From the Sidelines

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 5, 2000

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / May 5, 2000

All year, Riverside golf coach Elizabeth Torres has used one word to describe her team – consistency.

This week, there was another “C” word she could use – champions.

With their 17-stroke victory over the field Thursday in the Class 2A state tournament at Shenandoah Country Club in Baton Rouge, the Rebels fulfilled a mission that set out on after placing third in the 1999 tournament. It wasone that was achieved by overcoming a few obstacles along the way.

Among those obstacles was a schedule that was among the hardest in the state. Jesuit, the Class 5A runner-up, was on it. So were perennialcontenders Brother Martin, E.D. White, Newman, Country Day, Terrebonneand Vandebilt Catholic. There were two matches against Ridgewood and oneagainst University, the teams that would prove to be among the biggest challengers in Class 2A. The Rebels won all but one match, that comingagainst Country Day.

Among the Rebels’ accomplishments was a District 9-2A title against the likes of Ridgewood and Newman. A week later on the same Belle Terrecourse, the Rebels defeated University, Ridgewood and Newman to capture the Region III title.

How tough was that regional? The three teams emerging from it – Riverside, Ridgewood and University – would go on to place first, second and fourth in the state. Fifteen out of the top 25 individual finishers at the state meetplayed in it, including the top three and eight out of the top 10.

At the state meet, Riverside had to wait out a three-hour rain delay Wednesday, one that threatened to wash out the four scores that its top four golfers had already posted. Despite the outstanding efforts of thepersonnel at Shenandoah to even get the course playable, the Rebels had to overcome a wet course Thursday for the victory.

Riverside did it with the ingredient that all golfers look for in their games – consistency. The Rebels average per nine holes during the tournament wasabout what they had average the whole season.

With a seven-stroke lead going into the second round, Steve Luminais said the team just wanted to play its game and not make high scores. That hasbeen the key the whole season for the Rebels – they do not get too high or too low during a round. One bad hole does not ruin a round.All five members contributed to the team’s championship. Brett Bergeronwon the individual title with what he does best – hitting fairways and greens.

Michael Schoen was fifth, finishing strong on the back nine Thursday.

Luminais, Leisl Hasbrouck and Mike Lozano also finished strong Thursday after playing solid golf throughout the tournament.

Following the team through this season, a couple of things struck me. Firstwas how hard this team, with all its success, continued to work to get better and better. Second was how close the team was. Hasbrouck said it was likehaving a group of brothers. And third was how well all the competitors gotalong. Yes, it was a competition but it was a friendly one. An example of thatwas the Riverside players going back after their round to follow Ridgewood’s Frankie Briseno compete in the playoff for second place.

There could be a third “C” word to describe the Riverside golf team – class.

For that it is truly a champion.

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