FORT DODGE - The Marshalltown boys' golf team put forth its best score in more than two weeks, but it wasn't enough to snap the Bobcats' state tournament drought.
MHS finished ninth out of 13 teams at Tuesday's district meet at Fort Dodge Country Club, while none of the Bobcats managed to crack the top four of the individual competition. Waukee, Dowling Catholic and Ames move on to Friday and Saturday's Class 4A fall state meet at Tournament Club of Iowa, and all four qualifying individuals came from those programs as well.
Marshalltown shot a 346 - its best team score since the Joe August Invite on Sept. 14 - and actually finished within 16 strokes of fourth place Sioux City East (330). Waukee won with a 293, Dowling was second at 305 and Ames advanced at 309.
Connor Johnson led the Bobcats with a 10-over-par round of 81, shooting 40-41 on the par 35-36-71 course. Drayton Lents carded his third-best round of the season with an 87 that served as Marshalltown's runner-up score, while Riley Wirth and Brandin Chaloupek rounded out the team total with 89s.
Sam Weatherman shot 90 and Brant McKibben a 98 for the Bobcats.
"After a stretch of some tough meets, I was glad to see our guys continue to keep grinding," said MHS head coach Lucas Johnson. "I thought we managed the course much better than we have in previous meets. The back nine has some tricky holes that can ruin a round in a hurry, but for the most part we avoided the big numbers that have plagued us of late.
Class 4A District Meet
At Fort Dodge Country Club, par 71
Team Standings - 1. Waukee 293, 2. Dowling Catholic 305, 3. Ames 309, 4. Sioux City East 330, 5. Sioux City Bishop Heelan 332, 6. Mason City 335, 7. Sergeant Bluff-Luton 337, 8. Fort Dodge 340, 9. Marshalltown 346, 10. Sioux City North 349, 11. Urbandale 369, 12. Sioux City West 370, 13. Des Moines East 406.
Individual State Qualifiers - 1. Dustin Atkinson, AMES, 68 (won in a playoff); 2. Grant Campbell, WAU, 68; 3. Jacob McKinney, WAU, 70; 3. Sam DeBartolo, DC, 74.
MARSHALLTOWN (346) - Connor Johnson 81, Drayton Lents 87, Riley Wirth 89, Brandin Chaloupek 89, Sam Weatherman 90, Brant McKibben 98.
Friday and Saturday
At Tournament Club of Iowa, Polk City
Teams - Ames, Ankeny, Bettendorf, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Cedar Rapids Xavier, Dowling Catholic, Johnston, Muscatine, Ottumwa, Pleasant Valley, Waukee, West Des Moines Valley.
Individuals - Jared Deines, Cedar Falls; Britton Vanderlinden, Indianola; Bobby Wolfe, North Scott.
"We had some tree problems that kept us from bringingin in scores in the low 80s. Though we finished ninth, we competed well."
Marshalltown has had only two state tournament qualifiers in the last nine seasons. John Danielson placed 14th in 2004 while Jacob Butler was 21st in 2008.
Johnson, a junior, was seven strokes shy of a top-four finish.
"Connor continued to lead the team with his consistent play," Coach Johnson said. "He missed a state berth by seven strokes, but he's got a ton of talent. I'm confident he'll be in the mix next year.
"Youth is on our side moving forward."