CRYSTAL LAKE – Huntley’s girls golf team won’t be playing on a golf course that’s part of its regular rotation for IHSA regionals, but coach Ann Christiansen is confident in the Red Raiders’ chances of advancing.
The Red Raiders will head to the Class AA Freeport Regional on Wednesday at Park Hills in Freeport. Huntley played there once this season, Sept. 22 in the Pretzel Invitational.
Christiansen said sisters Gabby and Gillian Young went out last weekend and played at Park Hills, and she believes those two and players such as Zoe Dowell and Danielle Smith will be ready.
“All of these girls at one point during the season have placed to win a tournament,” Christiansen said. “I think we have a better opportunity to make it out as a team than at GCI.”
She’s referring to the stacked field at the Class AA Crystal Lake Central Regional at the Golf Club of Illinois in Algonquin. That tournament features Fox Valley Conference champs Prairie Ridge and close runner-up Crystal Lake Central as well as locals Jacobs, Dundee-Crown, McHenry and Marian Central.
Fox Valley Conference individual champion and Prairie Ridge senior Delainey Peterson is aware that GCI may present some challenges.
“I’m really happy that there’s no trees, but the fescue might be a little rough sometimes,” Peterson said. “I’m just going to try to keep it straight and in the fairway and we should hopefully have a good round.”
On the boys’ side, Huntley coach Jim Rolando feels his team is going into a battle. Five teams in today’s Class 2A Crystal Lake South Regional at Red Tail played in sectionals last year.
Huntley will be joined by FVC Valley Division winner Jacobs as well as strong teams in Cary-Grove and Crystal Lake Central.
Rolando, whose Huntley team features individual conference tournament winner Ryan Craig, thinks a score under 300 will advance.
“Every coach would probably tell you they got a really tough draw. But I’m not lying,” Rolando said. “If it’s not the toughest then probably the second toughest in the state.”
Elsewhere, Prairie Ridge will host a Class 3A regional on its home course of Prairie Isle in Prairie Grove. The draw features local teams McHenry and Woodstock.
“We’re looking to advance as a team,” Prairie Ridge coach John Pellikan said. “The guys play out there so much that if we play like we can, I think we can win it.”
Richmond-Burton, featuring back-to-back Big Northern Conference Tournament champion Jordan Hahn, will head to the Class 2A Vernon Hills Regional at White Deer Run. The Rockets will be joined by Harvard, Johnsburg and Marian Central.
“All nine could possibly advance as a team,” R-B coach Brad Tichenor said. “This has been the best team I’ve had as a coach at Richmond. We want to get in as a team for the very first time.”
Class 3A Crystal Lake South Regional
Today at Redtail Golf Club in Lakewood
Area teams: Jacobs, Dundee-Crown, Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South, Huntley.
Others: Barrington, Lake Zurich, Fremd, Palatine.
Keys to the tournament: Ryan and Trent Craig anchor a strong Huntley, while Sean Kozak of Jacobs, Austin Wiggerman of South and Jarrett Kinney of C-G figure to prove up to task. The most consistent team could be Crystal Lake Central as all area teams will be challenged by the non-conference foes in this stacked draw.
Class 3A Prairie Ridge Regional
Today at Prairie Isle in Prairie Grove
Area teams: Prairie Ridge, McHenry, Woodstock.
Others: Harlem, Auburn, Boylan Catholic, Rockford East, Guliford, Jefferson, Hononegah.
Keys to the tournament: Prairie Ridge figures to have the upper-hand playing on their home course in a field that features five Rockford schools. However, based on averages this season the top-4 are Boylan, McHenry, Hononegah and Prairie Ridge.
Class 2A Vernon Hills Regional
Today at White Deer Run in Vernon Hills
Area teams: Harvard, Johnsburg, Richmond-Burton, Marian Central.
Others: Antioch, Grayslake Central, Lakes, Vernon Hills, Wauconda.
Keys to the tournament: R-B brings experience with Hahn, Matt Swanson and Bobby Meyers while Marian Central was the Suburban Christian Conference champion behind 3rd place finisher Ben Schnepf and 4th place finisher Noah Radwanski.
Other tournaments: Hampshire at Class 2A Sycamore Regional at Sycamore Golf Club on Tuesday, Marengo at Class 2A Stillman Valley Regional at Prairie View in Byron on Tuesday.
Class AA Crystal Lake Central Regional
at Golf Club of Illinois in Algonquin on Wednesday
Area teams: Jacobs, Dundee-Crown, Crystal Lake Central, Prairie Ridge, McHenry, Marian Central.
Others: Larkin, Geneva, South Elgin, St. Charles East, St. Charles North.
Keys to the tournament: Central’s co-op is the deepest team in the field, able to throw out any combination of Larisa Luloff, Brianna DeGrazia, Ann Bandolik, Emily Jean, Bailey Bostler or Alex Siavelis in hopes of a good score. Prairie Ridge, with Peterson, Robin Manarik, Danielle Roulo, Michelle Nalepa, Brooke Johnson and Erin Wing edged the Tigers out in conference. It will come down to either of those two teams for a team title.
Class AA Freeport Regional at Park Hills in Freeport on Wednesday
Area team: Huntley
Others: Belvidere, Burlington Central, DeKalb, Freeport, Harlem, Kaneland, Boylan, Guliford, Hononegah, Sycamore.
Keys to the tournament: Huntley shot a better score than all of the teams they will be competing against while taking sixth at the Pretzel invite on Sep. 22, their only time playing at Park Hills.
Class A Johnsburg Regional
at Boone Creek in Bull Valley on Wednesday
Area teams: Harvard, Johnsburg, Marengo, Richmond-Burton.
Others: Aurora Central, IMSA, Rosary, Elgin Academy, St. Edward, Westminster Christian, Genoa-Kingston, Listle, Wheaton Academy, St. Francis, North Shore Country Day.
Keys to the tournament: This Skyhawk-hosted regional grabs small schools from all around but look for Johnsburg’s Symone Seyler, an FVC all-conference golfer with a 12th place finish at the conference tournament, to hopefully emerge from the pack individually.