The Davis High boys golf team has won the past seven Delta Valley Conference championships. After losing just two players from last year’s squad and adding a crew of promising new golfers, the Blue Devils are poised to make it eight.
The two departed golfers are Chase Dossa and Michael Chen, both whom graduated after successful senior seasons. Without discounting how important the two All-DVC selections were to DHS’ success, veteran Devil coach Karl Ronning thinks he has the athletes to fill the gaps left by their departure.
“We’re in a good position this year,” Ronning explained. “We have a number of sophomores and juniors from last year that are ready to step up … in particular, we have Andrew Arnheiter and Sam Yamauchi.”
In fact, when Davis opens its season at the Lincoln Invitational on Monday, Arnheiter will already be on a hot streak. The sophomore is coming off of a win at the recent Alameda Open, a Northern California junior tour event.
But he isn’t the only youngster Ronning expects to play well this season.
“We also have a whole slew of kids that are really close to breaking through on the varsity level,” Ronning said. “Whoever’s in there representing Davis High, we have a lot of confidence in.
“One of the things we always play with is confidence,” Ronning added. “We’re not so much worried about how we’ve played, or will play … because we know whatever the outcome is, we tried our best.”
The coach can be very confident knowing that he has four experienced standouts who will form the backbone of the 2014 Blue Devils. Junior Preston Walchli, the reigning DVC Player of the Year, leads that group, along with returning all-conference golfers Cyrrus Espino, Spencer Salk and Patrick Cajandig.
That quartet, plus Dossa and Chen, filled out last year’s All-DVC squad, a dominating performance that shows why the locals have won seven straight titles.
DHS will face two main roadblocks in its quest for an eighth consecutive crown — Elk Grove and Franklin.
Of the two, the Thundering Herd is the known commodity as it returns a number of experienced players. Fittingly, the Wildcats are the wild card as they lost their two best players from last year, but no doubt will have gained several talented newcomers.
“There’ll be two teams from our conference that advance on (to the Sac-Joaquin Section North Divisional Tournament),” Ronning said. “It will be two of those three teams (Davis, Elk Grove and Franklin).”
The Devils’ 2013 season ended at the divisional tourney when they missed advancing to the SJS Masters by 12 strokes. This season, with another year of experience under his top players’ belts, Ronning expects a different outcome.
“We’re going to be a little bit more experienced this year,” Ronning said. “I think some of our new players will be stepping into Chase and Michael’s positions. It’s going to be a fun season.”
— Reach Spencer Ault at email@example.com