Watch out for the Scorpions.
Camarillo High’s boys’ golf team is stacked with young, talented golfers. Ryan Cosgrove, the squad’s only senior, will graduate this spring.
Head coach Bill Dowden, who’s led the Scorpions since 1993, said Camarillo is a dangerous team that enjoyed a strong spring: The Scorpions shared the inaugural Coastal Canyon League title with Oak Park.
“It’s been satisfying,” the coach said. “This is our first year in the new league, and we won the home-and-home.”
Coastal Canyon teams first battled head-to-head then shifted into a tournament format of league play to decide CIF-Southern Section playoff qualifiers. Camarillo (10-6 overall, 6-2 in league) won the first half of league and took fourth in the final phase. The strong start was enough to claim a share of the crown.
“We wanted to win the league and have enough players to reach the Northern team regionals,” Dowden said.
The Scorpions were 11 strokes behind Royal after the final three rounds and narrowly missed the team playoffs.
Camarillo, however, is determined to make a run at an undisputed league crown next season.
The Scorpions will bring back three of its top four golfers. Junior Trevor Mason, sophomore Michael Sun and freshman Terrell Chriss will be the foundation of the 2016 team.
Sun impressed Dowden in his sophomore season en route to his second team MVP title, which goes to the golfer with the lowest scoring average.
“He has a strong work ethic,” Dowden said of Sun. “He plays a lot of outside tournaments. He started a little slow, but he’s back to his normal self.”
Despite remaining in the top-10 for individual playoff contention until the final round, the sophomore was critical of his play this season.
“I’ve been playing really bad,” Sun said. “It was looking pretty good, but I didn’t play as well. I’m pretty disappointed because it’s been worse than my freshman year.”
He said he spent less time training away from the team and it cost him crucial strokes throughout the season.
“I’ll definitely have to start working harder,” the sophomore said. “When the season started, I was kind of overconfident in myself. I was slacking and I let my swing get really rusty.”
Despite breaking 80 in two of the three final rounds at league, Sun said he knows he can improve his scores next spring.
“I know that if I can get my ball on the green,” he said, “I’ll walk away with par.”
Sun should have some company at the top of the leaderboard.
Chriss is one of the top freshmen in the Coastal Canyon. A slow start in preseason rounds didn’t cripple the rookie. He shot 80 or lower in five of his final six rounds.
“The season started off kind of rocky for me,” Chriss said. “Towards the middle of the season I started playing a lot better. I’ve taken a lot from this season. I’m taking a lot of experience into my next couple of years, and I just hope I can get better.”
The freshman said he was pleased with his results.
“Heading into this year, I wanted to try and be in one of the top spots to reach CIF,” Chriss said. “It didn’t happen, but overall it was a good year. If I make more putts, then I’ll probably be shooting a lot better scores.”
Mason is another solid starter who continues to elevate his game.
“I learned a lot from last year and I did a lot better,” Mason said. “I just want to work hard and get better.”
Gino Apparicio, Colby Stevens and Adam Franc boost the Camarillo lineup.
The Scorpions are excited about hitting the links again.
“The future looks bright,” Dowden said. “Everybody’s coming back.”
The Scorpions in a nutshell
Bill Dowden (23rd season)
10-6 overall, 6-2 in the
Coastal Canyon League
• Gino Apparicio,
• Terrell Chriss, freshman
• Ryan Cosgrove, senior
• Trevor Mason, junior
• Colby Stevens, junior
• Michael Sun, sophomore