Taking third place at the End of Year Trans-Valley League Tournament on May 2 at the Diablo Grande course, the Cougar linksters also finished third in the league standings. It wasn’t what they had hoped for, but Coach Rusty Fachner was anything but disappointed.
“We weren’t even supposed to be in the title chase, and at the end of the day, we had a chance. There is not another team, in our league, or on the other teams that qualified for the Sections, that start three freshmen and a sophomore. We made it to this week’s Sections, and we ended up with three of our players earning all-league honors,” said Fachner. “We went 16-2 in dual matches; 10-2 in league play. It was one heck of a terrific season.”
Escalon finished league play behind the league champion, Ripon, and second place, Hughson. By virtue of Ripon’s lone loss, to Hughson, early in the season, the Cougars were pushed lower in the standings.
At the league tournament, it was “just one of those days” as Fachner put it. None of the Escalon golfers played well, and Fachner felt that it was a combination of things.
“As I said, we are really young and don’t have a lot of tournament experience. I think that there was also a little bit of nervousness by everyone on the team,” said Fachner. “There was a lot on the line and we knew it. We tried to relax, but sometimes it’s just not that easy.”
The scoring on the day exemplified Fachner’s remarks. Zack Gardner led the way for the Cougars with an 89, and Nolan Rockwell followed with a 90. Tim Wallace came in at 94 and Nathan Sarkozy shot his best tournament round this season with a 101. Danny Bava and Brad DaDalt finished up the scoring with identical 107’s.
“You can see that these just aren’t the type of scores that we are used to,” Fachner noted.
Despite the fact that they shot higher than normal, Gardner, Rockwell and Wallace all garnered enough points throughout the season to earn all-TVL honors. Fachner noted that for all of them, it was a testament to the hard work they had put in during the off-season. He was very pleased in that all-league in golf is not chosen, but earned by accumulated scores, and he was quick to note how proud he was of his players.
“I am so happy for Tim, Zack, and Nolan. They have all worked so hard to make themselves good golfers, and their hard work has really paid off. I am extremely happy for Timmy because it was a great way for him to close out his senior year,” Fachner said. “It was great to see Zack and Nolan make it because they are going to return next year with a chance to be even better. That’s really exciting.”
Monday, the Cougars played in the Section tournament, once again at Diablo Grande. Fachner was excited that his young team would get another chance to conquer the course.
“This time we’ll go into the tournament with a little more experience and a little less anxiety. We’ll go, have fun, and see what happens,” Fachner concluded.
Look for a follow up to the tournament in the May 18 issue of The Times.