Corbin Blythe’s favorite sport depends on the weather and time of year.
With temperatures on the rise and shoulder pads and headgears packed away, the Williamsburg senior favors his clubs.
“It seems like the sport I’m in is my favorite,” said Blythe, admitting that football still ranks highest. “Golf is right there with football and wrestling. I’ve put a lot of time into it and it’s fun.”
Blythe, who made an immediate impact for the Raiders as a freshman, will try to help them secure a fourth straight state berth at the Iowa High School Athletic Association Class 3A district meet Friday at Stone Creek Country Club in Williamsburg. The top two teams, and a third-place team if one of the team qualifiers is playing on its home course, and top-four individuals, including ties advance to the 3A state meet at Ames Golf and Country Club on May 24-25.
Blythe, a 6-foot-1, 235-pound defensive lineman who will walk-on to play football for the University of Iowa next season, was a first-team all-state selection, leading the Raiders to the 3A state semifinals in the UNI-Dome. He was also a two-time 2A state medalist at 220, placing third as a senior.
He has never missed a state golf meet, placing in the top 20 individually the last two years. He is currently 14th in the Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association rankings with a 40.48 adjusted score. The Raiders are eighth as a team.
“I’m excited to compete in one last district event and try to get to the state tournament for the fourth year in a row,” Blythe said. “I think that would be pretty cool and not a lot of people have been able to do that.”
He wouldn’t be alone, though. Williamsburg Drew Slings as been just as instrumental in elevating the Williamsburg golf program. Slings is looking for his fourth straight state appearance, placing 11th last year and tying for 15th in 2011.
Blythe said they take pride in their contributions to the program, which hadn’t reached the state meet until they arrived. The future promises more potential with an increase of junior high golfers who like the sport.
“I think that’s good to see Drew and I as multiple sport athletes … it shows you can be an athlete and a golfer,” Blythe said. “We try to lead by example and be a good example for the younger kids.”
The two have been longtime friends, starting to play in junior tournaments together in sixth grade, according to Blythe. He recalled days as kids where they arrived at the golf course at 8 a.m. and left at 5 p.m. They would compete with one another and still do today.
“There were days when we tried to find the absolute worst lie around the (practice green) for chipping and have fun with it,” Blythe said. “We do have a good rivalry. We want to compete against each other, because if we’re competing against each other and shooting well then the team is doing well.
“It’s fun to have somebody on the team that pushes you and I think that’s helped some of the other guys on the team, too.”
The Raiders needed a total team effort to reach the district meet. They posted a 315 to win the sectional title by three strokes over De Witt Central without Blythe or Slings in the top five. Sophomores Zach Buch and Jason Subbert were third and fourth, respectively. Both carded a 77 for the round.
Blythe was happy with the way he played in the regular season, despite tough conditions early. He said he has played better than the previous two seasons, focusing on each shot and not worrying about pressure. A big part is more emphasis on stronger short game.
“My iron play has definitely improved this year,” Blythe said. “It’s something I’ve tried to work on, being more consistent and hit some of those greens.”
Blythe is more motivated by the team’s performance than his own. He has a goal to crack the top-10 individually, but a bigger priority a higher team finish for the Raiders, who slipped to seventh last year after palcign fourth in 2011.
His postseason experiences in each of his sports have provided a good perspective.
“The postseason in any sport has taught me anything can happen,” Blythe said. “Especially in golf, any given day you can shoot a low number. The postseason has taught me to roll with it, because you never know what is going to happen.”
Classes 1A and 2A will also compete in district meets, attempting to reach next week’s state meet. The 1A state meet will be held at Lake Panorama National Resort in Panora. State qualifiers in 2A will play at Spring Valley Golf Course in Livermore.