Season Outlook: Bruin golfers tee up title defense
Bear River’s girls golf team broke into school history last fall, posting a perfect 8-0 Pioneer Valley League mark and earning their program’s first league championship.
So what will they do for an encore?
Considering each of the golfers who teed off in 2007 are back again this fall, the bar no doubt will be set higher this time around.
But, said veteran coach Gayne Nakano, not so fast.
“There will be new goals, but we need to do first things first,” Nakano said. “With league, we’ll just go match by match. We’ve kind of set a new goal, but first we want to be the No. 1 program in the league again.”
With three golfers who earned All-PVL honors last fall, the Bruins will likely tee off with targets on their backs each meet. Senior Ashlee Andrews, the PVL Most Valuable Player in ’07, leads the way after finishing just two strokes short of qualifying for the section Masters tournament.
Andrews will be joined by fellow all-league honorees Hannah Brown, a junior, and Emilie Yonan, a sophomore. Seniors Kenzie Billings and Sierra Pruss, along with juniors Lucy Corippo and Stephanie Wong are also back from the 2007 season.
In terms of talent, Nakano has coached a couple of high caliber players in his time as Bear River’s coach, including Jeanne Eilers and Allyson Harvie, who went on to play at Oregon and Ohio State, respectively.
But it would be tough to recall a Bear River team this deep in talent, especially over the course of two consecutive seasons.
“This is the strongest group we’ve had,” Nakano said. “More than anything, it’s their depth. Our fifth and sixth scores are what most schools will get from their third or fourth players.”
Nakano expects Placer and Whitney to be potential roadblocks to the Bruins’ bid for back-to-back PVL crowns. And while he’s confident his team will continue to improve, Nakano is not about to take anything for granted ” especially a second straight league championship.
“Golf is a game that as long as everybody makes improvement that’s all we can ask for,” he said. “That’s because you can’t control what other people do. So our goal is to just improve as golfers.”
Hank Davidson is pretty confident that his Nevada Union Miners will make some movement after a 1-11 showing in the Sierra Foothill League last season.
“We have to prove that we’re a better team than last year,” Davidson said. “We have a lot of room for improvement with these young ladies, so we’ll see how that turns out.”
With two of the Miners top players returning from last fall, along with an influx of talented freshmen, Davidson likes the odds of that happening.
Christina Miller, who earned second team All-SFL honors as a sophomore, was the lone Miner to qualify for the divisional tournament in 2007. Also back is her junior classmate Victoria McKinzie and senior Tess Ely.
But among the newcomers is Chelsey Love, a freshman who has already won medalist honors in the two meets this year. Also expected to contribute are freshmen Madeline Wagnecht, Sydney Zink and Kendall Barnes.
All of the Miners will need to play at the top of their game for the Miners to make noise in the SFL, Davidson said.
“Rocklin, Granite Bay and Del Oro will definitely be good teams,” Davidson said. “We have an uphill battle in front of us.”
To contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4240.
Bear River Bruins
Coach: Gayne Nakano
Last year: 8-0, Pioneer Valley League champions; Finished third in the section Division IV tournament.
Returning letterwinners: Ashlee Andrews (Sr.), Kenzie Billings (Sr.), Sierra Pruss (Sr.), Hannah Brown (Jr.), Lucy Corippo (Jr.), Stephanie Wong (Jr.), Emilie Yonan (So.)
Key newcomer: Breanna Rogers
Coach Nakano says: “This is the strongest group we’ve had. More than anything, it’s their depth. Our fifth and sixth scores are what most schools will get from their third or fourth players.”
Nevada Union Miners
Coach: Hank Davidson
Last year: 1-11 in Sierra Foothill League; Christina Miller qualified for section divisional competition.
Returning letterwinners: Tess Ely (Sr.), Christina Miller (Jr.), Victoria McKinzie (Jr.)
Key newcomers: Chelsey Love (Fr.), Sydney Zink (Fr.), Madeline Wagnecht (Fr.), Kendall Barnes (Fr.)
Coach Davidson says: “We have a lot of room for improvement with these young ladies, so we’ll see how that turns out.”
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Hank Sowell’s introduction to the game of golf came early as a set of clubs was among the gifts he received on his very first birthday.