Prep Sports

Western Dubuque golf first to transition to MVC competition

Bobcats excited for new challenge; Tjelmeland earns medalist honor; CRANDIC meet next week

Western Dubuque's Jax Stelzer tees off on the second hole during the Linn-Mar Invitational Golf Tournament at Hunters Ridge Golf Course in Marion, Iowa, on Monday, Aug. 13, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Western Dubuque's Jax Stelzer tees off on the second hole during the Linn-Mar Invitational Golf Tournament at Hunters Ridge Golf Course in Marion, Iowa, on Monday, Aug. 13, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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EPWORTH — Western Dubuque is not a stranger to fall golf.

The Bobcats have been Class 4A competitors for the last five seasons, despite being in the Wamac Conference, which sees the majority of its programs compete in the spring.

Western Dubuque is in its first school year as a member of the Mississippi Valley Conference, making the boys’ golf program the school’s first to compete in the new conference.

“It is exciting,” Western Dubuque Coach Ben Wilson said. “This is a big transition for us as a school.”

Even though Western Dubuque has competed against MVC teams in the past, uncertainty accompanies the transition to the larger-school conference. The golfers have more experience with direct competition, playing 4A golf, and had a chance to set the tone for other Bobcat programs.

“For us to go in and compete in that first Super Meet, it kind of alleviated a lot of the pressure to show everyone that we are ready to compete,” Wilson said. “If we keep doing what we believe in then we will be OK.”

In Western Dubuque’s first official conference event, the Bobcats tied for eighth at the 16-team MVC Super Meet at Pheasants Ridge Golf Course in Cedar Falls on Aug. 9, shooting 339. Jax and Davis Stelzer tied for 14th, carding 78 apiece to lead the Bobcats.

“It was very positive,” Wilson said. “We were hopeful we could get to that mark. We were right in the middle of the pack. It is kind of what we expected with our numbers.”

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Western Dubuque owns a 174.86 combined adjusted average. Sophomore Jax Stelzer leads the team with a 77.33 18-hole average. Freshman Davis Stelzer is second with 83.33 per 18 holes and 43 per nine. Senior Max Ronek leads the team with a 41.0 nine-hole average, which is two strokes better than Davis Stelzer and sophomore Max Naumann, who are second on the team.

The Bobcats have two sophomores and a freshman in their top three spots. They only have two seniors on their eight-man roster. Western Dubuque expects to progress along with the season, learning the intricacies of the high school game.

“We’re young and hungry,” Western Dubuque Coach Ben Wilson said. “We’re ready to take on the challenges of the MVC.”

Tjelmeland tops at Ellis

Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Jared Tjelmeland claimed medalist honors for the first time in a varsity meet. Tjelmeland shot even-par 36 at Ellis Golf Course at a quadrangular last week.

Tjelmeland topped two NCAA Division I commits in the nine-hole competition.

“Jared’s medalist honors was pretty special…,” Prairie Coach Erik Columbus said. “Jared has been working real hard in practice, had been patient all year as he’s had some bad breaks up to that point.”

He also helped the Hawks edge host Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 164-165. Linn-Mar was third at 168.

CRANDIC set for Finkbine

The CRANDIC boys’ golf meet will be hosted by Iowa City West on Tuesday, Sept. 4 at Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City, beginning at 10 a.m.

The annual 18-hole event consists of a nine-team field, including Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Cedar Rapids Washington, Cedar Rapids Xavier, Iowa City High, Iowa City Liberty and Linn-Mar.

Xavier won the team title a year ago, topping Linn-Mar by three strokes. Kennedy’s Brock Barnhart is the top returning finisher, earning runner-up medalist honors at this event last season. West’s Kyle Spence was third and Prairie’s Ian Johnston tied for fourth and both are back.

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

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