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Sports

Little Ten programs full of promise on the links

Jack Prather, shown here putting during regional competition at Spring Creek Golf Course in Spring Valley, is a key member of what looks to be a promising 2017 Earlville-Leland squad on the links.
Jack Prather, shown here putting during regional competition at Spring Creek Golf Course in Spring Valley, is a key member of what looks to be a promising 2017 Earlville-Leland squad on the links.

A look ahead at The Times area's Little Ten Conference golfers this fall:
 

Newark-Serena 

As a first year co-op in 2016, the Norsemen didn't fare too badly at all, placing second as a team at the Little Ten Conference Meet and third at the Seneca Class A Regional, which advanced them to the Westminster Christian Sectional where they finished 12th.

Gone is Cam Myre, who graduated and was one of the leading scorers from last season, but everyone else is back for coach Chad Baker including his sophomore son Connor Baker, who was a key contributor as a freshman last season and will team up with solid juniors Brett Myre, Corey Jacobson and Wyatt Snyder to form a top-four grouping that should prove to be consistent and competitive.

After that, look toward promising sophomores Tanner Kunkel and Porter Arneson as well as freshman Lane Stegman to compete for the top six positions on the 10-player roster that consists of five competitors from both Newark and Serena.

"Last year we were hoping for one or two guys to advance to sectionals but we got the whole team in, so it was a pretty good way to end the year," Coach Baker said. "We've got four out of our top five from last year back, so I think we'll have a pretty decent year. We'll be competitive, and I'm excited to coach a great bunch of kids again."

Somonauk
Second-year coach Mitch Edwards will lead a group of 12 Bobcat boys that features six returnees from last year's seven-player squad. That includes top scorers in seniors Xander Lawson and Jacob McQuinley along with junior standout Jacob Norris and sophomore Charlie Vermeland.
The Bobcats didn't find too much success in 2016, placing fifth at the LTC Meet and 10th at the Seneca Regional, but Norris made it through individually to the Westminster Christian Sectional and will hope to lead a relatively young Somonauk bunch once again in 2017.
"It was a tough season in my first year coaching golf, but this year we've got a good group returning along with six freshmen," Edwards said. "It’s looking a lot better with Jacob and Xander hopefully leading the way. I'm hoping we'll be much more competitive this season."
Veteran links coach Curt Alsvig (ninth year) will once again guide a Lady Bobcats' six-player roster headed by senior standout Amanda Miller, who advanced to the Pontiac Class A Sectional in 2016. Miller will be joined by senior Caitlin Merkel, juniors Hailey Jansen, Emily Chism and Madison White along with freshman Abbey Schiltz.
"We've got two seniors that give us the leadership we need," Alsvig said. "I think we'll be competitive for sure, and I believe this is a nice small group that's always smiling and wants to have some fun and win."
 
Earlville-Leland
Third-year coach Brock Harp boasts a 10-player roster that's loaded with six seniors. Among them is Grant Campbell, who led the Red Raiders last year and was the lone E-L competitor to advance to the Westminster Christian Class A Sectional.
Promising sophomore Branson Vahl along with seniors Carter Imel, Jack Prather and Clint Eager figure to join Campbell as the leaders on the final card most of the season.
"Grant Campbell should be one of the top three golfers in the conference and one of the best in the area," Harp said. "We've got a bunch of four-year players, so we're looking forward to a strong season where we'll be very, very competitive in every match."

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