Faced with the tough task of battling stiffer competition, Ceres High's youth-laden varsity boys golf program struggled to a sixth-place finish at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Tournament on May 9 in Woodland.
The Bulldogs posted a team score of 485 at the Yolo Fliers Club.
"We didn't do as well as we wanted to," said Abel Maestas, first-year head coach. "The kids were nervous. Our inexperience played a big role in our performance."
Ceres High's starting lineup featured juniors Jacob Langan and James Cervantez, sophomore Jake Nevarez, and freshmen Gary Condit, Jayden Panyanouvong and Braden Hurst.
Condit led the Bulldogs with a 14-over par 86.
Langan and Cervantez posted identical scores of 93.
Nevarez and Hurst shot 103 and 110, respectively.
Panyanouvong fired a 113.
"We're young," Maestas said. "We're all learning, both them and I."
Condit fell two strokes shy of qualifying for Masters.
"He's a freshman," Maestas said. "This is his first Divisional tournament. He'll make it next year."
The Western Athletic Conference had three teams compete at Divisionals, including Ceres High, Los Banos and El Capitan.
El Capitan (476) and Los Banos (535) placed fourth and seventh, respectively.
"None of the WAC teams made it to Masters," Maestas said. "Being the WAC champs, we had high expectations. We didn't play to the best of our ability. If we played our average, we should have finished third. The level of competition was tough."
Ceres High made history this year.
The Bulldogs claimed their first-ever WAC overall championship and returned to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the sixth year in a row. "Our season got cut short," Maestas said. "But we won the WAC title. And we plan on doing it again next year. I'm so proud of the guys. They worked hard. They did awesome."