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Escalon tops Ripon in 1st-place match
GLF--Escalon-Ripon 1
Ripon Highs Alex Gonzales tees off on the eighth hole at Jack Tone Golf Course, where the Indians hosted Escalon in a first-place battle in the Valley Foothill League North Division on Thursday. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/ The Bulletin

Escalon had a score to settle with Ripon on Thursday as the two met in a showdown of undefeated teams in the Valley Foothill League’s North Division.

The visiting Cougars prevailed 153-169 at Ripon’s Jack Tone Golf Course, with low-medalist Molly Landon shooting a 5-over-par 36.

Last year, Escalon captured the VFL North championship but lost to the Indians in the final dual of the regular season and the ensuing conference tournament. Ripon continued its late-season surge by winning its first Sac-Joaquin Section title in the Division V Tournament, where it outscored the runner-up Cougars, 524-553.

“Escalon is a solid team — they played well today,” Ripon coach Eric Dambrosio said. “They will be hard to beat this year. We need to stay positive, work hard and hopefully by the end of the season we can play well like we did last year during the playoffs.”

Ripon (4-1) had proven to have the goods to once again compete with the reigning champs going into the match despite losing its top player Sienna Starck, who now plays for Cal State East Bay.

Escalon (6-0), however, has the edge in depth and experience. Madison Kindberg ended up a stroke behind her first-place teammate Thursday, while Piper Rockwell tied Ripon’s Laura Williams for third with a 39. Kaitlynn Mayfield rounded out Escalon’s score with a solid 41.

Alex Gonzales finished with a 40 for Ripon. Claire Wever and Taylor Enriquez followed with a 44 and 46, respectively.

Up next is the VFL North Mid-Year Tournament, which takes place this Monday at Micke Grove Golf Links in Lodi. After that is another big match Tuesday against Linden, which has lost only to Escalon so far.

Valley Oak League

East Union 238,
Weston Ranch 374

Brooke Riley produced an impressive 1-over 37 despite the aerated greens at Van Buskirk Golf Course.

Natalie Cowan and Rebeca Leonard each scored a 49 for the unbeaten Lancers. Chloe Cardenas contributed a 50, while Allie Tajii finished with a 54.

Kimball 235, Manteca 263

The Buffaloes (2-3) carded their best score of the season on the links-style front nine of Old River Golf Course, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Kimball’s five sub-50 cards.

Katie Hankins paced Manteca with a 49 and was followed by Isabella Garcia-Mendez (51), Dominique Graham (52), Arshnoor Kaur (55) and Danika Hunt (56).