Fox Valley Conference
Coach: Chris Gotsch (1st season)
Top returners: Kyle Irlbacker, jr., Peter Kalamaras, sr.,
Key newcomers: Zach Beaugureau, so., Keaton May, jr., Mitch Whitehouse, jr.
Worth noting: Gotsch takes over for coach Kelly Muzzy. Irlbacker and Beaugureau each claimed multiple first-place titles in the McHenry County Junior Golf Association's summer series. Irlbacker was runner-up in the senior boys division, and Beaugureau placed fourth overall in the junior boys division.
"This is a very competitive team," Gotsch said. "They all push each other, but no one puts themselves above the other. I'm looking forward to seeing them grow."
Crystal Lake Central
Coach: Derek Crabill (2nd season)
Top returners: Max Bevill, sr., Michael Tobin, sr., Josh Dingle, sr., Luke Garoufalis, sr., Sean Gau, sr., Jordan Schoenfeld, sr.
Worth nothing: The Tigers return four seniors from their regional championship team, including Bevill, Tobin, Dingle and Schoenfeld. Central is the defending FVC Fox champions.
"Our expectations are the same as last year," Crabill said "We want to compete for a title in conference and go after our second straight regional title."
Crystal Lake South
Coach: Curtis Wadlington (9th season)
Top returners: Brandon Dahl, jr., Nate Zacher, so.
Worth noting: The Gators' roster is full with 19 players, including Dahl, who had a top-10 finish in the MCJGA's senior boys division.
"We're still looking for a third and fourth to step up," Wadlington said. "We have a deep young roster with promising talent."
Coach: Bob Sweeney (8th season)
Top returners: Jeremy Gregory, sr., Josh Fougerousse, sr.
Key newcomers: J.P. Anderson, fr.
Worth noting: The Chargers' roster a young team with only two seniors and nine sophomores and freshmen. Gregory has put in a lot of time to improve his game over the summer, Sweeney said, and Anderson, a freshman, "shows a lot of promise."
"After [No. 1] Gregory, the competition is pretty wide open," Sweeney said. "It's going to be a battle to fill the other five spots, but I've set up some challenges in practice and they've seemed to respond very well."
Coach: Jeff Howe (9th season)
Top returners: Jake Tuttle, sr., Nick Swierczynski, sr., Drew Doran, sr., Myles Miller IV, so.
Worth noting: The Whip-Purs tied for first in the FVC Fox last season, losing out to the Tigers in the FVC tournament. Doran and Swierczynski each qualified for sectionals.
"I have no doubts that we'll be a top contender once again," Howe said. "My top four played all last season together and they are all improved."
Coach: Jim Rolando (7th season)
Top returners: Trent Craig, sr., Jake Bowser, sr., Andrew Mendonca, sr., Jake Grabner, jr.
Key newcomers: Owen Siddons, sr., Danny Spoeth, jr.
Worth noting: The Red Raiders have finished first or second in the FVC Valley and FVC tournament in each of the last three years. Huntley was one stroke shy of qualifying for state as a team last season, while Craig qualified for Class 3A state and finished 27th overall.
"We have a strong senior class and our top six or seven golfers can score for us on any given day," Rolando said.
Coach: Gary Conrad (1st season)
Top returners: Justin Lenzini, jr., Billy Walker, jr., Joe Addante, sr.
Key newcomers: Daniel Leitner, fr.
Worth noting: The Golden Eagles are the defending FVC tournament champions, but they lost two top-15 finishers at Class 3A state to graduation, Chris Boyle and Jack Ramsett. Walker, Lenzini and Addante all return from the regional championship team.
“The boys have a great cohesion going and have a lot of fun together, but are also very competitive against each other fighting for the No. 1 spot,” Conrad said. “This creates a great atmosphere to get them ready for high pressure situations."
Coach: Ryan Ellison (8th year)
Top returners: Cameron Justen, sr., A.J. Folino, sr., Nick Kosmalski, sr., Nick Hansen, jr., Dale Sinclair, jr.
Key newcomers: Ben Prisching, so.
