Duneland Athletic Conference
Players to watch: Adam Vander Zanden, Sr.; Toby O'Malley, Sr.; Jay Crots, Sr.
Outlook: No remnants remain of the squads that helped the Trojans make back-to-back trips to the championship round of the state finals in 2008 and 2009, but that doesn't mean new coach Kent Butler believes his program is in a rebuilding mode. Vander Zanden was a quality contributor last season.
Quote: "I don't like that term 'rebuilding year'. I think our players look at this as an opportunity to finally have a chance to show what they can do." -- Butler
Players to watch: Nick Grubnich, Sr.; Matt Moehl, Sr.; TJ Gordon, Sr.; Colton Saroff, Jr.; David Raymond, Jr.; Ryan Edwards, Jr.; Pat Mudd, So.; Matt Mudd, So.; Casey Kitchen, So.; Mike Lambert, So.
Outlook: The Bulldogs, led by the region's best prep golfer in Grubnich, are absolutely loaded this season. Valparaiso will likely remain the class of the DAC, but the Bulldogs may not be too far behind. Plenty of Crown Point's returnees are capable of sub-40 stroke nine-hole rounds.
Quote: "We're going to get a lot of leadership out of our three seniors. We're going to be tough." -- coach Del Kutemeier
Players to watch: TC Cameron, Jr.; Mike Barenie, Jr.
Outlook: The Indians are inexperienced this season, as only Cameron and Barenie have varsity experience. Both of them will be looked upon to provide leadership and low scores for the defending sectional champions. Cameron missed time last season due to shoulder surgery after medaling at the Lake Central Sectional as a freshman.
Quote: "It definitely hurt losing (now-graduated Vince Barker), but we've got some guys who can hopefully step up and fill his shoes." -- coach John Schneider
Players to watch: Jordan Lenard, So.; Taylor Corley, Sr.; Joel Collins, Jr.; Zach Liberatore, So.
Outlook: Lenard resumes his No. 1 spot in the lineup, while Corley and Collins will once again hold top-four positions this season. The Slicers should hold their own in the DAC.
Players to watch: Malik Muhammad, Sr.; Arlen Sims, Sr.; Michael Gillis, Sr.; Jacob Gibson, Jr.; Naim Muhammad, So.
Outlook: The Pirates hope to develop additional skills within their ranks this season so they can be more competitive in the tough DAC. Patti Tubbs takes over as the new coach this season.
Quote: "Many of the young men who have just started learning how to play golf seem to have talent and should develop into formidable players in the years ahead." -- Tubbs
Players to watch: Ryan Brinckman, So.; Zach Palm, Sr.
Outlook: Brinckman, who shot a 70 at the Valparaiso Sectional last season, is already one of the top golfers in the DAC. Palm, the lone senior, provides some veteran leadership for first-year head coach Jason Lenig.
Quote: "I think it helps have a younger team around Ryan. They look up to him." -- Lenig
Players to watch: Tim Talley, Sr.; Jack Lewis, Sr.; Nate Smock, Sr.
Outlook: State qualifier Talley heads a veteran trio of senior golfers for the Indians.
Quote: "I talked with Tim and told him that he's got a bull's-eye on his back. Even his own teammates are going after him. They want to prove that they might be able to play at state." -- coach Dick Kretz
Players to watch: Bobby Jacobs, So.; Kyle Meihofer, So.; Logan Bertalan, Jr.
Outlook: The Vikings return four golfers from their top-five lineup from last season, when Valpo placed eighth at the state finals. Several other returning players saw time on varsity last season, so depth isn't an issue for the Vikings.
Quote: "We feel we have a very strong 1 through 3 and a lot of talent to sort through. This is a very strong group of leaders who push each other to be the best that they can be. This is one of the deepest teams that we have had in many years." -- coach Wayne Lichtenberger
Greater South Shore Conference
Outlook: Bishop Noll graduated six seniors last season, including all five varsity starters. It will likely be a rebuilding year for the Warriors, who have seven returning underclassmen from the junior varsity team.
Quote: "This year, the blank canvas I am starting with will be a masterpiece before long. I definitely have some diamonds in the rough with this group." -- coach Dennis Koliboski
Outlook: The Warriors took seventh in last season's Lake Central Sectional and hope to compete tougher in the GSSC, as well as the postseason.
Outlook: The Eagles hope for improvement upon last season's 10th place finish at the Boone Grove Sectional.
MICHIGAN CITY MARQUETTE
Players to watch: Jack Clancy, So.; Patrick Roder, So.; Hunter Paholski, So.
