The Escalon High girls golf team slew two of their demons in one memorable autumn -- Valley Foothill League rival Bret Harte for the Cougars' first-ever conference title and, in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V Championships, runner-up Central Catholic.
The man helping the girls along was Rusty Fachner, The Bee's choice as Stanislaus District Coach of the Year.
"We set the foundation last year and blew the door down this year," said Fachner, pictured at right. "It was wonderful because the kids deserved it."
Fachner has enjoyed success in tennis, volleyball and basketball but carved a special notch in his fourth season as golf coach. Escalon and Central Catholic both were unbeaten going into the section tournament, but the Cougars outlasted the Raiders in a bizarre dust storm with 50-mph wind at Stevinson Ranch.
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"One of the most incredible weather conditions I've ever seen," Fachner said. "It was all about perseverance."
-- RON AGOSTINI