By Damian Dottore
POMONA – The Servite boys golf team began preparing for the postseason in September, holding team meetings to map out courses, chart greens and hit countless balls on the range.
"They put as much time into this as any football program out there. I am proud of them," Servite coach Dane Jako said. "Their workout regimen, the time they spend on the course, note taking ... they put in the work."
The Friars' dedication showed in their results Monday as Jack Rahon, Cameron Xiao and Alex Hanz each posted a sub-par round at Mountain Meadows Golf Course to help the Friars win the CIF-SS Western Team Regional for the second year in a row and the third time in four seasons.
"It feels amazing (to be a part of three championships)," said Rahon, a four-year varsity player for Servite. "I can't even put it into words."
Rahon posted a 3-under par 69 while Xiao and Hanz each added a 71 as the Friars finished with a 2-under 358 to edge Walnut, which was playing on its home course, by five strokes. Chad Deegan (73) and Brendan Gonzalez (74) rounded out the scoring for Servite.
Alrik Pan led Walnut with a 66 to earn medalist honors.
"You are not playing Walnut. You are playing the golf course," Jako said. "It is not like home-court advantage (for Walnut).
"I knew that if (Servite's players) went out and did their job and did what they are capable of doing, we would be OK, and if they (Walnut) beat us, you shake their hand and congratulate them. I knew that back in January, and I never told the team. I didn't want it to be a distraction."
Rahon said the Friars had no idea Walnut was teeing off on familiar turf. He estimated that Walnut's course knowledge was good for a three-stroke advantage at least, and that was the exact margin separating Walnut and JSerra on the leaderboard.
The Lions took third place with a 366, their highest finish at a regional in school history.
Mater Dei claimed fourth with a 378 as Bill Rosenthal came in with an even-par 72.
Servite and Walnut advance to the SCGA So Cal Championship team qualifier in Santa Barbara on Thursday.