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Boys golf season preview notebook

08/14/2014, 4:45pm CDT
By Jon Kerr | For Sun-Times Media | @prepspioneer

Pioneer Press breaks down the area's boys golf teams.


Libertyville’s Tad Carlson follows through on an iron shot during a tournament with the Wildcats last season. | Brian O’Mahoney/for Sun-Times Media

VERNON HILLS

Early signs indicate that this could be an exciting season for the Vernon Hills boys golf team.

“We host a regional this year at White Deer Run [Golf Club]. We hope to make a run at the state series,” coach Shawn Healey said.

The Cougars return two strong seniors — Ricky Schmidt and Bo Manso — from their 2013 North Suburban Conference co-championship team.

Sophomore Justin Park is also back, one season removed from a round of 73 shot at the 2013 Class 2A Grayslake Central Regional. Vernon Hills won the tournament, but failed to get a golfer out of sectional play.

“Last year was the first season in the past six or seven that we did not qualify at least one individual for the state tournament. We hope to start another run of qualifiers this year,” Healey said.

MUNDELEIN

The 2013 season saw Mundelein win a Class 3A regional, beating perennial power Lake Forest by two shots at Zion-Benton. The Mustangs managed to qualify one golfer — the graduated Bret Cigelnik — for the state tournament.
Three players return from the squad’s state series top six — senior John Lentz and sophomores Tyler White and Ryan Magee.

White had an active summer, playing in 14 Illinois Junior Golf Association tournaments and making 12 cuts with eight top-five finishes. Magee played in eight IJGA tournaments, earning five top-five finishes.

LAKE ZURICH

The Bears graduated three golfers from 2013 and will be looking for improved contributions from two seniors and a junior in 2014.

Tommy Greco, who was part of the team’s Class 3A state series lineup, is expected to return. He made all three of his IJGA tournament cuts this summer. Fellow senior Teddy Noll is also expected to return along with junior Scott Finley.

CARMEL

Longtime coach John Nolan is returning to the Carmel program after a year-long hiatus.

He will take over a Corsairs team that graduated four of the top six golfers from a 2013 squad that won an ESCC co-championship (Jackson Wietecha, Jared Moore, Nick Tasch and Chris Amato). The Corsairs finished with a 6-2 record in conference and advanced as a team to the Class 3A sectional round.

Seniors Jack Lake and Carter Wietecha were also in Carmel’s lineup a year ago.

LIBERTYVILLE

In 2013, the Wildcats missed advancing as a team into the Class 3A sectionals by four strokes. Five golfers advanced as individuals — Jack Lipp, Matt Reed, Billy Knutson, Tad Carlson and Jacob Mueller. None qualified for the state tournament, and all but Mueller have graduated.

Mueller, a sophomore, will be asked to carry an inexperienced team in 2014. He had an active summer, playing in 10 IJGA tournaments. Mueller made eight cuts, the highlight a top-five finish at an IJGA sectional in July.

BUFFALO GROVE

Three senior golfers — Brandon Matchen, Matt Eilrich and Matt Froemming — formed the core of Buffalo Grove’s 2013 squad. Matchen and Eilrich ended their Buffalo Grove careers by earning spots in the Class 3A sectional round.

Senior Mike DeSalvo is the team’s lone returning sectional qualifier. He’ll be the most experienced player on what is expected to be a young team in 2014.

"We need our seniors to step up and compete. Many of them have taken lessons and practiced a little [this summer]," coach Peter Duffer said. "They need to compete on the course. Whether that means grinding for an 84 or scrambling for an 80 is irrelevant. I'd like to see us strong at home and finish in the top two in the MSL East."

STEVENSON

Two of Stevenson’s three sectional qualifiers from 2013 have graduated, leaving Luke Feder as the expected leader.

Feder had a very busy summer on the links, playing in 16 IJGA tournaments and making 15 cuts. Feder is a lock for the team’s top six. Seniors Jason Gohde and Seth Gudmundson, along with sophomores Kevin Chin and Sandhu Kamarendeep, will vie for the remaining spots.

BARRINGTON

No boys golf coach in the Mid-Suburban League should feel more confident heading into the 2014 season than Barrington’s Michael Kallenbach.

“On paper, I feel we are as good as any other team,” Kallenbach said.

The reason for his sense of comfort? The Broncos return six golfers from their 2013 team. Senior captains Joey Batliner and Kevin Altenberger will anchor Barrington. But juniors Tom Calbi, Burke Barsamian and Cole Kempinski and sophomore Tim Lim provide depth for a team that doesn’t have many question marks.

“They all played significant roles on last year’s team,” Kallenbach said. “[They] have all had great results this summer.”

Batliner was the Broncos’ lone state qualifier in 2013.

LAKE FOREST

There was a rarity at last year’s boys golf state tournament — Lake Forest didn’t have a representative.

“We have only missed out on it a few times in the last 20 years,” coach Jim Matheson said. “But it puts a bad taste in everyone’s mouth when we don’t. [It] will hopefully motivate the team to a lot of success this year. Our team goal is always to get to the state tournament.”

The Scouts’ best bets are seniors Jack Garrity and Mac Montange. Seniors Jacques Zureikat and Sean Casey expect to crack the team’s top six.

