Title-town turnaround

Last spring a dual victory eluded the Marshalltown girls’ golf team all season.

A year later, the Bobcats have claimed three in the last six days – and a Central Iowa Conference Northern Division title to go with them.

Leading the MHS resurgence, Ashley Harris continued her stellar spring with a third straight medalist performance as the Bobcats defeated Mason City 199-221 at American Legion Golf Course Tuesday.

Showing another sign of growth, Marshalltown found a way to win even without its top performance.

“I don’t think we brought our ‘A’ game to the course today,” MHS coach Lucas Johnson said. “We were hitting some shots that we don’t normally hit.”

“I think that’s the mark of a player who’s learning to play the game. Maybe you don’t bring your best swing to the course everyday but you still manage to get it around in a respectable number.”

Harris did more than enough to separate herself from the field firing an 8-over par 44 to finish seven strokes ahead of runner-up Madison Sogge. Harris made par on the third and ninth holes to guide MHS (3-1, 3-0) to its third straight win, though was quick to admit she has better days ahead of her.

“It wasn’t my best and it wasn’t my worst,” Harris said of her outing Tuesday. “It was just pretty consistent all the way through.”

MHS’ consistency was apparent down the roster with just two strokes separating its next four golfers – and a major reason behind this season’s success.

Niccole Wolken and Katie Lynch each shot 52s to complete the Bobcats’ team score, while Kallie Davis (53) and Natalie Kueny (54) also competed for MHS.

“Our key is that we’ve all been pretty consistent throughout the year,” Harris said.

Rain Eckholdt led the Mohawks with a 53, while Olivia Marson and Rebecca Bartolo fired 52s. Kristie Colombo completed Mason City’s score with a 58.

While Johnson called winning the CIC a “a bright spot” in the Bobcats’ early season, he knows there’s still progress to be made on the greens as the squad sets it sights on bigger goals ahead.

Though Tuesday was another step in the right direction.

“I saw us run in a few long putts, which is an added bonus and I didn’t see nearly as many 3-putts today,” Johnson said. “That’s something we’ll continue to work on, but I’m glad to see little improvements. Hopefully by the end of the season we’ll make that a strong part of our game, because we’re definitely focusing on it a lot in practice.”

That thought is consistent with the Bobcats roster as well.

“We all have pretty good drives and distance, but the short game is we what we need to improve on the most,” Harris said.

Along with their reps in practice, the Bobcats will get twice as many chances to hone their game on the greens Thursday in the 18-hole Ottumwa Invitational starting at noon.


The Bobcats finished 0-5 in dual meets last season. … Shelby Brennecke carded a 56 to lead the Marshalltown JV, while Mikela Jones (71) and Kierra Carbajal (76) also competed for the Bobcats.