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Ripon finds its groove after top golfer transfers
GLF--Escalon-Ripon pic 1
Ripons Justin Brito hits the drive during a Trans-Valley League match with Escalon at Spring Creek Golf & Country Club on Wednesday. - photo by GARY JENSEN/

RIPON — Things were looking bleak just a week ago for the Ripon boys golf team.

The Indians’ top golfer, Connor Larkin, moved to Texas, and they were still missing players who were part of the school’s NorCal-qualifying basketball team.

“It has been interesting,” Ripon coach Chris Musseman said.

On Wednesday, Ripon got the confidence booster it needed. Seniors Justin Brito and Luis Candido each shot 6-over 42 at Spring Creek Golf & Country Club, leading the Indians to a 228-241 win over Trans-Valley League contender Escalon.

Larkin, a sophomore, was one of just two area golfers who reached the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament a year ago. He’s the reigning Most Valuable Player and Most Outstanding Player in the TVL.

“Although Connor is a great player, he made everyone else play better and we lost that,” Musseman said. “The morale of the team was not very good. We went out and played as poorly as I’ve had a team play (in the Yellowjacket Invitational) on Monday.

“And today, no one except for Justin got off very well and they were kicking our butts for the first couple holes. It finally clicked for them and they really turned it on.”

Nico Illardi contributed a 45 for Ripon (2-0, 2-1 overall). Garrett Avila and Cole Stevens finished with 49 and 50, respectively.

Escalon’s Zach Gardner was low medalist with a 40. The Cougars fell to 2-1 in league. 

Ripon rounds out its busy week today against Riverbank at Jack Tone Golf Course. It will be its fourth match in as many days.

“This could be a big turning point for our team,” Musseman said. “They had to realize they could win without Connor.


Oakdale 220, Lathrop DQ

TRACY — Lathrop standout Christian Guzman’s 2-over 38 was one stroke better than Oakdale’s David Myrtakis in a Valley Oak League dual match at Old River Golf Course on Wednesday.

The Mustangs also had Max Moore (40) and Calvin Reed (41) nipping at his heels. Luke Marcello of Lathrop shot a personal best 51.


Weston Ranch 261, Weston Ranch 297

Austin Thao of Weston Ranch shot 8-ver 45 for medalist honors, and he was followed by teammate Lorenzo Galfo’s 47 at Manteca Park Golf Course.

Damian Simon carded a 49 to lead Sierra. Nathaniel Livingston and Jackie Thai each had a 50. Evan Brazall, Mcihael Erdman and David Perry all scored 56s.



Manteca 9, East Union 0

It was another commanding performance for the Buffaloes (5-0 VOL, 7-6 overall), who have shut out their last four opponents and three of them on consecutive days. 

Visiting East Union was able to field a full singles lineup for the first time this season but forfeited all three doubles matches. Solman Aniss, Si Hao Tang and Yok Whai Ma all had 6-0, 6-0 wins for Manteca. Yok Eyh Ma won 6-0, 6-1, Joseph Poncini contributed a 6-1, 6-1 victory and Harshawn Singh picked up a 6-1, 6-0 win from the No. 6 singles spot.

The Buffaloes have a tough stretch ahead after spring break. On Tuesday, March 28, they’ll take on defending VOL champion Kimball before facing Oakdale and Central Catholic in succession.