By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
Valencia boys’ golf (23-1) won its third league match in a row on Tuesday before West Ranch (19-5) finally broke through and won the fourth league match on Wednesday.
The Vikings put together a great overall team win Tuesday at Sand Canyon Country Club.
Valencia narrowly beat Hart, which finished three strokes behind the Vikings. The two were the only teams in the third match to have three players under 80 strokes.
Sophomores Ethan Cho and Taylor Cotti as well as junior Jack Wilson all finished under 80 to lead the team.
“Thus far, the boys have maintained the right level of mental focus,” said Valencia head coach Robert Waters. “They’re loose, yet committed to each shot.”
Even though they finished third, West Ranch’s Cody Martzke medaled with a +4 finish on Tuesday.
Martzke is the second Wildcat to medal already this season, a testament to how dangerous West Ranch can be when everyone has a solid outing.
Hart’s team saw some great days on the green. Dylan Burcham led the Indians with a +6 and had Palmer Freeman and Nathan Ekins right behind with +7.
Sage Marvin of Saugus and Charles Bailey of Castaic would both lead their teams with a +10 finish.
West Ranch has been looming in the top three throughout the first three league matches and finally broke the seal on Wednesday.
Tommy Wilson led the way for West Ranch with a +3, co-medaling with Cotti.
“Tommy is one of those kids where you never know what you’re going to get,” said Holen.
Holen joked that Tommy has short-term memory loss, which is great for a golfer. Even after shanking a shot, he forgets about it and moves on quickly to the next.
The Wildcats registered four players under 80 strokes including big jumps from Andrew Tuazon and Tommy.
The top three teams were bunched yet again, with Valencia finishing just five strokes short of West Ranch and Hart within seven.
Three of the first four league matches have seen the top three finish within nine strokes of one another.
“Hart and West Ranch are well-coached, talented teams,” said Waters. “They won’t beat themselves. The Vikes will need to put up some low numbers in these final two matches to earn the league title.”
Cotti became the first repeat medalist this season and has shown great consistency in his first year on varsity.
“Taylor has been nails for us all season,” said Waters. “He possesses all the qualities of a top-tier player. He’s talented, competitive, confident and enjoys being in pressure situations.”
On Wednesday, Valencia got nice drops in scores from Tuesday’s match from Luke Rimkunas and Jay Wrage.
Hart has been right in the mix all season, even after being without one of their best in Kai Miyata.
Miyata, who medaled in his only full league match this year, has missed three straight matches with a sore back. The Indians have still managed excellent scores in their matches without Miyata, showcasing some great depth on head coach Steve Lindberg’s squad.
West Ranch is back on pace to defend its crown after notching its first league win. Holen’s hopeful approach of starting slow then coming from behind in seasons may soon put the Wildcats back on top.
“We finally played the way I know we can play,” said Holen. “I think they’re turning the corner.”
The Foothill League teams will meet again in their return to the Oaks Club on Tuesday.