PREP GOLF: Bear River roars through league play in search of PVL title
Gayne Nakano has been coaching girls golf at Bear River for more than 20 years. He’s never had a team this good.
“What makes them strong is: A) they are pretty good, and, B) that’s through the entire team. We don’t have a drop off,” said Nakano, who has been coaching the girls team since its inugural season in 1996. “I’ve never had a team this deep or this good. This is the best team I’ve had.”
The Lady Bruins have roared through Pioneer Valley League play this season, dominating their opponents en route to an 8-0 record in head-to-head competition, including a 38-stroke victory over Colfax on Thursday.
Bear River also won the first PVL tourney of the season in September and will look to close out a perfect run through league play at the final PVL tournament set for Monday at Diamond Oaks Golf Course.
A PVL banner would be the Lady Bruins’ first since 2015, when a couple of freshmen, Hannah Prosser and Kalei Owen, led the team. Those freshmen are now seniors and are looking to finish their career at Bear River with some more banners.
“I want to end on a good note,” said Owen. “I want to break school records and I want to leave the school with people knowing what we did, winning the banners and all that.”
Owen added she enjoys the more high-pressure matches and showed off her prowess in big moments against rival Colfax when she shot a career-best 36 on the par-35 Lake of the Pines Golf Course to lead the Lady Bruins in their final home match of the season.
Owen also takes great pride in the Bear River course record the team set earlier this season, when they shot a combined 197 at Lake of the Pines to beat Marysville.
But, above all, Owen said she is enjoying spending time with her teammates and making lasting memories.
“Since it’s my last year I’m trying to make the most of it and make the best memories,” Owen said. “Of course I want to stay focused on the season, but I want to make memories with my friends.”
After four years of varsity golf, Prosser said she is enjoying the success the team is having as well as helping the underclassmen develop their games.
“We just encourage all the underclassmen to always be positive every match,” Prosser said. “Because it can get really stressful and really hard, but I think as long as you’re positive, it all ends up really nice in the end.”
Prosser, who was the PVL MVP in 2015, said this is the best team she has played on at Bear River, and hopes it translates into a deep playoff run.
“We are so strong and have a lot of depth on this team,” she said. “We all kind of know when to pull together.”
As for Prosser’s goal for herself, “I just want to finish strong.”
Nakano added he can always count on Prosser and Owen to lead the way and set the tone for the rest of the team.
“They both play really consistent golf,” he said. “They’ve both been shooting right around 40 and just under, and they’ve been doing that for a while. Those are two scores we can always count on…They are also leaders on the team. They help everybody out. They keep track of what everyone else is doing and they encourage everyone to do better.”
The Bruins depth of talent includes Madison Templeton, Dominique Peter, Nicolette Antisdel, Corina Shaw and Julia Pisenti.
Templeton, a senior, credits the team’s success to their close bond with each other.
“We have team bonding parties and go to dinner together,” she said. “We’re all very close.”
Despite losing multiple talented seniors after this season, the program is in good hands with freshmen standouts Shaw and Pisenti.
“They came in this season and filled in nicely for the two we lost from last year and are actually a little stronger,” said Nakano.
Shaw, who has been playing golf since she was 4-years-old, has been a regular top-three finisher for Bear River all season.
“I’m very determined when it comes to golf,” Shaw said. “I don’t give up.”
The Lady Bruins have made it to the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Masters Tournament each of the last three years, and Nakano thinks they can make it four straight. But, first he wants his team to take care of business at the league and divisional tournaments.
“Hopefully a PVL banner and Division V banner, that would be great,” said Nakano. “And, hopefully we will do well at Masters.”
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email email@example.com.
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