Scouting Cook and Lake County girls golf season
Barrington climbed to the top of the standings in Class 2A last season, but the Fillies are looking to double their run this season.
Not many teams would be able to overcome the loss of two elite golfers -- Mara Janess and Sophia Sulkar -- but Barrington returns a wealth of talent. Janess and Sulkar finished in the top-two spots at state last season, helping to lead the Fillies to a state team title.
Janess, a Michigan recruit, and Sulkar, an Illinois freshman, were two of the best golfers in the state, but Simran Singh, Leah Gaidos, Bridget Butler and Sydney Terada are among the next wave of Fillies' golfers slated to lead the program.
"Everyone has put in a great deal of work in this offseason to keep developing their games," Barrington coach Tim Martin said.
Another team with the potential to make run at the state tournament is Prospect. The Knights have four returnees from last season's regional championship team, highlighted by senior Kate Riesing, senior Taylor Knott, senior Maia Johnson and junior Emily Torok.
"We've got some great experience from four of our players playing in the regional and sectional tournaments from last year," Prospect coach Brad Rathe said. "Our expectations are to continue the rich tradition we have established at Prospect and want to continue to build on that legacy."
Palatine junior Mahek Archarya and senior Maja Popovic headline a deep and talented team looking for a return trip to sectionals.
"We're looking to be competitive in our conference matches and tournaments due to the experience and positive attitude of our entire team," Palatine coach Zack Kolakowski said.
Buffalo Grove had three players finish in the Top 10 at Class AA state last season, but welcome two talented freshmen into the program looking for playing time this fall. Seniors Eva Mason and Alysa Fontanetta and freshmen Courtney Beerhide and Brooke Wells comprise a diverse rotation.
"After graduating nine seniors, we are going to be relatively young," BG coach Jeff Grybash said. "We will be relying on the leadership of our seniors and will be welcoming some talented freshman."
Hersey coach Daniel Vesper has the luxury of senior Julia Chudzinski back for one final season. Juniors Ava Johnson and Raegan Nelson are among the Huskies' top returnees.
"Julia has been a leader on our team for a couple of years, but now as a senior, she will really be the one the other girls look up to," Vesper said.
Hoffman Estates has a talented group of players slated to lead the team in Erin Lim, Sophie DiPerro and Ella Steel. Lim, a junior, is expected to be the team's top golfer, according to coach Daniel Canace.
Elk Grove seniors Margherita Weiner and Libby Wertz are the main leaders on the Grenadiers, while Conant has talented senior Sadie Zorrilla back in the fold. Lauren Russell, Ariel Morrison, Mia Withers and Gabbi Zyung are all part of a talented rotation for the Cougars.
"I think we have a really solid crew coming back who have been working hard over the summer," Conant coach Megan Hebert said. "With Sadie leading the way, I think we have the potential to do some fun things as a team."
St. Viator is a team to watch in Class A this fall -- again. The Lions welcome back their top five golfers from last season's fifth-place team, which includes Maggie Carlson, Ava Reisinger, Charlotte Adler, Lily Zicarelli and Grace Adler. Carlson is a top-level talented player after earning the player of the year honors in the East Suburban Catholic Conference last season.
"Our goal every year is to win the conference," St. Viator coach Mick Drewes said. "With four all-conference players returning, we should match up well."
Stevenson coach Emma Degen has built a powerhouse program that's slated to compete for another run at a state title. The Patriots are motivated following a second-place finish at Class AA last season. Senior Allie Santos, juniors Chelsea She and Megan Lee and sophomore Allyson Duan are among the returnees.
"These girls have had a target on their backs for the last few years and this year is no different," Degen said. "As long as we do what we are known to do, we will be a tough team to beat."
Warren is looking to build off last season's regional title. The Blue Devils, coached by Leigh Ann Mondrawickas-Boncher, will rally around seniors Gracie Haupt, Alaina Goeden, Ally Badgley, Josie Leibfried and sophomores Sophia Pas and Jordan Dodd.
"With strong leadership from our returning upperclassmen, this team is poised to make some strides," she said. "A number of players have elevated their games with dedication in the offseason. We're excited to see what this group can accomplish."
Lake Zurich coach Mel Fox is putting an emphasis on the short game to help everyone elevate their play following the graduation of several talented players. Senior Jane Yu and juniors Brooke Prindiville and Taylor Eckland are the top returning upperclassmen.
Grant had a number of big moments last season, namely placing second in the NLCC. The Bulldogs' experience is a big plus, with seniors Abbi Themanson and Kelsey Glunz slated to guide juniors Savannah Dickson, Allie Babcock and Bella Muir and sophomore Riley Daniele.
Mundelein lost a ton of talent from last season, though the Mustangs are hopeful for big seasons from seniors Lucy Vecchie, Taiylor Egbert and Alyssa Johnson.
Five seniors headline an experienced Maine West squad. Senior captain Sofia Cupuro, a sectional qualifier last season, is the top returnee, joining Sara Zogman, Aubrey Brown, Sabrina Bukvarevic and Aurelia Lawson.
"We will be looking for our seniors to provide extensive leadership to the underclassmen because we will have limited experience outside of our senior class," Maine West coach John Hauenstein said.
Maine South seniors Maggie Woods and Tessa Penn, both sectional qualifiers and three-year varsity members, comprise the heart of the Hawks' team.
Girls golf at a glance
Top players: Barrington senior Simran Singh, Barrington junior Leah Gaidos, Hersey senior Julia Chudzinski, Conant senior Sadie Zorrilla, St. Viator sophomore Maggie Carlson, Stevenson senior Allie Santos, Stevenson sophomore Allyson Duan, Vernon Hills senior Lexi Schulman
Key dates: Regionals Sept. 26-28; Sectionals: Oct 3-4
2021 sectional champions: Stevenson, Hinsdale Central, New Trier O'Fallon (2A); St. Anthony, Chicago Latin, Rockford Boylan, Mt. Carmel (1A)
2021 state champions: Barrington (2A), Mt. Carmel (1A)
2022 state tournament: Oct 7-8 at Hickory Point Golf Course, Decatur (2A) and Red Tail Run Golf Course, Decatur (1A)