CEDAR RAPIDS — Everyone has pitched in for Cedar Rapids Xavier this season.
All six Saints starters have posted or shared the team’s best round in at least one of their first nine meets. Each has shown the potential to lead the way, but the goal is to do it simultaneously.
“So, that is a positive,” Xavier Coach Tim O’Brien said. “We just need to hit on all cylinders at the same time. If we do, we can be really good.”
Currently, Xavier ranks 14th in Class 4A with a 162.84 combined adjusted, but is second in the state with a 149.67 team nine-hole average.
The Saints have progressively improved with the season, finishing third behind top-ranked Cedar Falls and host Western Dubuque at the Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Division meet at Thunder Hills in Dubuque last week. O’Brien said he thought that was their best performance and was pleased with the performance.
“That is the first time we had three scores in the 70s,” O’Brien said. “Honestly, these kids are capable of putting four scores in the 70s. That is a glimpse of what I’ve been looking for.”
Michael Glavan had the Saints’ low score in the MVC Super Meet at St. Andrews — Xavier’s home course — to open the season. Freshman Charlie Allen followed at the Linn-Mar Invitational at Hunters Ridge, carding birdies on four straight holes to place fifth with 74.
Matthew Schmit was tops in the Warrior Invitational at Elmcrest before Allen and Wes Johnson shared that feat at Jester Park in Granger. Clayton Nurre helped Xavier to a runner-up finish to Cedar Falls in a quadrangular at Airport National and Ryan Schmit had the best score Monday, shooting 39 at Thunder Hills and missed tying for medalist honors by one stroke.
“We’re still working on things from the beginning of the season,” O’Brien said. “The short game stuff. They hit the ball well.”
Glavan and Johnson are senior captains. They have taken the reins as leaders by example. O’Brien praised both for their impact, demonstrating how players conduct themselves for practice and events. The Saints are reliable and dependable, if anything.
“They pretty much make my life easy, because they are where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be there,” O’Brien said. “For the most part, they do what I want when I want it. That is a nice thing as a coach.”
Allen owns the team’s top combined adjusted average (40.29) and top average per nine holes (35.67). He is second to Matthew Schmit (79.83) per 18 holes, shooting at an 80.5 clip.
“Charlie has pushed the other guys to get better,” O’Brien said. “I think it is a natural thing where freshman comes in and is playing pretty well. He played well in qualifying and in meets. I think that has been a nice driving force.”
Xavier has big goals for the end of the season. Balance and depth have to come together in the same competitions for them to have a chance at a third straight state berth, which would be the third appearance for Glavan and Matthew Schmit. The task won’t be easy and will need an all-in approach.
“We have to perform from top to bottom,” O’Brien said. “We have to perform at a higher level at the same time. We are capable of that, but we have to see it.”
COUGARS AREA BEST
Cedar Rapids Kennedy remains atop the team and individual area rankings. As of Wednesday, the Cougars boast the best combined adjusted average, coming in at 159.03 and leading Cedar Rapids Washington by more than two points. Kennedy also has a half-stroke edge on the Warriors for 18-hole average. Both hover around 316. Senior Brock Barnhart continues to lead the state in scoring. The three-time state qualifier and former state runner-up has a 36.09 adjusted average, leading Marshalltown’s Cole Davis (36.80). Barnhart’s 71.33 18-hole average is also the state’s best this fall.
MVC DIVISIONAL PLAY
The final round of MVC Divisional play is next week. Both competitions will conclude in Dubuque. The MVC Valley Division will be held Monday at Dubuque Golf and Country Club. The Mississippi Division will be Tuesday at Bunker Hill Golf Course.
Linn-Mar leads Kennedy by 11 strokes in the MVC Valley. Cedar Falls has a firm grip on first in the MVC Mississippi.
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Divisional play determines divisional team champions and all-conference honors for individuals, combing two divisional rounds with scores from the MVC Super Meet.
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