Duneland Athletic Conference
Players to watch: Zach Von Huben, Sr.; John Kelley, Jr.; Eric Richardson, So.
Outlook: Though the Trojans lost some valuable seniors to graduation at the end of last season, Chesterton hopes to compete for a Duneland title and in postseason, led by senior Zach Von Huben. “We’re about a month behind schedule due to the weather, but all Northwest Indiana teams are in the same boat,” coach Kent Butler said. “We’ll definitely be competitive.”
Players to watch: Mike Lee, Jr.; Grant Miller, So.; Kevin Cunningham, Jr.; Andrew Orosz, Sr.
Outlook: The Bulldogs lost three of their top five players from last year, but Lee, a state qualifier, returns. They have a lot of talented kids in the pipeline, and it will be all about getting the younger players quality experience to prepare them for the season’s rigors.
Players to watch: Matt Meneghetti, Sr.; Rhett Barker, Sr.; Ryan Wells, Jr.; Nick Good, So.; Kyle Theil, Sr.; Ryan Dahlkamp, Jr.
Outlook: The Indians return their top five players from last year, and they have 5-7 kids who can consistently score in the 70s. The Indians look to challenge for a top spot in the DAC, sectionals and potentially get out of regional, and if not, qualify a couple golfers to the state meet.
Players to watch: Tyler Baker, Sr.; Chris Gaines, Sr.; David Lehman, Sr.; Ryan Kaminski, Sr.
Outlook: With a solid core of four returning seniors, coach Bill Hart is excited about the season and hopes an underclassman or two will step up to challenge for the fifth spot. “We’ve been able to hit balls outside once this year,” Hart said. “(Monday) was our first nine holes at Briar Creek in LaPorte. I was pleased with what I saw considering the (windy) conditions.”
Players to watch: Kyle Krause, Sr.; Robert Neilsen, Sr.; Michael Robinson, Jr.; Marcus Norton, Fr.; Elijah Royal, Fr.
Outlook: The Pirates have more than 10 players on the squad, and they have a good mixture of youth and experience. Optimism is high for this season, and the future looks promising with two freshmen on varsity.
Players to watch: Noah Nieman, Jr.; Aaron Skidinski, So.
Outlook: The Wolves graduated four seniors at the end of last season, but coach Jason Lenig believes this year’s squad – led by Noah Nieman and Aaron Skindinski – could be just as good or even better. “We have some of last year’s JV kids stepping up to fill the holes,” Lenig said. “We try to keep our average around 40 for nine holes and 80 for 18. I think we’re capable of that this year.”
Players to watch: Jordan Henson, Sr.; Tep Junyanid, Sr., Noah Kunstek, Jr.
Outlook: The Indians have a strong mix of experience and youth that coach Tim Kunstek will rely on this spring. “We’re excited about this year,” said Kunstek, who is in his first season at the helm of the boys team but also coaches the girls golf program at Portage. “We have a core of three returning lettermen and a group of younger players (who) have been working hard.”
Outlook: After a trip to the state finals in 2013, the Vikings are faced with the challenge of rebuilding. “We lost our entire starting lineup,” coach Wayne Lichtenberger said. “We haven’t even made cuts yet. (Monday) was our first time on the course.” With all five spots up for grabs, Lichtenberger is hoping the weather will hold, allowing the lineup to take shape.
Great Lakes Athletic Conference
Outlook: The Pioneers will look for continued improvement under the guidance of coach Tim McGee.
Players to watch: Marcos Martinez , So.; Kortrell Caston, Sr; Jacob Ortiz-Pollard, So.; Markee Deloney, Jr.; Lino Trado, Jr.
Outlook: Athletic Director Larry Moore is taking over coaching of the team as former coach Barry Tyler is committing more time to the First Tee program. Moore has no returning players but welcomes six new players into the fold. The Wildcats will be starting from scratch and look to be competitive in each match.
