Coach: Lee McGhee (8th season)
Key Returners: SO Ian Stogdell, JR Michael Tripp, SR Connor Gust, SO Reid Souza, SO Isaac Valdez, JR Vince Fauria, SO Jacob Hastert
Key Newcomers: JR Ryan Jones, JR Robby Wikoff
Team Strength: Oakdale has serious depth this season, and could likely field two teams capable of finishing top four in Valley Oak League play. Nine golfers have shot 45 strokes or lower across nine holes, and another seven have carded scores 42 or lower. With only one senior, Oakdale is young on the roster, but deeply experienced and talented on the links. Stogdell, a freshman phenom last year, is likely the best of a very good group.
VOL Outlook: Oakdale tied East Union for league honors last year, then topped East Union to win a D-IV title. The Mustangs have the talent to repeat, but will have to get past the Lancers and a Sonora team that returns their entire starting lineup.
Fast Fact: Stogdell knows how to finish strong on an 18-hole course. He shot a 77 at the league championship last year to come one stroke from wining the tournament.
Oakdale High golfers spend so much time in their 40s, they should probably be counseled for a collective mid-life crisis.
But if enough of the team can slip into the 30s, then a mystical number they have been chasing may just fall into their grasp.
A deep and sharp-shooting cast of Mustang link warriors represents one of the best golf teams in school history, and together they are gunning to break under the 200 barrier in a combined team score this season at their home course, Oakdale Golf and Country Club.
Coach Lee McGhee hasn’t seen one of his eight teams reach the mark in his tenure with the Mustang boys, but is setting the bar high (or low considering this is golf) in 2011.
“We are looking forward to improving our round each time, and hopefully we dip below that 200 range,” McGhee said. “We have high expectations and plan on being at the top of our league with goals past just our league schedule.”
From their No. 1 to their No. 9, Oakdale has golfers capable of good scores match after match. They topped Pitman in a 207-227 contest in Oakdale last week, missing some low scores from their back-end groups that would have given the team a 203-stroke score had they been shooting with the first three groups.
The team’s lone senior, Connor Gust, shot a 40 in the match. He saw the same score from junior Michael Tripp. Sophomores Ian Stogdell and Reid Souza each landed 41-stroke scores, while Ryan Jones ended in 45.
Oakdale is 5-1 on the season and 1-0 in Valley Oak League play after rainy afternoons have halted chances for Valley Oak League matches with Sonora and Lathrop. Their lone loss was a two-stoke decision to Beyer on the Patriots’ home Modesto course.
Oakdale’s goal of a sub-200 score is possible if the seven Mustangs who have carded sub-42 stroke performances can slip under 40 at the same time.
It’s the kind of goal that creates some serious intra-squad competition, and Mustangs will fight all season to reach into that top-five of scored golfers.
Stogdell, who finished second at the league tournament a season ago, leads the thick pack of talented shooters. Gust, Souza, Tripp, Jones, Isaac Rellamas and Isaac Valdez have all turned in low 40s, and should continue to improve as the season unfolds.
The low scores will come in handy as Oakdale looks to fight for a second straight VOL and Division IV Sac-Joaquin Section title. They shared league honors with East Union last year, but the Lancers graduated 2010 MVP Kyle Harman and return just two of their top five from a season ago. Third place Sonora returns their entire cast, and should contend for top honors as well.
Weather permitting, Oakdale is at the Old River Golf Course in Tracy to face VOL newcomer, Kimball, on Thursday, March 24.