By Ruben Gallegos / Staff Writer
By Ruben Gallegos / Staff Writer
Riverside City College men’s golf team anticipates a conference title as they compete in the Orange Empire Conference Championship at Los Serranos Golf Club on May 3.
RCC heads in to the conference finals with one of the best season average scores of 68.75.
They have also finished the dual-meet season with an 11-5 record, tying Cypress College for the best record in the conference.
“We have as good a chance as anybody else to go in there have a good day and win the conference championship,” coach Steve Sigloch said. “All six of our guys really have to play well.”
The Tigers will be sending six of the team’s top players to represent Riverside in the Orange Empire Conference Championship.
The talent includes sophomore Nick Paez, a transfer student from University of California Riverside.
Paez plays as the team’s No. 1, and leads the team with the lowest average score of 75 percent.
“Nick Paez plays as our No. 1, and has had a great season,” Sigloch said. “He (is) definitely the best player on our team, and has proven that throughout the year.”
While Paez was unable to comment himself, his teammates had plenty to say regarding his talents.
“He was injured and didn’t play for a couple of tournaments,” Nick Ericson said. “We’d have to bring in somebody else and it showed on our scores, because obviously they weren’t as good.”
Ericson, a sophomore from Rancho Cucamonga High School, ranks third on the team with a scoring average of 76.18.
“Another guy to look for is Caleb Malcolm, (a) freshman from Patriot (High School),” Sigloch said. “With a scoring average of 75.91, he’s been a big part of our success this year, definitely.”
Malcolm believes the team is built on camaraderie, in that they spend the majority of their time working together and developing as a team.
One of the weaknesses he sees players working on as a whole is their mental capacity for the game.
“You have to play smart, because when you get mad then you’re going to make stupid decisions on the course, so you have to keep your composure,” Malcolm said. “It’s almost like, having a girlfriend and getting in an argument with her, you know you don’t want to say anything stupid because it just gets worse.”
Coach Sigloch expects success for his athletes in the conference title as he describes the team as, “the best team that RCC’s had in many years.”
The Orange Empire Conference Championships consist of 36 holes, 18 to be played in the morning on the south course, and the final 18 to be played in the evening on the north course.
Four of the five teams from the conference will move on to the regional finals at the Southern California Golf Association Golf Course in Murrieta on May 10.
There will be 11 teams competing at the regionals, and only four will move on to the state championships at Oak Valley Golf Course in Beaumont on May 17.
Ericson agrees the thing that the team has improved to get them this far is self-control.
“Now we just stick it out and turn it around when things go wrong,” Ericson said.
He believes that in order to take the conference title and keep their season alive, they’re going to have to harness their talent and keep their poise.