By Ray Hamill — Competition for starting spots on the Eureka High boys golf team has played a key role in the team’s success this year, and head coach Jimmy Rodgers is hoping that continues to be the case as the Loggers prepare for their biggest challenge yet.
The Eureka boys will travel south this weekend to compete in Monday’s North Coast Section Division-I championships at the Foxtail Golf Course North in Rohnert Park.
This year, they were unexpectedly bumped up for the postseason from the Division-2 tournament, which took place in Petaluma earlier this week, and that means the Loggers will play against the very best golfers in the entire NCS and compete against schools with bigger enrollments (over 1350).
“It’s a challenge, but we’re always looking for a challenge,” said Rodgers, whose team won a fifth consecutive H-DN championship this spring.
The unexpected switch also has benefited a deep roster in a good way.
Rodgers began the season with a deep roster of 15, and that meant a lot of competition for one of the six team spots every week.
Being bumped up to the D-I bracket means the Loggers can field six golfers in the tournament instead of the five permitted at the D-2 tournament.
The team includes all-league selections Talon Vigil, Julian Goodman and Andrew Stewart, as well as Jerome Lyon, Jordan Urban and Larry Jimenez.
“We had a lot of guys that were neck and neck,” the first-year head coach said. “Every week before our matches we had to play off for the top six. It was really competitive as a team and that changed the whole dynamic of the team. Everybody was fighting for that spot.”
And that season-long competition should benefit the Loggers as they get set for their biggest round of the year.
The team will travel down on Sunday and play a practice round before Monday’s tournament.
Vigil, who was the 2022 H-DN champion, paced the Loggers this season with a third-place finish in league, followed by Goodman just one spot back and Stewart in seventh.
Vigil was named team MVP, while Jimenez was named the team’s most improved golfer.