Nowhere in the golf bible does it guarantee a high school team stocked with straight-A students and players capable of shooting par on any given day will get along.
Conversely – given that combination of intellect, talent and, surely, independent personalities – there would figure to be some relationship issues in a sport considered “individual” and without assists, statistically.
Then there’s Clovis North – gifted on the course, in the classroom, bonded, to boot, and The Fresno Bee All-Star Team of the Year in boys golf.
This is an isolated shift in tradition by The Bee, which typically recognizes a Player of the Year chief among postseason honors annually in 23 sports in three seasons – fall, winter and spring.
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But how to glean a POY from a Central Section Division I championship Clovis North team whose typical scoring top five – Blake Hathcoat (70.0 average per 18 holes for the season), Bryce Loosigian (73.5), Peter Faragia (74.5), Kyle Stewart (74.8) and Justin Lagera (75.0) – routinely shared medalist honors?
▪ Stewart (4.25 grade-point average) won the section individual championship and may attempt to walk on at Cal, where he’ll room with Lagera.
▪ Lagera (4.8 GPA) was the best of the Broncos in the section team finals.
▪ Hathcoat (4.3 GPA) led the team in the section North Area and state Southern California Regional tournaments and will play at St. Mary’s.
▪ Faragia (4.3 GPA) topped the team in the regular-season-ending 36-hole Tri-River Athletic Conference finals.
▪ And Loosigian (4.15 GPA) joined Hathcoat, Faragia and Stewart on the All-TRAC team.
Further, how to separate one from a six-member lineup whose players – when asked for their most memorable experiences of the season – valued van rides nearly as much as championships of the TRAC and section?
They played air guitar, head-bobbed to classic rock and shared vocabulary quizzes – no matter if it was a two-mile jump to neighboring Copper River Country Club or trips to Visalia, Bakersfield and Southern California.
They traveled, they played, they won and – oh, by the way – there were ultimate frisbee and basketball challenges in addition to pizza fests and much more immediately after returning to school from matches and tournaments. This included the team’s sixth player, Alexander Asmar, a junior with a 3.8 GPA.
All of which made for a dream season for Ron Ramos, The Bee’s Coach of the Year, who announced his coaching retirement while on top: “I will cherish this season. It was a unique thing to have such depth, talent and quality character and academic achievement.”
The self-effacing Ramos gives himself but one gold star: “It was my desire that we always leave the school together and return as a team. I said in parents meetings, ‘No one will drive to the course on his own.’ I can’t enforce being friends or being together. But we did promote some things in an attempt to being friends before making spots on the team.”
Ramos directed the program since its varsity inception in 2009.
A math teacher at Clovis North feeder Granite Ridge Intermediate, the 1979 Clovis High graduate and starting shortstop on a baseball team that reached the Yosemite Division semifinals, he closes a 22-year coaching career in Clovis Unified.
Ramos checks out to concentrate on a teaching promotion at Granite Ridge and, most of all, to better position himself to enjoy five grandchildren in the area.
It’s a decision linked with his wife and former high school sweetheart, Janine, whose maiden name is Cruz.
“A lot of different factors,” says Ramos, “have pulled us away from sports.”
But what a getaway: “Such a joy coaching a team that liked being together so much.”
Scoring average: 70.0
He said it: “Being on the CN golf team was one of the most enjoyable parts of my high school experience. My favorite part of this season was coming back from a nine-shot deficit to win the final TRAC tournament when nobody thought we could. This win showed us that we could play well when it mattered, which allowed everyone to believe in our teammates and ourselves. And the team van rides were pretty fantastic.” – Hathcoat
Scoring average: 73.5
He said it: “This past season was full of team players who came together as a whole to establish success throughout the season. The most memorable moment for me, besides winning the Valley championship, was the last league tournament, when we shot 3-under 357 as a team to take the league championship at Fort Washington. I feel this was the most important point in our season because we all came together and focused on our goal for the day, to play with freedom and let it go. That is exactly what we did, and it worked out because we were all just enjoying the moment and playing golf!” – Loosigian
Scoring average: 74.5
He said it: “The most memorable part of our season was winning the Valley championship for the first time in Division I for Clovis North. Winning the Valley championship showed us that we can play well when it counts, and we came together when it really mattered. Our hard work and commitment paid off, and I know this season is one that our team is proud of and will never forget.” – Faragia
Scoring average: 74.8
He said it: “My favorite part about our golf season (was) the van rides that we took to all of our matches. We would all sing and play a little air guitar to some classic rock and just have a good time. This, along with winning the Valley championship, really showed that our team knew how to have a good time, yet get down to business when need be.” – Stewart
Scoring average: 75.0
He said it: “Being a part of the Clovis North golf team was an awesome part of my high school experience. It was especially gratifying during the Valley championship when I shot a 3-under 69, one of my lowest career scores ever. From grinding on the course to our post-tournament basketball matches at Copper River, the times that I’ve shared with this team are ones that I will definitely cherish.” – Lagera
Scoring average: 80.0
He said it: “This past season was filled with memories and moments that I will cherish forever. For me, the moment that sticks out the most was our win in the Valley championship. Coming off our win in the league tournament the previous week, our team was ready to bring home another title. Our team shot a 3-under 357 to clinch the victory. We all played with heart and came together as a team to pull off something that had not been done in our school’s history. That was a special moment and one I will carry with me for many years to come.” – Asmar
Boys Golf Stars Terrific 20
- Blake Hathcoat, Clovis North
- Michael Cliff, Fresno Christian
- Peter Faragia, Clovis North
- Tyler Gardner, Clovis West
- Jacob Givens, Monache
- Adrian Gonzalez, Tulare
- Drake Jones, Exeter
- Peter Kuest, Clovis West
- Justin Lagera, Clovis North
- Jackson Lake, Clovis
- Jeeven Larson, Strathmore
- Bryce Loosigian, Clovis North
- Nick Phan, Redwood
- Lane Pulliam, Hanford
- Dylan Otto, Kingsburg
- Dakota Rhea, Redwood
- Kyle Stewart, Clovis North
- Brian Stark, Central Valley Christian
- Philip Soung, Buchanan
- Parth Verma, El Diamante