This fall golf season has been anything but normal.
Two of the marquee events were scratched due to the coronavirus pandemic. Home courses were damaged, even unplayable, by a freak storm. Now, a court ruling has impacted two more notable competitions.
The Iowa City Community School District’s injunction against the state to halt in-person classes was unsuccessful, forcing the suspension of in-person activities and practices until a return to at least half of their core classes in person. The judge’s ruling led to changes to the first of two Mississippi Valley Conference divisional meets next week.
Iowa City Liberty and Iowa City West were assigned to host the Mississippi and Valley divisionals, respectively. Cedar Falls will replace Liberty, moving the MVC Mississippi meet to Pheasant Ridge Golf Course. Cedar Rapids Kennedy will step in for West and keep the MVC Valley at Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City.
“There’s no place we could have hosted up here,” Kennedy Activities Director Aaron Stecker said. “It makes sense to leave it at Finkbine.
“Coaches love playing Finkbine. It’s a challenging course for a conference-level meet.”
Liberty AD Mike Morrison inquired if anyone was interested in assuming host responsibilities. Cedar Falls AD Troy Becker accepted and agreed to swap this year for the 2021 divisional that Liberty will now take.
The Valley will consist of the Tigers, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Cedar Rapids Washington, Linn-Mar, Western Dubuque and Dubuque Wahlert. Teams will take the change in stride.
“We’ll go north on (Interstate) 380, instead of south,” said Prairie Coach Erik Columbus, noting the Hawks played their best round at Pheasant Ridge to open the season. “It doesn’t matter.”
All-conference selections and divisional team champions are based on the combined performance in the MVC Super Meet and two divisional rounds. Golfers must compete in all three to be considered. The Super Meet was canceled. Now, some of the field will miss half of the remaining two legs.
“We’re happy just to be playing,” Columbus said. “I just feel bad for the Iowa City schools.”
Kennedy will compete with Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Xavier, Dubuque Hempstead, Dubuque Senior, Waterloo East and Waterloo West. Kennedy Coach Mike Green and Xavier Coach Tim O’Brien were among the coaches hoping the conference meet would remain at Finkbine.
The consistency is welcome for teams that have struggled to replace canceled events.
“Personally, Finkbine is one of my favorite courses to play,” O’Brien said. “I think it’s a great test of golf. There are different facets of the game and it tests all of those.
“I think it’s a positive for preparation to any other course you’re going to be competing at for district or state. My players like to play it. It’s an enjoyable course to play. It’s fun.”
Western Dubuque’s Jax Stelzer is ninth, while Kennedy is sixth in the Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association Class 4A rankings.
Stelzer owns a 37.41 adjusted average and is the lone Gazette-area golfer in the Top 10. Pleasant Valley’s Jack Dumas is first at 35.70.
Kennedy has a team adjusted average of 158.13. Xavier is ninth at 160.70. Pleasant Valley is first at 151.55
Fall state meet
The 4A state golf meet is officially one month away. The conclusion of the fall season will be held at Des Moines Golf and Country Club on Oct. 9-10. Linn-Mar’s Dillon Burr won the individual contest last year, while Waukee claimed the 2019 team title.
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