Girls golf tee off new season with varsity, JV squads

Senior+Kavi+Maru+swings+her+golf+club+during+practice+at+Westridge+Golf+Club+Aug.+21.+Photo+taken+by+Accolade+reporter+Gianne+Veluz.

Senior Kavi Maru swings her golf club during practice at Westridge Golf Club Aug. 21. Photo taken by Accolade reporter Gianne Veluz.

Alice Shin

Coach: Scott Enrico

Top Returning Players: Emily Choi (12), Lauren Choi (10) and Stacy Kim (12)

Top Newcomers: Alexandria Kim (9) and Katie Pyo (9) in Junior Varsity

Outlook: Enrico enters his second season guiding the girls golf team. Last season, all the girls were considered varsity and played all the matches, but starting this year, the head coach has decided to form two squads: varsity and Junior Varsity, players said.

“I have a good feeling about this season because many of us have been practicing more,” said Lauren Choi, who shared the Most Valuable Player award on the team last season with Stacy Kim. 

Besides four-year player Stacy Kim, the coach also has tapped Emily Choi as senior captains for this season and Soomin Cho and Gianne Veluz as junior captains.

“I think it’s good that we have a JV team because that way we can go to more matches and win,” Lauren Choi said.

The challenge for Stacy Kim this season is she cannot go out to the driving range at Westridge Golf Club in La Habra until after sixth period since she has AP Literature as her last class of the day.

“Even with an academic sixth period, as captain I feel responsible to come out and be there for my team though it means I have to sacrifice some things,” Stacy Kim said. “I feel that our team has grown and is getting stronger as [the] season progresses, and we are preparing well to compete in our league.”

Aside from the returning players, Enrico looks forward to seeing the impact his top newcomers will have on the team. Currently, his top newcomers play for the JV team so they gain more experience before advancing to varsity.

“I am excited to see what incoming freshmen Pyo and Alexandria Kim can do this season,” Enrico said. “I saw that the newcomers had better swings, better ball strikes and better scores.”

After playing in the JV team’s first eight pre-season matches, the freshmen are making the necessary adjustments.

“I am a [little] nervous for my first season on the team,” said Alexandria Kim, who first started playing the sport three years ago. “I am not very used to going to golf matches and am lacking in field experience, but I believe I will learn a lot and gain new experiences.”

Since the school does not have a golf course, the girls practice off campus at Westridge Golf Club, which can be difficult for them because they need to be responsible and practice by themselves and need rides to get to all their practices.

“It can be challenging [to practice outside] because people don’t have rides,” Lauren Choi said. “Also, because we practice individually on our own time, it is easy to skip out on practice.”

Besides having to practice off campus, the Lady Lancers have to withstand the heat and weather because they are outdoors.

“During our matches recently, the weather has been extremely hot, and one of our weaknesses is enduring the weather conditions,” Stacy Kim said.

Other than the challenges the girls face, they need to work together as a team to rely and build on each others’ strengths to function as a group, Lauren Choi said. 

“I think we can work on our weaknesses by keeping each other accountable, which is also a way of [exhibiting] our teamwork,” she said. “By doing so, we [can] motivate and encourage each other to do well together as a team.”

Despite all of this, Enrico has shown confidence in his top returners.

“Stacy Kim and Emily Choi have already stepped in and have taken over the responsibilities that the [former seniors] vacated,” he said. “[Their jobs are] organizing team functions, choosing this year’s gear, communicating with team members, helping the incoming freshmen and being in charge of scorecards at the end of rounds.”

In addition to the seniors, Enrico said he hopes that the whole team will work hard and get through any challenges it faces this season.

“Our girls need to make golf their lives,” he said. “They need to learn how to work at something, help each other and overcome their insecurities and fears.”

So far, the varsity squad has a 2-6 pre-season record with its first Freeway League away match Sept. 17 against Sonora at Birch Hills in Brea.