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Supporting cast helps Ripon take midseason tourney
Ripon High junior Zach Capel came up big for the Indians in Monday’s Trans Valley League Midseason Tournament, placing in a two-way tie for third. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO
Andrew Bonner, last year’s MVP and Most Outstanding Golfer in the Trans Valley League, was the medalist in Monday’s conference midseason tournament on the weather-beaten Micke Grove Golf Links in Lodi.

That’s no surprise.

The surprise was how Ripon High won it as a team with senior standout Josh Ricther no longer on the squad.

With strong performances from Zach Capel and Jordan Williamson, the Indians were 21 strokes better than runner-up Escalon, the reigning TVL team champion, with their 435. Modesto Christian was third with a 469.

It’s a huge step in the right direction for Ripon, which has its sights set on its first league title since 2007. For each team the Indians beat in the tournament they get two points in the standings vs. one in regular-season dual meets.

Having been upset by Modesto Christian earlier this season they needed to win Monday’s 18-hole tournament to build a cushion going into the rest of their schedule. Ripon already has a win over Escalon but must face the Cougars and MC once more each in head-to-head competition.

“I thought we had a chance going in if we could get three good scores in and not get a giant score with one of our bottom guys,” Ripon coach Chris Musseman said. “Other than the MC match, they’ve responded well in pressure situations all year. I knew that if we did not take first today winning league was going to be difficult.”

Bonner finished the front nine two over and was even on the back, finishing with a 74 to edge out Hughson’s Dylan Delhart, who carded a 75.

Capel tied MC’s Kyle Intorf for third with an 80, and Jordan Williamson placed fifth with an 84. Jason Williamson’s 97 and Cole Bagdasarian’s 100 rounded out the team score for Ripon.

“Zach Capel has stepped up in a major way for us,” Musseman said. “The moment we lost Josh he took it upon himself to be more focused and dedicated, and it’s paid off.

“We’re still not where we were with (Ricther), but we’ve got some time to improve. Jordan has probably been the biggest surprise on our team, and if we can get one or two of the other guys to improve as much as him we’ll be all right.”

Ripon (3-1, 6-1 overall) resumes TVL play today against Hughson at Spring Creek Country Club.