Aptos High boys' golf team was one of the premier programs in the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League championship this season. (contributed)

The Aptos High boys’ golf team this season qualified as a group to compete at Central Coast Section Regional Golf Tournament, giving golfers a chance to square off against some of the best in the section at Laguna Seca Golf Ranch in Monterey. 

Mariners standout junior Shawn Roschelle took advantage of the opportunity and was far from intimidated competing in a field that was mostly made up of players from out of the area.

At one point, he had shot one over par after 12 holes until he saw his qualifying spot into the CCS Section Tournament slowly start slipping away. 

Roschelle shot a 78, just four strokes away from St. Ignatius’ Teddy S. Gardner (78) who earned the final spot to advance into the next round.  

“I just got unlucky and kind of blew up,” he said.  

Aptos placed 10th as a team with a score of 434 in the Regional 2 field at Laguna Seca Golf Ranch on May 9.

Roschelle had a successful run in his first full season with the Mariners—winners of the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League—and he earned all league first team honors. 

“Could have played better but still felt good to win the league,” he said.  

Aptos coach Paul Zech said in an email the Mariners’ golf program has been atop of the league so many times over the last several decades they lost track of how many league titles they’ve won.

The Mariners captured their 28th league championship after winning the SCCAL golf finals at DeLaveaga Golf Course on May 3.  

Zech mentioned the program continues to develop players through the coaching staff that includes Brad King, Jesse Cox, Dominic DeLuca and Shane Garvey. 

“Those coaches prepare and deliver to the head coach young men that have been worked with daily to help them get the most out of the golf program,” Zech said.

As a coach, his biggest challenge again this year was having the golfers challenge him to a long drive competition. 

Of the 16 boys on what he considers a “young” squad, six of them hit a ball 300-340 yards, while Zech can hit anywhere between 275-285 yards, on a good day. 

“The joke is if you can out-drive coach Zech you will play Varsity, need I say more,” he said. 

Zech said being able to coach the Aptos golfers is fulfilling, especially coming from a busy day of being a local residential and commercial realtor. 

“I look forward to spending my Monday through Thursday afternoons during [the] season and watching the varsity players get in their golf groove, work out the kinks and prepare for competition,” he said. 

The longtime coach mentioned how each individual has their own unique way of preparing, refining and competing. He said it’s the perfect storm each year as Aptos continues to dominate high school boys golf in the SCCAL.

“I only grew a few more gray hairs and the good news is, I have the same winning group of boys back year as seniors and juniors,” Zech said.

Going into the season, Roschelle knew the Mariners would have a bullseye on their back as teams attempt to dethrone them as league champion. 

He remembers playing in the regular season finale against Harbor High at DeLaveaga Golf Course in a league match they won by just two strokes. 

“It was a little nerve racking at the end,” he said.

The Mariners finished with a 10-0 overall record and Zech was named the SCCAL’s Coach of the Year by his peers at the end of the season league evaluation meeting. Harbor High’s Matthew Munro—who won the individual league championship—was named the league’s most valuable player. 

Aptos sophomore Ben Nowark also earned All-SCCAL First Team honors, while fellow teammates juniors Luke Garvey, Andrew Cox and Tyler Grosdidier earned all league second team honors. Aptos sophomores Colby Culbertson and Mason Bloom both were honorable mention. 

Roschelle said having four coaches around definitely helps and the fact they’re the only team that practices at Seascape is at times an advantage. 

The goal this summer is to take advantage of competing in tournaments and focus on playing some good golf for the 2024 season.

“Just continue to win and make it back to CCS,” he said.

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A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.


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