The 2023 girls golf season is underway, and here are previews of teams from around the Record Newspapers coverage area.
Coach: Brian Chandler
Top returning players: Katelin Hong, sr.; Shyell Lowe, sr.; Kendall Grant, so.; Abby Mundsinger, jr.; Mary Quaid, sr.; Tristin Hyland, sr.; Annabelle Williams, so.
Worth noting: Oswego finished with a 7-3 dual meet record last season and placed third in the Southwest Prairie Conference. This is an experienced group with eight seniors in the program. Hong, a 2022 state qualifier, and Lowe, a 2021 state qualifier, will lead the way. Grant, eighth in conference last season, leads a mix of girls ready to contribute behind Hong and Lowe.
“We think we have a great mix of student athletes and a ton of talent in our program. We are excited to make a push toward the top of the SPC and make some noise in the postseason,” Chandler said. “I know Shyell and Katelin both have goals to push the team all year and they hope to get back to Decatur to compete at the state tournament. After each of them got there separately in 2021 and 2022, it would be real neat to be able to see them both at state together for their senior seasons.”
Coach: Wilson Wright
Top returning players: Haley Bellavia, sr.; Leslie Juarez, sr.; Gracie Busboom, so.
Worth noting: Bellavia and Juarez are returning seniors, and Busboom a returning sophomore from last year’s lineup. Plano has six first-year golfers and first-year coach Wright is excited to see them progress.
“We are hoping to see a lot of improvement as a team overall this year,” Wright said.
Coach: Mike Butler
Top returning players: Ruby Ferguson, so.
Top new players: Brynn Butler, fr.; Fiona Legge, so.
Worth noting: Butler is in his 12th season as head coach and 19th with the program. The Indians graduated three seniors from last season including four-time sectional qualifier Melody Goldstein. Sandwich is tasked with the challenge of a young team. Ferguson is the only returning golfer from last season and her leadership will be key for newcomers Legge and Butler as they start their careers.
“The girls have great attitudes and want to get better and that is all you can ask as a coach,” Butler said. “They have already grown by leaps and bounds, and I think it will be fun to watch them grow.”
Coach: Nicholas Cress
Top returning players: Ellery Hyett, jr.; McKinleigh Killham, jr.; Peyton Levine, jr.; Cassidy Madden, jr.; Destiny Barton, so.; Izzy Strausberger, so.; Katie Calder, so.; Abigail Plank, so.
Worth noting: For the first time in eight years, there will not be a Natividad sister to anchor the Yorkville lineup, so the Foxes will look much different. Mia Natividad, four-time conference champ and state runner-up as a junior, graduated and joined her sister Kait at Toledo. Yorkville last year finished fifth at the Southwest Prairie Conference meet and fourth in regionals, advancing two golfers to sectionals and Natividad to state. This will be a young Foxes’ team with four juniors, 12 sophomores and two freshmen, but quite a few returning players with one or two years of varsity experience.
“This will be a new-look team this year with a lot of younger players in big roles throughout the season,” Cress said. “With 18 girls, we are excited to be an example of another big team to show the growth of high school girls golf in the area. We are looking to build on our progress as a team from last year and focus on short-term, positive growth. We may be younger compared to other teams but are looking to surprise others on the golf course.”