Gaels again have high hopes

Dan Streit is optimistic his St. Edmond boys golf team won’t skip a beat this season.

After qualifying for state in each of the past three years, the Gaels are looking to stay among Iowa’s elite Class 2A programs.

Seniors Robert Flattery, Harrison Mayer and Reid Johnson, junior Charlie Doyle and sophomore Jaxon Myers are the varsity regulars back for SEHS. Streit must fill the void left by the graduation of Michael Faiferlick, who placed sixth overall at state in his final prep campaign.

“I feel very confident again this year, but I don’t want to get too overconfident,” said Streit, who was named IAHSGCA 2A co-Coach of the Year with Panorama’s Hal Rossow in 2015. “We still have to play it out. We do have a good nucleus coming back. Robert, Harrison and Charlie all have a lot of state experience. We have strong leadership and a couple talented freshmen.”

Flattery finished 11th at state as a junior, carding a 157 (75-82). Doyle (163), Mayer (174), Johnson (191) and Myers (194) all followed.

“What helped us last year was our consistency, which I can see being a key again,” Streit said. “Other teams have some really good sticks, but we have solid guys from top to bottom.”

Flattery anchored the Gaels in nine-hole average (39.50) last spring. Mayer (41.13) and Doyle (41.25) were next in line among the returning players.

As a team, St. Edmond averaged a 161 for nine-hole tournaments and a 329.75 for 18-hole events a year ago.

Others expected to make an impact at various points are senior Conley Messerly, junior Brant Reiling and freshman Andrew Gibb.

“Andrew obviously learned well from his dad (former Fort Dodge Senior High and Iowa State University standout Judd Gibb),” said Streit. “He’s going to be there for us from the start.”

Streit knows his squad will be tested each time out in the North Central Conference. Webster City is the defending 3A state champion, while Humboldt settled for fourth in 3A last season.

Reigning 2A state runner-up Carroll Kuemper is also on SEHS’s schedule for a dual meet. Both the Knights and 2015 1A state title-holder Bishop Garrigan will be in the CYO field.

“Our guys want to keep the tradition going,” Streit said. “Practice has been hit or miss with the tough weather we’ve had. I’m really proud of our kids for working through the high winds and the cold.”

Prior to coming in fourth at state last spring, St. Edmond was sixth at state in 2013 and second in 2014.

The Gaels debut tonight at Southeast Valley. SEHS will host the CYO Tournament (April 27) and 2A state meet (May 27-28) later this year.