam Kee, fr.; Trenton Waskow, fr.; Camden Winkler, fr.
Worth noting: The Reapers return only one player this season, McTighe, who played on the JV team last year. Smith said he will be taking on a greater leadership role this season. Plano is a young team with six new players at the moment, four of them freshmen and two sophomores. “We are looking forward to watching these athletes grow as the season progresses,” Smith said.
Coach: Mike Butler (11th season).
Top returners: Noah Campbell, so.; Kadin Kern, jr.; Nick Sullivan, sr.
Worth noting:Sandwich posted a 4-9 record in duals last season, 2-5 in conference. The Indians return just three varsity lettermen, although Sullivan, Kern and Campbell were major contributors on last year’s team that saw dramatic improvement as the season progressed. Barbanente, Drew Sullivan and Zabukover are all making the jump to varsity after playing key roles on Sandwich’s JV team last season. Taylor Adams, Chance Lange, Tyler Lissman, Dan Reedy, and Taxis are among the new faces. The Indians took fourth out of 15 teams at the season-opening Sandwich Invitational.
Overall, I think the new guys and the returning players have jelled and there is a stronger competitive attitude in the program, which I think will lead to battles for playing time and make us better as a team,” Butler said. “On top of that, there are also a few freshmen and sophomores who are already making the case to be pulled up to varsity, which bodes well for the future.”
Worth noting: The co-op is the returning Little Ten Conference champs and brings back Figgins, who posted a 9-hole avg. of 40.2 last season and was a sectional qualifier. “Camden’s goal is to make sectionals again and this year advance to the state tournament,” Coach Baker said. “The other five spots will be filled by the group of six or seven players who all shoot similar scores as one another. We’ll be very interchangeable and go with the hot hand at the time. I think we’ll do well in nine-hole matches against pretty much everyone, but I’d like to see our 18-hole tourney results improve from last year. Playing 18 holes is a grind sometimes, but winning our conference tourney and a full-team sectional qualifier are the main goals this year.”
Coach: Cody Wyeth
Top returners: Justin Goebel, jr.; Michael Bass, jr.
Top newcomers: Tommy Scott, jr.; Kameron Yearsley, jr.; Logan Tuymer, jr.; Chase Garner, jr.; Bryson Jarboe, jr.; Aidan Matson, jr.
Worth noting: For the first time in six years, there will not be a Waugh brother on the Foxes’ roster as standout Ryan Waugh has graduated. Yorkville has eight juniors on varsity. Two of them, Goebel and Bass, played varsity as sophomores. Goebel shot 79 and 78, respectively, at the Foxes’ first two tournaments, Scott shot a 79 at Blue Island and Yearsley a 74 at Blue Island.
“They are a group that have played together the past few years and as a first-year coach I am happy to grow with them over this year and then have an even better group of golfers going into their senior year,” Wyeth said. “All eight golfers have the potential to shoot in the 80s consistently with Justin Goebel and Tommy Scott leading the way with aspirations to be in our ‘30s’ club of averaging in the 30s for nine holes the whole season.”
I am the Sports Editor for Kendall County Newspapers, the Kane County Chronicle and Suburban Life Media, covering primarily sports in Kendall, Kane, DuPage and western Cook counties. I've been covering high school sports for 24 years. I also assist with our news coverage.