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Oak Ridge golf team ahead of its time

Freshmen thriving in first season
By: Matt Long
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The freshmen-laden golf team at Oak Ridge is playing beyond their years. The Trojans placed third Monday at the Division I North Tournament, shooting a 414, and will play at the Masters Tournament at the Reserve in Stockton on May 16. Five freshmen and a junior represented Oak Ridge at the tournament. Freshman Jesse Goldstein led the way with a 76. Fellow freshman Charlie Cameron shot a 78, followed by junior Reid Edlund (84)and freshmen Josh Keplinger (87), Cole Kenny (89) and Tyson Tavalero (91). It’s been quite a year from the Trojans, starting with a surprising Delta River League tournament victory in which they defeated Jesuit by five strokes to gain not only momentum but also confidence. Oak Ridge posted its best score of the season by shooting a 395. Cameron and Edlund came in with 77s, while Keplinger shot a 79. Tavalero and Goldstein shot 81s, while senior Cory Dela Cruz finished with an 87. “It was a big surprise to beat Jesuit,” Oak Ridge coach Carl Massey said. “We had our best round of the season at 395 and that sort of came out of the blue since he hadn’t played well at the previous league tournament at Cameron Park, which a couple of our players are members there. “We’re a young team and all of the guys seem to think that they can shoot 72s. We tried to lessen those expectations and ask them to shoot 82s. There were making the turn on that pace and then they just got hot on the back nine and shot 192 on the back. We were 12-over on the backside as a team. (Rancho) Murieta is a very challenging course so that was quite an achievement.” Oak Ridge’s senior, Dela Cruz, and top junior, Edlund, are regularly among the top scorers, and the rest of the team is predominately freshmen. Cameron, Goldstein, Tavalero and Keplinger have been huge contributors. “Charlie has been the most consistent and Tyson has been steady,” Massey said. “Jesse has been up and down but came through with a 79 last week and Josh has worked his way up from the junior varsity team.” The team locked up second place in the Delta River League by taking third at the final league tournament. The Trojans entered the final league tournament on May 3 with a seven-stroke lead over third-place Ponderosa. The Bruins shot a 399 to Oak Ridge’s 402, but it’s the Trojans who are advanced. Cameron and Goldstein led the way with a pair of 79s. Edlund and Tavalero shot 81s, while Dela Cruz and Keplinger came in with an 82 and 83, respectively. Massey said the future looks good for the youngsters as they continue through their high school years. “If these freshmen stay motivated and work hard they should compete for a Division I section championship in the future and move on to Nor-Cals,” Massey said. “We’ve never had a team qualify for the state tournament, but who knows?”