CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Washington’s Connor Neighbors and Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Brock Barnhart may not have won Monday, but both proved to be the best in their respective divisions.
Neighbors claimed Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Division Athlete of the Year honors, tying for second in the third round of divisional play at Gardner Golf Course.
Barnhart earned the same honor for the MVC Valley Division with a runner-up finish in the final round at Irv Warren Golf Course in Waterloo.
Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Nick Recker earned medalist honors for the last MVC Mississippi divisional, shooting 73. Linn-Mar’s Dillon Burr placed first with a 72. Both the Lions and Warriors recorded a runner-up team finish.
Neighbors has hoarded division honors, winning the division’s individual race the last two years and sharing it with former teammate Alex Slattery as a sophomore. He had a total of 204, topping Cedar Falls’ Trevor Heinen by four. Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Ian Johnston was third overall with 209, including 76 Monday.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Neighbors, who posted four birdies for a 2-over 74 on his home course. “I’ve had to play pretty well-to-do it all three years.”
Washington owns a stranglehold on the feat, extending it to five straight seasons. Current Iowa State golfer Frank Lindwall won it the previous two seasons before Neighbors’ run.
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“The tradition with the individuals at Washington has been pretty special,” Neighbors said. “They’ve gone on to do some pretty cool things. I hope to follow in the footsteps of Frank, because he’s definitely a good role model.”
Recker fired 1-over par, tallying an eagle on the par-5 sixth and a birdie on par-4 No. 3 hole.
“He just relaxed and played golf (and) had a number of ups and downs,” Xavier Coach Tim O’Brien said. “He actually had a double early in his round and recovered … that’s a sign of a mature golfer.”
The Saints finished with a three-round total of 910, coming in third. Cedar Falls was first with 851, while Washington came in at 906.
Valley competition was much tighter. The top four teams were separated by just nine strokes. Dubuque Wahlert fended off Linn-Mar for the divisional team title, entering with a six-shot lead. Both teams recorded 321 totals, one shot back of Cedar Rapids Kennedy and seven back of Dubuque Hempstead. The Mustangs edged Kennedy by one for third in the final standings.
The Lions didn’t return a starter from last season and were led by three sophomores — first-team all-conference Burr and second-teamers Drew Muilenburg and Carter Vieth.
“I think that part of it puts it into perspective,” Linn-Mar Coach Chris James said of the in-season progress. “Overall, I’m proud of these kids.”
Barnhart shot 75 Monday, giving him a three-round total of 214, which was four strokes better than Burr. The Iowa State commit and 2016 Class 4A state runner-up became the Cougars' first divisional AOY since Davis Sutton in 2014.
Iowa City West’s Kyle Spence shot 77, finishing with a three-round total of 224, which was good for third overall.
2018 All-MVC boys' golf
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Connor Neighbors (C.R. Washington), Trevor Heinen (Cedar Falls), Ian Johnston (C.R. Prairie), Ben Bermel (Cedar Falls), Jack Moody (Cedar Falls), Nick Recker (C.R. Xavier), Jax Stelzer (Western Dubuque), Davis Stelzer (Western Dubuque)
Max Henderson (C.R. Xavier), Joe Dean (Cedar Falls), Luke Meyer (Cedar Falls), Nile Petersen (C.R. Washington), Kevin yang (Cedar Falls), Dan Bailey (C.R. Xavier)
Jared Tjelmeland (C.R. Prairie), Kyle Neighbors (C.R. Washington), Jack Vandermillen (Dubuque Senior), Whit Haefner (C.R. Washington), Michael Glavan (C.R. Xavier), Joe Tauber (C.R. Washington), Matt Schmit (C.R. Xavier)
Brock Barnhart (C.R. Kennedy), Dillon Burr (Linn-Mar), Kyle Spence (Iowa City West), Sam Ambrosy (Dubuque Wahlert), Joey Kaesbauer (Dubuque Hempstead), Kyle Arthofer (Dubuque Hempstead), Jack Doyle (Dubuque Wahlert)
Josh White (C.R. Kennedy), Drew Muilenburg (Linn-Mar), Ben Vaassen (Dubuque Wahlert), Kyler VandenBerge (Dubuque Hempstead), Carter Vieth (Linn-Mar), Gannon Hall (C.R. Kennedy), Matt Becker (Dubuque Wahlert)
Kobe Smith (Waterloo West), Max Paxton (Waterloo West), Mitch Walz (Dubuque Wahlert), Tyler Jolly (Waterloo West), Nate Kaesbauer (Dubuque Hempstead), Slava Boehm (Linn-Mar), Ben Koester (C.R. Kennedy), Brady Buckley (Waterloo West)
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