Players to watch: Duncan Murphy, Sr., Daniel Homala, Sr.; Nick Ewing, Sr.
Outlook: The Governors will look to be competitive on the course this season and will rely on the seniors at the top to provide leadership to the team. The Govs will build on the experience gained a year ago and look to defend their GLAC title.
Greater South Shore Conference
Players to watch: Lenny Chocholek, Sr.; Zach Quakenbush, Jr; Nathan Payonk, Jr.
Outlook: The Warriors graduated nine seniors last year, but Chocholek, an Evans Scholar, will lead the way. Fifth-year coach Dennis Koliboski said it’s kind of hard to predict how the team will fare, but he expects the team to represent Noll with class, integrity and etiquette.
Outlook: Clark fielded a full team in 2013 and finished 11th at the Lake Central Sectional. They’ll look to build on that in the upcoming season.
Players to watch: Josh Jackowski, Sr.; Ethan Hacker, Jr.; Payton Smith, So.; Austin Umlaf, So.
Outlook: Hanover returns three players who have varsity experience, while Hacker, a transfer, could be a surprise. Five juniors and eight freshmen will challenge to fill out the final varsity spot and the JV positions.
Players to watch: Tyler Paholski, So.; Hank Littleton, Fr.
Outlook: The Blazers will be in rebuilding mode this season after graduating a trio of four-year letterwinners, but coach Jordan Gallas is leaning on youngsters Tyler Paholski and Hank Littleton to lead Marquette to a fourth straight GSSC title. “We will be young but talented up top and hope to have some stability at the bottom of our lineup,” Gallas said. “By season’s end we will be primed for … a return trip to the regional.”
Players to watch: Joe Switalski, Sr.; Brady Decker, So.; Jeffrey Colovos, Fr.
Outlook: The Spartans will be young and inexperienced with only one returning senior and 11 freshmen and sophomores. Fifteen players are competing for the five spots, so the competition should improve the overall play.
Players to watch: Mark Long, Sr.; Allen Long, Sr.; Brent Breese, Jr.
Outlook: First-year coach Matt Wendell takes over the program and welcomes back three returning players to go along with three newcomers who will look to make an impact for the Ingots. The players have been working hard in practice and are dedicated to succeeding this season.
Players to watch: Bradley Young, Sr.; Nick Dooling, Jr.; Bill Haunfelder, So.
Outlook: With senior Bradley Young – Wheeler’s No. 1 golfer – recovering from a broken hand and likely out until May, the Bearcats are scrambling to put together a lineup early in the season. “We’ll need our young players to pick up the slack,” coach George Topoll said. “We should have a respectable team. Who knows? Maybe things will work out.”
Players to watch: Jake Jacobson, Jr.; Houston Shimala, Sr.; Jacob Brooks, Jr.
Outlook: Coach Marty Furiak expects the team to do the little tasks that will make the Oilers better individually and as team.
Northwest Crossroads Conference
Players to watch: Jack Musgrave, Sr.; Brendan Mulshine, Sr.; Patrick Howard, Jr.
Outlook: The Niners return their top four players from a year ago and look to challenge for the NCC title and a top three finish in the sectional.
Players to watch: Mark Plawecki, Sr.; Brian Brzycki, So.
Outlook: Plawecki and Brzycki will make an impact, while the other three varsity spots are wide open. The Panthers will look to a group 10 other players to step up this year and fill the void. How well the young guys contribute will say a lot about the success of the Panthers.
Players to watch: Danny King, Sr.; Taylor Peters, Sr.; Luke Wadkins, Jr.; Matt Harnisch, Sr.
Outlook: King was the leader on the scorecard for the Trojans last season playing as the No. 2. This year more is expected of King at the No. 1 spot, but coach Dan Richardson is counting on the other seniors and Wadkins to challenge for the top spot and to battle for the remaining varsity positions.
