Conference supremacy was on the line Wednesday in Fort Dodge and thanks to five top 12 individual performances, the Waukee boys’ golf team captured the conference crown.
Out of the eight teams in the CIML-Iowa Conference tournament, the Warriors captured the title with a team score of 295 ahead of Southeast Polk carding a 299 and West Des Moines Valley with a 311. It was less than ideal conditions for such an important meet yet Waukee pulled through as all six of the varsity starters captured All-Conference status by placing top 16 or better. Near perfection was a must in order to do so well due in large part to the challenge that the Fort Dodge Country Club presented as noted by Warrior head coach John Kotz.
“The boys handled the conditions and the course very well today and they needed to,” began Kotz. “Fort Dodge Country Club demands proper ball placement with shots or a very good recovery game if that doesn’t happen. We really grinded for all 18 holes today.”
Leading the pack for Waukee and capturing the tournament runner-up finish was Jack Starr. The junior led the Warriors with an 18-hole round of even-par 71. Starr overcame two bogies late in both the front and back nine with two late birdies ad he shot 35 through the front nine and 36 through the back nine. Senior Josh Nichols was not too far behind as he carded a varsity career-low score of two-over-par 73. Nichols was the only Warrior to card a birdie on hole two en route to capturing a pair of birdies on the front nine for a mark of one-under-par 34. His back-nine performance consisted of two more birdies to capture a score of 39 and for his efforts, Nichols placed fourth overall out of over 30 golfers.
Right on the tail of Nichols was Charlie Steer was placed fifth overall thanks to an 18-hole mark of three-over-par 74. Steer bogeyed just once across the front nine but a birde neutralized his front nine score to an even 35 while his back-nine score of 39 matched the efforts of Nichols. Both Jack Utsler and Matthew O’Brien both carded scores of six-over-par 77. Both overcame bogey hole-one performances to capture front nine scores of one-over-par 36 and five-over-par 40 respectively. O’Brien carded one of his best nine-hole scores of the season with a one-over-par 37 across the back nine while Utsler shot five over for his back-nine score. Charlie Andrews rounded out the top 16 scores for Waukee with a nine-over-par mark of 80 across 18 holes played.
The finish gives a big boost to the Warriors who get ready to take on District play on Tuesday, Oct. 8 which will take place at Whispering Creek Golf Course in Sioux City. It will be the same district course as last year for Waukee. The Warriors will be among six other CIML Conference foes.