MARION, Iowa For the second straight year, Cedar Rapids Kennedy played the role of bridesmaid in the Class 4A boys' state golf tournament.
This runner-up finish Saturday, however, will not elicit the same woulda, coulda, shoulda lament that last year's one-stroke loss to Waukee did. The Cougars were bested by an Ankeny Centennial team that overcame the elements to post consecutive 310 team scores to claim the title by nine strokes at Hunters Ridge Golf Course.
Kennedy bettered its first-day performance by five strokes at 312 for a total of 629.
"I couldn't have asked anything more out of them," Kennedy Coach Mark Wilden said. "We would have had to play unbelievably well to overcome Ankeny (Centennial). They played well two days in a row and they deserve to be champions."
Centennial also claimed the individual medalist when senior Griffen Matthias (147) parred the first hole of a three-hole sudden death playoff to unseat defending champion Matthew Walker of Ottumwa.
Kennedy juniors Conner Koberg and Davis Sutton placed fifth and sixth, respectively. Sutton took advantage of the calm early conditions to post a sparkling 35 on the front nine before finishing the round at 75. Sutton tallied a birdie and 11 pars in the first dozen holes, and Koberg carded a 77 for a team-best total of 152. Tanner Stewart's second-round 76 moved him into the top 15 overall.
"When the greens are this fast, and it's windy out, it's really hard to control the ball," Koberg said. "I think that's what we struggled with today. I think we hung in there and gave it our best."
Cedar Rapids Xavier senior Matt Junge led the Saints with a 165 to assure his team of its second straight top-10 finish at state.
"The results aren't exactly what we were hoping for, but the kids gave it their best effort and I am very proud of them," Xavier Coach Tim O'Brien said.
Cedar Rapids Washington finished a distant 12th at 684 but was again paced by freshman Frank Lindwall, who matched his day-one performance with an 80 and is excited to be a part of an up-and-coming group of Warriors.
"Just to be able to play at state is an incredible thing, I'm just so happy that our team had the opportunity to do that," said Lindwall, who finished 12th overall.
Kennedy figures to be one of the favorites next year when all six state qualifiers return.
"Next year we're going to have six seniors starting on our team, so we're excited for next year," Sutton said.