The Trifecta: Waukee boys golf captures third straight state title
Once, twice, three consecutive times a state champion. That's exactly what the Waukee boys golf team experienced on Saturday, Oct. 10 as they captured yet another Class 4A state title.
Following a strong round-two outing, Waukee finished the two-day event inside the Des Moines Golf and Country Club with a title-winning score of 605. That outpaced the entire 12-team field and led second-place Pleasant Valley by 16 strokes.
"We stuck together and the kids were good about listening to the coaches and coaches listening to the kids," said Waukee head coach John Kotz. "The camaraderie was special and made it all come together in the end."
No other Class 4A program has had the state title success that Waukee has had over the last 10 years. Saturday's title was the seventh overall for the Warriors and the team's third consecutive title.
The Warriors escaped last year's state meet with a title despite 35-plus mph winds and cold weather. On Saturday, they captured a state title under sunny and warm conditions with a team score of 303.
"The weather was great today," said senior Jack Starr. "This was as good of weather as I could ask for."
Starr's performance in round two was as good as the team could ask for as well. Following his round one score of three-over-par 75, Starr put on the performance of a lifetime, carding an even-par score of 72. The four-time state qualifier was the only individual out of the entire 84-golfer field to card an even-par score for the finale round. For his efforts, Starr earned the top individual score across the entire state meet field with an overall score of three-over-par 147 for his 72 holes.
It marked a career-best state meet performance for both round one and round two as the storied high school career of Starr officially comes to a close.
"Good for Jack, he gave us everything we could ask for and what a special day for him," said Kotz. "He's contributed all four years for us whether it was as a single qualifier as a freshman to the back-to-back-to-back state titles. He has been a part of all of it."
Starr tied for the best round-two mark in pars (15) and fewest bogies earned (3), which led to meet-best marks of 29 pars and just seven bogies. It also marked his first state meet medalist honor.
"Watching all the seniors the last two years pull it off, I wanted to go off on the same note," Starr said. "It was a little up and down, the eagle was super cool but then I made a double right after. Just had to dig deep and not give up."
Junior Brock Seiser wasn't too far behind Starr, capturing the runner-up medalist spot. Amid a two-stroke improvement from round one, Seiser finished his first varsity state meet with a one-over-par 73, giving him a two-day total of 148. Overall, Seiser tied for the meet lead in total birdies for the 72 holes (seven birdies) and tied in both total pars earned (28) and fewest bogies issued (8).
Also sporting quite the impressive outing was sophomore standout Tanner Dinnebier. Totaling a 12-over-par score of 156 for the state meet, Dinnebier carded two equal scores of six-over-par 78's. An impressive shot off the tee box, Dinnebier produced an eight-hole streak without a bogie (holes 9 through 16). He was followed by round-one leader Will Kramer who finished the day carding a 14-over-par 158.
Payton Sandfort tied for 16th overall thanks to a score of 159 (15-over-par) while Will Klein tied for 55th overall. That came with a score of 28-over-par 172 to round out the Waukee lineup.
The victory marked the continuation of what has become a dynasty in Waukee boys' golf. It also marked the ending of the coaching career for Kotz. After 26 years directing the efforts for Waukee boys golf, Kotz has decided to hang up his high school coaching polos.
"I've loved my time coaching here at Waukee," began Kotz. "I have got hobbies that I like and I might look to see what might be there at the collegiate level. I'm sure there are other passions I haven't found out yet. Nothing's set in stone but there's always something new and I'm looking forward to it."