ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Gabbi Ilardi, Ripon girls golf

Ilardi came back as a Sac-Joaquin Section V medalist on October 28, shooting a tie 72 at Yolo Fliers Club.

However, the RHS junior was not just looking for personal glory. With his encouragement, the Indians won the tag team title with a score of 462. They edged runner-up Colfax (491) by almost 30 strokes.

“This tour was fun,” Ilardi said. “I told the girls there was a chance we would be successful, so do your best. I played the course two weeks ago in a junior tournament so I was confident enough to participate.

“I just played my game, and it was super cool for the rest of the girls to take the win. I was so proud of them. Of course I wanted to play well to win it again, but it was cool as a team for us to do it.

The team championship is the second in the history of the program, both led by head coach Eric Dambrosio. He believes Ilardi is the best player to come out of the Valley Foothill League North Division during his tenure as coach. She is a two-time MVP of the league and Ripon has won five VFL Championships in the past five years.

“As far as I can remember, she is the only girl in our league to shoot under par (in an 18 hole league tournament),” said Dambrosio, referring to her under-71 card on the 20th. September at Manteca Park Golf Course during the VFL North Mid-Season Tournament.

“She hits the ball really well, she puts her very well, she does everything very well,” he added. “Just an amazing player all around.”

Ilardi and the Indians played their final round on Monday of the SJS Masters Championship held at The Reserve at Spanos Park. She finished at 7 of 79, improving four strokes from her appearance in 2019 as a freshman.

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