2017 spring golf: Athletes and teams to watch

East Buchanan's Chris Cooksley and Sarah Nacos, of Washington (Iowa) highlight area golfers

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A look at area prep golfers and teams to watch this spring.

 

Boys

GOLFERS TO WATCH

Chris Cooksley, East Buchanan, sr., Two-time Class 1A state champion, led 1A with 72.25 18-hole average, 2016 Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association 1A Player of the Year.

Isaac Knock, Williamsburg, sr., Placed sixth at 2016 3A state meet, Three-time state qualifier, Wamac West runner-up medalist, averaged 76.4 per 18 holes.

Race Cuckler, Cascade, jr., Finished ninth in the 2A state meet last season, River Valley runner-up medalist, averaged 76 per 18 holes.

Ethan Jacoby, Williamsburg, sr., Tied for 14th at 2016 3A state tournament, averaged 76.6 per 18 holes, which was second best in Wamac West, and 40.0 for nine.

Landen Pace, Benton Community, sr., Tied for 10th at 3A state meet last year, second-team all-state, third at Wamac Super Meet, averaged 39.22 per nine holes.

Trent Shaw, West Delaware, sr., Tied for 10th at 3A state meet last season, averaged 78.2 per 18 holes, which tied for fourth best average in Wamac East.

Drew Wolfe, Mount Vernon, sr., Tied for 14th at 2016 3A state meet, three-time state qualifier, honorable mention all-Wamac, averaged 79.33 per 18 holes.

Ethan Streicher, Edgewood-Colesburg, soph., Placed 16th at 1A state tournament as a freshman, sectional runner-up medalist, averaged 81.33 per 18 holes and 40.33 per nine.

TEAMS TO WATCH

EAST BUCHANAN: The Buccaneers return four starters from last year’s Class 1A state championship team. They were second in 1A with a 319.5 team average. The Bucs have low-scoring potential with state champion Chris Cooksley and three other capable scorers in Jacob Hesner, Ryan Schmitt and Dylan Kress.

WILLIAMSBURG: The Raiders have reached the state golf meet for seven straight seasons. This year, Williamsburg has a strong chance to make it eight in a row. The Raiders return all six starters, who finished sixth at the Class 3A meet last year. Isaac Knock, Ethan Jacoby and Sam Buch lead the way for an experience squad.

WEST DELAWARE: The Hawks placed second at the 3A state meet last year. They have some big holes to fill due to graduation, but four starters return, including all-conference performers Trent Shaw and Adam Kelchen. Shaw earned all-state honors and join Gavin Soppe and Derik Foster to help lead West Delaware in attempt to defend its Wamac title.

EDGEWOOOD-COLESBURG: The Vikings were district runners-up and placed seventh at the 1A state tournament. They return four starters, including sophomore Ethan Streicher. Juniors Ben Ernst and Cory Kloser and senior Tanner Payne give the Vikings a good core. If they build depth, the Vikings can contend for an Upper Iowa Conference crown.

Girls

GOLFERS TO WATCH

Sarah Nacos, Washington (Iowa), jr., Two-time state champion, two-time Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association Class 4A Player of the Year, led 4A with 75.86 18-hole average, Gazette-area best nine-hole low score of 34.

Jordan Amelon, Iowa City West, sr., Finished 16th at 5A state meet last year, three-time state qualifier, first-team all-MVC Valley, led West with 79.8 18-hole average.

Katie Choate, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, sr., Tied for 28th at 2016 5A state meet, first-team all-Metro, second-team all-MVC Valley, averaged 90 per 18 holes.

Jaden Schweinefus, South Winneshiek, jr., Placed 10th in 2A state tournament last season, two-time Upper Iowa Conference medalist, averaged 85.33 per 18 holes, first-team IHSGCA all-state.

Lauren Ries, Monticello, jr., Tied for 17th at 2016 3A state golf meet, River Valley Conference champion, averaged 89 per 18 holes, including a best round of 79.

Skyler Luzum, South Winneshiek, sr., Tied for 13th at 2A state meet last year, regional final medalist, all-conference performer, averaged 44.36 per nine, first-team IHSGCA all-state.

Molly Wenthold, North Fayette Valley, sr., Tied for 17th at 2016 3A state meet, all-conference golfer, second-team IHSGCA all-state, averaged 89 per 18 holes.

Tori Niemeyer, Linn-Mar, soph., 2016 5A state golf meet qualifier, first-team all-Metro, honorable mention all-MVC Valley, averaged 89.78 per 18 holes with a low of 74.

Peyton Staab, Cedar Rapids Prairie, sr., First-team all-Metro, second-team all-MVC Mississippi, led Prairie with averages of 91.38 (18 holes) and 49.6 (nine holes).

Courtney Olson, Clayton Ridge, soph., Tied for 18th at 2A state meet last season, all-district golfer, averaged 93.5 per 18 holes and 48.4 for nine holes.

TEAMS TO WATCH

WASHINGTON (IOWA): The Demons are defending 4A state champions and return four starters from last year’s title team. Washington has a strong core of players to build around, including two-time state champion Sarah Nacos. Megan Strabala, Allison Vogel and Carly Burlingame should round out scoring until freshmen come into form. The Demons have a strong tradition and have a chance to add to it.

More: Sarah Nacos attempts to lead Washington to another state title

NORTH FAYETTE VALLEY: The Tigerhawks have six golfers with state tournament experience from a year ago when they placed sixth at the 3A state tournament. NFV has a chance to defend its Upper Iowa Conference title. All-conference golfers Molly Wenthold, Callie Lembke, Anna Torkelson, Marrah Burrack and letterwinner Claire Hanson fill an experienced and hardworking lineup.

CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY: The Cougars return three members from last year’s 5A state tournament team, including first-team all-Metro pick Katie Choate, Abbie Haller and Jenna Hauschild. They have big holes to fill with three of their top four scorers graduating. Kennedy has a deep roster. The Cougars had an undefeated junior varsity squad in 2016. If they can step into the lineup and make the transition they could return to state.

IOWA VALLEY: The Tigers are coming off an SICL title and a trip to the 1A state meet. Iowa Valley returns four starters, including junior Caleigh Smith, who tied for 16th. Kyla Gehring was a first-team all-conference pick and Brooke Davis was an honorable-mention performer. Kyra Alexander rounds out the starters coming back. The Tigers will look for a couple underclassmen to solidify their lineup.

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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