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West Ranch girls golf takes Foothill League title

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By Ryan Menzie
For The Signal

West Ranch High girls golf earned the Foothill League title, with the Wildcats finishing the season with a score of 908, the only team in the league with fewer than 1,000 strokes for the year.

Wildcats head coach Jeff Holen is proud of the dominant season displayed by his team despite not being to make it out of division play.

“We’re a young competitive team, we have a few years of play with the young girls on our team,” said Holen. “I look forward to next season with all the experience the young group was able to gain in a season with so much adversity. We were unsure if we would even get to play at all.”

The Wildcats were led by first-place individual and Player of the Year sophomore Yerim Yi. Yi led the league with 165 strokes on the way to a league title. Rounding out the third, fourth and fifth spots for the individual play were sophomore Brielle Sorenson, freshman Ashmita, and Junior Allison Hwang. All the girls plan on returning next season to play for the Wildcats as they look to defend their league title.

“My coach told us to, ‘Enjoy the walk’ — during my first game, I couldn’t really understand how to enjoy the walk because I was so nervous with the season coming up and all the pressure building,” said Hwang. “He just emphasized having a good time, and I found that very important because it got me to talk to the people I play with more and got to know them more.”

Valencia

Coming in second place for the Foothill League is the Valencia Vikings. The Vikings finished the league with a total score of 1,015.

The Vikings were led by head coach Robby Waters, who is also the boys golf coach, and has been the girls head coach since 2001.

“We were steady all year,” said Waters. “Everyone was set in the standings by the third week. We have no seniors on the team and everyone is returning. The experience the young group got this season was very valuable and hopefully it carries over into next season as we aim to win the league title.”

The Vikings’ top player, who came in second place in individual scoring and held the second Player of the Year spot, belongs to freshman Jillian Leh. Leh was excited to be able to have the opportunity to play as much and as well as she did, despite being a freshman in a season ravaged by COVID-19.

“I think the season went pretty well, at least we did have a season despite COVID,” said Leh. My coach always told us to be positive throughout the rounds and have fun and relax. “I pretty much took what my coach said to heart, I think it really helped because I had a lot of fun with the people I played with.”

Holding the seventh and eighth spots in the top 10 individual players list are Vikings sophomores Justin Cabot and Isabella Dumbrique. Cabot finished with a score of 187 and Dumbrique finished with a score of 193. Both players are planning to return to golf for the Vikings next season.

Hart

The Hart Indians finished out the top three schools in the Foothill league finishing with a score of 1,052 points. Indians head coach Steve Lindberg is happy with the way the season went for his girls despite the shortened season and only being able to play six league games.

“The girls had a great time and got a lot of experience and made a lot of friendships,” said Lindberg. “We’re going to have lots of seniors and juniors next year so we’re just hoping that the mentality and match experience over the previous three or four years is going to help us shoot some of the best scores we have ever shot.”

Junior Peyton Grider, the No. 1 player for the Indians last year who’s likely to be the No. 1 player next year, finished sixth in the league with a score of 186. Grider attributes her success to the amount of time she spent practicing, as well as encouraging other girls and training with them to work on strengths and weaknesses.

Saugus

The Saugus Centurions finished in fourth place with 1,211 strokes. Centurions head coach Rich Gutierrez was proud of how the girls performed and emphasized how having a summer program and practicing hard have helped the team steadily improve.

“We’ve been practicing for the last month. Golf is a game, but it’s really you competing against yourself,” said Gutierrez. “It’s about being better on the next strokes. Golf we get lost in the big picture, but we got to work on the little things.”

The top scorer for the Centurions belongs to junior Brooke Maxwell, who finished in 10th place with 199 points. Maxwell will look to continue leading her team next season as they hope to finish at the top of the league next season.

Canyon and Golden Valley

Both the Grizzlies and the Cowboys were unable to qualify for scores due to not having enough players on the team due to COVID.

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