Outlook: Blazers grad Jordan Gallas (2003) takes over a quality lineup. Regional qualifier Clancy heads a talented trio of sophomores. The rest of the lineup includes four seniors.
Quote: "We have a nice mixture of youth and experience with a splash of talent. Jack sets the bar for everyone else. Roder and Paholski are gunning for Jack every time out. They want to get to his level." -- Gallas
Players to watch: Cody Wedding, Jr.; Selby Bord, So.; Kyle Gann, Jr.; Kyle Snyder, So.
Outlook: The Spartans lost three seniors from graduation last season, but return some experience. There are 11 kids out this season, and top five spots are still being determined.
Quote: "We'd like to have five kids in the 40's (on nine holes). Our goal is to get over .500." -- coach Bob Gonczy
Players to watch: Scott Guel, Sr.; Carlos Ramos, Sr.; Brian Breese, Jr.
Outlook: River Forest will look to build off the success of Guel, who qualified for the regional individually last season. Five first-year golfers will compete for the No. 4 and 5 varsity spots.
Quote: "Scott had a breakout season last year reaching the regional. We will look to him to continue to get better and lead the inexperienced golfers." -- coach Jason Quigg
Players to watch: Drew Heinold, So.; Jordan Long, Jr.
Outlook: The Bearcats will have a new look this season since three starters were lost to graduation.
Quote: "Several young players show potential ... The team should be competitive, have fun, learn and build toward the future." -- coach George Topoll
Players to watch: David Matura, Jr.; Sam Novak, So.
Outlook: Whiting coach Marty Furiak expects his team to have better game management, hit more fairways and lower their putting averages.
Quote: "I see new players that have never played before, but they are willing to learn the fundamentals." -- Furiak
Great Lakes Athletic Conference
Players to watch: David Hernandez, Sr.; Jeremy Rusnack, Jr.; Steve Garza, Jr.; John Dwyer, Jr.
Outlook: This is the most experienced team the Pioneers have put out in recent memory. Four of last season's five returning varsity players are back to a team that hopes to contend for the GLAC championship.
Quote: "One of our goals is to have all four of our players shoot under 50 and get under 200 as a team (on nine holes)." -- coach Garry Graban
Players to watch: Nick Brogdon, Sr.; Juan Lugo, Sr.
Outlook: Don Sullivan takes the reins as coach this season from Ira Zimmer. The Gladiators only have seven kids out this season, but Brogdon and Lugo will be looked upon as leaders. Gavit hopes to contend for the GLAC championship.
Quote: "Our goal is to have a successful season to lay some groundwork for the future." -- Sullivan
Players to watch: Malek Martin, Sr.; Domingo Garcia, Jr.; Freddy Garcia, Jr.; David Demumburn, Sr.; William McDaniels, Sr.
Outlook: The Wildcats have good experience back from last season. New coach Sue Ann Mathewson expects her team to compete in the GLAC this season.
Quote: "I think we're getting there. We have 16 kids out this year that are learning the ropes." -- Mathewson
Players to watch: Jozef Zawacki, Jr.; Ryan Robinson, Jr.; Ben Lopez, So.; Bryan Hedge, Sr.; Justin Naumann, So.
Outlook: Morton hopes to win the GLAC this season and advance past the sectional as either a team or individually, which is tough every season in the Lake Central Sectional.
Quote: "Knowing the rules of golf is a very important element of playing golf, and my players are finally exhibiting knowledge of the rules." -- coach Robert Hall
Northwest Crossroads Conference
Players to watch: Phil Paras, Jr.; Garrett Wisniewski, Jr.; Nick Schneider, Jr.; Jack Musgrave, Fr.; Brendan Mulshine, Fr.
Outlook: Andrean has some experience back, but coach Dennis Pokropinski is excited about his two freshmen, who lead an influx of young talent. The 59ers won't lose anybody to graduation after this season, so the future looks bright.
Quote: "By midseason, we'll see how they progress. Hopefully, they'll end up being something special." -- Pokropinski
Players to watch: Josh Kisfalusi, Sr.; Josh Ashenbaugh, Jr.; Nick Stassin, Jr.
Outlook: The Panthers advanced to the LaPorte Regional as a team last season, so a repeat performance is squarely in Griffith's sights. Kisfalusi, Ashenbaugh and Stassin are the only three returning varsity players, so two newcomers will need to fill the void.
Quote: "(Kisfalusi) is a good golfer. He's a very good leader for us." -- coach Mike Worosz
Players to watch: Seth Peters, Sr.; Aaron Strombeck, Sr.
Outlook: It will be somewhat of a rebuilding year this season for the Trojans, with only two returning lettermen back in Peters and Strombeck. Several newcomers will compete to fill the remaining three varsity spots this season.
