A promising future

Fort Dodge Senior High has added a few bells and whistles to its annual golf outing, which will be June 14 at the Country Club.

Iowa wrestling legend Dan Gable is slated to be a guest speaker at the event, and Dallas Clark has verbally committed to attend as long as an NFL team doesn’t change his summer schedule over the next few weeks.

It’s all part of a plan to assure the FDSH athletic department will remain a fan friendly and community oriented outfit under the direction of Matt Elsbecker, who officially becomes the school’s athletics and activities director on July 1.

”We just want everyone to know that we expect great things to happen and we’re excited about the future,” Elsbecker said. ”We’re really looking forward to (the outing) and getting the chance to introduce our student-athletes and coaches to fellow Dodgers on a personal level.

”We’ve always received tremendous support from the community, and to reach our full potential, we need for that to continue.”

Gable is scheduled to speak at 11:20 a.m., with a full day of golf to follow. The outing is at capacity, with 62 teams and nearly 250 players ready to participate, but hole sponsorships are still available for local and area businesses.

Gable’s appearance will be followed by an autograph and picture session. The auction and raffle is open to the public as well, beginning around 6:30 p.m. Among the items up for bid are a 2007 Masters flag signed by Zach Johnson, tickets to Minnesota Twins and Iowa Cubs games, and a signed Dallas Clark jersey, along with dozens of others.

Clark, a Livermore native and graduate of Twin River Valley High School, will have his clubs ready and serve as the fifth man in a group that wins a bid for his playing services.

”As long as Dallas doesn’t get picked up by an NFL team between now and (June 14), he’ll be here,” Elsbecker said. ”We’ll have our student-athletes carrying clubs from cars to golf carts and greeting the players, the cheerleaders (will be in attendance), and our coaches will be on the course helping out and introducing themselves.

”It’s a great chance to bring everyone together in a casual, fun environment. (The golf outing) benefits all programs, so we wanted to make it a worthwhile experience for everyone involved.”

THE ONE AND ONLY: Speaking of golf, the St. Edmond boys wrapped up a sixth-place performance in the Class 2A state tournament at Spring Valley Golf Course on Saturday.

Spring Valley, located just north of Livermore, has always been one of my favorite places to play. As a former Fort Dodge Dodger team member and avid golfer for 25 years, I’ve teed up at courses all over Iowa and across the country. Pound for pound, Spring Valley still ranks among the best in my eyes.

We should all thank the long-time owners from the Berte family for their vision and ingenuity. Spring Valley is one of north-central Iowa’s special treasures. Golfers of all ages and skill levels gain an immediate appreciation for the course’s beauty and uniqueness.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of playing there, the trip is well worth your while.

AT LONG LAST: There may never be a more deserving champion than Aaron Chalstrom, the freshly-minted Class 1A state singles king from St. Edmond.

Chalstrom, a three-time individual runner-up, cleared the biggest hurdle in the final match of his prep career on Saturday in Waterloo.

The title cements Chalstrom’s status among Iowa’s elite, but his legacy at St. Edmond was established long before this closing performance. Chalstrom – a young man of high character and strong leadership – didn’t need one last victory to earn a spot among the Gael greats. Win or lose, this is the kind of student-athlete our community should always embrace. His singles crown was just the icing on the cake.

Eric Pratt is Sports Editor at The Messenger. He may be reached afternoons and evenings at 1-800-622-6613, or by e-mail at sports@messengernews.net