116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Western Dubuque’s strides have started to produce success.
The Bobcats played some of their best golf this week, propelling them into the final Mississippi Valley Conference divisional meet Monday and the rapidly approaching postseason the next week.
“These kids are really starting to get it dialed in right now,” Western Dubuque Coach Ben Wilson said. “They understand what it takes to be competitive.”
The Bobcats are fixed in the top 20 of Class 4A team scoring averages and earned recent wins over teams that stand between them and the top 10. They claimed first at an MVC quadrangular Monday and followed it with a fourth-place finish at the Cedar Falls Invitational on Tuesday, placing behind three top-6 teams.
Many may have overlooked the Bobcats with five underclassmen in the lineup and a slow start from state qualifier Davis Stelzer.
“I feel like we’re flying under the radar,” Wilson said. “I think we’re really starting to sneak up on teams and surprising a lot of people.”
Western Dubuque opened the week with a victory over No. 13 Cedar Rapids Xavier at Pleasant Valley Golf Course in Iowa City, shooting 160 and winning the nine-hole event by seven strokes.
The Bobcats posted a team score of 317 at Pheasant Ridge Golf Course, coming in behind top-ranked host Cedar Falls, No. 3 Waukee and No. 6 Cedar Rapids Prairie. They placed in front of Marshalltown and Cedar Rapids Washington, which have a better combined adjusted average than their 160.44. Western Dubuque also placed in front of Dubuque Wahlert (159.43) in the first MVC divisional round.
Maturation, hard work and chemistry have been key to growth. They believe they can compete with any team.
“I think what you’re seeing right now is a byproduct of hard work,” Wilson said. “We get done with meets and practice and they’re right back out on the golf course, whether it’s going to the driving range or playing more on their own.
“And, they’re doing it together. They have that camaraderie that is sometimes hard to find with kids. They really enjoy spending time with each other. When we’re done with practice, they will go eat together and they’re right back to the course.”
Brock Wilson and Stelzer have earned medalist honors in the two quadrangular titles this season. Wilson leads the Bobcats with a 79.17 18-hole average. Sophomore Jackson Webber comes in at 79.67 and Stelzer owns an 80.5 average. Freshman Tyler Skrtich has contributed as well as sophomore Jackson Skrtich.
Five of the six starters are underclassmen. Ben Wilson was familiar with them, getting to watch them play the Thunder Hills course, while the varsity team practice. It wasn’t a matter of if, but when, they would impact the program.
“I knew they were coming,” Wilson said. “I knew they were talented. I just didn’t know what that meant when they got to high school. I always knew that we had potential with this group of kids to be really competitive.”
The Bobcats will get a chance to show their strides with the second MVC Mississippi divisional at Hunters Ridge on Monday. They didn’t shoot well during the Linn-Mar Invitational the first week of the season and they will see some of the district teams as well.
“I’m happy we have a chance to go back there and get a second chance at this course against a lot of the same teams we’re going to see in the postseason,” Wilson said. “This is going to be a really good opportunity for us.”
The third and final rounds of the MVC divisional meets will be Monday. The Mississippi Division will compete at Hunters Ridge Golf Course in Marion. The Valley Division will be held at Bunker Hill Golf Course in Dubuque. The three rounds consist of the MVC Super Meet and two divisional rounds to determine division team champions and all-conference honors.
Cedar Falls leads the Mississippi by 16 strokes over Washington, which won the first divisional last week. The Warriors’ Nile Petersen owns a two-stroke edge on the Tigers’ Owen Sawyer for Mississippi Player of the Year honors.
Cedar Rapids Kennedy will take a 23-stroke lead over Xavier into the final Valley divisional. The Cougars’ Gannon Hall leads younger brother, Reid Hall, by two strokes. Kennedy’s Carter Vander Zee is third, while A.J. Corkery is fourth.
POSTMA EARNS RUNNER-UP HONORS
Linn-Mar’s Caden Postma earned runner-up medalist honors at the Cedar Falls Invitational on Tuesday at Pheasant Ridge Golf Course. Postma posted his second-lowest 18-hole score of the season, shooting 73 and finishing three strokes back of medalist Sawyer.