Cards face today are West Des Moines Valley, Johnston and Des Moines Roosevelt, which Newton has yet to defeat this year, as well as Ankeny and Southeast Polk, which the Cards did defeat this year. Newton coach Pat Riley believes that the team’s success will likely run through the Shores brothers, whether it’s on the team or individual level.
“They’re the heart and soul of our team, so to speak, and we’ll go as far as they can carry us,” Riley said. “But we still need them to play their best meets of the year, and we’ll need two others to play their best meets of the year.”
Although Austin Shores, Leonard and McAnally have the senior motivation on their sides, it was Devin who missed state by just two strokes last season. That arguably has made him the most motivated on the team even though he’ll have two more tries at it after this year.
“I missed by just a couple last year, but I just need to come out and play solid to hopefully have a shot again,” Devin said. “Austin could have a shot at it too, so hopefully one of us will have a chance there.”
The Cards didn’t play in any meets last week, but have spent their free time wisely. As a team, Newton went out to Granger to get practice rounds at Jester Park once last week and again on Monday. That has allowed the team to gain some familiarity with the course, unlike past years where it went into districts somewhat cold.
“Altogether, we like the course. It doesn’t give us too much trouble,” Austin said. “I know a couple of us played it in the summer, too, so a few of us know it pretty well. We’re not going to get any big surprises.”
Despite the motivation for the Shores brothers and the seniors on the team, Riley feels that this year’s squad has as good of a shot as any he has coached. This team scored Riley his first victory as a coach earlier this season, so he’s hoping they can take that feat a step further and get some guys at state this year.
“I think our kids are really motivated, and I think this is the first year we’ve really focused on trying to get up to play before the district meet,” Riley said. “This is our best chance to go to state talent-wise, but it’s going to be a dogfight. We’re going to have to play really well.”