Panorama Panthers Repeat as State Golf Champions
By ASHLEY SCHABLE
Lake Times staff
Repeating shots is a golf trait that usually leads to low scores. Repeating rosters, at least at the high school level, can work, too. Panorama, led by players who were with them a year ago, successfully defended their Class 2-A boys state golf championship on May 28 at Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge. Panorama, who returned five of six golfers from last year’s state squad, overcame a slim two-stroke deficit from the opening round by firing a 303 Saturday. The Panthers finished with a 604 total, with four of the team’s golfers going below 80 Saturday.
“I’m really happy we could do it twice because that’s something we really wanted to do,” said junior George Appleseth, who was the team’s top individual with a 145 (71-74). The first day, Appleseth birdied 16, 17 and 18 in an outstanding opening round in Fort Dodge. Junior Will Babcock, who won the school’s first-ever individual state golf title in Ames last year, finished tied 11th with a 153, and senior teammate Reid Cobb tied for 13th place with a 154. Play started in rain Friday and ended in rain Saturday. Other scores for Panorama, Max Monthei (19th) with a 156; Aaron Klinge (35th) with a 164; Adam Hackfort (52nd) with a 176.
Medalist Logan Schweinefus of South Winneshiek of Calmar shot a 3-under par 69 Saturday to go with his opening-round 70. He finished with a 139, two strokes ahead of Fort Dodge St. Edmond’s Charlie Doyle.
Appleseth said repeating the state championship was harder than winning it the first time. “Last year after the first day we were up by 11 strokes (over fifth-ranked Kuemper Catholic) and this year we were down by two, so that was definitely different,” he said. “We didn’t want to go out second place, we wanted to win it.”
Panorama head coach Hal Rossow said even though his team trailed at the conclusion of the first day, they felt pretty good. “In fact, the players were much more relaxed than I was,” he joked. “When you’re down by two shots it isn’t much, because you can make that up on one or two holes. They had a bunch of confidence. Today we were able to go out with the attitude that we needed to make up those shots.”
Panorama was paired with first-day leader Clear Lake on Saturday and five of six Panthers beat the Clear Lake golfer. “We were the most consistent team,” Rossow said. There were three strokes difference between the two days and four Panthers shot in the 70s.
“I think it was that we’ve played tough courses all year and we just really pulled together as a team and made that second day a strong showing,” Appleseth said.
Appleseth said winning a second straight title is pretty special. “I think for me, it was sweeter the second one because to do it once is pretty difficult, but to do it twice is even tougher.”
Rossow agrees this year’s title was maybe a little more pleasing than the first one. “We were defending champs and had a target on our back,” he said. “The boys were very determined, especially the second day. I could tell they didn’t want second. They played relaxed. It was our third straight state tournament and that helped.” The Panthers finished fifth in 2014.
The state title is the second for Rossow, who coached the Panora-Linden boys golf team to a second place finish in 1983. The state title is only the third for the Panorama school. The first was a boys track championship in 1997. Rossow, who has been blessed with talented golfers in a 38-year coaching career, said a key to this team’s success was dedication. “It helps that I have a real good group of young men that are dedicated and very hard working,” he said. “Sometimes I have to pull them off the golf course at night because they play so long.
From the moment they left the state course last season, they had a goal in mind. “They are definitely a team,” Rossow said. “I’m very proud of all of them. I think they will be very successful young men as they move on in life.”
The Panthers say goodbye to Cobb, Monthei, Hackfort and Klinge. “The four seniors will be greatly missed,” Rossow said. “This is the most in a number of years I’ll lose.” With two of the state’s top golfers in Appleseth and Babcock back for a final prep season next year, a three-peat has been murmured. “We’ve got two of the best players in the state back and an outstanding prospect in Kolby Schackelford who was the state junior PGA champion in his age group last summer and practiced with the varsity this year,” Rossow said. “We need someone from the 4th, 5th and 6th golfers to shoot 80-85.”
Rossow saluted the support from parents, grandparents, friends and school personnel. “It was greatly appreciated by the kids and me,” he added.