After two matches, the Escalon High School Boys Golf team is one of the top teams in the Trans-Valley League. After posting two wins against Riverbank, it wasn’t the fact that they were victorious that caught Coach Rusty Fachner’s attention, but rather the way his team got it done.
“Riverbank did not have enough players to field a scoring team, so basically both matches were forfeits. There have been many times where I’ve seen teams coast when they know that they’ve already got the win. That wasn’t the case with my guys and I’m proud of the fact that they used this opportunity to work harder and improve. It says a lot about the team.”
The Cougar linksters went out last Wednesday at Oakdale Golf and Country Club and posted a team score of 225, which is bogey golf as a team, said the coach.
“There are many times that I’ve seen TVL titles won by teams that consistently shoot bogey golf,” Fachner added.
Escalon was led by Zack Gardner, who has been playing some of his best golf since donning the Purple and Gold his freshman year. Gardner came in with a 39 on the day.
“I can’t stress enough how well Zack has taken on the role as the #1 player. It is not easy, as you are always staring face to face with the other team’s best. He has been solid as a rock, whether as a player or captain,” Fachner stated.
Nolan Rockwell continued to play at a high level, posting a 40.
“Nolan is another guy who has really played consistently for us. His off-season work is really showing through,” Fachner said.
Tim Wallace followed Rockwell with a 46, Brandon Levin carded a 49, Nathan Sarkozy added a 51, and Danny Bava completed the scoring for Escalon with a 63.
The next day the Cougars travelled to La Contenta to play the Bruins once again in a home-and-home. Escalon followed up its solid play on Wednesday with a team score of 220 on Thursday. Gardner was again the medalist on the day with a score of 38, while Wallace came in at 40, Rockwell added a 42, Levin a 48, and Sarkozy a 52. Bava added a 58 to complete the scoring.
“Timmy’s 40 was great. He really did a great job of managing the course and playing to his strengths,” Fachner said of Wallace. “I was impressed with his effort. I was also impressed with Brandon (Levin). He has started to focus on the course more and more, and we can see it in his scores. They are really starting to drop. If we want to be in the hunt for the title, we’ll need that from him.”
The Cougars started off their week by participating in the prestigious Oakdale Cup Invitational at Oakdale on March 7. Escalon took eighth out of a very tough 16-team field, loaded with Division 1, 2, and 3 schools.
“Anytime you finish in the top half of a tournament of this caliber, it is a reason to be happy,” Fachner noted. “I was delighted that our guys, some of whom had never played in an 18-hole tournament before, could keep their composure and turn in some quality scores.”
For the tournament, Gardner shot a 4-over par 76 and finished eighth overall in a field of 94 golfers. Rockwell carded an 84, Wallace an 89, while freshmen Bava and Sarkozy finished the day at 106. Levin’s 114 ended the Cougar scoring.
On the JV golf front, Coach Jerry Emery took his squad to River Oaks Golf Course to compete in a three-way match with Hughson and Ripon. At the end of the day, Ripon edged the Cougars 215 to 218, while Escalon beat the Huskies 215-238.
“I was very pleased with our top golfers, Brad DaDalt, Elliott Mello and Nic Lattig,” Emery noted. “Each of them did a great job of hitting quality shots and managing the course. They are showing real improvement.”
DaDalt and Mello tied for team honors with identical scores of 36, while Lattig finished with 43. Parker Franklin, Blake Kissee and Jake Lewis carded 50.
The Cougar Varsity will spend this week playing in the Yellow Jacket Invitational at Roddy Ranch, before returning to play key TVL matches against Ripon and Mountain House at Oakdale. On Wednesday, the JV’s will once again take on Hughson and Ripon, this time at Escalon Golf Course.