There will be no shortage of experience among most Racine County high school boys golf teams this season.
Half of last year’s All-Racine County honorees return to the links in 2018.
Two players have returned from the 2017 All-County first team — reigning player of the year Zach Shawhan of Case and rising junior Connor Brown of Union Grove — and three from the second team, most notably sophomore Josh Koszarek of Waterford.
Case, Horlick, Racine Lutheran and St. Catherine’s all have five golfers with varsity experience, while Burlington, under new coach Nick Schilleman, has undergone a total reset.
Prairie has a chance to repeat as Metro Classic Conference and regional champions. St. Catherine’s is looking to move to the top spot after finishing second last season.
Here’s a look at the county teams:
COACH: Jerry Kupper, 14th year.
LAST SEASON: Second in SEC, third at WIAA Division 1 Wilmot Regional, sixth at Franklin Sectional.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors — Zach Shawhan, Josh Weber, Achintya Krishnan. Junior — Noah Nyquist. Sophomore — Zac LaVassor.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Case has a full lineup of five returning letterwinners, compared to two the year before. One of them, Shawhan, has a chance at winning back-to-back County Player of the Year awards to go along with repeat state tournament appearances.
COACH: Darrell Perry, third year.
LAST SEASON: Sixth in SEC, sixth at WIAA Division 1 Wilmot Regional.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors — Eric Barrientez, Francisco Gutierrez. Junior — Zach Romano. Sophomores — Conner Vertz, Ben Adams.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Romano was the lone Rebel to qualify for sectionals last year. With six players competing for five starting spots, the team will have some versatility with lineups. Coach Perry said that his players’ toughest opponent will be Wisconsin’s unpredictable spring weather.
COACH: Pete Leslie, 14th year.
LAST SEASON: Seventh in SEC, fifth at WIAA Division 1 Wilmot Regional.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors — Ryan Fodor, Ben Rosinski. Juniors — Matt Creuziger, Kevin Leslie.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Fodor is expected to lead the Panthers in 2018. He was the team’s lone qualifier for sectionals in 2017 and was named second-team All-SEC. All four returning lettermen have at least two years of varsity experience and the fifth spot “will be up in the air,” Leslie said.
SOUTHERN LAKES CONFERENCE
COACH: Nick Schilleman, first year (replaces Wayne Herrick).
LAST SEASON: Eighth in SLC, seventh at WIAA Division 1 Mukwonago Regional.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: None.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Burlington is a new team in 2018. Schilleman is the school’s second coach in three years, and there are no returning players with varsity experience. With a young roster, headlined by sophomore Brian Fremgen, Schilleman looks to mold his squad as they grow in the coming years.
Union Grove Broncos
COACH: Eric Swanson, 16th year.
LAST SEASON: Fourth in SLC, third at WIAA Division 1 Mukwonago Regional, fourth at Waukesha South Sectional.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors — Taylor Maxwell, Jack Tracy. Juniors — Connor Brown, Nate Koch.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Brown (39.4) was the only underclassman on last year’s All-County first team. There are big spikes to fill: 2017’s conference player of the year was graduated teammate Eric Chambers, who competes at the University of St. Thomas. Overall, the team is experienced, with four starters returning.
COACH: Michael Harmeling, 11th year.
LAST SEASON: Fourth in SLC, fifth at WIAA Division 1 Mukwonago Regional.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Senior — Max Blank. Juniors — Alan Oliver, Logan Adams. Sophomore — Josh Koszarek.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Rising sophomore Josh Koszarek is the young leader of the Wolverines after qualifying for sectionals as a freshman. The experienced team didn’t lose a single starter to graduation. With 25 boys signed up, Waterford might have the deepest roster in the county.
METRO CLASSIC CONFERENCE
Catholic Central Hilltoppers
COACH: Matthew DeLorme, 11th year.
LAST SEASON: Sixth in MCC, seventh at WIAA Division 3 Heritage Christian Regional.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Senior — John Pum. Juniors — Luke Sassano, Jack Clifford, Doug Januszewski.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Four starters return, including All-County honorable mentions Pum and Sassano. DeLorme is excited with incoming freshmen Josh Foley and Michael Labicki, a three-sport athlete, and with sophomore Conall Lynch, a cross-country runner.
COACH: Kevin Will, 28th year.
LAST SEASON: Won MCC championship, won WIAA Division 3 Heritage Christian Regional, eighth at Saint Mary’s Springs Sectional.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Senior — Brian Eitel. Juniors — Jake Reynolds, Forrest Cookman.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Eitel, the Hawks’ team captain, missed out on the state tournament last year after qualifying as a sophomore and earned All-County second-team honors. With two starting spots available and 22 boys trying out for the team, Will has his work cut out for him.
Racine Lutheran Crusaders
COACH: Josh Kratochvil, second year.
LAST SEASON: Fifth in MCC, fifth at WIAA Division 3 Heritage Christian Regional.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors — Brent Ogden, Jack Manna, James Gehne, Trent Tenner. Sophomore — David Voss.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: The Crusaders have been on an upward swing, with a peak expected in 2018. All five varsity players return — Gehne, Manna and Voss qualified for sectionals last year — and most have three years of varsity experience. Kratochvil thinks this team can reach sectionals for the first time in eight years.
St. Catherine’s Angels
COACH: Dave Arkenberg, fourth year.
LAST SEASON: Second in MCC, fourth at WIAA Division 2 Catholic Memorial Regional, eighth at St. Catherine’s Sectional.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors — Tyler Monosa, Mitchel Schaefer. Junior — Grant Wininger. Sophomores — Vinnie Ruffalo, Lee Schatzman.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Arkenberg thinks Wininger could follow in the footsteps of last year’s conference player of the year, former Angel Jack O’Brien. With four-year letterwinner Monosa, the return of senior Mitchel Schaefer and addition of sophomore Traykiese Gillentine, the Angels could win the MCC in 2018.