The girls golf season has teed off. Here is a preview of the teams from around Kane County.
Coach: Tim Kauffmann
2017 Conference record: 5-2
Samantha Hasemann, senior
Cassie Norville, senior
Reagan Freebourn, senior
Outlook: Batavia returns plenty of experience, which figures to be an advantage heading into the first season of the DuKane Conference. Sophie Golson, a junior, was noted by coach Tim Kauffmann as a key addition after a "very strong end" of her junior varsity season last year.
"Our younger golfers will have to step up and contribute if we want to stay competitive," Kauffmann said. "We had a slight disappointment from a few golfers last year at regionals, so I know that they have been hungry to get back out there and prove themselves to the doubters."
BURLINGTON CENTRAL ROCKETS
Coach: Kyle Nelson
2017 record: 8-0; Kishwaukee River champions
Sydney Killeen, senior
Brianna Benjamin, senior
Ro Barnes, junior
Outlook: Central will no doubt be looking to defend its conference title from last season. The Rockets boast plenty of talent, highlighted by senior Sydney Killeen, who finished second at Central's own regional with a 73.
"The development of [Emily] Koh and [Kelsey] O'connor should make up for the loss of sectional qualifier Carli Niesel (graduation)," Nelson said. "The continued improvement of a strong upperclass lead by Killeen [and] Benjamin...should make [Central] the favorite in the Kishwaukee River conference."
Coach: Doug Ross
2017 record: 4-3 in conference
Avery Frick, junior
Claire Anderson, junior
Annie McQueeny, junior
Outlook: The most noteable graduation from last year's team is Darby Lillibridge, who placed 23rd individually at state. However, Geneva will be looking to improve upon last year's fifth-place finish in conference, and make a statement with the DuKane Conference coming in led by all conference selections, Avery Frick and Claire Anderson.
"Geneva is looking to make a mark on the new conference in its inaugural year," Ross said. "Many of the returning members – as well as the incoming freshman – played in numerous Illinois Junior Golf Association events and attended college camps."
Coach: Joseph Hughes
2017 record: 5-2 in dual matches
Ashley Auchstetter, sophomore
Sarah Borish, senior
Jackie Daum, senior
Outlook: Rosary graduated three seniors, but should be able to replenish quickly.
Ashley Auchstetter is coming off a solid freshman year of varsity golf, and should continue to make more jumps. Sarah Borish, Jackie Daum and Ella Radeztsky are all returning and looking to lead Rosary to advance out of regionals and beyond this year.
"I think that we had a great summer of golf. We had great numbers for our team camp, and we have a solid core of players who spent a great deal of time on their games in the offseason," Hughes said. "Additionally, we have a very nice mix of senior leadership and an infusion of youth on this year’s team. We are set up to be very competitive this season.
ST. CHARLES EAST SAINTS
Coach: Jerod Gutesha
2017 record: 8-3 in duals.
Paige Breslin, junior
Hadley Corbett, sophomore
Elizabeth Watson, senior
Outlook: Long-time Saints golf coach Rod Osborne retired last season after 27 years – a testament to the impact and success the program enjoyed over nearly three decades. Jerod Gutesha, an assistant for 13 seasons, takes over in his place. The Saints graduated three experienced players, but return three of the six players that competed in regionals and sectionals last year.
"The Saints will look for some new players to step up, and fill the roles in order to continue the successful tradition of golf at St Charles East," Gutesha said.
ST. CHARLES NORTH NORTH STARS
Coach: Irish Whalen
2017 record: 7-0
Megan Furtney, senior
Sarah Arnold, senior
Emma Hayes, senior
Outlook: After going undefeated in conference, winning regionals and placing second at sectionals, the North Stars return all six state series athletes, which bodes well since North later took fourth as a team at the 2A state final for the third straight year.
Duke commit Megan Furtney, who tied for eighth individually at state after posting a 76 in the final round, returns for her final campaign and will be looking for what could be her fourth top 10 finish at state.
"Each athlete pushes each other to be the best golfer they can be," Whalen said. "This is a vital component to our success as a team. We are determined to make our presences [known] within the new conference, and are looking forward to another chance to be extremely competitive at the state tournament."
ST. FRANCIS SPARTANS
Coach: Gay Crain
2017 match record: 11-0, a school record
Katherine Lemke, sophomore
Cameron Marr, sophomore
Elizabeth Grivetti, junior
Outlook: St. Francis is moving to the Metro Suburban conference this season, and will bring solid, albeit younger, experience with it. With a previous undefeated match record in tow, the Spartans won its first ever regional title last year. Katherine Lemke went to state as a top-20 finisher, and should be poised to lead St. Francis to newer heights.
"One key to our success is that girls genuinely care about each other and the improvement of the team," Crain said. "Our focus this year will be to continue to improve, learn and grow through experience and, focus on the things we can control. The results will take care of themselves."