Bobcats maiden Iowa Alliance champs
What a difference a month makes.
In the first round of the Iowa Alliance Conference Meet at Fort Dodge Country Club in August, Marshalltown’s Ryan Schmit had a difficult score of 88 — putting himself in a difficult position heading into the second round, held Tuesday at the American Legion Memorial Golf Course.
This round went very differently for the Bobcat junior — a 1-under-par 69 (the best round of the day by six shots) put him into a two-way tie for second place at 16-over 157 after the tournament was concluded, one shot off of winner Michael Solberg-Maas of Mason City. On a card-off, Schmit finished second, picking up a silver medal and leading his team to the conference championship in the process.
With a team score of 641, the Bobcats won the IAC title by 11 shots over runner-up Ames. It’s the second-consecutive conference championship for Marshalltown boys’ golf, and head coach Lucas Johnson said this was exactly the tone the Bobcats wanted to set in their first year as a member of a new league.
“This was one of our team goals heading into the year,” Johnson said. “We won the CIML conference our last time in that and we wanted to start a new tradition here with the Alliance Conference. Coming up with that trophy is nice.
“I told the guys that’s a trophy that’ll sit in our athletic trophy case for a long time and we’ll say that boys’ golf was the first to put their names on it.”
Schmit’s round grabbed the headlines and led the way for the Bobcats with his strong ball-striking display and an improved effort on the greens. Tee-to-green play has not been the issue for Schmit this season, Johnson said, but rather it’s been chipping and putting that has been inconsistent.
For Schmit, it comes down to one thing — his mental approach to the game.
“I think what I’ve mainly changed is my mentality while I’m playing golf,” Schmit said. “I was still hitting it well in Fort Dodge, but I think what makes me play better is changing just the way I think on the course.
“Not taking things too seriously, just going out and playing golf — that’s what’s helped me the most.”
A busy front nine with two birdies and three bogeys was countered by a 2-under 33 on the back nine, featuring birdies on 12, 14 and 17 with a bogey on the par-three 18th to close out his round.
He was not the only Bobcat to put in a good round, as Ty Faltys shot a combined score of 80-78-158 to finish in fourth place and clinch a spot on the IAC First Team All-Conference. Johnson said he was impressed with Faltys’ control throughout both of his rounds.
The third member of the Bobcats to get First Team honors was senior Cael Sandvick, who in his final regular-season meet as a Marshalltown player shot 78-82-160 and finished in sixth place.
Johnson was proud of Sandvick for getting that honor to close out his home career.
“Getting that top-six as well as an all-conference player is a great accomplishment for him,” Johnson said.
Finishing 10th was Jacob Thiessen with 83-86-169, while Eli Polley finished 11th after rounds of 88-83-171. They were given Second Team All-Conference honors. Brecken Payne finished 13th with 89-84-173.
Up next for Marshalltown is district play on Monday, which for the Bobcats will take place at A.H. Blank Golf Course in Des Moines.
Iowa Alliance Conference North Division meet
American Legion Golf Course, par 70
Team Standings — 1. Marshalltown 329-312–641; 2. Ames 331-321–652; 3. Mason City 361-343–704; 5. Fort Dodge 374-341–715; 6. Waterloo East 374-353–727.
Individual (top 12) — 1. Michael Solberg-Maas, MC, 79-77–156; 2. Ryan Schmit, MHS, 88-69–157; 3. Jackson Kepley, AMES, 82-75–157; 4. Ty Faltys, MHS, 80-78–158; 5. Drew DeGabrielle, MC, 81-79–160; 6. Cael Sandvick, MHS, 78-82–160; 7. Bowen Flemming, AMES, 77-83–160; 8. Elliott Stenberg, AMES, 82-84–166; 9. Riley Travis, FD, 83-84–167; 10. Jacob Thiessen, MHS, 83-86–169; 11. Eli Polley, MHS, 88-83–171; 12. Sutton Battles, AMES, 92-79–171.
MARSHALLTOWN (641) — Schmit 88-69–157, Faltys 80-78–158, Sandvick 78-82–160, Thiessen 83-86–169, Polley 88-83–171, Brecken Payne 89-84–173.
AMES (652) — Kepley 82-75–157, Flemming 77-83–160, Stenberg 82-84–166, Battles 92-79–171, Ashton Richie 90-90–180, Nick Alexander 93-97–190.
MASON CITY (704) — Solberg-Maas 79-77–156, DeGabrielle 81-79–160, Brendan Berkley 92-93–185, Noah Honn 109-94–203, Will Schissel 128-105–233, Breyden Baker NS-95–NS, Cam Bjugan 127-NS–NS.
FORT DODGE (715) — Travis 83-84–167, Carson Werning 95-84–179, Nathan Beekman 97-93–190, Grant Hepp 106-86–192, Evan Pratt 99-96–195, Dalton Rosalez 111-87–198.
WATERLOO EAST (727) — Jonah Helmrichs 94-87–181, Ethan Yu 89-92–181, Bryce Borseth 97-87–184, Eric Yu 95-91–186, Landon Booth NS-89–NS, Brayden Peters NS-95–NS, Keegan Aitchison 96-NS–NS, Manny Villa 127-NS–NS.