Considering the Riverside-Brookfield High School girls golf team had only three returners and six golfers overall on the varsity this fall, the team turned in a commendable campaign.
Although RBHS finished with a 4-7 record, four of the losses were by less than eight strokes.
“We were just a couple of putts here and there of having a much better record,” RBHS coach Mark Gouwens said. “We went into this season knowing we had some rebuilding to do. With one senior and two sophomores as our only returning players, we were very dependent on the development of our new players. The number of wins and near misses is a testament to their hard work and determination.”
The Bulldogs came in fourth place at the Metro Suburban Conference Tournament. They also garnered third at the Willowbrook Invitational, marking the fourth straight year RBHS brought home a trophy from that event. Kiki Keen carded a 33 to earn a silver medal.
“This season has been a process in which we had to learn to measure our progress against ourselves,” Gouwens said. “Our goal was to get better each time we got to the course and we did. To finish fourth as the only public school at conference is a great achievement for such a young team.”
Keen earned all-conference and all-tournament honors in the Metro Suburban. Fellow returners senior Isabel Hughes and sophomore Eva Funaki provided additional stability.
Newcomers Gillian Gaines, Tess Bruno and Elizabeth Centorcelli improved over the course of the season.
“Many of our new players were thrown into varsity matches having never been on a golf course in their lives,” Gouwens noted. “As we head into a tough regional at Cog Hill, I expect several of our players to be able to advance to the sectional level.”
The Lions finished right in the middle of the West Suburban Conference Meet with a score of 393 and fifth-place result at the Broken Arrow Golf Course on Sept. 25.
With the regular season in the books, all-conference players Elizabeth Sommerfeld and Nora Kirby will power LTHS (5-4) into the postseason.
Kirby (7th place), Chloe Blauw (13th) and Sommerfeld (20th place) finished in the top 20 at the West Suburban Conference Tournament.
“We have a great group of girls that have a team-first attitude,” LTHS coach Jeff Johnson said. “They are very supportive of each other and very coachable. The team is focused on playing well and trying to get into the top three teams in our regional.”
The Lions are in Glenbard East Regional of the IHSA Class 2A state playoffs. The regional is hosted by Glendale Lake Golf Course in Glendale Heights.
At first glance, a seventh-place showing by the the Bulldogs in the Metro Suburban Conference Blue Division might not seem that significant. However, RBHS recorded its lowest team score by 30 strokes in three years. Additionally, the team’s score would have won the Metro Suburban Red Division in a tiebreaker.
Heading into postseason, senior Chris Robertson leads the team with plenty of talent and experience.
Sophomore James Berger and freshman Jack Jones have made an impact on the varsity as well. Jones made a hole in one at the Cog Hill 3 course in Lemont on Sept. 14.
RBHS opens the IHSA Class 3A state playoffs in the St. Ignatius Regional at the Cog Hill Golf Club (Course 3) in regional competition.
The Friars capped off their stellar regular season in style at the Chicago Catholic League Championship.
Josh Kirkham won the CCL individual title with a 2-under par 70. Following Reese Wildermuth (2017) and Jack Mortell (2016), Kirkham became the third consecutive Friar to be the varsity medalist at the tournament and Lawless Player of the Year.
Teammate Jake Wiktor carded a 75 at the CCL Championship. The Friars earned second in the team standings behind Loyola Academy.
Prior to their CCL Championship clash, the Friars edged the Ramblers to go undefeated in dual matches (11-0, 6-0 CCL) during the regular season. Wiktor led Fenwick with a score of 35 against the Ramblers.
In addition to success in dual matches, the Friars fared extremely well in invitationals this fall. Fenwick took first at the Providence and Mount Carmel Invites and second at the St. Ignatius Invitational.
The Friars’ final tuneup for the postseason occurred over the weekend. Fenwick won the Lyons Township Invite. Jackson Schaeffer finished first with a 2-over 73 and Wiktor carded a 75 as the runner-up. Phil Sandor also notched a top 10 finish.
The Friars begin their postseason journey at the Lane Regional. The site is the Hilldale Golf Club in Hoffman Estates.
By their lofty standards, the Lions had a bit of an erratic regular season. Nevertheless, LTHS posted respectable results with a 6-3 record in dual matches. In the West Suburban Conference Championships, LTHS placed fifth with a score of 310 and won four of six dual matches. The Lions won the Addison Trail Invite (310) and took fourth at the Dundee-Crown Invite (306) in their best outing of the season.
All-conference pick Mike Kozub, who shot a 73 at the conference meet, anchored the lineup this fall. Seniors Nick Panos, Owen Figge and Kozub, junior Max Rockrohr and sophomores Trent Garrett, Griffin Pohl and Callum Mitchell will represent the Lions in regional competition.
“The team has been inconsistent all year,” LTHS coach Brian Kopecky said. “Hopefully, the team can play well in the regional.”
All regionals started on Oct. 2. Results will be posted online.