The boys golf season has teed off. Here is a preview of the teams from around Kane County.
Coach: Tim DeBruycker
Top athletes: Anthony Carrano, jr.; Matt Elward, jr.; Ari Fragen, sr.; Jake Kleist, sr.; Dylan Krol, sr.; Gavin Newkirk, fr.; Kade Witt, sr.; Jeff Zofkie, jr.
Outlook: Batavia will rely heavily on Fragen, the lone player with a notable pedigree from last season after sectional qualifier Ryan Ingold elected to switch to football for his senior year. Fragen was all-conference in the inaugural year of the DuKane last fall. “He is going to be our most important guy,” DeBruycker said of his top returnee. The Bulldogs’ central mission will be to improve their league status from a year ago. “Who knows who is going to win it?” DeBruycker said. DeBruycker will look to acclimate his new varsity members, the vast majority of whom played on the underclass team last year.
BURLINGTON CENTRAL ROCKETS
Coach: Tom Davies
Top athletes: Tommy Budnick, sr.; Tyler DiDomenico, jr.; Tyson Malak, so.; Jason Rodman, jr.; Chaz Rutke, so.; Joseph Sernett, sr.
Outlook: Davies has no illusions about the top of his playing order as the season begins. Malak was the lone Burlington Central player who advanced to the Class 2A Kaneland Sectional last fall who did not graduate. DiDomenico and Malak are expected to be the linchpins of the Rockets, who will transition from the Kishwaukee River Conference to the much-more hazardous waters of the Fox Valley Conference. “Obviously, [our success] is going to be determined by DiDomenico and Malak,” Davies said. But Budnick and Sernett will be counted on to produce in their final seasons as well.
Coach: Eric Hatczel
Top athletes: Nathan Dalton, sr.; Jacob Fleming, sr.; Dylan Lahey, jr.; Cal McKittrick, jr.; Quin McNeive, jr.; John Mooney, sr.; Zach Padgett, jr.; Sam Pospisil, jr., Tommy Sewczwicz, jr.; Carter Willliams, jr.
Outlook: The central task for Hatczel this fall is replacing four-year state qualifiers Tyler Isenhart and Jack McDonald. Dalton and Nieve return after playing with the Vikings’ sixth-place Class 3A state unit last fall. Hatczel has nothing if not a potentially wide talent pool to choose from for his eventual starting lineup. “Our scores at tryouts were very close, so it is hard to determine what our typical [dual] match and tournament lineup will be,” Hatczel said. The Vikings captured both levels of the DuKane Conference championships last year.
Coach: Mark Meyer
Top athletes: Max Drancik, sr. Cody Ganzon, so.; Ryan Milton, jr., Michael Partoll, jr.; Josh Pehl, so.; Hagan Rank, so.; Bryce Stair, sr.
Outlook: Meyer has a monumental task in replacing Nebraska freshman Will Marshall, who fashioned three all-state performances during his decorated Kaneland career. But Milton and Stair are the most likely suspects as the Knights entertain lofty expectations after reaching the most exalted heights at the Class 2A state finals last fall. “We are going to try and build off of last year,” Milton said of the Knights’ seventh-place finish. “Hopefully we can finish top-five,” Stair said. With five returning starters, Meyer sees both Drancik and Rank contributing as well this fall. “It will be fairly competitive,” Meyer said of the local Class 2A landscape.
Coach: Russ Huggins
Top athletes: Caeden Ayres, sr.; Charlie Burke, so.; Dominic Czerwinski sr., Ethan Czerwinski, so.; Aaron Munson, jr.; Ben Riner, sr.; Adoni Sleezer, jr.
Outlook: Marmion will have almost an entirely new look after its season ended last year with a hard-to-stomach fifth-card tiebreaker defeat at the hands of Wheaton Warrenville South to advance out of the Class 3A West Aurora Regional. But the Cadets could be an entirely different animal after being designated for the Class 2A postseason this fall. “I think we can be a contender at a sectional – depending on the draw,” Huggins said. Only a sophomore, Burke could very well be the Cadets’ most accomplished players. Huggins is anxious to see how Sleezer transitions to varsity after a successful sophomore season.
ST. CHARLES EAST SAINTS
Coach: John Stock
Top athletes: Jake Daeschler, jr.; Joey Dunklau, sr.; David Griggs, sr.; Bennett Mortensen, jr.; Chris Petri, jr.; Jack Spence, sr.
Outlook: St. Charles East extended its impressive postseason streak of advancing the entire team to the largest-class sectional for a 14th consecutive year last fall. But for only the third time in his two-decade career Stock did not produce a state qualifier. The Saints have five sectional returnees as Daeschler will begin the season as the top-ranked player. Petri, though, will invariably contend for the honor as a two-time sectional qualifier. “Those three [Dasechler, Petri and Griggs] are going to be the key for us,” Stock said. Spence is the lone newcomer to the starting six for the Saints.
ST. CHARLES NORTH NORTH STARS
Coach: Justin Moriarty
Top athletes: Brett Barnes, jr.; Sam Dummer, jr.; Nathan Gordon, sr.; Joe Guido, jr.; Alex Lilly, jr.; Cole Miller, jr.; Ethan Ring, sr.; Evan Suyak, jr.; John White, sr.
Outlook: St. Charles North returns two-thirds of its Class 3A sectional-qualifying lineup as Lilly headlines a junior-dominated squad. Ring, Suyak and Gordon also played at the South Elgin Sectional last fall. “I think [Lilly] as a junior has made a nice leap,” Moriarty said. “We had a lot of guys getting that varsity experience ([ast year].” Moriarty likes the North Stars’ early chemistry. “They are a close-knit group,” Moriarty said. “I think we are on the right track.” Gordon is the elder statesman among returnees.
ST. FRANCIS SPARTANS
Coach: Greg Baresel
Top athletes: Andrew Cook, jr.; Jake Kenney, sr.; John Lilly, sr.; Ryan Lilly, sr.; Zach Mulhearn, jr.; Connor Polan, sr.; Danny Rice, so.; Gabe Siracusano, jr.
Outlook: Like Kaneland, St. Francis’ season was extended to the final weekend last year with a Class 2A state-finals appearance as the Spartans were eighth in the weather-shortened tournament. But Kenney was the lone non-senior starter last fall for St. Francis. Baresel will concentrate on St. Francis remaining viable in its league. “We should still be able to compete in the Metro Suburban,” Baresel said. Baresel will look for Mulhearn, son of a club professional, to make inroads for the Spartans. “Zach is an all-around solid player,” Baresel said of the junior.