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Published April 17th, 2019
Weather creates soggy start to boys golf
Photo Gint Federas

Once again the weather has proven to be a distraction to a set of teams in Lamorinda. In this case, it's the golfers who have had to adjust to the wet playing conditions, with rain forcing the schools to reschedule some matches and the players having to accept that their shots won't travel as far on a soggy fairway.
Acalanes coach Tim Scott has a solid base of five players that he has been able to consistently count on while rotating who will be the sixth player in each match. With such a foundation, Scott is able to appreciate the character of his team: "My players are all pulling for each other. It's nice to see the camaraderie among them. It's been fun listening to them all getting along as I drive them in the van to the matches."
The co-captains of the team are both juniors, Will Condy and Mike O'Donnell. Says Scott: "Will and Mike do a good job in getting the team pumped up for the matches."
The team has a lot of power but also brings a real intelligence to their matches, according to Scott: "Basically they all can hit the ball a mile. Even with all of the rain, they hit the ball so far, it doesn't matter if they don't get much roll. They also know how to play for position on a hole and, when needed, are able to use a hybrid club or long iron off the tees."
Ryan Reilley, Joe Evans and Tucker Gannon round out the first five players on the team. Gannon, who was second team all-league last season, has grown a good deal taller from last season and Scott understates it simply: "He's going to be a good one."
There is a core of five to six freshmen who are all vying for playing time and should be factors in the not too distant future.
Even with a 6-2 record so far this season, Scott wants the players to keep their perspective: "It's only a game and I want them to enjoy themselves. I want them to love this game and know that they can enjoy golf for their entire life."
Miramonte head coach Jack Schramm has both talent and youth going for his team this year: "We are an awfully young team with only one senior." The senior, Conner Steward, is clearly the most talented player on the team. Last season, Steward was first team all-league, won the league championship by shooting a 67 and was only being beaten out by Ryan Burnett for Most Valuable Player. Juniors Joe Henderson and Ben Duncan were both chosen second team all-league last year as well. All three players have taken on the reins of leadership.
Filling out the starting roster is junior John Ricksen and two freshmen, Nathan Rigsby and Robert Lagomarsino. It's the depth of the team that is going to be the difference in the end for Miramonte, says Schramm: "Our first three can give us a lead and the next three need to finish out the matches for us. With a 7-2 record so far, Schramm's strategy has been holding up.
Schramm appreciates the advantage of playing at the Orinda Country Club as their home course: "We get a 2-3 stroke edge each match because we really know the course."
As the head coach of the Matadors football team as well, Schramm understands how close it can be between winning and losing: "We're in a very even league. I want my players to just keep grinding and to know that every shot matters and to not get down on themselves after a bad hole. We lost to Liberty by one stroke after a few three putts on the 18th hole. There are small differences in winning and losing and I just want my players to keep doing their best."
When you graduate two seniors that go on to play for Division I golf teams (Nicholas Klock-Navy and Ryan Burnett-North Carolina), it's hard to deny you're in a bit of a rebuilding year. Campolindo head coach Gary O'Neill has more depth than power: "For the most part, potential is the word that I would use."
The Cougars have a 3-1 league record and the team is led by sophomores Baron Szeto, who was honorable mention all league as a freshman, and sophomore John Lagomarsino, both of whom have been leading the team in their matches, says O'Neill: "Baron had a very good off season and is playing some national tournaments. He has great prospects to play at the next level."
Depth is not a problem for O'Neill: "I have about a dozen guys that are all close in ability to each other. The majority of them are capable of going low at any given time. We just need to see who can do it more consistently."
The football team has provided a lot of power to the team. Sophomores Joey Schmitt and Austin Walker are players that O'Neill is counting on to step up: "Joey and Austin are both very strong. They can hit the ball a mile. I hope to see them put it all together prior to the end of the season."
Ryan Brown, Joe Marinai and Jacob Ryerson have all put in a great deal of work and shown the ability to be part of the starting group, says O'Neill: "Ryan is on the verge of playing even better and just needs to be a tad more consistent. Joe has worked very hard and has been very consistent and has scored a lot of points for us and Jacob is a great kid and hard worker that can really contribute."
With such a young team, the leadership set by co-captains Szeto and Justin Feldman has been an asset as the team has had to confront the rain, wind and cold weather. That along with the support of their home course, the Moraga Country Club, have been strong factors in their success, says O'Neill.
Though golf is an individual sport, O'Neill wants his players to take more than that from the sport: "I want them to understand that playing on the team and representing Campolindo is a privilege and a lot of fun. Besides being competitive, I want them to have fun and pick up a skill that they will enjoy the rest of their lives."

Photo Gint Federas

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