AMES, Iowa — The Creston/Orient-Macksburg golf team followed the lead of U.S. mail carriers on their way to a state championship.
Neither wind nor rain nor storm delay could stop the Panthers from completion of their appointed rounds — the school’s first boys golf team title. Along the way, junior Carson Whittington secured the school’s first individual golf state title with rounds of 80 and 75.
Whittington’s 155 was just enough for a one-stroke margin over three players tied for second, including defending champion Alex Moorman of Centerville.
Whittington’s 75 through brutal wind and wet conditions Saturday at Ames Golf and Country Club led the way for a Panther team that trailed Clear Lake by three strokes (320 to 323) after 18 holes on Friday.
After Saturday’s delay of more than two hours because of heavy thunderstorms rolling through central Iowa, the Panthers shot 324 for a two-day total of 647. Defending 3-A champ Decorah was three strokes back in second, followed by Clear Lake at 653 after shooting 333 Saturday.
Iowa High School Athletic Association officials had determined that the first-day scores would hold up in determining team and individual awards if 18 holes could not be completed Saturday.
“We were the only ones who wanted to play,” Creston junior Hunter Sickels said. “They (Clear Lake) were rain dancing. But we felt like if we’re here today, we had it.”
Sickels and senior Trey Thomsen each shot 161, tying for 10th individually. Sickels had a team-best round of 78 on Friday.
“The difference was, we really wanted to play today,” Whittington said.
Whittington had placed eighth individually as a freshman in 2011 when the Panthers were ninth in the team race with a 674. He returned last year individually and placed fifth at 152.
Whittington’s score of 155 this year was actually his worst in three years at state, but that was more a result of playing conditions. Casual water rules were in effect, as many players found fairway shots landing in standing water from the morning’s torrential rain. The greens, normally very fast, played a little slower than normal.
“The difference on a day like today is, normally you shoot for birdies, and pars will drop,” Whittington said, “but today it was shoot for pars, and bogeys will drop.”
Whittington was medalist with only one birdie in 36 holes, the par-five 13th on Saturday.
“I had no idea where I stood,” Whittington said. “I just knew that if I came in with something in the 70s today, I’d be right there. The fact that we did it as a team makes it 100 times sweeter.”
The only golf championship in Creston history was by the girls team in 1967. Coach Jan Lesan said this group — seniors Kainen Somers and Thomsen, juniors Sickels and Whittington, and sophomores Sam Hartsock and Christian Groumoutis — had the right mentality for staging a comeback in Saturday’s conditions.
“From the get-go we knew they had it in them,” Lesan said. “They just keep their heads down and play. These guys play in weather like this all the time. It doesn’t matter to them.”
Atlantic finished eighth with 675 strokes. Junior Evan Schuler led the Trojans in a 22nd-place tie at 165, and senior Sam Markham tied for 24th at 165.
Class 3-A team scoring: Creston/O-M 647, Decorah 650, Clear Lake 653, Centerville 658, Williamsburg 660, Grinnell 663, Central Clinton, DeWitt 671, Atlantic 675, Ballard 677.
Individual Class 3-A scores: 1. Carson Whittington, Creston/O-M, 155; 2. (tie) Alex Moorman, Centerville, Dane Waldron, Clear Lake, Michael Peter, Decorah, 156; 5. Ryan Christy, MOC-Floyd Valley, 158; 6. (tie) Tommy Schick, Clear Lake, Corbin Blythe, Williamsburg, 159.
Creston scores: Carson Whittington 80-75 — 155 (medalist), Hunter Sickels 78-83 — 161, Trey Thomsen 80-81 — 161, Sam Hartsock 85-85 — 170, Christian Groumoutis 86-85 — 171, Kainen Somers 89-85 — 174.
Atlantic scores: Evan Schuler 85-80 — 165, Sam Markham 83-84 — 167, Travis Olsen 83-86 — 169, Ben Nelson 88-86 — 174, Nick Barry 88-89 — 177, Cooper Zablocki 103-93 — 196.
Class 2-A team scoring: Waterloo Columbus 632, PCM 647, South Hamilton 657, Mt. Vernon 665, Des Moines Christian 668, Fort Dodge St. Edmond 691, OA-BCIG 698, Durant 707.
OA-BCIG scores: Dakota Miller 158, Derek Conover 169, Adam Beckermann 181, Parker Rasmussen 192, Austin Sadler 195, Jacob Henderson 196.
Class 1-A team scoring: Sibley-Ocheyedan 673, New London 706, West Lyon 723, Winfield-Mt. Union 724, Dunkerton 739, Grundy Center 749, Riverside 756, Boyer Valley 760.
Riverside scores: Eric Rock 168, Tyler Krueger 197, Christian Jorgensen 200, Mike Wilson 200, Tim Brink 202, Jake Conway 213.
Boyer Valley scores: Michael Christenson 184, Kasey Brosamle 184, Reed Block 195, Tyler Hoffmann 202, Kyle Behrendt 214, Jared Frazier 233.