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Thornberry second at nationals
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Cal State Stanislaus golfer Ryan Thornberry capped off his sophomore season on Saturday with a second-place finish at the 2004 NCAA Division II national championships. Thornberry, a 2002 Ceres High graduate, earned first-team, All-American honors for his effort.

"Last year, I didn't play very well at nationals," Thornberry said. "I wanted to play better this year and I felt that I did."

Thornberry took 56th at the 2003 national championships.

The top four teams and top 10 individuals won trophies.

"I wanted us to win nationals," Thornberry said. "That was my biggest goal. I wanted to do it for my coach because he's been there for (more than 30 years). They've been in Division II for 10 years and he hasn't won a national title."

The 72-hole tournament, hosted by Rollins College, was held at the par-72, 6,966-yard course at Victoria Hills Golf Club, just outside of Orlando, Fla.

Thornberry fired an even-par 72 in the final round for a 5-over-par 293 total en route to leading the Warriors to their fifth straight top-four finish at nationals.

"No other (Division II men's golf) team has done that that many years in a row," Thornberry said.

Thornberry finished six strokes behind Chico State's J.J. Jakovac (287), who shot 1-under-par 287 and claimed his second national championship in three years. He won the title in 2002.

South Carolina-Aiken won the team title with a 10-over on Saturday for a 1,191 total to win its first championship. Chico came in second with a 1,200, Barry was third with a total score of 49-over 1,201.

Stanislaus shot a final-round 299 for a 1,210 total.

Keith Ornelas shot a 4-over 76 in the final round and tied for 21st at 303 for the Warriors. A.J. Shiffert (73, 309) tied for 47th, Jeff King (79, 311) tied for 56th and Billy Moon (78, 318) tied for 76th.

Stanislaus came in fourth at nationals in 2000, third in 2001 and second in 2002. Last year, the Warriors took third.

Thornberry had three wins and 13 top-10 finishes this season. He also posted a team record in scoring average (71.20).

The previous mark (73) was set three years ago by Marc Lawless.

"I accomplished everything I wanted," Thornberry said. "I wanted to win at least three tournaments and lower my scoring average.

"There's still a lot of room for improvement. I want to try and win more often. I also want to try and win the Division II Player of the Year award."

Thornberry plans to play in local and national amateur tournaments during the offseason.

"I'll probably play in 8 to 10 tournaments this summer," Thornberry said. "Hopefully, I'll qualify for U.S. Amateur." - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier