Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL


August 18, 2013

Fall preview Bulldog boys ready for "baptism by fire"

Phil Zaccari has coached the St. Anthony Bulldogs to three state golf championships, two runner up finishes and a third-place trophy over the past 12 years.

He's no stranger to turnover and replacing graduated seniors with capable young golfers.

He'll have to repeat that process this year, as four of St. Anthony's top six golfers from its state tournament run in 2012 have graduated. They finished in eighth in Class 1A, shooting a team score of +49.

To achieve the same St. Anthony level of success, it'll be a familiar formula for Zaccari and the Bulldogs.

"What we want to try to do early, it's going to be baptism by fire," Zaccari said. "We set our schedule up where we've played so many invitationals, so many 18 holes so by the time we play those tournaments we're very comfortable in that environment."

St. Anthony plays in three tournaments this upcoming week, starting with its own St. Anthony Invitational Monday and finishing the week at Pleasant Plains upstate in Macomb.

While seniors Joe Powell, Cole Buehnerkemper, Jack Niebrugge and Dalton Anderson have graduated, St. Anthony brings back two of its top two scorers at state.

Junior Garrett Hixenbaugh led the Bulldogs at state, shooting an 81 on the only day at state to lead the team. He's joined by classmate Conner Greene, who carded a 90 for the Bulldogs' fourth best score.

"Conner and Garrett, we're counting on them a lot to fill the shoes of those seniors," Zaccari said. "They're playing pretty well out of the gate."

Nick Wortman and Kyle Britton saw some playing time as juniors in 2012, and now will be counted upon to step up with Greene and Hixenbaugh and help fill out the rotation.

Sophomore Jeff Niebrugge joins his brother Jay on the team after playing baseball in 2012, and being courted to play by the current golfers. Fellow sophomore Jared Hutchison could step into a bigger role after getting bigger over the summer.

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  • JakeLinders.jpg Flaming Hearts win St. Anthony Invitational

    The Flaming Hearts of Effingham were the overall winners and also had the medalist. Effingham shot a team score of 312 to beat the host Bulldogs by nine shots. Hearts senior Jackson Wendling finished with a 72 to take medalist honors.

    August 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Willenborg.jpg Teutopolis takes opener against St. Thomas More

    Teutopolis took the course with a new coach and four players, but as coach Becky Probst said, it takes four to score.
    And those four Lady Shoes took their first match of the year, topping Champaign St. Thomas More 216-227 in both teams' openers at Cardinal Golf Course in Effingham.

    August 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • callawaysmith.jpg Time to tee off, golf season starts fall sports campaign today

    The fall sports campaign kicks off in earnest Monday afternoon, with the first area varsity contests being held in Windsor and Effingham this afternoon.
    The St. Anthony Invitational boys golf tournament will be held at Fox Prairie Golf Course at 1 p.m. in Windsor, while the Teutopolis Lady Shoes host St. Thomas More at Cardinal Golf Course at 4 p.m.

    August 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • AndrewBingham.jpg Flaming Hearts' flexibility a plus; Effingham prepping for upcoming soccer season

    Three days into the practice season, Effingham soccer coach Aaron Witges sees a lot of flexibility.
    It was something his squad had last year, with 10 seniors but young players forcing their way into the lineup as well.
    Coming off a 10-8-3 season, some of those young players will find themselves in new positions for the Flaming Hearts this season.

    August 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 8-16 eff volleyball.jpg Flaming Hearts set with new coach

    The Effingham Flaming Hearts volleyball team will have a new but familiar face leading them on the sideline this season.
    As a former player for the Hearts, coach Mindy McCollum-Boswell will look to lead her team to their first regional title since 2008.

    August 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ryan.jpg Czachorski: Bears backups worrisome

    This might sound shockingly similar to a number of columns I've written in the past, but it bears repeating (excusing a terrible pun).
    The quarterback situation is worrisome.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • FelixScharnbacher.jpg Newton soccer kicks off, inaugural season starts Sept. 2

    For the first time in the history of Newton High School, a soccer team will be a part of the fall sports season.

    August 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • ATV2.jpg Pocrnich wins national ATV title

    As people get older, their chance at a national championship diminishes, but Effingham’s Kevin Pocrnich was able to win one at 49 years old.
    Pocrnich won the Class 16 Senior 40+ Mountain Dew ATV Motocross Championship and according to the league website, finished fourth in the Class 14 30+ Veteran division. He went out with a bang, winning the final race of the season in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee Saturday.

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teutopolis alum Thompson part of no-hitter

    A pair of Effingham natives are making some noise up in the Northwest League.
    Teutopolis alumnus Derek Thompson and Effingham alumnus Nick Gardewine, both members of the Spokane Indians in the Texas Rangers organization, earned some recognition over the past week.

    August 14, 2014

  • KnopVolleyball.jpg Comets coming off stellar season

    The Stew-Stras Comets finished in second-place at the state championship last season, a high-water mark for the program in recent years.
    Coach Ronda Schlechte lost five players who played quality minutes from last year’s team, but she said she has a lot of freshmen that have the ability to help the team.

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo

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