East Union co-head coaches Brian Goulart and Dennis Wells figured this was the year that the Lancers’ run of championships in the Sierra Invitational would end.
Crow never tasted so good.
Their lineup of four freshmen and two juniors topped the 19-team field with a score of 465, and the Lancers captured the Sierra Invitational crown for a seventh straight season with low-medalist Brooke Riley leading the way at Manteca Park Golf Course.
“Honestly, we weren’t sure what our team was capable of,” Goulart said. “We needed to get tested. We needed to get ready for the tournaments we have coming up. But we weren’t expecting to win. We wanted to play well and compete. Obviously, the girls played phenomenal.
It starts at the top. Riley carded a 3-over 75 to earn the tournament’s low-medalist honors for the second time in three years. Fellow East Union junior Rebeca Leonard had what Goulart called “the round of her year” with a third-place score of 85. Benicia’s Sofia Young was the runner-up with an 82.
Freshmen Chloe Cardenas and Natalie Cowan added 101s, and Allie Tajii finished with a 103. Goulart lauded the play of Tajii, the team’s least experienced player.
“This was the first 18-hole tournament of her life,” Goulart said. “She just started playing golf this year. It was huge.”
Tournament host Sierra placed seventh with a 520 and Manteca was 14th with a 579. East Union’s closest competitor was Brentwood’s Liberty (493), the only other team to register a sub-500 score. Valley Foothill League North Division-leading Escalon 500) took third.
McKenna Doyle paced Sierra with a 98. Arlene Gavino (101), Legacy Barnes (105), Vanessa Rodriguez (107) and Kayla Wilson (109) rounded out the Timberwolves’ score.
For Manteca, Katie Hankins was a few strokes away from cracking the top-10 with a 95. She was followed by Danika Hunt (113), Arshnoor Kaur (117), Logan Jackson (123) and Dominique Graham (131).
East Union is on track to earn the Valley Oak League title for an eighth straight year. The reigning Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV champion is unbeaten through 10 league matches with four remaining before the regular-season ending tournament.
“It was exciting being this young team, and I have a funny feeling we’re only going to get better,” Goulart said. “This is our first tournament of the year. Sierra puts on a great tournament and then we go right into the VOL tournament and the section tournament and hopefully Masters. That’s our plan every year.”
Valley Foothill League
Modesto Christian 208
The Indians posted their best score at Jack Tone Golf Course in coach Eric Dambrosio’s eight years as head coach.
All four of their scorers played bogey golf or better. Breeana Alvarez was medalist with a 4-over 35, Laura Williams carded a 37, Alex Gonzales added a 39 and Erin Wever capped scoring with a 40.
“Hopefully this good play will continue,” Dambrosio said. “I am happy to see them reach their potential as a team. I’ve told them all year we could shoot around 150. Next week we have two tough matches: Escalon at Escalon and Linden at home. I hope the girls can build off this great round and finish the season strong.”