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Iowa high school boys’ golf teams happily wait longer for state-qualifying assignments
IHSAA considering more data before splitting teams up
Iowa high school golfers and coaches are anxiously awaiting their postseason assignments.
They have had to be a little more patient this season.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association is expected to release state qualifier assignments soon. Teams are waiting longer than past years as the state considers more results before separating the top programs.
“It’s nice but there is some anticipation there,” Linn-Mar Coach Chris James said. “It puts a premium on your team posting some solid scores early in the season. Set yourself up for some good draws.”
James said coaches had previously complained about how quickly postseason paths were set. They always wondered why it was done that way instead of after teams had a bigger body of work. Now, the Lions will have at least three 18-hole rounds and two nine-hole meets in the books before districts are established.
“Previously, they said they would look at who was coming back (from last year), who has been good in the past and stuff like that,” James said. “You’d like to have some rounds and some data to look at versus those sorts of things.”
West Des Moines Dowling, Western Dubuque (Thunder Hills Country Club in Peosta), North Scott and Pleasant Valley and Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln will host districts, beginning Oct. 3.
James recalled four to five top teams at the same location, battling for three state berths in past years. Balance was hard to achieve and teams won’t ever be perfectly split. It could prevent overloading districts and getting the best teams into the state field.
“Exactly what I’d like to see,” Cedar Rapids Prairie Coach Erik Columbus said. “I would hate for a good program, or a top-10 team, not make it. I hope they avoid that issue. I want everyone to have an equally fair shot at making it.”
Gazette-area teams are excited for the opportunity to compete at state in their own backyard. The Class 4A state tournament will be held Oct. 7-8 at Elmcrest Country Club in Cedar Rapids.
“The guys think the potential to play at Elmcrest would be special,” said Columbus, who has led the Hawks to state in 2017, 2021 and 2022. “It has good memories for us.”
James said the focus is on the immediate competitions and practices that fill the regular season, but admitted it is hard not to think of the possibilities of playing at a course some of his players frequent.
“It is definitely something the guys have talked about,” James said. “Playing at Elmcrest, they’re familiar with it.
“I do think the guys have a little extra incentive to play a course they enjoy.”
CRANDIC coming to Ellis
The annual CRANDIC boys’ golf meet will be held Tuesday at Ellis Golf Course. This marks the first time the course will host the nine-team event since a derecho devastated it in 2020. The field consists of each Class 4A program in the Cedar Rapids/Marion Metro and Iowa City.
Last season, Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Reid Hall and Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Charlie Allen shared medalist honors, shooting 3-under par 68 at Brown Deer Golf Club. Both return this season. Hall is a junior, averaging 75.5 per round this year. Allen, a senior, is fourth on the Saints with a 78.25 18-hole average.
Kennedy is the defending team champion, claiming the title for the first time under head coach Mike Green. The field consists of five of the top-20 teams in 4A in 18-hole adjusted team average. Xavier is sixth overall with No. 11 Cedar Rapids Prairie, 13th-ranked Linn-Mar, No. 17 Iowa City Liberty and Kennedy at 19th.