Prep Sports

Cedar Rapids Washington returns to boys' state golf meet

Neighbors brothers, Haefner help Warriors earn state berth; Johnston, Barnhart, Tjelmeland and Spence earn individual berths

MARION — Usually compiling golf scores is uneventful.

This time, however, the clubhouse was filled with a little more drama and tension.

When it was all said and done at the Class 4A district golf meet Monday at Hunters Ridge Golf Course, Cedar Rapids Washington earned its fourth straight state team berth and a trio of local golfers, including Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s former state runner-up Brock Barnhart, alternated between state bound and home bound before receiving news they will compete at this weekend’s state meet at Brown Deer Golf Club in Coralville.

The district team title went to Pleasant Valley on a fifth-score tiebreaker after tying Marshalltown with 311. The Warriors grabbed the third spot with 325, topping Cedar Rapids Prairie by five strokes for the final state berth.

Washington qualified for the fifth time in six seasons.

“Even though we didn’t feel like we had our best day we’re doing something 10 other teams wanted to do here,” said Washington Coach Dennis Goettel, who turned down early congratulations from another coach until all team scores were official. “We’re very grateful for that.”

The Warriors received the normal low score from leader Connor Neighbors, who carded 76. Kyle Neighbors and Whit Haefner provided balance for Washington, posting a 77 and 82 on a tough, wet course. Nile Petersen added 90 for Washington.

Goettel said every one of those strokes were needed.

“Kyle had a great day and he has been doing that the last couple weeks,” Goettel said. “He’s been really solid for us.

“Whit has been pretty solid. He’s going to shoot in the 70s one of these days. He’s been pretty steady for us. We couldn’t have done this the last two years without him.”

Connor Neighbors already owns two top-10 state finishes, placing seventh last season. He will compete at state each year of his career. The goal was to make sure he had company from his teammates.

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“We made it as a team and that will make it more fun,” the senior SIU-Edwardsville commit said. “It just feels good for four straight years and hopefully I will have a chance to do something big at state this year.”

Prairie’s Ian Johnston earned his spot in the state field, shooting 75 and recording the best score among golfers not on qualifying teams. He finished third overall and will make a second straight state appearance.

“It’s going to be really fun,” Johnston said. “It’s been a great season, so far. Everything has been going really well, so I’m pretty excited for this weekend.”

Barnhart joined seniors Jared Tjelmeland of Prairie and Iowa City West’s Kyle Spencer in a group to shoot 76. They seemed in for state, then bumped from qualifying when a golfer posted another 75, only to be pulled back in when that golfer was disqualified.

The disqualification came when members of the foursome questioned the score. The matter was handled by Iowa PGA members at the meet. They met with the golfers and discovered an error on a signed card. The player was credited for a 5, instead of a 6, for one hole, which would have given him a 76. By rule, signing an incorrect score card with a lower score is grounds for disqualification.

Barnhart, a junior who was second in 2017 and tied for fifth a year ago, rode the wave of emotions.

“Things like this barely happen,” Barnhart said. “For me, it’s not a huge deal. It wasn’t the end of the world, but I felt sadder for the seniors, who didn’t make it.”

State is scheduled to begin Friday at 10:30 a.m. The second and final round is set for Saturday morning at 9.

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Class 4A boys' golf district meet

At Marion (Hunters Ridge Golf Course, 72)

TEAMS

1. Pleasant Valley* 311

2. Marshalltown 311

3. Cedar Rapids Washington 325

4. Cedar Rapids Prairie 330

5. Linn-Mar 338

6. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 345

7. Iowa City Liberty 355

8. Iowa City High 362

9. Iowa City West 364

10. Davenport Assumption 369

11. Muscatine 372

12. Cedar Rapids Jefferson 380

13. Burlington 409

*=state qualifier

Individual medalist — J.D. Pollard (Mar), 74.

Individual state qualifiers — Ian Johnston (CRP), 75, Jared Tjelemeland (CRP), 76, Brock Barnhart (CRK), 76, Kyle Spencer (ICW), 76

C.R. WASHINGTON (325): Connor Neighbors (CRW), 76, Kyle Neighbors (CRW), 77, Whit Haefner (CRW), 82, Nile Petersen 90.

C.R. PRAIRIE (330): Johnston 75, Tjelmeland 76, Isaac Meyer 88, Alec Brockmeyer 91.

LINN-MAR (338): Dillon Burr 78, Slava Boehm 85, Carter Vieth 87, Zack Hoffman 88.

C.R. KENNEDY (345): Barnhart 76, Justin De Coste 87, Josh White 90, Ben Koester 92.

I.C. LIBERTY (355): Bowen Gryp 85, Shane Alberts 87, A.J. Meyer 91, Connor Roach 92.

CITY HIGH (362): Lucas Ribble 88, Campbell Johnson 90, Reese Hayden 90, Luke Edwards 94.

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I.C. WEST (364): Spence 76, Caleb Kirk 91, Andrew Taischen 95, Brendon Klutts 102.

C.R. JEFFERSON (380): Sam Staley 86, Evan Griffith 94, Tyler Schmitz 99, Spencer Smith 101, Ryan May 101.

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

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