“We have several juniors who have been working incredibly hard this summer waiting for their chance on varsity,” Matheson said. “There may be a couple freshmen coming in who will be pushing the older players.”

DEERFIELD

The Warriors will be hard pressed to duplicate one of the best seasons in school history.

Last fall, Deerfield followed its Class 3A sectional crown with a 10th-place finish at the state tournament.

Ian Kelsey, the individual state champion in 2012, is off to Dartmouth. But three members of the Warriors’ state lineup return: seniors Eric Bagg, Jack Dickman and junior Jacob Krugman.

“They played in many tournaments this summer with very good finishes,” coach Jeff Fishbein said.

Bagg had a busy summer on the Illinois Junior Golf Association circuit, with seven top-10 finishes.

“The experience of tournament competition made them all better prepared for this year,” Fishbein said. “Our plan is to return to state and improve upon last year’s 10th-place finish.”

HIGHLAND PARK

This will be a season of transition for Highland Park. Two-time state tournament qualifier Patrick Flavin is a freshman at Miami of Ohio, and Sam Meitus, a 2013 state participant, also has graduated.

Coach Paul Harris stepped down and will be replaced by Scott Leibfried. He will lean heavily on junior Noah Fishbein. In an active summer, Fishbein made six of eight IJGA tournament cuts. A highlight was a fourth-place tie in the three-round July IJGA-CDGA Junior Amateur tournament at Mill Creek Golf Club in Geneva.

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Libertyville’s Tad Carlson follows through on an iron shot during a tournament with the Wildcats last season. | Brian O’Mahoney/for Sun-Times Media

Early signs indicate that this could be an exciting season for the Vernon Hills boys golf team.

“We host a regional this year at White Deer Run [Golf Club]. We hope to make a run at the state series,” coach Shawn Healey said.

The Cougars return two strong seniors — Ricky Schmidt and Bo Manso — from their 2013 North Suburban Conference co-championship team.

Sophomore Justin Park is also back, one season removed from a round of 73 shot at the 2013 Class 2A Grayslake Central Regional. Vernon Hills won the tournament, but failed to get a golfer out of sectional play.

“Last year was the first season in the past six or seven that we did not qualify at least one individual for the state tournament. We hope to start another run of qualifiers this year,” Healey said.

MUNDELEIN

The 2013 season saw Mundelein win a Class 3A regional, beating perennial power Lake Forest by two shots at Zion-Benton. The Mustangs managed to qualify one golfer — the graduated Bret Cigelnik — for the state tournament.
Three players return from the squad’s state series top six — senior John Lentz and sophomores Tyler White and Ryan Magee.

White had an active summer, playing in 14 Illinois Junior Golf Association tournaments and making 12 cuts with eight top-five finishes. Magee played in eight IJGA tournaments, earning five top-five finishes.

LAKE ZURICH

The Bears graduated three golfers from 2013 and will be looking for improved contributions from two seniors and a junior in 2014.

Tommy Greco, who was part of the team’s Class 3A state series lineup, is expected to return. He made all three of his IJGA tournament cuts this summer. Fellow senior Teddy Noll is also expected to return along with junior Scott Finley.

CARMEL

Longtime coach John Nolan is returning to the Carmel program after a year-long hiatus.

He will take over a Corsairs team that graduated four of the top six golfers from a 2013 squad that won an ESCC co-championship (Jackson Wietecha, Jared Moore, Nick Tasch and Chris Amato). The Corsairs finished with a 6-2 record in conference and advanced as a team to the Class 3A sectional round.

Seniors Jack Lake and Carter Wietecha were also in Carmel’s lineup a year ago.

LIBERTYVILLE

In 2013, the Wildcats missed advancing as a team into the Class 3A sectionals by four strokes. Five golfers advanced as individuals — Jack Lipp, Matt Reed, Billy Knutson, Tad Carlson and Jacob Mueller. None qualified for the state tournament, and all but Mueller have graduated.

Mueller, a sophomore, will be asked to carry an inexperienced team in 2014. He had an active summer, playing in 10 IJGA tournaments. Mueller made eight cuts, the highlight a top-five finish at an IJGA sectional in July.

BUFFALO GROVE

Three senior golfers — Brandon Matchen, Matt Eilrich and Matt Froemming — formed the core of Buffalo Grove’s 2013 squad. Matchen and Eilrich ended their Buffalo Grove careers by earning spots in the Class 3A sectional round.

Senior Mike DeSalvo is the team’s lone returning sectional qualifier. He’ll be the most experienced player on what is expected to be a young team in 2014.

"We need our seniors to step up and compete. Many of them have taken lessons and practiced a little [this summer]," coach Peter Duffer said. "They need to compete on the course. Whether that means grinding for an 84 or scrambling for an 80 is irrelevant. I'd like to see us strong at home and finish in the top two in the MSL East."

STEVENSON

Two of Stevenson’s three sectional qualifiers from 2013 have graduated, leaving Luke Feder as the expected leader.

Feder had a very busy summer on the links, playing in 16 IJGA tournaments and making 15 cuts. Feder is a lock for the team’s top six. Seniors Jason Gohde and Seth Gudmundson, along with sophomores Kevin Chin and Sandhu Kamarendeep, will vie for the remaining spots.

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