OAKDALE — East Union High ventured into familiar territory Monday in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Tournament at Oakdale Golf and Country Club.
The Lancers play at the par-72 course once a year. And joining them at the tournament were crosstown rivals Manteca and Sierra — the second straight year that all three schools in town competed side by side in the postseason.
Even more familiar was the team’s finish.
East Union captured its fourth straight section championship by large margin and qualified for next Monday’s Masters Tournament. The Lancers’ score of 485 was 32 strokes better than second-place El Dorado. Sierra finished fourth with a 544, and Manteca sixth with a 579.
The top Division IV team advances to Masters, and the best three individuals not on the qualifying team also move on. Earning individual berths were medalist Sagee Palavivatana (Center) with a 78, runner-up Samantha Stockton (Whitney) with an 80 and fourth-place McKenzie Weinhold (El Dorado) with an 87.
“There’s a lot to be proud of,” said East Union co-head coach Brian Goulart.
Valley Oak League individual champion Jackie Ketner and No. 2 Jillian Goulart did what was expected of them. They each earned top-six medals, as Kether ended up third overall with a 9-over 81, and Goulart tied El Dorado’s Jessica Slightham for fifth with a 92.
Sonora’s Amanda Tye edged fellow VOL golfers Jaylene Ponce of Oakdale and Sierra’s Amanda Orr by a stroke for the last medal.
While certainly pleased with his top players’ performances, Goulart said that the team’s depth separated itself from the rest of the field. Frances Telles nearly medaled after turning in a solid 96, Tori Souza carded a 105 and Heather Craft a 111.
“We got some real good play at the top with Jackie, Jill and Frances — they bring great scores every match,” coach Goulart said. “But the middle-of-the-pack girls — Heather Craft, Tori Souza and Salina Tiscareno — are the difference makers for tournaments like this.”
Led by Orr, Sierra was three strokes away from overtaking Capital Christian for third place. Alicia Kmiec finished 12th with a 97, while Ashley Kiesel was tied for 18th with a 101. Heather Schmitz (124) and Allison Smith (127) rounded up the Timberwolves’ scoring.
Sierra will bid farewell to its four seniors, who have been a part of section playoff teams over the past four years.
“It has been a fabulous four years with my four seniors – Ashley, Alicia, Amanda and Heather, and they were pretty much four-year starters,” Sierra coach Greg Wilson said. “It’s been a great run.”
Kaylee Joaquin spearheaded Manteca with an even 100, good for a three-way tie for 15th. Other contributors for the Buffaloes were Chandler Rose (111), Danielle Roberts (114), Micaela Dias (121) and Melissa Bond (133).
Weston Ranch’s Emily Medeiros qualified to the Division IV tournament individually, posting a 121.
The Masters Tournament will begin with a shotgun start next Monday at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton. Last year, East Union took third at Masters and became the first Division-IV team in section history to earn a NorCal berth.
“If we don’t make it (to NorCals) as a team it won’t be disappointing because it’s brutally stiff competition,” Goulart said. “I would love to repeat history. People said we couldn’t do it last year and we proved people wrong.”