The Oak Park and River Forest boys golf team is off to a solid start this fall, going 5-1 in dual matches, and placing in the top three in both tournaments they competed in this season.
In the most recent match, the Huskies defeated Naperville North by five strokes (159-164) Aug. 31 to claim the Huskie Cup.
“We’re a senior-dominated team, though we have some younger guys who are showing some promise,” said OPRF coach Bill Young.
Seniors Nate Bibbey, Niko Haas and Liam Spillane have led the way for OPRF so far. Bibbey and Spillane medaled at the Mount Carmel Tournament on Aug. 21, while Haas shot a 73 against Evanston, the team’s lowest individual score to date.
Other contributing for the Huskies are seniors Chris Hedrich, Isaac Narmandakh and Maddox Neumann; juniors Kevin Cortez and Charlie Roberts; and sophomores Jacob Goldberg and Ronen Wittenberg.
As always, the West Suburban Silver is loaded from top to bottom.
“Our goal is to improve each time out and be at our best in the postseason,” Young said. “We try to be competitive in every match or tournament regardless of the opponent.”
Tough going early for OPRF girls
The Oak Park and River Forest High School girls golf team is largely young, with only three upperclassmen on the varsity roster.
And it has shown in the results as the Huskies have won just one of their first five dual matches of the young season. Moreover, being in a deep and competitive conference like the West Suburban Silver will come with some growing pains. However, head coach Matt McMurray sees improvement from last fall.
“We’re about 10 shots better as a team this year than we were at this time last year, and I’ve told the girls to keep a growth mindset and continue to develop as players,” he said. “I’m not worried about winning matches, but I want them to peak towards the end of the season in hopes of placing at regionals.”
OPRF is led by sophomore Faith Lee, who made all-conference and qualified for the sectionals. Other top golfers are junior Elle Tanner and sophomores Emerson Amstutz, Ella Homrock and Trinity Mosher. In addition, freshmen Molly Medland and Isabel Stickney are golfers with a promising future.
Fenwick girls look to unseat Loyola
The Fenwick High School girls golf team defeated OPRF by 19 strokes (177-196) Aug. 26, and head coach Mike Trankina hopes it’s a springboard to a strong season, even with the Friars competing in the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference, which is usually dominated by Loyola Academy.
“Most years, everyone else is playing for second,” he said. “Who knows, this could be the year we play our best golf and give Loyola a run for the money.”
Even if Fenwick doesn’t win conference, Trankina has lofty goals for this season.
“I would like us to get at least second at our conference championship,” he said. “Another goal is to get through our regional and into the sectionals, and finally, I’d love for us to make it to state as a team.”
The Friars are led by the Bateman sisters – Lillian, a senior, and Charlotte, a junior. Both are team captains whom Trankina says have been models of hard work and consistency.
A newcomer to keep an eye on is freshman Olivia Tsitovich, who according to Trankina is already “making big contributions to the team in her very first high school matches.”