By Gideon Rubin
The Torrey Pines High golf team sent a small parade of players to Division I colleges after making its fourth straight appearance in the state finals.
And it’s only because of the incredibly high standards the Falcons have set in recent years that this qualifies as a down year.
Torrey Pines, which won the state title in 2011 and finished second last year, placed last among the six qualifying teams at the June 5 state championships at Quail Lodge Country Club in Carmel.
The Falcons shot a combined 381 on the 18-hole par-71 course.
“Our expectations are really high, we expect to make it to (the) state (finals),” Torrey Pines coach Chris Drake said. “Our goal at the beginning of the year is not just to win our league, it’s not to win (the San Diego Section) and it’s not just to make it state; it’s to win, and anything short of that the kids are little disappointed.”
Sophomore Tailin Song led the Falcons, shooting a 70, the fifth best individual score overall.
Stevenson of nearby Pebble Beach won the title with a 368 score.
Sunny Hills of Fullerton placed second, shooting a 370.
Torrey Pines was the only San Diego County team to qualify for the finals.
The Falcons graduate six seniors from a team of 19 players on this year’s team. Four of the six players they sent to the state tournament will be juniors later this year.
Sophomore Jamie Cheatham shot a 74 and UCLA-bound senior Danny Ochoa fired a 78.
Sophomore Otto Vanhatalo contributed a 79 score and UC Santa Barbara-bound senior Aaron Strockis shot an 80.
Sophomore Jonah Holty added an 85 score.
“It just wasn’t our best day,” Drake said. “We really needed five of the six guys to play the best they’ve played all year. We needed them to all be really on top of their game in order to compete. It was really the most competitive state tournament that we’ve played in the four years that we’ve been there, and we’re a really young team.”
Ochoa and Strockis are among five seniors headed to play Division I golf.
Jack Avarello (UC Santa Barbara), D.J. MacGee (Bucknell), and Redford Bobbitt, who will play at Arizona or UNLV, are the others.
The Falcons made it to the state finals after placing second in the Southern California regional tournament.
They won their fourth straight San Diego Section Division I title, but placed second in Palomar League play behind Poway.
The Falcons experienced three losses this season and saw opponents celebrate in a way that’s rare on a golf course.
Drake said he considers that the ultimate compliment to his players.
“I know we have this target on our back and we don’t mind having it,” Drake said. “We’d rather have it than not.”
Cathedral Catholic had two players selected in Major League Baseball’s amateur draft.
Left-handed pitcher Stephen Gonsalves was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the fourth round as the 110th player drafted overall.
Right-handed pitcher Alex Schick was scooped up by the Houston Astros in the 17th round as the 497th player selected overall.
Both players have collegiate commitments; Gonsalves to University of San Diego and Schick to UC Berkeley.
Gonsalves had been projected to go in the first round by some analysts earlier this year. He was 6-1 with a 2.19 ERA, allowing 34 hits in 48 innings pitched. Gonsalves struck out 55 batters and allowed 21walks.
Schick did not play this year but was 4-1 with a 1.04 ERA his junior year. He struck out 39 batters and allowed 32 hits and 39 walks in 40 1/3 innings pitched.
The amateur draft selections followed a Dons season that started with them being ranked at or near the top of most national preseason polls but ended with an early playoff exit after midseason suspensions.