Worth noting: The Warriors return two sectional qualifiers from a year ago in seniors Justen and Folino. Justen, Folino and Kosmalski participated in the Rockford Pro/Am over the summer and finished in second placed, paired with professional golfer Doug LaBelle II.
"I expect us to be at the top of the conference and competing for a championship," Ellison said. "We have the senior leadership to do it."
Coach: Jonathan Powell (2nd season)
Top returners: Ethan Farnam, so., Ben Lamar, sr.
Key newcomers: Cameron Karney, fr.
Worth noting: Farnam advanced to Class 3A state as a freshman and finished 21st overall. He spent the summer participating in numerous amateur tournaments across the country, including the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, which features the best amateur players in the world.
"We're not worried about where we finish in conference," Powell said. "We're just looking to get better each week and finish strong leading up to regionals, sectionals, and hopefully state."
Coach: J.C. Wise (21st season)
Top returners: Jared Zientz, jr., Devin Meyer, sr.
Key newcomers: Adrian Geske, jr., Steven Alcaraz, jr., Brandon Gulli, fr., Jonathan Zoia, sr., Daniela Miranda, so., Lynsie Pietrzak, fr.
Worth noting: Woodstock lost its only sectional qualifier from a year ago, Alex Ferguson, to graduation.
"Our hope is to keep getting better as the season progresses," Wise said. "Hopefully we see a lot of growth and improvement."
Big Northern Conference
Coach: Rich Petska (8th season)
Top returners: Jeremy Coffman, sr., Tyler Garafol, sr., T.J. Smith, jr.
Key newcomers: Austin Gratz, fr. Caleb Overlee, jr.
Worth noting: The Hornets had only one win as a team last season, but return a strong group headlined by Coffman, who qualified for Class 2A state as a sophomore in 2012. Coffman and Garafol each made it to sectionals last year.
"If we get a fourth scorer, look out," Petska said. "I'd take my No. 1 and No. 2 over anyone in the area."
Coach: Brad Frey (13th)
Top returners: Jake Doherty, jr., Grant Fisher, so.
Key newcomers: Casey Wilson, so.
Worth noting: The Skyhawks went 8-11 in the FVC last season, but will rejoin the BNC in 2014. Coach Frey said the switch has energized the team. Doherty and Fisher are both coming off sectional appearances, and Fisher won the MCJGA's junior boys division over the summer.
"We're really young with only one senior and two juniors," Frey said. "I'm not sure where we'll place in conference, but we'll be competitive every day."
Coach: J.D. Peters (18th season)
Top returners: Hunter Simonini, sr., Ryan Wick, jr., Connor Washer, so., Kyle Alt, sr., Jess Stieneke, jr., Aaron Schmitt, sr.
Worth noting: The Indians went 10-7 as a team last leason and return their No. 1, Simonini, who advanced all the way to Class 2A state and finished 23rd overall.
"We have very good upper class leadership with Simonini and Wick," Peters said. "And as a result, we have high expectations this year after finishing second in regional last year. We hope to qualify for sectionals and make a run at qualifying as a team for state."
Coach: Brad Tichenor (8th season)
Top returners: Jordan Hahn, sr., Joey Pegura, sr., Tim Duex, sr., Nick Becker, sr.
Key newcomers: Matt Walters, jr., Andrew DeZanek, jr.
Worth noting: Hahn was the 2013 Northwest Herald Boys Golfer of the Year, finishing third at Class 2A state. Duex was a sectional qualifier.
"This is a fun group," Tichenor said. "Our top four golfers are all hitting their senior years and should all be improved."
East Suburban Catholic Conference
Coach: Erin Carver (10th season)
Top returners: Brian Powers, sr., Kyler Hardie, sr.
Key newcomers: James Lydon, fr.
Worth noting: The Hurricanes fell two strokes short of qualifying for Class 2A state last year. Marian Central is no longer in the Suburban Christian Conference, joining the competitive ESCC.
"For the first time in a long time, we have a freshman on the varsity team," Carver said. "James [Lydon] is very mature for a freshman and will be an important member of the team."