Dodgers ready to work under new coach Vinson
Nick Vinson has been the new coach on the block before.
Now, for the second time in his career, the Fort Dodge Senior High graduate is starting a different journey at his alma mater.
Vinson is in the early stages of his first season as Dodger boys golf coach. He has also served as the school’s boys and girls bowling coach for the past four seasons, leading both programs to state championships.
The new adventure on the links has been exciting for Vinson so far.
“I didn’t exactly know what to expect, but the transition has been pretty easy,” Vinson said. “It seems the guys have enjoyed practice and are working on things to get better every day.”
The Dodger rotation will be led by three seniors and a junior. Tuesday’s starting varsity lineup will be rounded out by two freshmen.
Seniors Riley Travis, Carson Werning and Nathan Beekman, along with junior Evan Pratt, lead the charge as returning players. Freshmen Grant Hepp and Jaxson Dencklau are also on the scorecard for the opener.
Only Werning is back as a varsity regular, though Beekman broke through for some meets as well. Travis was in the St. Edmond lineup two seasons ago.
Senior regulars Andrew Alstott, Peyton Hays, Kord Utley and Aidan Porter graduated.
“The top four have been the most consistent (in the preseason),” Vinson said. “During qualifying on the back nine at Lakeside, we had a 35, two 41s and a 42. I’ve tried to pair them with some guys who are new to the game because I want the younger kids to have a chance to learn from someone who is not a coach.”
The Dodgers have a solid number of players, with 22 on the roster — including eight freshmen.
“Right now, we have a lot of young kids and some definite overall inexperience,” Vinson said. “You can see it…they want to be good at golf. They listen and are working hard.
“I expect to see positive steps this season.”
There will be an adjustment period for the underclassmen.
“A lot of the younger kids have to learn how to play competitive golf,” Vinson said. “Some have played with family members and rode (in a cart) for 18 holes, but walking 18 holes in an official meet is a whole different animal.
“For some of them, it’s going to be a learning process. But we’ll keep working.”
Fort Dodge opens its season on Tuesday at the Country Club, hosting the new Iowa Alliance Conference’s North Division tournament.
“We want to just keep heading in the right direction,” Vinson said. “We’ll see where we stand early on (this week) and go from there.
“It’s going to be an early measuring stick.”
This will be the first FDSH event in IAC competition. The Dodgers will be joined by long-time rivals and fellow former CIML schools Ames, Marshalltown, Mason City and Waterloo East.
“Marshalltown is always very solid,” Vinson said. “Ames and Mason City are typically good as well. We’ll just have to see where we stand.
“With the new schedule this year, we will be playing a mix of familiar teams and newer (opponents).”
Action on Tuesday at the FDCC begins at 10 a.m.
2022 FORT DODGE BOYS GOLF
Seniors — Nathan Beekman, Max Bishop, Fisher Novencido, Dalton Rosalez, Riley Travis, Carson Werning, Mike Miller.
Junior — Evan Pratt.
Sophomores — Gavin Bacon, Trenton Beck, Landen Grandors, Logan Huffman, Trice Jakeman, Jayden Lennon.
Freshmen — Rylee Brown, Gavin Davis, Jaxson Dencklau, Grant Hepp, Hunter Kasperbauer, Rylan Lara, Zain Rowe, Aidan Russell.
Aug. 16 — Iowa Alliance Conference North Division Meet; 22 — at Mason City; 23 — at Des Moines North, Des Moines Lincoln; 30 — Fort Dodge Invitational.
Sept. 1 — at Mason City, Des Moines East; 6 — vs. Des Moines Hoover, Waterloo East; 7 — at Ankeny Invitational; 12-13 — at Ames Invitational; 16 — at Marshalltown Invitational; 21 — at Southeast Polk Invitational; 27 — North Conference Meet at Marshalltown.