CONRAD Monday was redemption day for the South Tama County boys golf team at the North Iowa Cedar League West meet.
It was a redemption day for the entire Trojans squad and for their best golfer. A year ago, they finished last as a team at the NICL meet and then-sophomore Kolton Smith placed second as an individual.
On Monday, the Trojans moved up the team rankings and finished in the top half of the NICL standings. Meanwhile, Smith trailed no one after the final 18 holes were played.
South Tama junior Kolton Smith watches his putt roll into the cup on the No. 6 hole at the Town and Country Golf Club in Grundy Center. Smith shot an 18-hole score of 78 to win the NICL meet.
South Tama finished fourth at the meet with 364 team points. East Marshall took the team title with 344 points. Grundy Center and South Hardin placed second and third, scoring 349 and 359 points.
"I'm happy with our performance," head coach Nate Doran said. "The biggest thing this spring has been lack of practice, but the guys came through and played hard. We've added new guys to the team, like Ian (Slagle). Then we have guys like Alec Hill, who started off great at the beginning, but went slow in the middle and is now coming on strong again. Taylen (Anderson) and Trent (Banes) came through for us again. Colson Frakes is a big-time freshman who shot a great round on the back nine. Things like that are huge for us. Then Kolton was tremendous, obviously."
The Trojans were led by Smith, who won the NICL meet as a junior. He finished the par-72, 18-hole course with a score of 78. His score was one stroke ahead of East Marshall's Zach Underhill.
NICL West Division Championship
At Grundy Center
Town & Country Golf Club, par 36
Team Standings - 1. East Marshall 344, 2. Grundy Center 349, 3. South Hardin 359, 4. South Tama County 364, 5. Gladbrook-Reinbeck 366, 6. West Marshall 371, 7. AGWSR 381, 8. BCLUW 400.
All-Conference (top 9) - 1. Kolton Smith, STC, 78; 2. Zach Underhill, EM, 79; 3. (tie) Drake McKeever, EM, 83; Elliot Eggleston (83); 5. Eric Mulder, SH, 86; 6. Owen Abkes, AGWSR, 87; 7. Lane Bangasser, GC, 88; 8. (tie) Jacob Smoldt, G-R, 89; Ryon Appel, GC, 89; Sam Thompson, GC, 89; Jack Dunn, SH, 89.
EAST MARSHALL (344) - Zach Underhill 79, Drake McKeever 83, Max Upah 90, Nate Rosfjord 92, Zack Johnson 98, Austin Weese 103.
GRUNDY CENTER (349) - Elliot Eggleston 83, Lane Bangasser 88, Ryon Appel 89, Sam Thompson 89, Nick Saak 90, Nathan Graham 93.
SOUTH HARDIN (359) - Eric Mulder 86, Jack Dunn 89, Spencer Welch 91, Sam Priske 93, Ryan Mossman 94, Tyson Smith 96.
SOUTH TAMA (364) - Kolton Smith 78, Colson Frakes 94, Trent Banes 95, Ian Slagle 97, Alec Hill 99, Taylen Anderson 104.
GLADBROOK-REINBECK (366) - Jacob Smoldt 89, Bradon Trepp 90, Austin Harris 92, Cameron Murphy 95, Logan Koester 101, Bryce Ehlers 109.
WEST MARSHALL (371) - Nick Lanning 90, Garrett Goodwin 91, Nate Byerly 94, Dylan Petermeier 96, Cole Gilmore 101, Eric Newton 105.
AGWSR (381) - Owen Abkes 87, Hunter Wagner 95, Kody Boheman 96, Derek Schipper 103, Carson Lutterman 107, Lucas Beving 109.
BCLUW (400) - Tyler Smith 97, Collin McAteer 99, Grant Frazer 100, Josh Sharp 104, Lucas Schmitt 123, John Delay 146.
"It felt good," Smith said. "I got second last year so it feels good to come back and win it this year. It means a lot to me."
Smith's round got off to a bad start Monday. He shot a three-over-par on the first hole, which is a par 4. He rebounded and only shot one-over-par for the next eight holes to finish the first nine with a score of 40. Smith shot a 38 on the back nine to win the meet, after trailing by one stroke at the turn.
"I just tried to keep playing don't give up," Smith said. "We haven't been practicing much and it sucks. We just come out and play meets.
"I could have done a lot better," he said. "My front nine wasn't that good and my back nine got a lot better."
Four of the other Trojans shot in the 90s. Colson Frakes shot a 94 after closing the round with a score of 44 on the back nine. Trent Banes shot two consistent rounds of 47 and 48 to score a 95. Ian Slagle shot a 97 (49 and 48) while Alec Hill scored a 99 (47 and 52) for the Trojans. Taylen Anderson shot a 104, thanks to a back nine score of 47.
"I'm proud of the guys for playing better on the second nine," Doran said. "That's better than having a good front nine. It's always good to have a better back nine, especially for the first time we played 18."
The Trojans were scheduled to play in the Class 3A Sectional on Thursday in Solon. The district qualifiers will play at 10 a.m. May 17 at the Stone Creek Golf Course in Williamsburg.
"Sectionals is a big day," Doran said. "We're going to have a practice round on Wednesday. We played it last year, but we're going to go into it with more confident players than we had last year. We're ready and we'll see what we can do."