Quote: "We have to battle our way through our own conference. It's been really competitive." -- coach Dan Richardson
Players to watch: Garrett Bianchi, Sr.; Gary Cauley, Jr.; Matt Cooper, Jr.
Outlook: Hobart will count on Bianchi to lead the team and help the Brickies contend for the NCC title. Cauley and Cooper should continue to improve, as the Brickies hope to advance to the regional as a team.
Quote: "(Bianchi) has done a lot of work in the offseason. I think we're a stronger team -- better than we were last season." -- coach Brent Vermeulen
Players to watch: Derrick DeKock, Sr.; Ryan Beere, So.; Robert Sittema, Sr.; Randy Mewes, Sr.; Sam Jonkman, So.
Outlook: The Kougars return all five of their starters from last season, which bodes well in the highly-competitive NCC. K.V. hopes to have a strong showing in conference and the postseason behind that returning experience.
Quote: "I really do think we'll have a good year. They're a lot more enthusiastic about the season." -- coach Brad Burvan
Players to watch: Kyle Pratt, Sr.; Mike Bafia, Sr.
Outlook: Lowell is very young this season in terms of both experience and leadership. New coach John Harris is in the process of setting individual goals for his players. Roy Keeton and Jason Gilespi join Harris' staff in hopes of bringing along the talent Lowell has.
Quote: "We have a group of good young men who want to learn and we have the course and staff to accomplish that." -- Harris
Players to watch: Tony Rubino, Sr.; Danny Falloon, Sr.; Nikola Tatic, Jr.; A.J. Gauthier, So.
Outlook: Munster finished 12-3 overall last season and returns a bevy of talent. The Mustangs came within two shots of reaching state last season as a team, and goals for a similar run are within their grasp.
Quote: "I just hope we continue to work hard, compete and always do our best to improve so we play our best when it matters most." -- coach Bill Smitka
Player to watch: Luis Santiago, So.
Outlook: Santiago is the only returning player with any golf experience. He has helped coach Ed Miller teach the game to the other players.
Quote: "They are interested in the game and have a desire to learn." -- Miller
Porter County Conference
Players to watch: Tyler Nicol, Sr.; Drake Devereux, Jr.; Rick Gayda, Sr.; Tony Spalla, Jr.
Outlook: With four starters returning, including state finalist Tyler Nicol, the Wolves could make history with the program's first team state finals berth.
Quote: "I think we will be a very strong team." -- coach Gary King
Players to watch: Zach Sheehy, Sr.; Charlie Sawyer, Sr.; Zach Rush, Sr.; Nick Plavsa, Sr.
Outlook: The Wildcats return a wealth of experience from last season's squad, including two individual regional qualifiers in Sheehy and Sawyer. No. 3 golfer Rush is currently recovering from ACL surgery, but should be ready to go in about a month. Hanover Central hopes to make the push to the regional as a team this season.
Quote: "We'll miss Rush for the first four weeks. Once we get him back, I think we'll be OK." -- coach Jerry Kienzle
Players to watch: Andrew Sharp, Sr.; Jaren Coleman, Sr.; Sam Goodpaster, Sr.
Outlook: The Cherokees' senior trio are the glue for this squad.
Quote: "It's huge having those three guys; they're like second or third coaches for me. I think this will be one (of) our better years." -- coach Gary Cauley
Player to watch: Mitchell Stull, Sr.
Outlook: Stull is the most-experienced player on the six-man roster. A key for this team will be the development of its inexperienced players.
Quote: "A lot of our boys are in the early stages of picking up the game. I just want to see them enjoy the game and increase their development." -- coach Jim Daubenheyer
Outlook: The Cardinals will look to improve upon their last place finish in the Lake Central Sectional last season.
Players to watch: Bo Culp, Sr.; Keegen Holbrook, Sr.; Chris Salrin, Jr.; Brandon Brenneman, Jr.
Outlook: The Bombers missed winning the Hoosier Conference by three strokes last season, so taking first this season is a priority. Rensselaer returns all but its No. 5 golfer from last season, so expectations are high.
Quote: "Bo and Keegen are really strong leaders. Every coach likes to have that second coach on the course." -- coach Jeff Phillips
Players to watch: Christian Porter, Jr.; Aaron Lachowicz, Sr.; Cory Bartow, Jr.
Outlook: Veteran girls basketball coach John Marshall takes over the golf program. Porter is the most experienced player on the squad.
Quote: "I'm going into this a little blind. I'm just trying to get everyone what they need. I'm just looking for some consistency." -- Marshall
!~ Times writers Jim Hunsley and Matt Douthett.