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Golfers Split Matches, Gear Up For Trip
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The winning streak came to an end on a rainy, dismal day for Escalon's golfers, the squad falling to unbeaten Hilmar on Thursday.

They hosted the Yellowjackets and the teams both took identical 5-0 Trans-Valley League records on to the course at the Oakdale Country Club for the match. Hilmar came away with a five-stroke win, 243-248, to improve to 6-0 in the TVL. Escalon dropped to 5-1.

"Conditions were very poor but both teams suffered through the same thing," coach Stan Maggard said. "Our kids weren't prepared, it rained the whole time and a lot of them didn't have their weather gear. They just didn't play to their potential."

Rounds for the Cougars were much higher in the rainy weather on Thursday than in a match earlier in the week, but Maggard said they have to be consistent to win, regardless of conditions.

Travis Jackson was low man for the Cougars with a 43 on the afternoon at the par 36 Oakdale course, followed by Jason Pires with a 45. Jeff Dugo came in with a 50, Cameron Kisst a 53 and Garrett Heapy shot a 57.

"We'll get an opportunity to play Hilmar another time," Maggard pointed out.

In action on their home course Tuesday against Ripon, the Cougars took a 224-231 victory.

"That was probably the first time we've beaten them in about three years, so that was a nice win for us," said Maggard. "It was a very good round for Jeff Dugo, Jason Pires has been solid for us and it was a good round for Travis."

Dugo paced the squad with a three over par 39, followed by Jackson with a 42. Pires came in at 45, Kisst shot a 47 and Heapy carded a 51.

"What we need is for the kids to be consistent," Maggard noted.

The squad also hit the links on Monday, taking part in the annual Ty Caplin Tournament at Elk Horn Country Club. Facing off with primarily Division I schools, Maggard said the goal wasn't to win, just to get better and see what some other schools are doing.

"I like to take the kids for the experience," the coach explained. "A lot of them have never played on that course."

The Cougars finished well down in the pack among the 23 participating teams but leader Jackson had a solid showing of 83 for the 18-hole event.

A special event for the Cougars this year will be a spring break trip to South Carolina, to take part in the seventh annual Palmetto High School Golf Championship.

The group, featuring several golfers, Maggard, and parent/chaperones, will fly out of San Francisco on April 7 and spend April 8, 9 and 10 on various golf courses in and around Myrtle Beach.

"There will be 105 to 110 school throughout the nation that participate," Maggard explained. "There are five-man teams, you play five and count four scores."

Maggard and assistant coach Greg Jackson will be with the team, which will feature the traditional five man line-up of Jackson, Dugo, Pires, Kisst and Heapy. Also attending as individuals will be Ben Villines and Austin Jackson.

"Thursday we will start out on Diamond Back," Maggard said of the beginning course the Cougars will play on for the tournament. "After that, we don't know where we'll play, it will depend on how well we do."

This trip, approved by the school board, marks the first time the golf team has left the state to play in an event.

The golfers will play 18 holes a day for three days.

"If it turns out like we hope, we'd like to make it an annual thing," Maggard said. "It'll be a good learning experience for the kids and an incentive, they'll find out where they need to be to compete."

The Cougar entourage will include about 18 people altogether.

"We have the school board and superintendent Bob Wallace to thank for allowing us to feel this out, see if it's something we may want to continue to do," Maggard said.