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Zale Mantas makes SHS golf history

A Shafter High golfer made history this year, becoming the first SHS golfer to qualify for the Southern California Regional tournament.

Zale Mantas, a sophomore at SHS, placed seventh at the Regional, the first General to medal in the tournament, just missing the cut for the State tournament.

As a team, the Shafter Generals won the SSL, but missed out on advancing to the Regional team playoffs by a few strokes. The Regional has all of the divisions in it, from the large school Division I to Division VI.

Mantas practically grew up with a golf club in his hand. He began playing at the Riverlakes Junior Golf Academy at age 7.

"He was naturally gifted with his driver and putting. It wasn't long before Zale was beating his father in rounds of golf," said his mother, Megan Mantas. She said that Zale's love of golf grew as he got older. He then played recreationally for years, competing in small youth tournaments. Mantas also had the opportunity to train with local PGA player Chad Sorenson, at the Buena Vista Golf Course.

Since beginning high school, he has trained more rigorously and played rounds daily, sometimes twice a day. "When I am on vacation, I golf; when I am at home, I golf." Megan said that he probably dreams about golf when sleeping.

The South Sequoia League Championship was held at the Buena Vista Golf Course, which Mantas has so much experience on. He placed first overall, carding the top score of 81, allowing him to advance to the Regional Championships. Mantas was named, not surprisingly, the MVP for the Shafter High team and also received the Principal's Athletic Scholar award for spring sports with a 3.85 GPA.

The Regional was held in Lemoore and was a challenging course, yielding only one score below an 80, which was winner Jayden Sosa of Clovis East, who scored a 75.

Mantas's summer will also include plenty of golf. He is scheduled to play in the Player's Tour of Los Angeles for the JPGA. He is planning on playing in seven tournaments. And he plans to be back at Shafter High in the fall, playing on the team as a junior.


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