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Players to watch

BOYS

NAME YR. SCHOOL

Lukas Ball Sr. Watseka

James Birch Sr. Milford

Tanner Buehnerkemper Soph. Monticello

Zach Buesing Jr. Villa Grove/Heritage

Spencer Burgin Sr. St. Thomas More

Kevin Clapp Sr. BHRA

Payton Dunahee Jr. Prairie Central

Leyton Ellis Jr. Sullivan

Payton Grimsley Sr. St. Joseph-Ogden

Matt Horner Sr. Urbana

Logan Hoshauer Jr. Oakwood

Aaron Jayne Sr. Blue Ridge

Masato Keeley Sr. Urbana

Holden Kile Soph. Tri-County

Izaiah Lusk Jr. BHRA

Justin McCoy Sr. Champaign Central

Damien McMullen Sr. Centennial

Braden Roesch Jr. GCMS

Drew Rogers Jr. Sullivan

Luke Rogers Jr. Bement

Zach Rogers Jr. Bement

Dallas Sisk Sr. Arcola/ALAH

Jack Stickels Sr. Centennial

Ryan Tilstra Jr. Iroquois West

Trey VanWinkle Sr. Rantoul/PBL

GIRLS

ATHLETE YR. SCHOOL

Macy Baird Jr. Blue Ridge

Lainey Banta Sr. Tuscola

Alaina Bowie Sr. St. Thomas More

Lynsee Clow Jr. LeRoy

Georgia Curtis Jr. Iroquois West

Anna Duden Jr. Armstrong-Potomac

Brooke Erhard Soph. St. Thomas More

Dominick Fuentes Sr. Champaign Central

Jade Harms Sr. Mahomet-Seymour

Sidney Hood Sr. Fisher

Katelyn Kamman Sr. GCMS

Mia Kirby Jr. St. Thomas More

Ashley Long Jr. Monticello

Sammy Miller Sr. St. Thomas More

Natalie Schroeder Jr. Watseka

Joie Sollers Sr. Oakwood

Abby Spiller Sr. GCMS

Molly Stringer Sr. Monticello

Cassie To Jr. Champaign Central

Tessa Tomaso Jr. St. Thomas More

Allison Tucker Sr. BHRA

Ashlyn Voyles Soph. Blue Ridge

Claire Webber Jr. Monticello

Katelind Winterland Jr. Prairie Central

Emma Yates Jr. Mahomet-Seymour

Events to watch

Tuscola Invitational (boys and girls), Aug. 26, Ironhorse Golf Club, Tuscola. Hard for an event hosted by Tuscola to go poorly, and Ironhorse should offer a good early-season challenge.

Viking Invitational (boys and girls), Sept. 6, Turtle Run Golf Club, Danville. This is a good opportunity to see some of the best and brightest Vermilion County in particular has to offer.

Champaign/Piatt County Meet (girls), Sept. 10, Lake of the Woods Golf Course, Mahomet. Big-school programs such as Centennial, Champaign Central and Mahomet-Seymour clash with the likes of promising small-school squads from St. Thomas More and Monticello.

Coach’s corner

Mike Osterbur, Champaign Central boys

With several seniors on last year’s squad, what is your outlook for the 2019 team?

Osterbur: Last year, for the most part, we had a group of kids that played golf. This year, for the most part, we have a group of golfers. There’s a huge difference between the two. Justin McCoy and another upcoming senior, Cam Baker, have been great leaders this summer in our practices, and that leadership will, hopefully, pay dividends in tournaments this year.

Is this the season we see Justin McCoy challenge for the top spot in the Class 2A state meet?

Osterbur: He certainly has the game to contend at the state finals individually. He’s always had it together, mentally, in tournaments. He never gets down on himself. In fact, the opposite is usually the case and he gets jacked up too much. A barometer of things to come may be how he performs in our tournament next Tuesday at ISU Weibring, which is the site for the Class 2A state finals.

What are the biggest challenges facing this year’s Champaign Central team?

Osterbur: Our biggest challenge is finding a fourth scorer. That’s a good problem to have. Rather than going into tournaments with one or two players that may score low, we have the capability of having three players score well. So finding a consistent fourth scorer in tournaments will be a big hurdle for us to climb over.

Andrew Turner, Monticello girls

What are your expectations for this team after placing third in your regional with no seniors?

Turner: We return our top three in Molly Stringer, Ashley Long and Claire Webber. All three of them have put in a great deal of time this summer working on their games and competing in summer tournaments. They are not only strong golfers, but also great students and leaders for our program. We are also excited to have sophomore Tori Taylor and a freshman, Amelia Patterson, out for the first time.

What will the combination of Long and Stringer bring to the table this year, and how far into the postseason can that duo go?

Turner: It is great for Molly and Ashley to have each other to compete against every day in practice. I also think Claire will push them to be better. Molly and Ashley both have the ability to compete well at the state level. Hopefully, the extra year of experience they have will give them an extra edge to compete at the top level.

What are some of the biggest challenges facing Monticello girls’ golf this year?

Turner: Our biggest challenge will be the youth at the back end of our lineup. We will be playing two girls this year who are out for the first time, so we just need to be patient and let them develop.

Colin Likas is prep sports coordinator at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).

Prep Sports Coordinator

Colin Likas is prep sports coordinator at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).