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Ripons runner-up finish not good enough to advance
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LODI — Alex Gonzales and the Ripon High girls golf team came up short of advancing to the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament.

On Tuesday, Gonzales placed fifth in the SJS Division V Tournament at Micke Grove Golf Links, while the Indians posted a 512 for a runner-up finish. Only the top team, Capital Christian (499) and three individuals not part of the qualifying contingent move on to the section finale held next Monday at The Reserve at Spanos Park.

Ripon Christian had three players also compete in the divisional tourney, but none will advance.

“Although we didn’t move on the Masters this year, I feel we have a great shot at it next year,” Ripon coach Eric Dambrosio said, noting that he’ll return his three best players who will bolstered by three promising freshmen.

One of those veteran standouts is Gonzales, whose 91 was four strokes shy of forcing a playoff with Valley Foothill League North rival Hannah Ellsworth of Bret Harte. Low medalist Jessica Dzoan of Venture Academy carded an 8-over 80. She’ll be joined by Sonora’s Megan Popovich (85) and Ellsworth at Masters. Micaiah Lee paced divisional champion Capital Christian with an 81.

Breeana Huckell (97) and Claire Wever (99) finished eighth and 10th, respectively. Samantha Carl (112) and Sierra Atilano (113) rounded out Ripon’s score.

Gonzales, Huckell and Wever led Ripon to its first-ever league championship, but with all three returning Dambrosio said the goal moving forward is to advance the team to Masters with the program’s second divisional banner.

“It’s fun to see the girls reach their goals and then make new ones,” Dambrosio said. “It’s also fun to see the program grow and produce well-rounded athletes on and off the course. I am excited for next year and I think we will be very competitive.”

Ripon Christian competitors were Caroline Strong (35th place, 119), Lauren Henderson (35th, 119) and Rachel Struiksma (38th, 120).