NICL WEST GIRLS GOLF: Van Dyk moves up; Grundy Center dominates team field

CONRAD – While there’s been plenty of good outings this season, Grundy Center coach Rick Schupbach was still waiting for the first great one from his squad.

The Spartans chose the perfect time to deliver.

Placing four individuals in the top six, the Grundy Center girls golf team dominated the North Iowa Cedar League West Division Championship with a score of 349 at Oakwood Golf Course Monday.

South Tama County’s Paige Van Dyk pulled away for medalist honors carding a six-over 76 to finish six strokes ahead of runner-up Lindsay Freeman of Grundy Center, while the defending champion Trojans (413) held off South Hardin (420) for second.

The Spartans’ Baylie Wrage and Josie McMartin fired 84 and 85 respectively to place fourth and fifth, while Hillary Samo took sixth (96).

“This is just what we’ve been waiting for all year,” Schupbach said. “Our girls were able to keep their rounds together the entire time without any real big numbers coming into the mix.”

Monday’s perfect weather conditions – sunny and 70s – certainly didn’t hurt. Wrage and Samo, both returning from shoulder injuries earlier this season, are also rounding into form.

“With the weather, the lack of practice and our injuries, it’s been difficult to get the repetitions, but today it all kind of came together,” Schupbach said. “The girls really stayed in the moment.”

Playing in many big moments before, Van Dyk cruised to a conference title after finishing second to her sister, Taylor, in a playoff last year.

“I was more relaxed this time,” said Van Dyk, who didn’t let last week’s lack of practice time due to adverse weather throw her off.

“I just came out and played. Everyone else has the same weather, but I feel like I have the advantage because I have more experience.”

AGWSR (425) fended off West Marshall (427) for fourth, while BCLUW (446), East Marshall (486) and Gladbrook-Reinbeck (505) rounded out the field.

South Hardin’s Cami Eller broke up the Spartans’ quartet, firing an 88 for fifth. AGWSR’s Meghan Heinz (99) edged South Tama’s Carrie Cibula (99) on a one hole-playoff for seventh, while Shayla Moler of West Marshall (100) completed the all-conference lineup.

While the Spartans finally hit the level of play they’ve been looking for all year – they’re not content to let it stop here.

“Everyone had little things they found that they can work on today,” Freeman said. “We just hope to keep it going and improve little by little each time.”