WEBSTER CITY - Easy roads to a state tournament rarely occur. To get there, you've got to earn it.
The Webster City and South Hamilton boys' golf teams will certainly be forced to do just that today.
After advancing out of sectionals last week, the Lynx and Hawks will travel in different directions for district meets where the top two teams and top four individuals will all qualify for state next week.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
WCHS freshman Alec Fuhs was a Class 3A sectional runner-up at Cedar Pointe Golf Course in Boone last week. He and his Lynx teammates will be at Bos Landen Golf Club in Pella today for a 3A district meet.
Ninth-ranked Webster City will head south for a 3A district at Bos Landen Golf Club in Pella at 9 a.m. Ballard, Grinnell, Norwalk and ADM Adel will also be in the field.
Fourth-ranked South Hamilton will make the trek east to the 2A district at Fox Ridge Golf Course in Dike - the field will tee off at 10 a.m. - where a slew of elite teams will compete. The Hawks will be joined by three other teams ranked in the top five by the Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association - No. 2 and defending state champion Waterloo Columbus, No. 3 Denver and No. 5 Jesup. Also involved will be Clarion-Goldfield, Roland-Story, South Hardin and Sumner-Fredericksburg.
South Hamilton and Jesup were both 2A state qualifiers a year ago, placing fourth and sixth, respectively.
WCHS is coming off a runner-up finish to Ballard at the sectional in Boone. The Lynx will play today on one of the tougher tracks in the state where shot placement is imperative.
WCHS freshman Alec Fuhs was the sectional runner-up out of the No. 3 spot in the lineup. Team leader Logan Yates is the 13th-ranked individual in the state, while fellow rookie Avery Fuhs is the team's No. 2; John Ferrell, Doug Stoakes and Sean Vogelbacher round out the roster.
The Lynx lineup is loaded with underclassmen - three freshmen, two sophomores and a junior, to be exact.
"Right now it's very mental because we're so young," WCHS head coach Dave Brighton said. "I have confidence in their abilities and skills, so it's just a mental game right now."
Pella's Corey Elliott will be the individual favorite. He's ranked No. 3 and is playing a familiar course.
Fox Ridge Golf Course is set up for low scores at all times, which makes today's test for South Hamilton even tougher. Head coach Mark Ullestad said his team will need to shoot somewhere between 300 and 308, most likely, to qualify.
"From what I can tell, it's going to be the toughest district in 2A," Ullestad said. "There are probably six teams that will fight for the top two, but I don't think we'll be overwhelmed with the task by any means. We've been there, done that."
Eight of the top-15 ranked individuals will be in the field, led by the Hawks' Trevor Ullestad at No. 2. Columbus features two of the state's premier players as well in Zach Ward and Jack Conway, who placed fourth and sixth, respectively, at last year's state meet.
The 3A state meet will be held at the Ames Country Club next Friday and Saturday. The 2A state meet will convene at Spring Lake Golf Course in Livermore, also next Friday and Saturday.