RCC playoff hopes become a reality

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By Ruben Gallegos / Staff Writer

Put it in the hole (Leonardo Astorga / Staff Photographer)

By Ruben Gallegos / Staff Writer

The men’s golf team of Riverside City College advanced to the Southern California regional finals, after placing fourth in the Orange Empire Conference tournament at Los Serranos Golf Club on May 3.

“It was a little disappointing, but by the same token we didn’t get to the final conference last year, so we’ve moved on … and had some progress,” said Riverside’s golf coach Steve Sigloch.

After finishing the 2009 season with no wins, the RCC Tigers entered the regional finals winning 11 matches, which was the deciding factor to qualify the team.

The Tigers’ 11-6 record put them two games ahead of Palomar College, which meant Palomar needed to place second to earn enough wins to eliminate RCC.

As the day concluded, Palomar finished third with a team score of 755, just three strokes ahead of the Tigers, allowing Riverside to advance.

“Overall I think we had a few really good individual performances, but as a team we just did not perform,” Sigloch said, describing the 36 hole tournament.

One of those performances was executed by Rancho Cucamonga native, sophomore Nick Ericson.

Ericson landed a point 76 in the first 18 holes, and finished the afternoon as Riverside’s best round, with a three-under 69 score.

Nick Paez also led the Tigers’ scores, ending up even for the day with a two-over 74 in the morning, and two-under 70 in the afternoon. Both Ericson and Paez were unable to comment on the tournament.

But both are capable for individual achievements.

“There are some individuals that definitely have a chance to move on to state finals and attempt to be the individual’s state champion as well,” Sigloch said.

He described the team as being the best RCC has had in many years.

All six RCC golfers finished the first 18 holes with scores in the 70s, but as the match continued the Tigers were unable to climb out of last place.

“Our conference is a very competitive conference, considered probably the best in California,” Sigloch said. “We’re in the regional finals and we got a chance to compete and land… or move on to the state finals.”

“So, by no means, is it over but obviously the conference championship was something that was one of our goals,” he said.

Riverside competed with 10 teams in the regional finals at Murrieta on May 10, and was one of the four teams from that tournament to move on to the state championships at Oak Valley Golf Course at Beaumont May 17.

Riverside placed third with a score of 753 behind Santa Barbara with a score of 744 and Orange Coast with 749.

Along with Cypress College and Orange Coast, Riverside was one of three teams from the Orange Empire Conference to advance to the state finals.

Paez shot an even-par 72 in the morning round and followed up with a two-under 70 in the afternoon round to win the regional finals’ individual title.

Riverside had another individual standout, Justin Sandoval, who finished the morning round with a 75 and an even-par 72 in the afternoon round.

 

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