2017-06-16 / Sports

It’s in the hole!

Camarillo boys’ golfers seize first CIF-SS crown in program history
By Jonathan Andrade

ON TOP—Camarillo High boys’ golfers, from left, Jake Yasutake, Daniel Orosco, Joey Zambri, Michael Sun and Terrell Chriss helped the Scorpions win their first CIF title in program history this spring. BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers ON TOP—Camarillo High boys’ golfers, from left, Jake Yasutake, Daniel Orosco, Joey Zambri, Michael Sun and Terrell Chriss helped the Scorpions win their first CIF title in program history this spring. BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers BOYS’ GOLF /// Camarillo Scorpions

When the going got tough for Michael Sun, the tough senior got going.

Sun, a standout for the Camarillo High boys’ tennis team, was struggling during the opening holes of the CIF-Southern Section Central Coast Division Team Championship on May 15 on the River Course at the Alisal near Solvang.

“I was playing my worst I’ve ever played,” Sun said of shooting 7-over-par on the front nine. “I saw some of my friends and they were like, ‘Michael, you’re going to pull through. You can do this. We believe in you.’

“I took that to heart. I realized there were people who truly believe in me. I came back to shoot the best nine holes I shot all season.”

Sun shot 2-under on the back nine, carding a 77 to help Camarillo capture its first section crown in program history.

“Once our coach told us we were the first ones,” junior Jake Yasutake said, “we were really excited.”

Gino Aparicio, a senior, and freshman Joey Zambri also shot 77s to pace the Scorpions in the historic victory.

Juniors Terrell Chriss (79), Daniel Orosco (83) and Yasutake (86) helped Camarillo compile a team score of 393, besting runnerup Arcadia by one stroke.

“Things worked out for us,” said head coach Bill Dowden, who’s guided the team since 1993. “All the credit goes to the kids.”

The Scorpions dined like kings after conquering the Central Coast, feasting on steaks at AJ Spurs Saloon and Dining Hall on the drive home after capturing CIF glory.

“We all had fun,” Chriss said. “There was a lot of bragging and a lot of making fun of each other. It was a good time.”

The complete team effort by the close-knit group of teenagers was nothing new from this year’s squad, which finished the season 18-0 overall while capturing a Coastal Canyon League crown.

“There were a couple of matches where we just got by teams,” Yasutake said. “There were some pretty solid teams out there. We all stepped up.”

Every Scorpion played a crucial role in helping the team make history.

Zambri, the son of USC men’s golf head coach Chris Zambri, played an instrumental role during his rookie campaign.

The tournament player said he enjoyed patrolling the links for Camarillo.

“High school golf is really fun,” Joey Zambri said. “It’s really laid back versus tournaments, which are really serious. All my teammates are really awesome. I made a lot of new friends. It’s like a whole new way of playing golf.”

Zambri proved to be one of the area’s top freshman golfers this season. The rookie shot 72 twice this spring, at Spanish Hills Country Club and at River Ridge Golf Club.

Zambri said he hopes victory will become a recurring theme throughout his time at Camarillo.

“I guess I want to try to win more,” he said. “We’re hoping to win it next year. We’re losing a couple of guys, but the guys that are already on the team can get better over summer. We could go at it next year.”

Sun admitted to being intimidated by the skillful freshman at the start of the year. The senior said he understood that adding another sharpshooter to the lineup only improved the team’s chances at success.

“As the team captain, I want nothing more than for the team to succeed,” Sun said. “I put down my selfishness, something I might not have done if I were a freshman or sophomore. I realized if I wanted this team to succeed, I had to not be selfish to help the entire team realize our full potential.”

Orosco also came into his own during his first year of varsity golf.

“I had a rough patch at the beginning of the season, but I got better as the season went on,” he said. “Once I got a little more used to playing in actual tournaments, I started to get better.”

The junior, who shot a season best 80 at a challenging Moorpark Country Club course earlier this year, said he hopes to make a bigger impact next season.

“I’m going to play a couple of tournaments in the offseason,” Orosco said. “I just have to keep at it.”

Despite a talented lineup, Chriss said, capturing a section title was never on his radar entering the season.

“There was no point where I thought we’d win CIF,” Chriss said. “I knew we had a really good chance at taking league, but winning CIF was a bonus that we didn’t expect to happen. It worked out for the best.”

Camarillo graduates two seniors from its starting lineup.

Dowden said the Scorpions can be competitive next season. The team just needs to get hot at the right time.

“We have four of the six coming back so the future looks bright,” the longtime coach said. “When you go to CIF, there are 17 other teams. A good half of those teams could have won. It just depends on if you can come through on that day.”

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