Newton junior Devin Shores came up one stroke shy of qualifying for the 2012 Iowa Class 4A State Golf Tournament last fall. Shores leads an experienced group of NHS Cardinal golfers back onto the links in 2013.
The Cardinals are sorting out the lineup for the 2013 season in practice sessions at Westwood Golf Course this week. They open the season Monday at an invitational tournament in Indianola.
“We have about 20 kids out this season. We have three seniors returning along with two juniors and a sophomore who played varsity last year,” said Pat Riley, Cardinal golf head coach. “We have the largest freshman class of players out this year that we’ve had out in a while, which is good.”
Along with Shores are seniors Bobby Dowling, Cory Hartgers and Evan Shimon, junior Tyler Thongvanh and sophomore Derek Damman round out the top varsity contenders.
“Bobby has started varsity since he was a freshman and Cory started varsity last year. Evan has improved a great deal since his freshman year. Evan is going to be a solid performer for us and should play in varsity at times this season,” Riley said.
Shores is the No. 1 golfer coming back and posted the best average overall a year ago for the Cardinals. Riley said Shores has the capabilities of being one of the top golfers in the state.
“I’m looking for big things out of Devin this year and he is going to have to lead the team. He competes well and seems to manages each course well,” Riley said. “Tyler has improved quite a bit and has a chance to play varsity this season.
Damman played some varsity golf for Newton last year. Riley said Damman played a lot of golf over the summer to improve his game.
Riley said with four returning golfers with solid varsity experience, the Cardinals are looking to put a strong, competitive team on the course each meet this fall. He said the group of sophomores and freshmen has several potential varsity golfers among those out.
A year ago the Cardinals won their home meet with an impressive 303 team score, which was the best score the team all season. It was also Riley’s first team victory as NHS head coach.
“The potential is here to be very competitive this season. The kids have to work hard and that means they should have played a lot of golf over the summer. You have to put in the time on the course to improve,” Riley said. “We have a group of good kids out and that’s what we want. They new kids have to get used to playing 18 holes of golf and get over the shock of playing against tough competition each time out.”
Newton finished fifth in the Class 4A district tournament. Shores shot a 74 to place seventh. The Cardinals are in the district with Council Bluffs-Abe Lincoln, Council Bluffs-Thomas Jefferson, Des Moines-East, Des Moines-Hoover, Des Moines-Lincoln, Des Moines-North, Des Moines-Roosevelt, Dowling Catholic, Indianola, Lewis Central-Council Bluffs, Norwalk, Southeast Polk and Waukee.
“Central Iowa golf is tough with a lot of quality individual golfers playing in it,” Riley said. “We played a lot of golf during a short period in the fall. We were in the middle of the pack a lot of last year and pretty competitive. We’ve worked hard as a program to be able to be right there and we’re looking to move up more each year.”
Other members of the team are: sophomores Kieran Brown, Jordan Henning, Chaz Ridenour, Bryce Romick and Payton Thomas; freshmen Dylan Easley, Spencer Elbert, Hunter Hartgrave, Logan Heisdorffer, Derek Landgrebe, Paul Maharry, Hunter Reffett, Austin Reynolds, Sam Supino and Trey Vanderlaan.