Rantoul/PBL golf to start season Monday

RANTOUL -- Expectations have been raised for the Rantoul/Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School boys' golf team.
Last year, the Eagles advanced four individual golfers -- Trey VanWinkle, Noah Shields, Luke Jones and Mitch St. Peter -- past the IHSA Class 2A regional round.  
"We're looking at going into sectionals and having a chance to get out of sectionals and go to state," Rantoul/PBL head coach Tom Wilks said. "With a couple of individuals, I don't see why not. This could be a fun year to watch. We'll see what happens."
While Jones and St. Peter graduated, VanWinkle returns for his junior year and Shields is back for his senior season. 
"Noah has come a long way," Wilks said. "He did a lot of practice over the summer."
Chase Moore is back as well for his senior year after qualifying for sectionals as a sophomore in 2016.
"Trey VanWinkle, Noah Shields and Chase Moore are going to be our top three," Wilks said. 
"We've got a good squad coming back," Wilks said. "I saw a lot of kids play this summer, and that's a plus when you're going into golf season (in the fall).
"I'm looking forward to the younger talent that's going to have more of a chance to play for a spot, and then we've got some freshmen coming up that are going to go play for junior varsity this year and will have a good year coming up next year. It's going to be fun to watch."
Eventually, Wilks said he should have a roster of 15-16 players. 
"That's a good bunch here," Wilks said. "We'll keep it going."
Casey Dillman and Eli Remington return for their junior seasons while William Wake is a senior and Jalen Childs is on the team as well for the Eagles.
On the girls' side, Peyton Huls returns for her junior season after being named as an all-area special mention by The News-Gazette last year while Kelbie Hayden also returns for her junior year.
The Eagles' season starts at the Tiger Kick-Off Classic at 9 a.m. next Monday at Urbana Country Club.
"We'll see right away where we kind of stand, and we'll just go from there," Wilks said. "It's shaping up."


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