Players to watch: Andrew Barras, Sr.; Chris Lavelle, So.; Jacob Crowley So.; Ethan Frayni, So.
Outlook: The Brickies’ future looks bright with a solid sophomore group, and they will look for strong leadership at the top from Barras. This is the second year at River Pointe Country Club in Hobart which has helped the team out tremendously for practices.
Players to watch: Cody Snowden, Sr.; Eric Vorst, Jr.; Michael Sokol, Jr.; Derek Snowden, So.
Outlook: The Kougars have two of their top five golfers back from a yearago, and coach Ron Stanton is encouraged by what he‘s seen so far. The Kougars have the potential to be as good as if not better than they were a year ago. K.V. will be middle of the pack in the NCC but should have a chance to qualify for the regional out of the Logansport Sectional.
Players to watch: Jared Cottingham, Sr.; David Varella, Sr.; Derek Streeter, Sr.; Nick St. Martin, Sr.
Outlook: The Red Devils have a senior-laden squad at the top, and coach John Harris is looking for great leadership from the group. The four seniors understand their roles and are great student athletes.
Players to watch: Matt Specht, Sr.; Luke Wuchenich, Sr.; Roshan Tilva, Sr.; Kyle Wilkinson, Sr.
Outlook: The Mustangs went undefeated in dual meets last season and look to contend for the NCC championship and improve as the season progresses. The Mustangs would also like to play better in the post-season and be a factor at the regional.
Porter County Conference
Players to watch: Brad Bobbrowski, Sr.; Jeremy Shaffer, Sr.; Zach Wagner, Sr.; Grant Stockwell, So.
Outlook: The Wolves return six seniors to this year’s squad, but sophomore Grant Stockwell could be the best golfer on the team. “They are a very tight-knit group and feel this could be a very special season,” coach Robert Lukas said. “Like all teams in the area, we look forward to getting outside. The custodians can’t get their work done with 18 boys putting (and) chipping and our tent in the hallway. We appreciate their patience.”
Players to watch: Ty Balon, Sr.; Tyler Abbott, Jr.; Andrew Kohler, So.
Outlook: Among the smaller schools throughout southeastern Porter County, Morgan Twp. is the only one to consistently field a golf team over the past decade. Star golfer Brandin Bryan graduated after last season, but the Cherokees still hope to be competitive. “We lost our No. 1 player from last year to graduation,” coach Gary Cauley said. “We are going to need individuals to step up (and) fill in.”
Players to watch: Ben Denecho, Jr.; Austin Howell, Jr.; Lucas Cauley, So.; Tyler Good, So.
Outlook: Despite a lack of seniors on this year’s roster, first-year coach James Ridley believes the Satellites have the youthful foundation for a solid season. “We have three underclassmen returning with a good amount of varsity experience and others that are making big strides,” Ridley said. “I feel that this year’s team is going to be really good.”
Players to watch: Taylor Barnes, Sr.; Chase Crawford, Jr.; Tanner Holman, Jr.; Gregg Shaw, Jr.; Ryan Fath, So.; Max Harris, So.
Outlook: The Blackhawks have seen great interest in their boys golf program. “On the positive side, we have 16 players on the roster, including three returning lettermen (Taylor Barnes, Chase Crawford and Gregg Shaw),” coach John Marshall said. “We should have good competition for spots four and five.”
Outlook: The Cardinals are looking to field a full team for the second season in a row. They hope to build on a solid campaign from last year and make further strides this season.
Players to watch: Jake Spurgeon, Sr.; Chris Minter, Sr.; Luke McElfresh, Sr.; Jared Shanley, So.
Outlook: The Bombers have a good mixture of experience and youth and will look to build on a 14-2 dual meet record of a year ago. Shanley was second low score on the team at sectional last year, and the Bombers have 12 total players in the fold. If they can figure out how to play solid for 18 holes, they’ll be in the mix come sectional time.
— Compiled by Times Correspondents Christopher Breach and Michael Raines