Nick Vinson was the new coach on the block before.
Now, for the second time in his career, the Fort Dodge High School senior is embarking on a different journey at his alma mater.
Vinson is in the early stages of his first season as the Dodger boys golf coach. He also served as the school’s boys and girls bowling coach for the past four seasons, leading both programs to state championships.
The new relationship adventure has been exciting for Vinson so far.
“I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but the transition was pretty easy,” Vinson said. “The boys seem to have enjoyed training 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 complemented by two freshmen.
Seniors Riley Travis, Carson Werning and Nathan Beekman, along with junior Evan Pratt, lead the charge as returning players. Freshmen Grant Happ and Jackson Denklau are also on the scoresheet for the opener.
Only Werning returns as a regular varsity player, although Beekman also managed to break into some matches. Travis was on the St. Edmund’s roster two seasons ago.
Senior regulars Andrew Alstott, Peyton Hayes, Cord Utley and Aidan Porter graduated.
“The top four were 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 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 isn’t a coach .”
The Dodgers have a solid roster of players, with 22 on the roster — including eight freshmen.
“We have a lot of young kids right now and some general inexperience,” Vinson said. “You can see it…they want to be good at golf. They listen and work hard.
“I expect to see positive steps this season.”
There will be an adaptation period for underclassmen.
“A lot of the younger kids have to learn how to play competitive golf,” Vinson said. “Some have played with family members and driven (in a cart) for 18 holes, but walking 18 holes at an official meet is a whole different animal.
“For some of them, it will be a learning process. But we will continue to work.”
Fort Dodge opens its season Tuesday at the Country Club, hosting the new Iowa Conference North Division tournament.
“We just want to keep going in the right direction,” Vinson said. “We’ll see where we are at the beginning (this week) and go from there.
“This will be an early measure.”
This will be the first FDSH event in IAC competition. The Dodgers will be joined by longtime rivals and colleagues from former CIML schools Ames, Marshalltown, Mason City and Waterloo East.
“Marshalltown is always very solid,” Vinson said. “Ames and Mason City are usually good too. We’ll just have to see where we are.
“With the new schedule this year, we’ll be playing a mix of familiar teams and newer (opponents).”
Tuesday’s action at the FDCC begins at 10am
2022 FORT DODGE BOYS GOLF
Seniors — Nathan Beekman, Max Bishop, Fisher Novensido, Dalton Rosales, Riley Travis, Carson Werning, Mike Miller.
Junior — Evan Pratt.
Sophomores — Gavin Bacon, Trenton Beck, Landon Grandors, Logan Huffman, Trice Jakeman, Jayden Lennon.
Freshmen — Riley Brown, Gavin Davis, Jackson Denklau, Grant Hepp, Hunter Kasperbauer, Rylan Lara, Zane Rowe, Aidan Russell.
Aug. 16 — Iowa Conference North Division meet; 22 — in 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 — Meeting of the Northern Conference at Marshalltown.