The Ankeny Centennial boys’ golf team made history last year by winning the school’s first title in any sport. Expectations are high this season, but coach Jon Olson wants to focus on developing routines rather than capturing titles.
“I want my team to listen to the internal, block out the external, and balance their expectations,” Olson said. “They should try their best and not worry about where the ball ends up.”
Seniors Matt McAleer and Cody Holck will act as leaders for the young Jaguar team. McAleer recently finished 31st in the Iowa PGA player of the year standings.
“Leadership is key,” Olson said. “Success will breed high expectations, but other teams have higher expectations than us because of their experience.”
One of those experienced teams is Roosevelt, which finished fifth last year and is returning four state golfers.
“Our goal is to try to win it all,” coach Orbie Boggs said. “Any time you can get that many returning players, you have a good opportunity.”
Roughrider Aaron Wirt has already committed to play for the University of Iowa next year. Wirt, who finished third in individual competition, has played in several national tournaments this summer. Sophomore Willis Gaer has also been active in tournaments. Gaer won his division at the Junior Tour Mid Summer Classic with a score of 145.
“Gaer will be the most improved from last year,” Boggs predicted.
The Riders will test their skills at the Valley Invitational. Valley finished third at state and has several returners, including John Walsh, Dane Jensen and Cory Mullins.
Ankeny Centennial will play in the Iowa City West Invitational and face off against Bettendorf and Pleasant Valley, which Olson is looking forward to.
“We don’t get over to the east side very often,” he said. “We will be playing teams we would normally only see at state.”
ATHLETES TO WATCH
Matthew Walker, sr., Ottumwa: Finished first two years ago and second last year with a score of 147.
Jake Blocher, sr., Southeast Polk: Placed ninth at state with a score of 157.
Frank Lindwall, so., Cedar Rapids Washington: Top finisher for the Warriors last year with a score of 160.
Jared Holezen, jr., Burlington: Shot a combined round of 162 at state.
• Aug. 11: Practices begin.
• Aug. 14: Invitationals begin.
• Oct. 6-7: Districts.
• Oct. 10-11: State, Tournament Club of Iowa, Polk City.