Regional champs: Mustangs earn state bid; Coffield takes first overall

Iola High's golf team ran away from all challengers Monday to win their regional tournament to earn a team bid for next week's Class 3A State Tournament. Buoyed by first-place finisher Brennen Coffield, Iola won the team portion by a whopping 32 strokes.

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May 14, 2024 - 1:05 PM

Iola High's Brennen Coffield tees off during a tournament earlier this season. On Monday, Coffield took home first place at the Class 3A Regional Tournament in Osawatomie. Photo by Richard Luken

OSAWATOMIE — Monday’s Class 3A Regional Golf Tournament was not for the faint of heart.

A tough Osawatomie Golf Course was made even tougher as organizers did their darnedest to make the conditions even more treacherous for the high-schoolers in attendance.

By placing the holes precariously near the edges of some greens, or along sloped areas of others, it meant scoring par was next to impossible.

“I’d say those were some of the toughest pins I’ve ever played,” Mustang senior Xander Sellman said afterward. 

Hole 4 was a monster unto itself. None of the 49 golfers were able to make par on the 408-yard par 4 hole. 

“I don’t know how many kids I’d see chip onto the green, only to see the ball roll back down,” Iola head coach Jeremy Sellman said. “If somebody could shoot below par on that course today, they need to be on tour.”

But, he noted, the conditions were the same for everyone.

That turned the regional competition into a mental battle of not letting one hole affect a player’s approach to the rest of the course.

And Iola’s squad did so to perfection.

Buoyed by sophomore Brennen Coffield’s 5-over-par 76, the Mustangs blew away all comers in capturing the regional title, and a berth in next week’s Class 3A State Tournament in Emporia.

Iola’s team score was 32 strokes above runner-up Wellsville.

Coffield’s round was five strokes better than Lucas Prado of Heritage Christian Academy, who carded an 81. Xander Sellman shot an 85, good for fourth. Chris Holloway’s 91 got him eighth. And Ethan Harris had one of his best rounds of the season, carding a 99, good for 13th. Baron Folk wasn’t far behind, shooting a 102 to place 19th. Parker Andres carded a 144 to take 48th.

This season marks the first time Iola qualified as a team for state since 2015, and the Mustangs’ first regional crown since 2014.

“It was a tough round,” Coffield said, adding that by seeing his playing partners struggle, he was optimistic he would be near the top of the leaderboard.

“You couldn’t just go after holes. You had to be a little conservative,” he said. “When you 3-putt a hole, it’s tough.”

The 2024 Class 3A regional champion Iola High Mustang golf team members are, from left, Baron Folk, Parker Andres, Brennen Coffield, Xander Sellman, Christopher Holloway, Ethan Harris and head coach Jeremy Sellman.Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

THE MUSTANGS shot a practice round in Osawatomie Sunday to get a feel for the course’s challenges.

“We talked about managing expectations,” Coach Sellman said. “The bogeys were the new par. We knew scores were going to be high.”

By the midpoint of the round, it became evident the Mustangs were the proverbial cream of the crop. At one point, Iola held the top three individual scores, with Harris not far behind in seventh.

“I was trying to figure out where Ethan was on the scoreboard,” Coach Sellman joked. “I couldn’t find his name until I realized he was at the top.”

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