Editor’s Note: Fall Files will be a recurring notebook that features every sport except for football.
GIRLS GOLF: Like any good player, senior Nina Rutkowski believes every round can be better. That’s why, after shooting a 4-over 39 on Monday at Billy Caldwell Golf Course in Chicago, she didn’t declare her start to the season a success. Given more time to think about it, Rutkowski, a team captain, admitted she’s happy with the results so far.
Rutkowski, a Park Ridge resident and Emerson Middle School graduate, is Loyola’s No. 1 player. She finished first at Fenwick’s invitational at Midlothian Country Club with a 72 to help the Ramblers to the team title and shot 72 at Lake Barrington Shores to take third at Barrington’s tournament, leading Loyola to third place against a competitive field.
“I’m happy with the start,” Rutkowski said.
A four-year varsity veteran, Rutkowski said she worked on her short game during the offseason and played a tough schedule over the summer to prepare herself for her final season.
“I played bigger tournaments than I was used to and against better players,” she said. “It was hard at first, but it ended well. It gave me confidence going into high school.”
Rutkowski is one of six players competing on Loyola’s varsity team. The others are senior captain Tatum Koehn, junior Lilly Gentzkow, junior Shea Graf, sophomore Mary Boesen and sophomore Grace Kryscio.
Although it’s a small squad, Carli McKenney, Loyola’s first-year head coach, said every player on varsity is capable of shooting good scores.
“Everybody is capable of contributing,” said McKenney, who served as assistant for the previous two seasons under Heather Penn. “It’s a close group, and it’s one I’m excited about.”
BOYS GOLF: The Ramblers graduated four players who teed it up for last year’s team that finished fifth at the Class 3A state tournament, and three of them took 32nd or better as individuals.
Seniors John Kryscio and Chip Savarie both are back from that lineup. While each is off to a slow start, the good news is Loyola is getting production from some unexpected players.
In five events, four players have led the team in scoring, and none of them were part of last year’s postseason lineup. Junior Casey Kenney is the one Rambler with two top team finishes, both at 18-hole invitationals. Senior John Zimmermann, senior Michael O’Sullivan and junior Peter Radler are the others who took top team honors.
“We have some kids with potential to go low,” Loyola head coach Tim Kane said. “All of our players are physically there. We have to get them mentally there, to understand their games and how they can be good.”
Once Kryscio and Savarie round into shape, Kane said the Ramblers could contend for their sixth trip to the state tournament in eight years. Kryscio is a three-time state qualifier, and Savarie tied for second at last year’s sectional.
Other players who should contribute this season include senior Spencer Crowe, senior Ben Sherman and junior Ryan Savarie.
Kane said he’s looking forward to seeing how the Ramblers perform Saturday at Warren’s 18-hole invitational at Bittersweet Golf Club in Gurnee.
“I’ve told the boys that we’ve gotten off to hot starts in the past and plateaued before the end of the season,” Kane said. “I’m fine with a slow start as long as we understand how we can get better. I want us to start playing our best golf.”