Riverbank High School has another season for girls golf in the books, this time with a 12-0 record and a trip to the Section Tournament. And it’s a team of primarily second-year players who went undefeated in their division, with two of them tabbed as all-league selections.
With understandable pride, coach Ismael Mercado is praising his whole team, but especially Angela Calderon who is a returning all-league golfer from last year. She joins Citlalli Martinez on this year’s all-league roster.
“Both are seniors and both are only second year golfers,” Mercado said.
In fact, of the five-girl roster, four of them are just second year golfers, including seniors Desiree Garnica, along with Calderon and Martinez. Vanessa Mercado is the only junior. Senior Marci Capetillo is a third year golfer.
And of Vanessa Mercado, the coach said, “She made the section tournament last year and will compete again this year.”
The coach was named as the Valley Foothill League’s South Coach of the Year; the Trans-Valley League golf girls play in what they call the Valley Foothill League, with North and South divisions. Riverbank took down opponents including Gustine, Ripon Christian, Hilmar, Mountain House, Hughson and Orestimba.
“I am extremely happy for our golf team and very appreciative to have helped these girls accomplish something that has not been done before at Riverbank High,” said Mercado. “I’m happy to have been part of this great season and thankful to have coached these great young ladies. Golf can be very challenging and very frustrating and to have these players persevere and stick together throughout the year was very awesome to witness and be a part of.”
Riverbank took second in the mid-year tournament to Ripon Christian in the South division and was the low scoring team for the South in the year end tournament, taking top honors on Oct. 16 at Micke Grove.
“We play in the Valley Foothill League. The VFL is made up of other leagues in our area, the Trans-Valley League and the Mother Lode League. The VFL is made up of two divisions, North and South. We compete in the South division,” explained Mercado. “Our home course is the Escalon Golf Course. Our personal best score at Escalon was 167 against Mountain House.”
Four scores are counted in league play. Teams typically play with six players but Riverbank went through the season with five.
Riverbank won the South division title with its 12-0 record. Escalon High School came in on top of the North division, at 11-1 and claimed the overall title with first place showings in both the mid-year and end of year tournaments.
“This team was full of surprises. We won our first four matches of the year, but our big test was against the defending league champions, Hughson, at River Oaks. We beat them in a very close match, 167 to 171,” said Mercado of that pivotal Sept. 14 meeting. “From that point on the girls picked up momentum and continued to play well.”
The Section Tournament was scheduled for Monday, Oct. 23, at Micke Grove Golf Course in Lodi after The News went to press. The Masters Tournament will be held on Monday, Oct. 30 at The Reserve at Spanos Park, Stockton.
News Editor Marg Jackson contributed to this report.