Prep golf season short, but intense |

Prep golf season short, but intense

Playing high school golf in the Sac-Joaquin Section requires players to find their grooves in a hurry, as the season typically runs its course more quickly than any other each fall.

If it seems the season ends only weeks after teeing it off, that’s because it does, with the regular season lasting merely a month and a half.

Take Nevada Union’s season schedule as an example. The Miners opened their slate on Aug. 31 with the NU Invitational. By Oct. 18, they will have played their final Sierra Foothill League showdown of the season.

Fortunately for coach Hank Davidson, NU has a squad full of returning players capable of hitting their midseason stride much earlier than the actual midseason.

“The girls season is short,” Davidson said. “It’s here and gone.

“You have to work hard every day to improve your skills and to build the team’s camaraderie real quickly. Fortunately, this team has come together nicely. They seem to really enjoy each other.”

Chelsey Love, a three-year varsity player, leads the way after qualifying for the section’s Division II postseason tournament for the second straight season. The junior hopes to take her game to the next level this season, by earning a trip to the section Masters meet and, perhaps, even beyond.

“She’s got the game to do it,” Davidson said. “She’s straight down the middle, just pretty solid from tee to green. We’re hoping and expecting her to have a fun year. She’s worked hard in the offseason.”

Also back are Love’s classmates, Madeline Wagnecht, Sydney Zink and Marissa Parks.

Wagnecht is a third-year golfer who has played on the varsity squad the past two seasons. Zink is one of the hardest-working members of the team, Davidson said before noting that Parks is perhaps the longest driver on the squad.

Two sophomores, Emilie Arnoldi and Megan Arnett, round out the lineup. Arnoldi has been scoring right behind Love in the early season, while Arnett shot her personal best nine-hole score of 49 in the season’s first scrimmage.

In terms of Sierra Foothill League competition, Davidson said it’s too early to actually tell for sure, but he does have a good idea which teams are expected to be among the title contenders.

“My guess is four will compete for two (playoff) spots,” he said. “That’s likely going to be Granite Bay, Woodcreek, Del Oro and Nevada Union It’s going to be a dogfight.”

The Miners open league play Tuesday against Granite Bay at Alta Sierra Country Club, which serves as Nevada Union’s home course.

Considering he graduate four members of his 2009 Bruins team, Bear River coach Gayne Nakano feared that he might take to the course this fall with only a few players who had previously played the game.

Instead, the longtime Bruin coach was pleased to find four golfers who might be new to the team, but not necessarily the sport.

“They all can already hit the ball and get around the course,” Nakano said. “We graduated four, so I thought we might have people who had never golf before.”

Among the four Bruins gone to graduation was Hannah Brown, who proved that a player with limited experience can eventually contend with the league’s best. Brown, who was a member of Bear River’s back-to-back Pioneer Valley League championship teams in 2007-08, placed 13 among the 61 golfers competing last year’s Division IV tournament.

Expected to lead the way this year is senior Emilie Yonan, a four-year member of the varsity squad.

“That is her strength, her leadership,” Nakano said. “She gets the kids fired up about going to the matches and playing. But she also is out there to have fun. They’re all actually like that, but she’s there to make sure that happens.

“She’s pretty strong in all aspects of her game. If there’s a weakness, it’s her putting. She’s kind of a streaky putter at times. Usually what determines if she shoots a good a good game is her putting.”

Bear River’s only other returning player from the 2009 team is junior Casey Brown, a second-year player. Brown and Yonan will be joined by two first-year seniors in Carly Corippo and Liz Runne, along with two freshmen in Grace Magni and Cassie Smith.

In terms of the league outlook, Nakano should have a pretty good idea of where his team stands today, as the Bruins travel to The Ridge in Auburn for a match with Placer, the team he foresees as the league’s top contender.

Contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton via e-mail at or by phone at 477-4240.

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