“We plateaued a little.”
That was the way that Escalon High School boy’s golf coach Rusty Fachner described a week that saw his team drop its first league match and go 1-1 in the Trans-Valley League. By splitting this week’s matches, the Cougar linksters moved to 7-2 on the season.
In dropping their first TVL encounter, it wasn’t as much what Escalon did, as it was what long-time rival, Ripon, did. The Indians came to the Oakdale Golf and Country Club and shot their team lowest score of 210, while the Cougars could only muster a score of 222.
“If you had told me that we would shoot 222 and lose by 10 strokes, I would have been shocked,” Fachner commented. “I thought we played well enough to win. All the credit goes to Ripon. They were certainly the better team on that day.”
Even the stellar play of Zack Gardner and Tim Wallace, who shot 39 and 40 respectively, wasn’t enough to ward off the red-hot Ripon squad. Nolan Rockwell came in at 45, and Brandon Levin added 47. Nathan Sarkozy carded a 51 and Danny Bava completed the day’s scoring with a 52.
Overall, Fachner was pleased with his team’s effort, but also noted the need for improvement.
“We had some very good rounds, but it wasn’t enough. We can’t get complacent and happy with our games. We have to get better,” Fachner said.
The following day, Escalon took on a young Mountain House squad at Oakdale and won convincingly, 224-303.
“This is what I meant by plateauing,” Fachner noted. “We are stuck around the 220 to 225 team score. We need to start breaking 220 to have a good chance at the championship. I really believe we’re not that far away.”
Against the Mustangs, Gardner continued to lead the charges with a 38. Wallace once again registered a 40, while Levin repeated his previous day’s 47. Rockwell had a 49, Sarkozy a 50, and Bava shot 54 to end the day.
On Monday the Cougars competed in one of the area’s best tournaments, playing in the Yellow Jacket Invitational at Roddy Ranch in Antioch. With 30 teams from throughout the state, Escalon was able to place 15th, an excellent effort considering the caliber of the teams that were invited. With extremely difficult conditions, Gardner was able to work his way to 79 on the day, good enough for seventh place out of over 130 golfers.
“Zack played outstanding golf in some treacherous conditions,” stated Fachner. “His 79, and the 83 that Timmy shot were both terrific rounds.”
With the 83, Wallace finished 24th in the tournament. Other scores included a 95 by Rockwell, 112 by Sarkozy, and 118 by Levin, in the 18-hole event.
This week the Cougars play three matches traveling to Modesto Christian and Calaveras, before taking on first place Hughson on Thursday.