For the second year in a row, West Ranch High girls golfer Mack Bailey’s varsity season ended in the state-qualifying round.
“She definitely didn’t say anything, and she was very disappointed,” says Wildcats coach Jeff Holen. “Any athlete … when they don’t reach their goal, there’s really not much you can say to them. I think it’s more of a thing where they’re going to have to go through it and work it out.”
Bailey, a junior, has been working things out since she first came onto the golf scene as a freshman in 2014. She made the All-SCV list at the end of that season and finished third in the Foothill League. In 2015 she made that list again, with the same league finish.
But in 2016, she’s the All-Santa Clarita Valley Girls Golf Player of the Year and the top finisher in league as a part of the top finishing team in league.
“I don’t think I’ve changed at all,” Bailey says. “As a golfer, I’ve been mature about my game, and that hasn’t changed since freshman year.”
Holen has seen her change for the better, however. He doesn’t see her improvement slowing down, either, because of her passion for the game.
“She just wants to do well,” he says. “Some girls are out there just to be out there. She is one that if she’s going to be out there, she is going to give you 100 percent and make that 100 percent work for her.”
But with passion comes pressure, something that Bailey is becoming familiar with as she decides where her golf career will go next.
“When I do have the bigger games, I do choke a little bit and don’t play my best because I know that those are the scores that I’m going to have to tell (colleges),” she says.
Bailey wants to play NCAA Division 1 golf — at Arizona State in particular. She’s received interest from the school, but is worried that it won’t make another move.
“Growing up you always wanted to go to that dream college,” she says. “So far I emailed them, but they haven’t emailed me back so I’m feeling like they’re not as interested anymore and it kind of hurts.”
She’s still got one more year and already has a strong resume from this Foothill League season alone to help grab their attention. She was the medalist in half of the league matches and was in the top three for the other half. And she made the deepest postseason run out of all league golfers.
It hasn’t been all business, though. Bailey said her favorite part of the season was strengthening friendships with her teammates.
“Most other (sports) teams all hang out together, and golf is known for not hanging out at school,” she says. “But we started hanging out more and it brought us closer, and I think that’s what helped us win. And I hope it doesn’t change and we just get closer and keep moving.”
The goal is to play golf in college on a full scholarship, then go on to either play professionally or pursue a career as a coach.
“There is a (maximum) level that each player is going to go to at some point,” Holen says. “I definitely think she has the drive, there’s just little things she has to work on. Putting being one. The short game. So (a career) is there.”
Until she reaches that point, Bailey will keep on working things out. Just like she’s always done.
All-SCV Girls Golf Team
Sarah Baranda, Valencia, Senior
Four strokes kept Baranda, Valencia’s only postseason competitor, from earning fourth place in the Foothill League’s final individual results. That’s up from her ninth-place finish last year. She was one of the league’s most consistent golfers, only deviating four strokes between her best and worst league scores. In league meets No. 2, No. 5 and as part of a tie in No. 6, Baranda finished in third place.
Ashley Mayhall, West Ranch, Senior
Mayhall and Bailey were neck and neck all year, right down to the final overall individual scores. With the highest score thrown out, Bailey edged Mayhall by one stroke in the final Foothill League rankings. It’s Mayhall’s fourth second-place finish in as many years in varsity golf. Her 2016 season ended at the CIF Individual WSCGA Qualifying Tournament, but she was still a part of history by helping the Wildcats to the second round of the CIF team playoffs. Mayhall will play in college at Georgetown University.
Justine Reblando, Golden Valley, Senior
In her senior campaign, Reblando was the Grizzlies’ top finisher in all Foothill League matches. She tied for second place overall in two of those matches, one time in a three-way tie with Bailey and Mayhall for second place. She finished fourth in league and was the only golfer from Golden Valley to crack the top 10 and move on to the first round of the individual postseason.
Ashley Song, Valencia, Freshman
Ashley Song may be the younger sister of former All-SCV golfer Eunice Song, but she certainly isn’t living in a shadow. In her varsity golf debut, she finished sixth in the Foothill League and was only two strokes away from teammate Sarah Baranda’s fifth-place score. She was the only freshman in the league to crack the top seven. All of Song’s league scores ranged between 38 and 42, aside from an outlying score of 46. She also finished seventh in the Newhall Cup Tournament and helped the Vikings to a second-place league finish.
Noelle Song, West Ranch, Sophomore
Song started golf just two and a half years ago and has improved rapidly, moving up to third in league from last season’s seventh-place finish. She was the third of the three Wildcats (along with Bailey and Mayhall) that comprised this year’s top three finishers. Song’s lowest score of the year was a 2-under 29, which she carded in league meet No. 3. That was also the only meet not won by either Bailey or Mayhall.
Canyon — Shabana Poswal, Junior
Golden Valley — Alexandra Guerrero, Senior
Hart — Paige Heuer, Junior
Saugus — Clara Venger, Saugus
Valencia — Ashley Song, Freshman
West Ranch — Adelrina Kim, Senior