Girls golf takes four members to state after an un-fore-getable season


Astin Ramos

Sandy situation: Junior Tatum Vallejo, hits the ball out of a sand pit at the Falcon Lakes meet.

Audrey Menzies, Co Editor-In-Chief

Ending regionals with tee-riffic scores, four members of the Lady Pirate’s golf team will advance to the State championship beginning Oct. 18th. Those four members are senior Ashlyn Rhodes, sophomore Caitlin Kirwan and juniors Tatum Vallejo and Kendall Vest. 

Going into regionals, Coach Steve Pope made sure to coach not only the physical side of golf but the mental side. For many members of the team, the mental side is more important than the physical aspects. 

“The team worked on putting the day before regionals and we talked about the mental side of the game,” Pope said. “I told the girls the game can get frustrating and if things start to go bad that they need to focus on one shot at a time.”

Senior Ashlyn Rhodes has made it to the State championship twice in her career. However, this year included greater responsibilities as Rhodes was the only senior on the team. 

“Being the only senior on the team and the only one in my grade all four years has been different,” Rhodes said. “I have been in positions where I look up to others and then others look up to me. This year on the team as a senior has been emotional I would say. Starting the season off not the best but going up from there but also trying to be a good role model. It will be hard leaving all the underclassmen that I have created good relationships with.”

With this year being the largest team Pope has experienced in many years, he had to re-evaluate his coaching style. 

“This season was different from the past because we had 16 girls on the team,” Pope said.  “This was challenging because we had to coordinate what to do at practice with so many golfers.  Overall, I think it went well and I appreciate the girls for working hard at such a tough game to play.”

Going into her first state experience junior Tatum Vallejo is setting her goals.

“A personal goal I have is to stay calm and not get frustrated,” Vallejo said. “I have a tendency to get mad after I hit a bad shot and it messes up the rest of my game.”

Similar to Vallejo, this is sophomore Caitie Kirwan’s first State experience and she felt extreme excitement when she discovered she would be moving forward to state. 

“I was speechless and so happy,” Kirwan said. “I didn’t know if I would make it but when I did it was the highlight of my high school season.” 

Senior Ashlyn Rhodes is looking forward to her last State experience but is sad to leave her team at the end of the season and hopes to leave them with this advice. 

“Some advice I want to leave behind for my teammates is to always stay positive and push yourself,” Rhodes said. “Continue to believe in yourself no matter what you score.”