By Jesse Munoz
NAPA — College of the Canyons won the 2019 California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Championship by a whopping 18 strokes at the Silverado Resort & Spa on Monday.
The Cougars completed the day with a five-man, 36-hole score of (734-371/363) to finish 14-over-par. Canyons topped the eight-team field followed by runner-up Santa Barbara City College (752-381/371), third place Cypress (766-383/383) and fourth place Folsom Lake College (768-384/384).
The state championship is the program’s ninth overall (1993, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019), all coming under head coach Gary Peterson. Canyons has now won four state titles in the last seven years. The Cougars also finished runner-up at the state tourney in 2018, 2016 and 2014.
“This was not a year I expected to win a state championship,” said Peterson, about his team which featured four freshmen and two sophomores with limited tourney experience. “With six new guys it was surprising. I thought we would be building for next year, now I’m hoping we get some of these guys back.”
COC Freshman Nobuhiko Wakaari (142-73/69) won the individual state title after finishing two-under par for the tourney. His final round of 69 came after back-to-back bogeys on the final two holes but still represented the low score of the day.
“Nobu came into the clubhouse with a big smile on his face,” said Peterson, about the golfer from Niigata, Japan who he also described as a humble hard worker that always puts the team first.
His final round score capped a season in which Wakaari was named the Western State Conference (WSC) Player of the Year before finishing fourth at the Southern California regional tourney.
Wakaari becomes the third individual state champion in program history joining former Cougars Sidney Wolf (2014) and Ben Campbell (2016). Prior to Monday’s championship run Canyons had never won team and individual state titles in the same season.
Freshmen Jules Lavigne (146-72/74) and Anguerrand Voisin (146-75/71) finish third and fourth, respectively, in the final standings, with Lavigne’s opening round of 72 serving as the difference maker. Lavigne and Voisin both hail from France.
Wakaari, Lavigne and Voisin all earned All-State team honors.
Sophomore Tom Sims (150-75/75) placed 12th and sophomore Matthew Mansholt (150-76/74) was 13th in the field of 60. Freshman Jack Greene (158-78/80) finished 40th overall.
“I can’t recall another state championship event where we had so many high individual finishes,” commented Peterson. “But this team has the ability to play all aspects of the game. They’re a great example of what we’ve tried to do here for a long time.”
The Cougars’ nine state titles are the most of any program in CCCAA history. Canyons has also won seven Southern California regional titles and 25 Western State Conference (WSC) championships.
Last fall, COC’s women’s golf program, also led by Peterson, won its third state championship. The Lady Cougars also have two individual state titles to their credit.
“We’ve had a really good run,” Peterson added, “I think the last 10 or 12 years have been a great success.”
The College of the Canyons Athletics department now boasts a combined 34 state championships (18 team and 16 individual) across 17 intercollegiate sports programs.
2019 CCCAA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL SCORES
1. Canyons (734-371/363) 2. SBCC (752-381/371) 3. Cypress (766-383/383) 4. Folsom Lake (768-384/384) T5. Mt. SAC (771-382/389) T5. Reedley (771-381/390) 7. San Jose City (788-398/390) 8. Fresno City (794-402/392) …CANYONS INDIVIDUAL SCORES — Nobuhiko Wakaari (142-73/69); Jules Lavigne (146-72/74); Anguerrand Voisin (146-75/71); Tom Sims (150-75/75);Matthew Mansholt (150-76/74); Jack Greene (158-78/80).