By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Lady Bruins Breaking New Ground On The Links
Riverbank High girls golf coach John Bartlett has seen just about everything in his nine years of tutelage on the links - everything that is, but consistent victories.

But that's starting to change.

According to Bartlett, Riverbank's 5-4 start to Valley Foothills League play and 6-6 overall record is the best start to a season in school history,

"We have already way surpassed what I expected," Bartlett said. "The girls have improved so much just from the beginning of this season to now."

Riverbank topped Calaveras by a 179-184 score at the Escalon Golf Course on Tuesday, Sept. 29. Courtney Floyd and Diana Ruiz combined for medalist honors at 40 strokes while Kaitlynn Deabenderfer shot a 48 and Maria Torres a 51.

On Thursday, Floyd took medalist honors in a match against host Ripon at the Jack Tone Golf Course, but the Indians proved tough on familiar holes with a 177-194 victory over the Bruins. Ruiz shot a 47 while Torres (52) and Deabenderfer (56) wrapped up the scoring. The loss was disappointing one for a Riverbank program in search of a top-3 league finish, but Bartlett knows the season is far from over.

"We were hoping for a win against Ripon, but you can still see that the girls are playing some really good golf," Bartlett said. "We just want to finish top three in league so we can advance to sections for the first time."

It's a daunting task considering the VFL is a rag-tag gathering of nearly all of the area's small school golf programs. Declining numbers on the links forced the Trans-Valley League, Mother Lode League and Western Athletic Conference to bring together existing programs in a north and south split VFL with only three advancing to the Sac-Joaquin Section.

"If we can move on to Sections it would be quite an accomplishment," Bartlett said. "We just want to finish strong."

Bartlett said that the program's success has translated into increased notoriety on campus, and several girls have already approached him with aspirations to continue the team's improvements next year. It's a good indication that Bartlett's efforts have paid off with serious results.

"It's nice to have girls already saying they want to play next year," Bartlett said. "It helps your program when kids at school see success and want to be a part of it."

On Thursday, Riverbank plays host to Bret Harte at the Escalon Golf Course at 3:30 p.m. The Bruins have lost just one home match this season - to undefeated Escalon.