It worked out very well on Saturday for Josh Smith, an IHCC freshman that was playing within the top five of the Warriors team at Kirkwood. Playing as an individual instead on Saturday in Ottumwa, Smith thrived in his first home tournament as a Warrior with a three-under 141 two-round total to earn the individual medalist honor by two shots over McLennan’s Hunter Shattuck.
“The fact that Josh could play that well and not be one of our top five scores that we counted shows you just how tough it is within our team,” Hagen said.
Case in point – today’s opening round at the National Preview Tournament. George Trujillo and Harrison Moore, two more of IHCC’s new faces, are joining Shattuck and Central Alabama’s Tim Walker in a four-person battle for the individual lead one round into the tournament.
Trujillo and Walker are tied at even par, one shot ahead of Moore and Shattuck. Seeing so many different young players starting to step up to put themselves atop the leaderboard is exactly what Hagen was hoping to see as the fall season rolled along.
“We’re young, but we’re very talented,” Hagen said. “I think we are seeing now how deep our team really is. It doesn’t seem to matter where we are, we seem like we get somebody new each week leading us.”
Leading IHCC to the top team round of 289 on Saturday was another freshman, Jakob Garstecki, who joined other Warrior newcomers like Sam Sloman and Greg Stanek in earning top-ten individual finishes at the Community Credit Union Invite. Garstecki’s opening-round 70 was followed immediately by a 71 that was, to say the least, a gutsy and well-earned score.
“Jakob’s been fighting tendinitis all year,” Hagen said. “I didn’t know if he could finish that second round. That’s a lot better finish then people realize.”