When Newell-Fonda graduated half of its boys from the team that went to State last year, 1A golf coaches around northwest Iowa were probably hoping for a rebuilding year out of the Mustangs.
So much for that idea.
With three first-time varsity players, N-F has swept through the season and qualified for its third straight State Golf Tournament this Friday and Saturday on Spring Valley Course in Livermore.
It didn't exactly happen the way Mustang Coach Nathan Baron envisioned, however.
The team's top couple of players all year long had less than their best performances at Districts, but sophomore Connor Juilfs, the #3 golfer, and Evan Franzmeier, the #6, came to the rescue with a 76 and a 79, respectively, to lead the team - Juilfs tying for fourth for the District Tourney.
"When you don't have your best day, it's nice to have people who can step up for you and maybe surprise you - real nice," Baron said.
Hinton was District champion with 312 team strokes to return to State. NF was second in 322, just four strokes ahead of Aurelia in the race for the final State qualifying spot.
James Tideman, the #4, added an 82 for NF. Alex Vanderhoff shot an 85, Spencer Baak added an 87, and Robert Devereaux 89.
Aurelia doesn't advance as a team, but by virtue of a fourth-place tie, Aurelia's Greg Kolpin with a nifty 76 punches his State ticket as an individual qualifyer.
Newell-Fonda, steeped in experience as its players put in a full summer and fall of practice play ahead of this spring season, will need a fast start at State. "We know we will have to play very well on Friday if we are going to be in contention on Saturday with the kind of players we know we will see," Baron said. "We have the potential. We'd like to see something around 315 Friday and we would be in pretty good shape."