116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Monticello boys’ golf coach Curt Tauke realized experience and depth would be a strength this season.
The Panthers returned five letterwinners with some playing since their freshman season. Veteran leadership was invaluable after last year’s canceled season.
“We had a nice nucleus of kids able to be in that position,” Tauke said. “I thought coming into the season that our experience would be an advantage for us. It turned out to be that way. These kids have played really, really well for us.”
Monticello will compete in a Class 3A sectional golf meet Friday at Wildcat Golf Course in Shellsburg, joining teams across the state in postseason play. The Panthers will face a field with Anamosa, Benton Community, Center Point-Urbana, Maquoketa, Marion, Mount Vernon and Vinton-Shellsburg, starting at 10 a.m.
“We have a good team to go a long way,” senior Justin Recker said. “We have five seniors. We’ve been playing together since junior high. We all know what we’re capable of. We just have to go out there and do it at this point.”
Monticello bumped to 3A for the first time in many years, according to Tauke.
“You still have to go out and play,” Tauke said. “I think we’re in a good position, if we go out and play our game and play like we have played this year. I think we can do some good things.”
Tauke estimated the Panthers’ record at 42-1, finishing second to West Branch in the River Valley Conference tournament. They rank fourth in 3A with a 165.89 combined adjusted average, shooting 331.04 per 18 holes.
The players are tight in scoring. Recker leads the way at 78.6 per 18 holes. Ty Kehoe and Connor Lambert shoot about 80, Bo Kramer comes in at 81.8 and Kaden Kiburz and freshman Blaine Brighton average 85. Four Panthers have earned medalist honors this season.
“I really feel this is one of the best teams I have had from top to bottom in terms of strength and being able to count on any kid any given night,” Tauke said. “It is nice to have that depth, because you don’t always get all six guys playing great at the same time.”
The senior class has enjoyed athletic success throughout the last year. Tauke noted a state playoff berth in football, state appearance in basketball and postseason victories over traditional powers Cascade and Dyersville Beckman in baseball. The players know how to win, which can be crucial with the resolve needed in golf.
“It carries over to any sport,” Recker said. “There’s pressure going into this. Form being in those situations, we know how to go in, stay calm and handle it. We just do our thing, contribute and do what is expected.”
Tauke said the Panthers are powered by a desire to be the best and can grind out rounds, which might be necessary Friday.
“This group likes to win,” Tauke said. “They know what it takes. They are just competitors. It’s important in golf because if you don’t have your best game then it’s up to you to turn it around.”
Washington, Iowa, will also host a 3A sectional at Washington Golf and Country Club. The Demons welcome Clear Creek Amana, Fairfield, Fort Madison, Keokuk, Mount Pleasant, Solon and West Burlington/Notre Dame.
West Delaware hosts Charles City, Clear Lake, Crestwood, Decorah, Hampton-Dumont, Independence and Waverly-Shell Rock in a 3A meet at Pin Oak Links in Manchester.
Iowa City Regina will compete in a 2A sectional hosted by Mediapolis at Heritage Oaks Country Club in Wapello. The group includes Durant, Louisa-Muscatine, Tipton, highly-ranked West Branch, West Liberty and Wilton.
North Fayette Valley and Clayton Ridge each host 2A sectionals, while Belle Plaine, East Buchanan, English Valleys, Midland and South Winneshiek host 1A sectionals. The Buccaneers will face Alburnett, Don Bosco, Dunkerton, Gladbrook-Reinbeck, Isaac Newton Academy and Lisbon.