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Sharp, seniors key Ripon’s run to fourth straight title

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Ripon High standout Nick Sharp was named MVP of the Trans-Valley League after leading the team to its fourth straight championship in the conference tournament Monday.

JOHN-JOEL GRIFFITHS/Bulletin file photo

POSTED April 29, 2014 2:01 a.m.


How about repeat.

Ripon High’s boys golf team made it four in a row in capturing another Trans-Valley League championship Monday at Diablo Grande Golf & Country Club in Patterson, and it wasn’t close. The Indians carded a higher-than usual 452, but it was nearly 40 better than runner-up Escalon.

Ripon was the only undefeated team in dual matches going in. Only an epic meltdown would have prevented it from grabbing at least a share of the title. The team has won five TVL championships in head coach Chris Musseman’s eight years.

“After losing three of our top six last year I wasn’t sure what we had,” said Musseman, who tabbed Escalon and Hilmar as the heavy favorites at the start of the season. “We had a couple seniors step up big time and it paid off for us. I’m really proud of the guys, especially our seniors. They are going out not knowing what it’s like to not win a TVL championship.”

The Indians were led by junior Nick Sharp, who was voted the league’s MVP by coaches for a second straight year. Hilmar standout Landon Azevedo is again the Most Outstanding Player based on all-league points accumulated. As dominant as Ripon was as a team, so to was Azevedo individually. He was the tournament medalist with a 1-under 71 — seven strokes better than second-place Lane Cadell of Escalon. Sharp finished third with an 80.

“It wasn’t pretty but we pulled it out,” Musseman said, noting that gusty conditions led to big numbers. “Across the board it was a tough day; anywhere around 90 was a pretty good score. For as windy as it was and as hard as the ground is, (Azevedo’s) score is ridiculous. Nick did OK, but his only problem was that he was a little off with his wedges today.”

Three Ripon seniors joined Sharp on the All-TVL team and a fourth came close. Nathan Suender placed fourth with his 86, and Robby Figeroid was part of a four-way tie for seventh with a 90. Fellow all-leaguer Anthony Matthews produced the throw-out score of 102. Michael Miller and Kole Gonzales turned in a 97 and 99, respectively.

The emergence of third-year seniors Matthews and Miller were key to Ripon’s success. Neither player had cracked the starting six until this year, and both ended up being among the TVL’s best.

“They made the most of their opportunity,” Musseman said. “Anthony made all-league and Miller was about two spots away, and that’s because they worked extremely hard in the offseason to make themselves better and it made the team better.”

Next Monday Ripon will defend its Sac-Joaquin Section Division V title at unfamiliar Peach Tree Golf and Country Club in Marysville. The Indians are in the hunt for their fourth overall section crown, a goal that now seems reachable.

“It’s kind of nice,” Musseman said. “This year it was all about winning league, but the lights have kind of turned on and now the guys are thinking, ‘Hey, we can repeat at sections, too.’”


To contact Jonamar Jacinto email or call 209.249.3538.

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