Naperville North Gets Comfortable
McGavin, Kevin, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Kevin McGavin Daily Herald Correspondent
There is no such luxury as home-course advantage when Naperville Central hosts Naperville North in a DuPage Valley Conference boys golf dual match.
"I feel like it's one of our home courses, too," Naperville North coach Ryan Hantak said after his squad extended its conference winning streak to 34 matches with a 146-150 victory over the Redhawks Tuesday at Naperbrook Golf Club.
"We love playing at Naperbrook," said Hantak, whose team plays its home matches at fellow Naperville Park District venue Springbrook.
Naperville North was once again a model of consistency; Iowa-bound standout Raymond Knoll and fellow senior Sean McDonnell had matching level-par 36s to share medalist honors. Nick Harris and Michael Doherty were a shot off the pace to augment the twin low rounds.
In a sign of the evolution of the sport in recent decades, the Redhawks were saddled with the loss despite four equally consistent scores.
There was a time in which 150 was almost a guaranteed victory in the sport.
But greater athleticism, equipment improvements and the overall wider appeal of the sport has had a tremendous influence.
"(One-hundred and fifty is not) good enough when you play Naperville North," Naperville Central coach Barry Baldwin said. "(Our score) was actually high for us. We have been in the 140s all year at home."
Scott Dunsire and David Gizzi had 37s for Naperville Central, while Peter Mandich and Jack Hawes had 38s for its third and fourth scores.
Naperville North will seek its fourth consecutive conference championship next week.
Don't doubt the Wildcats:
Like Naperville North, the Neuqua Valley boys team has already posted some extremely impressive scores en route to a pair of invitational victories.
The Wildcats -- led by Jason Roach, returning at-large state qualifier Nick Rouches, Ian Nebendahl, Jimmy Roach and Jordan Yamamoto -- obliterated the school record with its collective 3-under 285 performance at downstate Bartonville Limestone earlier this season.
The Wildcats' previous school benchmark for an 18-hole tournament was 298.
Neuqua Valley is seeking to dethrone sister school Waubonsie Valley, which has won both Valley Division championships since the Upstate Eight Conference added Batavia and Geneva two years ago and split in two.
Waubonsie Valley, the Aurora City Tournament champion with six players in the 70s last week, is the last school standing between Neuqua Valley and an unblemished Valley Division regular season for the Wildcats.
In addition, Neuqua Valley was given a reprieve of sorts when the IHSA moved the school into the Will County-dominated Class 3A regional instead of the murderous Naperville Central regional. …