Clovis North High School senior Justin Lagera, headed to Cal with a weighted grade-point average of 4.64, was smart enough not to let a miserable first shot spoil his day in the Central Section Team Championships on Tuesday at Valley Oaks Golf Course.
“I don’t know what happened,” he said of a 6-iron shank on the par-3 hole. “I just remember making contact and the ball going straight right.”
What he’ll remember most is collecting himself quickly, failing to wilt on a 90-degree day and firing a 3-under 69 to lead the Broncos to the first section boys golf title in their eight-year varsity history.
“Making history is always great,” said Lagera (pronounced La-HAIR-A), the smartest of smart on a extraordinarily bright team so good and deep that it denied Clovis West a repeat Division I crown on a day the Peter Kuest-led Golden Eagles shot a 2-over 362.
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Clovis North couldn’t be caught with a 3-under 357 in a 10-team tournament that combined play at the venue’s Valley and Oaks courses.
The Broncos, who beat Clovis West by 17 strokes in last week’s North Area Tournament, also received a 70 from Bryce Loosigian, a 71 from Peter Faragia, a 73 from Kyle Stewart and a 74 from Blake Hathcoat.
Lagera was not named All-Tri-River Athletic Conference on a seven-player team featuring MVP Kuest, who tied for medalist honors Tuesday with a 68, and Saint Mary’s-bound Hathcoat, Loosigian, Faragia and Stewart.
“Our team isn’t about one person leading the whole thing,” said Lagera, who has taken 15 Advanced Placement courses and will attend Cal only for academics, as will Stewart. “Us six guys (including Alexander Asmar) can come up clutch any time. That’s what it takes to be one of the best teams out there.”
Bakersfield Christian (422) won the Division II title Tuesday.
Clovis North and Clovis West, which won three of the past four D-I titles and 15 overall, advance to the Southern California Championships on May 26 at Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena.
Kuest, one of the state’s hottest junior golfers, will be the player to beat in the section Individual Championships on Monday at Taft’s Buena Vista Golf Course.
Ron Ramos, who has coached Clovis North since its inception, was confident the Broncos would break through this season a year after they lost to Clovis West by a stroke for the TRAC championship. And seniors Hathcoat, Stewart and Lagera, along with junior Loosigian, returned from that team.
“We knew we were on the doorstep,” Ramos said. “These guys are incredible students, quality character, and then they play pretty good golf, too. We’re very blessed with talent.”
CENTRAL SECTION BOYS GOLF TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
- *Clovis North (357): Justin Lagera 69, Bryce Loosigian 70, Peter Faragia 71, Kyle Stewart 73, Blake Heathcoat 74, Alexander Asmar 80 (nonscoring).
- *Clovis West (362): Peter Kuest 68, Tyler Gardner 72, Kyle Kuest 73, Nick Copner 74, David Trevino 75,Cameron Delaere 76 (nonscoring).
- Stockdale: (373): Brandon In 71, Dheer Patel 74, Blake Bourelle 75, Michael Chang 74, Phillip McNamara 79, Jason Yang 84 (nonscoring).
- Liberty-Bakersfield (376): Warren Miller 68, Vance Millwee 80, Garrison Chavez 73, Matt Borda 79, Dakota Ochoa 76, Garret Hay 86 (nonscoring).
- Central Valley Christian (380): Brian Stark 69, Chandler Maciel 78, John Karayan 77, Jacob Swanson 74, Adam Stone 82, Simon teVelde 88 (nonscoring).
- Clovis (383): Chase Foster 75, Jackson Lake 71, Wyatt Czeshinski 77, Caleb Evans 78, Chris Mincer 82, Gabriel Martinez 82 (nonscoring).
- Redwood (396): Dakota Rhea 70, Chase Margosian 82, Tanner Henderson 88, Carson Vanderziel 83, Nike Phan 73, Nick Trujillo 93 (nonscoring).
- Bakersfield Christian (422): Titus Goodman 86, Jason Roodzant 94, Carson Balfanz 73, Tanner Mclain 83, John Mark Montoya 86, Jackson Tilema 98 (nonscoring).
- Tulare (430): Adrian Gonzalez 81, John Luke Voshall 75, Jason DaSilva 90, Peyton Fernandez 87, Christian Webb 97, Malcolm Maldonado 104 (nonscoring).
- Yosemite (438): Spencer Uzzell 73, Michael Stieler 73, Tanner Meeks 84, Ryan Lopez 96, Conner McMechen 100, Dyan Allen 100 (nonscoring).
* – Qualifies as team for Southern California Championships May 26, Brookside Golf Course, Pasadena.