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Streator linksmen promise to be strong again in '19

Defending I-8 champions move to the new ICE Conference

Streator's Jacob Magana, shown here in regional action last fall at Rock River Golf and Pool in Rock Falls, looks poised to take over as the Bulldogs' ace in 2019.
Streator's Jacob Magana, shown here in regional action last fall at Rock River Golf and Pool in Rock Falls, looks poised to take over as the Bulldogs' ace in 2019.

After an impressive and at times dominating five-year run in the Interstate Eight Conference, the defending I-8 boys golf champions are no longer members of the league.

Now they turn their attentions to a new conference ... and a new challenge.

Head coach Dusty Masley has a handful of returnees from last year's successful team and a couple varsity newcomers he believes can contribute to make the 2019 Bulldogs linksmen strong contenders in their new conference home, the Illinois Central Eight, as well as candidates to make some noise come the IHSA postseason.

"In our new conference, I think we have a chance to win it," Masley said. "Winning (the Interstate Eight) last year and then winning (the Illinois Central Eight) in the inaugural season would be a nice notch in our program's belt, so to speak.

"I definitely think, if we play well, we can get out of regionals as a team. And I also think we have two or three individuals who can get to sectionals, and Jacob (Magana), I think, definitely could get down to state."

Magana returns for his junior season after a 10th-grade campaign which saw him earn Times Boy Golf Honor Roll and I-8 All-Conference honors after a fourth-place tie in the conference tournament and a sectional-qualifying round in regionals.

"He's going to be our leading scorer and our best golfer," said Masley. "Hopefully he's ready and willing to step into those shoes."

A pair of seniors and a sophomore also return after contributing scores to the varsity's team totals last season. There's senior Austin Fairall, a third-year varsity player poised for a good season, fellow 12th-grader Trevor Sterling who put up some excellent rounds last year in spots and sophomore Cooper Wahl, a consistent shooter.

The spots behind them "are kind of a mystery right now," according to Masley, who envisions four young men competing for the final varsity slots. That includes junior Chris Scarber as well as a trio of sophomores, Noah Colter, Adam Jakupcak and Dane Winterrowd.

"We're going to be counting on Trevor and Cooper a lot behind Jacob and Austin, and then hopefully we can get a good score out of our No. 5 and 6 guys when we need one," Masley said.

A pair of freshmen — Adam Williamson and this year's lone female player, Elly Bedecker — rounded out the roster for the Bulldogs heading into the start of school.

Streator opens its season Monday at Kellogg Golf Course in Peoria.

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