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Falling back into (some) normalcy

Hinsdale Central football, golf teams welcome 2021 season to compete and complete

 

Last updated 9/1/2021 at 3:23pm | View PDF

Jim Slonoff

Red Devil football is back on Friday nights in fall, and early returns for the Central boys and girls golf teams signal they'll be shooting for state hardware this season.

The 2021-22 high school sports season has kicked off, most notably with football back in its familiar autumn section of the calendar where it belongs after being relocated to the spring last year because of COVID-19.

Like the gridiron gang, the boys and girls golf teams are looking forward to having state finals again, where both programs are expected to perform well. Keep reading to learn more about the makeup of each team.

Football

First game: Aug. 27 vs. Naperville Central (lost 2-14)

Last year: 6-0 (postseason canceled due to COVID-19)

Head coach: Brian Griffin

Years as head coach: 3

Roster size: 61

Team strengths: This group loves to compete and push each other to get better. We have a great senior class that is doing a great job of bringing the underclassman along with them. They are continually pushing each other to get better.

Areas for growth: We will be young and inexperienced. There are only so many situations you can practice before you just need game experience to get better. With the shortened spring and the young team, there will be moments that we have to learn from as we go.

Players to watch: Offensively, we return starters on the O-line in Jack McGarry, Josh Narcisse and Hunter Tonn. They are joined by newcomers junior Reese Kolke and sophomore Carter Contreras, who are poised to replace a very good group of graduated seniors. Along with the underclassman, Thomas Skokna, Mikey Hinchman, Nick Fahy and Fawaz Ilumoka should add some senior leadership in our skilled positions. Defensively we are led by captains Sean Allison, JT Pyle, and Micah McCurry, who bring experience and leadership. Finn Little and Calum Kelly should bring senior leadership as well, while a host of underclassman look to gain experience this season.

Season outlook: The mindset will be one of growth throughout the season with the hope to be playing our best football in October. I think the conference will be very good across the board, which will make for a difficult season week to week. But our goal will be to get better every day.

Boys golf

First match: Aug. 12 @ High School Boys Showcase (placed 1st)

Last year: regional champion, sectional runner-up (state meet canceled due to COVID-19)

Head coach: Jess Krueger

Years as head coach: 16

Roster size: 13

Team strengths: I like their enthusiasm and their effort and their camaraderie. It's a good bunch. They work together and encourage each other.

Areas for growth: We have a lot of new faces. We have a roster ranging from a freshman to seniors. We have seven juniors but only have three seniors. The key is short game and putting: we're working on scoring one more up-and-down and one less putt a round, so two strokes better per player. Also hitting to a spot off the tee, not just hitting it and hope you can find it.

Players to watch: Junior Emil Riegger has already won two tournaments. Sophomore Jack Mulligan is in my top four. My top seniors are Jack Inabnit and Michael Spitzer. Freshman Kevin Wesolowski is also playing well.

Season outlook: We're a good solid group. I like our first four, and our five through eight players are all pretty close. We going to use all six players' scores when we get into matches. They'll have to bring their "A" game to win the conference. Where we go for regionals is to be determined, but we certainly will go through Glenbard West at sectionals. We're keeping our fingers crossed we can just keep playing.

Girls golf

First match: Aug. 13 @ High School Girls Showcase (placed 1st)

Last year: regional and sectional champ (state meet canceled due to COVID-19)

Head coach: Nick Latorre

Years as head coach: 9

Roster size: 11

Team strengths: We're off to a really great start. It's a very talented team. We're young and we have some experience to go along with some younger players. We have a very deep group, any of whom can contribute at any time. It makes it a little bit easier for the upperclassmen knowing they don't have carry the team.

Areas for growth: Developing a chemistry and playing team golf is a little different than what a lot of them are accustomed to. We try to make it fun but still maintain high expectations. We've got to have a good short game and focus on consistency and on not having big highs and lows.

Players to watch: Elyssa Abdullah is a freshman who has already won a tournament. She was quite an addition. Junior Sarah Thornton and sophomore Caroline Owens are back. They both put in significant time over the summer improving their games. Senior Libby Larson is back for her fourth year on varsity. Another really good freshman is Toral Bhatt, who really gives us depth.

Season outlook: You hope that the team meshes and melds well and they understand the importance of being part of a team and playing unselfishly. We have to maintain a sense of team unity, especially with really talented players. We'll just continue to work hard, play our best and be good teammates. We're really happy to have a season given everything that's going on, so you have to be grateful that things are semi-normal.

 
 

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