How do you follow up a championship season? Well, a victory right out of the gates the following season is a great start to doing so.
The defending fall golf champion Warriors opened up their 2019-20 season Thursday morning with a 316-326 victory over fellow state tournament opponent Marshalltown. It was a clash of CIML Iowa Conference foes to begin the season and it was just as competitive as head coach John Kotz knew it would be.
“Marshalltown came in with some very talented players,” began Kotz. “They were a little shorthanded with having a couple of players unable to play but their top two golfers proved they will lead a strong push for a state title run this season.”
Marshalltown did put fourth two golfers inside the top three finishes including Cole Davis who paced the entire contest with a one-over-par score of 73. For the Warriors, their top score belonged to senior Charlie Andrews who tied for the runner-up medal by firing a two-over-par score of 74. A hallmark for Waukee last year was the number of individuals in the top ten scores and that’s what happened to start the new year. The big tipping point in favor of Waukee came from the round by senior Josh Nichols who carded an 18-hole round of 76. His score not only helped the Warriors out in the contest but also showcased the vast improvement made by the senior in his farewell season.
“Josh worked very hard during the offseason and it was good to see him turn in a nice round today,” said Kotz. “Josh’s consistency is his biggest improvement since last year.”
Jack Starr was next up on Waukee’s scoring list carding an 18-hole round of 83 while senior Carlie Steer and junior Payton Sandfort matched that mark to start off their 2019-20 campaigns.
The win gives Waukee a 1-0 advantage in the dual conference race, something that was aided pretty heavily in the fact that it was played within the confines of Beaver Creek Golf Course.
“We were fortunate to play them on our home course,” said Kotz. “Beaver Creek is a home course advantage with its length and tight fairways. We did win and it’s a win we’ll gladly take.”
One thing coach Kotz never questioned heading into the match-up was the teams’ depth and his faith proved fruitful as Andrews was a fill-in for Matthew O’Brien who was unable to make the meet. Andrews paced the Waukee line-up and showcased just how strong the depth of the team is.
“Charlie was on a mission and showed good poise and leadership out there today,” said Kotz. “Charlie has seen some varsity playing time since he was a sophomore so I was looking forward to seeing what he was capable of. I am looking forward to him helping out this team as a senior this year.”
The first meet of the season is always a good gauge of where a team is at and for the Warriors, finding the farways and keeping the short game strong will be vital to another successful season.
“Keeping the ball in play and continually improving our short game will be big goals of ours as we continue into what will be a busy week.”
Indeed it will be a busy upcoming schedule for the Warriors who travel to Marion on Monday, August 19 to take on the Linn Mar Invitational at Hunter’s Ridge Golf Course featuring a 13-team field. From there the Warriors will host Fort Dodge in a dual meet on August 21 followed by an 18 team tournament at the Cedar Rapids Washington Invitational at Elmcrest Country Club August 22.