It’s a Transitional period for Marshalltown boys’ golf.
Fresh off a season with two invite Championships and a third-place finish in districts that saw the Bobcats only miss out on state due to a fifth-score tiebreaker, three foundational Seniors from the past three years of Marshalltown golf have moved on in graduates Colin Schmit, Drake Polley and Grant Greazel, who ended his career with three state appearances in four years. Kevin Strand also contributed consistently on the varsity squad during his senior season.
This season the Bobcats will be led by junior Ryan Schmit, who is heading into his third campaign as a varsity player and already has experience going low. In his freshman year, Ryan broke the school’s freshman record with a 1-under-par nine-hole dual meet score of 35 at Wandering Creek Golf Course. He shot an even-par 70 at Elmwood in a meet last season as a sophomore.
After a top-10 finish in the Championship flight of the TR City Open last weekend, head Coach Lucas Johnson said he has a lot on his shoulders but the ability to meet the challenges of being a leader.
“He’s got the potential to get really hot,” Johnson said. “Ryan, being someone who is a careful Observer and definitely knows how to play the game the right way, is hopefully going to carry forward some of the Lessons he learned from those seniors.”
Ryan had a nine-hole average of 41 and an 18-hole average of 78.33, the second-best on the team in 2021 behind Greazel.
Apart from Ryan, Jacob Thiessen will be the most experienced varsity member of the Bobcats. As a sophomore in 2021, Thiessen played in all but one of the Bobcats’ varsity meets — averaging 43 per nine holes and 89.09 per 18 holes. With a summer of work on his golf game, Johnson said he has hopes for Thiessen to emerge as a consistent contributor.
Other Marshalltown Golfers with varsity experience from 2021 include senior Cael Sandvick, sophomore Eli Polley and sophomore Ty Faltys.
Johnson said their time last season getting a taste of the varsity game will provide them with a sense of what to expect as they step into bigger roles.
“To me one of the themes of this season is going to be new opportunities for guys to step up,” Johnson said. “Really, there’s a lot of spots open for guys to make the jump from junior varsity to varsity golf.
“Eli has taken a big leap forward in his game from his freshman year until now. Ty has worked at the game really hard, he’s put in as many holes as anybody. I know he had a good experience at the UNI golf camp this summer, so he’s definitely someone who’s looking to make a leap forward.”
The course the Bobcats play at will also be different this season — with the greens at Elmwood undergoing some work in the fall, Marshalltown will instead play its home meets at the American Legion Memorial Golf Course. Also a par 70 course, it will provide a different test for the Bobcats and their opponents throughout the campaign, Johnson said.
“Legion’s a place where you can go low,” Johnson said. “When you get hot out there you can shoot a good number.”
Marshalltown hosts its first meeting of the season Thursday against Mason City and Ottumwa in a triangular as part of the Iowa Alliance Conference play.