Linn-Mar captures third straight MVC boys' golf divisional crown

Senior Drew Brandel leads Lions, who hold off Xavier

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Linn-Mar’s Drew Brandel exchanged a little more sleep for extra swings.

The result was some good-natured ribbing for his coach and teammates. The good thing is he followed it up with a much-needed team-best performance.

Brandel carded a 3-over 73 to lead Linn-Mar to a team victory in the final round of Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Division play Monday at Jones Park Golf Course. The Lions shot 304 as a team, finishing with a three-round total of 907 and claiming their third straight divisional title by six over Cedar Rapids Xavier.

“It was good these guys were working toward this goal and were able to achieve it,” Linn-Mar Coach Chris James said. “It’s really good for them. I’m happy for all those guys and the seniors.”

James smiled and laughed when he mentioned Brandel, who overslept and missed the pre-meet warm-up session.

“I’m going to call him out a little here,” James said. “He actually overslept this morning, so we had to go pick him up at his house. He comes out and shoots the best score for us.

“I was joking and I told my guys that is the secret, I guess, to a winning formula for him. Sleep in a little.”

Brandel was fresh and ready to go for the round. He still managed to record three birdies, including on the par-4, No. 1 hole. He was impressive, adding two more birdies on the back nine.

“I didn’t set my alarm,” said Brandel, adding, “I missed the range at Hunters Ridge. We practice there, but I usually don’t hit many balls on the range anyway. I don’t like to hit a lot of balls before I play. It didn’t affect me too much personally.”

Brandel said the practice round at Jones allowed the Lions to get a feel for crucial shots that come up during play. Cole Yearling shot 74, while Ben Greif and Carter Fredrickson posted 78 and 79, respectively.

None of the Lions shot higher than 81, showing their depth and balance.

“It took all six guys,” James said. “We’ve talked about it all year that we’re consistent from top to bottom. It took our guys to grind it out.”

“We didn’t start out too bad,” James said. “We didn’t finish the way I’d like, so just moving forward we need to finish better if we want to compete for a state title.”

Brandel finished with a total of 233, joining teammate Ben Greif as first-team all-MVC Mississippi golfers for the second straight season. Yearling ended up with 226, one shot ahead of Greif, to give Linn-Mar three on the first team.

Fredrickson, Zach Armstrong and Jackson Woods earned second-team honors, placing all six Linn-Mar golfers in the top 13. The Lions have three straight titles after four consecutive runner-up finishes.

“It’s really cool,” said Brandel, who has been part of two of those division title teams. “We had a good team last year. To come back with all seniors this year it’s a good feeling.”

Xavier senior Brad Karpick captured MVC Mississippi Division Athlete of the Year honors for the second straight season. He entered the final round with a three-stroke lead over Greif, shooting even par-70.

“It’s been a goal of mine always to be the best,” Karpick said. “It’s a title that I hold dear to me. I want to be able to lead my team and the conference.”

Karpick carded five birdies, including three on the front nine and going out with 1-under 34. He wasn’t thrilled with how he closed the round, but he finished well enough to win.

“I knew off the tee and getting in the fairway would be key,” Karpick said. “I expected a lot of wedges in my hands. With those, I can make a lot of shots.

“Overall, I played well.”

Karpick was joined on the first team by Nick Recker, who tied for fifth with 76 and helped the Saints to a 308 in Monday’s final round. Xavier’s Dan Bailey and Ryan Keating made the second-team.

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

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