Eggleston medals, consistent Spartans score sectional title

GRUNDY CENTER – Elliot Eggleston had to wait his turn.

But slowly and steadily he’s made his way to the top.

Playing just his second season in the varsity lineup, the Grundy Center senior edged Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s Jacob Smoldt in a one-hole playoff to claim medalist honors with a 9-over 81 in a Class 1A sectional at Town & Country Golf Club on Friday.

“It’s been a long ride,” said Eggleston, who led Grundy Center to its fifth sectional title in the last six years with a score of 339.

“I started out freshman year and hadn’t played much golf. I’ve just kind of been working my way up through the years. I’m glad to see it’s paying off.”

Like his ascension through the ranks, Eggleston remained steady much of the way firing a 41-40 in his two rounds including an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole during his first trip around the course.

That same level-headed approach helped the Spartans finish 20 strokes ahead of runner-up Gladbrook-Reinbeck after missing the cut for districts by four strokes a year ago.

“We have a fairly consistent group of guys,” Grundy Center coach Dennis Dirks said. “We don’t have the real knockout punch this year – somebody to go really low. So we depend on guys shooting between 43-45 and that’s what we pretty much did today.”

Lane Bangasser finished fourth with an 84, while Sam Thompson added an 86 as each member of the Spartans’ top trio placed in the top five. Nick Saak’s 88 wrapped up the team score.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck earned its fifth straight trip to districts as Logan Koester (88), Cameron Murphy (94) and Bradon Trepp (96) also figured into its scoring quartet.

“We’ve come a long way since the beginning of the year with not a lot of practice time,” G-R coach Chad Bixby said. “I’m really proud of these kids.”

AGWSR placed third (361) and will join the Spartans and Rebels in district play at Pheasant Ridge Golf Course in Cedar Falls Thursday at 10 a.m.

Owen Abkes led a balanced Cougars’ unit with an 86 to tie Thompson for fifth.

Kody Boheman shot a 91, while 92s from Hunter Wagner and Derek Schipper completed AGWSR’s team tally.

“A lot of our guys shot their average, which was good enough today to get us through,” AGWSR coach Brad Hames said.

GMG’s Chad Plaehn shot an 83 to place third for an individual qualifier bid. Plaehn and Smoldt were the only players to record sub-40 rounds with each firing a 39 on their second trip around.

North Tama’s Hunter Danker carded an 87 to help the Redhawks (367) finish nine strokes ahead of the Wolverines for fourth, while BCLUW (400) and Colo-NESCO (424) wrapped up the seven-team field.

Notebook

The top two district teams (three if host Don Bosco places in the top two) advance to the state meet along with the top four individuals including ties. … Smoldt finished one stroke shy of a trip to state last year. … Grundy Center is seeking its 10th trip to the big stage since 2000. … Bangasser was an individual district qualifier for the Spartans last season. … This year’s state meet is at Lake Panorama National Resort in Panora.