Jess Scheller is a self-proclaimed “late-bloomer.”
At the beginning, he didn’t start his golf career until he was 12 years old. More recently, in his senior year with Hart boys golf, he strode through the Foothill League season, putting up good scores, but not necessarily the best.
It wasn’t until the postseason that he blossomed. Jess Scheller surpassed the expectations of his No. 3 ranking in the final Foothill League individual standings to outlast all league golfers as he reached the CIF/SCGA Southern State Regional Championship.
His sudden ascent to the forefront of playoffs has earned Scheller the All-SCV Boys Golfer of the Year award.
“I always have this mindset of improving and I think since I haven’t really won a bunch and I haven’t had like big, big success,” Scheller said. “I’ve had success with the sport, but I think that I haven’t had a huge amount of success, I think it’s good for me. It keeps me hungry.”
Scheller also has a self-proclaimed “boring” game.
But what some may call boring, others will call consistent. Scheller isn’t flashy, he doesn’t dazzle with a spectrum of birdies, doubles and bogies. Rather, he strikes the ball with precision.
Maybe it has something to do with discipline. Two activities took up most of Scheller’s time his senior year: golf and show choir.
They certainly kept him busy, but the overlap between the two helped him develop not just his time management skills, but also his golf skills and mental ability.
“They’re both a very repetitive thing,” Scheller said. “Show choir takes a lot of repetition, just like golf.”
Being surrounded by a talented Hart lineup and competitive golfers across the Foothill League also helped Scheller in his drive to the playoffs.
He constantly went up against teammate Art Thompson, who finished second overall in the Foothill League and battled a tough roster of West Ranch golfers – including league champion Gunnar Murray.
“I’ve never felt anything in an outside junior tournament that I felt in a high school match against a West Ranch player because the rivalry between Hart and West Ranch was such a big apparent thing,” he said.
Ending the season in third place, Scheller won two of six Foothill League meets and averaged 75.6 strokes. At the CIF-Southern Section Individual Finals, he carded 3-over 75 to advance to the state regionals.
His next step is a college career, which will be at Cal State Fullerton. He wants to continue the success he had in high school, but hopefully with a few additional details. Namely, wins.
“I was a very consistent player and I would come in second a lot, third, finish top five in tournaments,” Scheller said. “I was always shooting consistent scores, I just never really won that much. That’s a goal for me in college is to learn to win more.”
If the “late-bloomer” stays true to his self-assessment, the wins should come easily.
Favian Busnawi, West Ranch, junior
Busnawi was one of the league’s most consistent shooters throughout the first four league meets, carding between 4-over and 6-over. He was sixth in the individual league standings and key to the Wildcats’ league title and trip to the CIF-SS SCGA Team Qualifier.
Jack Dudeck, West Ranch, senior
Dudeck made a massive jump in the individual standings from 2017 to 2018. Last season, he ranked 16th in the Foothill League by the end of the season. This season, he was fourth and was able to take home medalist honors in league meet No. 5.
Gunnar Murray, West Ranch, senior
The Cal State East Bay commit won the Foothill League Individual title for the second year in a row. Although he didn’t make it out of the first round of the individual postseason, he had a solid overall performance throughout league with a 71.8 average.
Art Thompson, Hart, senior
Thompson was perhaps the most competitive and energetic boys golfer the Foothill League had to offer this season. He finished second in the overall standings with a 74.4 average, a pretty good improvement from last season’s third-place finish and 75.8 average.
Ben Valdez, West Ranch, freshman
Of three crucial underclassmen in the Wildcats’ lineup, Valdez was the top performer when it came to overall individual standings. Carding an average of 76.6 strokes, Valdez was just ahead of teammate Jack Dudeck. At the CIF-Southern Section Division Team Championships, Valdez was one of three Cats – along with Gunnar Murray and Matt Monheim – to finish even-par to help the team to a second-place finish.
Hart – Cameron Gadd, senior
West Ranch – Matt Monheim, freshman
Golden Valley – Tyler Richardson, sophomore
Valencia – Shawn Vallesteros, sophomore
Saugus – Rylie Watson, junior
Canyon – Brett Wilson, sophomore