LODI — It wasn’t the ideal start to the season for the defending Trans-Valley League champion boys golf team from Ripon.
Sophomore standout Connor Larkin, who earned both the MVP and Player of the Year honors in the TVL last year, moved to Texas a week into the season when the Indians were still minus players who were members of the school’s NorCal-qualifying basketball team.
“When Connor left, people thought these guys were done,” Ripon coach Chris Musseman said.
It turned out they were just getting started, and one of the latecomers from the basketball team led the way. The Indians completed their surprisingly-dominant run through the TVL on Monday, winning the league tournament by a wide margin at Micke Grove Golf Links. They registered a team total of 437, with Hughson taking second with a 456 and Escalon third with a 469.
“You don’t win with just one guy,” Musseman said. “This is one of my more satisfying league wins.”
Ripon seized its sixth league crown in the last seven years and eighth under 11-year coach Musseman.
Escalon’s Nathan Sarkozy was low medalist for the tournament with a 7-over 79. Zack Gardner, also of Escalon, took fourth with an 82 but still easily garnered the Player of the Year award for accumulating the most league points throughout the season.
Herrin finished as the runner-up in the individual points standings and tied Hughson’s Chase Shears for second place in the tournament with an 81. Herrin was voted Most Valuable Player by the coaches.
“For him to play like he has in the last month, I don’t think anyone saw that coming,” Musseman said of Herrin. “He shot a 58 (at Turlock Country Club) in his first nine-hole match in league. He just kept working and working and the scores kept getting lower and lower.”
Ripon’s Luis Candido took fifth with an 84. Cole Stevens (sixth, 87), Justin Brito (seventh, 91) and Nico Ilardi (11th, 94) also finished in the top 12. Brito, Candido and Ilardi made all-league.
Ripon next competes in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V Tournament next Monday, May 8 at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex.