AMES – It wasn’t an easy time for the Ballard boys’ golf team at the Class 3A state meet Friday and Saturday at the Ames Golf and Country Club, but the Bombers still showed improvement over a year ago.
After shooting a 334 as a team over 18 holes on Friday, Ballard finished with a 341 on Saturday to end up eighth out of nine teams with a score of 675. In 2013 Ballard came in ninth overall at state – also held at the Ames Golf and Country Club – with a score of 677.
"They’ve been a rough couple days," Ballard senior Ty Mason said. "The fairway was in great condition, but the greens could’ve been a little bit nicer – they were slow and hard to read."
After shooting an 88 on Friday, Mason turned in the top Ballard individual score Saturday with an 82. His overall score of 170 ranked second on the team to Nick Hartman’s 162.
Hartman had a difficult time on Saturday after a strong start. He finished with an 86 after recording a strong round of 76 the previous day.
"I think I probably put too much stress on myself thinking about it too much," Hartman said. "Yesterday I wasn’t really too worried about because I remember how stressful last year was, so I just went out and played. But I just got in my own head today."
Mike McVicker and Nash Bucher turned in the other counted scores for Ballard. McVicker shot a 171 with an 86 on Friday and 85 Saturday and Bucher tallied 18-hole rounds of 84 and 88 to card a 172.
Mason Jensen delivered an 88 and an 89 to finish with a 177 and Sage Fitchko carded a 180 after shooting 92 and 88 respectively.
Despite the high scores, Ballard head coach Don Sears said he was pleased with how his golfers kept on battling throughout both days to finish better than a year ago.
"I just love them to death because they’re competitors," Sears said. "They always want to learn. Sometimes that’s a challenging spot if they’re under pressure. Our scores were high, but that’s golf. It’s not a perfect game."
The senior trio of Mason, Hartman and Jensen led the first group of players to play all four years under Sears after he took over for legendary Bomber coach Stan Westenfield.
"It was definitely a good way to end senior year coming to state," Mason said. "We’re among the best nine teams in the state. I wouldn’t want to have any other guys on my team."
Now Ballard must turn to some younger players if they hope to keep their postseason success going in 2015.
"I’m pleased with the seniors," Sears said. "Now I’m hoping with a younger nucleus we can plan a return for next year."
"The team is definitely going in a good direction," Hartman added. "They have Nash, McVicker and Fitchko back next year. They have a lot of young guys on the JV team with potential and my little brother in eighth grade (Noah) is a good little golfer. He could come up and do big things. I like where the future is going for this program."
West Delaware won the 3A team championship with a 621. The Hawks had a tremendous 18-hole score of 301 the first day and that was easily good enough to withstand a dropoff the next day as they won the title by 13 strokes over Creston/Orient-Macksburg.
Centerville’s Alex Moorman was the 3A state individual champion as he shot a one-over par 143 after recording 18-hole scores of 70 and 73. West Delaware’s Clayton Larsen was medalist runner-up with a 144.
Final team scores: 1. West Delaware 301-320-621, 2. Creston/Orient-Macksburg 315-319-634, 3. Webster City 317-319-636, 4. Clear Lake 325-316-641, 5. Centerville 323-323-646, 6. Humboldt 329-330-659, 7. Central Clinton 330-336-666, 8. Ballard 334-341-675, 9. Williamsburg 336-344-680.
Ballard (675) – Nick Hartman 76-86-162, Nash Bucher 84-88-172, Ty Mason 88-82-170, Mike McVicker 86-85-171, Mason Jensen 88-89-177, Sage Fitchko 92-88-180.
Top 10 individual scores: 1. Alex Moorman (Centerville), 70-73-143, 2. Clayton Larson (WD), 71-73-144, 3. Carson Whittington (C/O-M) 71-76-147, 4. Kiley Miller (Mount Pleasant) 75-72-147, 5. Dane Waldren (CL) 78-70-148, 6. Sam Sacquitne (Decorah) 75-75-150, 7. Nick Higgins (Fairfield) 73-78-151, 8. Harrison Guetzko (WD) 74-78-152, 9. Ross Martens (Harlan) 76-77-153, 10. Evan Schuler (Atlantic) 79-76-155.