Spartans cinch return trip to state golf

NASHUA — A change in venue didn’t alter Grundy Center’s course.

The Spartan boys’ golf team qualified for the state tournament for the eighth time in the last nine years, finishing second at Monday’s Class 1A district meet.

Bishop Garrigan of Algona won the 10-team event with a 333 team score, and Grundy Center was just two strokes back at 335 for the second and final state-qualifying spot. Mason City Newman came in third (343) and AGWSR was fourth (345), while Gladbrook-Reinbeck placed seventh (368).

Neither AGWSR nor Gladbrook-Reinbeck managed to advance an individual to state, but both were on the doorstep. Keon Huffman led the Cougars with an 81 to tie G-R’s Joe Smoldt for sixth place, but only the top five advanced to this weekend’s state meet at the American Legion Memorial Golf Course.

Grundy Center occupied two of the top five individual positions as Jesper Holke-Farnam finished second with his 4-over-par round of 75, and Jake Bangasser closed in fifth with a 78.

Also contributing for the Spartans were Matthew Sternhagen with an 89 and Braidan Buhrow with a 93. Nolan Freeman (95) and Tanner Appel (97) also played for Grundy Center, which last year combined with Gladbrook-Reinbeck and placed eighth out of nine teams at the Class 2A state meet.

Behind Huffman for AGWSR, Jay Janssen shot an 83, Alex Hames carded an 86 and Caleb Bartling’s 95 rounded out the Cougars’ scoring.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck combined Smoldt’s 81 with Matt Roeding’s 88, Matt Johannsen’s 97 and Mason Skovgard’s 102.

Hudson’s Noah Haack shot the medalist round of 3-over 74, and Mason City Newman’s Austin Eckenrod occupied the final at-large individual spot with his 5-over 76.

The 1A state meet begins Friday at the American Legion with a 10:30 a.m. shotgun start, and Saturday’s round begins at 8 a.m.