116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Out of the pan and into the fire.
If the girls’ golf competition in the Mississippi Valley Conference wasn’t tough enough in the regular season, now many will have to battle it out in the postseason, vying for state tournament berths.
Just two days after finishing between No. 7 Cedar Falls and No. 8 Western Dubuque atop the team race in the final MVC Mississippi divisional, ninth-ranked Cedar Rapids Washington will face them both again in a Class 4A regional final tournament Wednesday at Irv Warren Golf Course in Waterloo.
Teams from across the state in all classes will play in state qualifying meets Wednesday. The top two teams and top six individuals advance to the state tournaments May 26 and 27.
Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Dubuque Hempstead, Iowa City Liberty, Iowa City West, Waterloo East and Waterloo West join the highly-ranked threesome of teams. The weekly challenges have prepared MVC teams for the postseason.
“It’s such a good (conference),” Washington Coach Dennis Goettel said. “There can’t be a better conference in the state. We have four teams that are in the top 10. Dubuque Wahlert is top-10 in 3A, so we really have five.
“It’s good competition that should get us ready to compete on Wednesday.”
Cedar Falls owns a 186.03 combined adjusted team average, leading Western Dubuque and Washington by a little more than three. The Bobcats and Warriors are percentage points apart. The teams have each gotten the better of each other at least once.
Freshman Jane Petersen and sophomore Mya Messenger have led the way this season, sharing time as the team’s No. 1 golfer. Petersen was runner-up to MVC Mississippi Player of the Year Bella Pettersen of Liberty and owns a 75.6 18-hole average. Messenger comes in at 80.75 per round. Both have posted low rounds of 72.
“I challenged them at the beginning of the year,” said Goettel, who noted talented teams at Pleasant Valley and West Des Moines Valley. “I said I want you to be the best twosome in the state. They’re probably the third-best duo in the state. They’ve just been so dependable all season.”
The duo complement and push each other well. Goettel said the players get along well, which showed during the pre-meet breakfast hosted by Messenger Monday morning. Petersen, Messenger and all the Warriors have a solid rapport.
“It’s good,” Goettel said. “I think our team, as a whole, is a lot closer this year.
“Mya and Mackenzie were the only ones on varsity a year ago. It was almost a whole new cast.”
Junior Mackenzie Parks shoots in the low-90s, while Grace Conley, Lydia Jackson and Allie Hayes round out their top six averages. Conley, Jackson and Hayes have steadily improved leading up to the postseason.
“Grace had a real good meet last Thursday out at Cedar Rapids Prairie. Our Nos. 5 and 6 (Jackson and Hayes) had their best rounds (Monday),” Goettel said. “Hope they can come through on Wednesday,”
Sixth-ranked Linn-Mar, Prairie, Council Bluffs Lincoln, Council Bluffs Jefferson, Des Moines East, Lewis Central and Urbandale travel to No. 3 Marshalltown for a regional at Elmwood Country Club.
Prairie’s Addie Berg and Linn-Mar’s Morgan Rupp are among the top individuals.
“The thing about golf is anything can happen on any given day,” Linn-Mar Coach Chris James said. “You don’t play defense in golf, so our focus will be on what we can control – having a positive attitude, staying in the moment on each shot and eliminating mental mistakes.
“If we can try to commit to each shot we will be satisfied with whatever happens score-wise.”
In 3A, Cedar Rapids Xavier and Marion will compete in a regional at Brown Deer Golf Club in Coralville. Clear Creek Amana hosts the meet that includes Benton Community, Center Point-Urbana, DeWitt Central, Davenport Assumption, Dubuque Wahlert, Grinnell, Maquoketa, Solon and South Tama.