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Girls golf team wins league championship by Andre Rodas

The girls golf team took home the Valley 2 League Championship.

The team played nine holes and shot 422 at the Woodley Lakes Golf Course. Daria Sabar shot the low score for the team of 42. team co-captain Megan Dulkanchainun and Vanesza Hengthanaphaibun each shot a 45, team co-captain Kristen Vitolo shot a 46, Natcha Watanaharuetai shot a 55. These five players all earned medals for their individual finishes in the top 10 in their league.

Kennedy, El Camino Real and Taft High School were the opponents they faced in the finals. What ended up being the toughest part of the match was the course itself.

Taking home their champion trophy,(L) to (R) Vanessa Hengthanaphaibun, Marianne Mita, Daria Sabar, Natcha Watanaharuetai, Zoe Utsler, Magen Dulkanchainun and Kristen Vitolo pose for a victory photo.

“Our biggest obstacle at this course was definitely distance and the putting greens,” said Dulkanchainun. “This course [was] very long where we would have to only hit two or three times to get to the green that is over 350 yards away.”

According to Dulkanchainun, the team had to overcome the inconsistent grass length on the greens of the Woodley Lakes course, which determines how hard they had to hit the ball.

“Some holes are very fast and some are very slow,” she said. “It is hard to tell until you actually hit the ball, which then is too late.”

In order to prepare for this season the girls practiced on the three main types of swinging in golf which are full swing hits, chipping and putting. Since they practice on Mondays and Wednesdays, they alternated which swing they needed to work on.

“We usually make that decision by how we played last week, but it also depends on the golf course we are going to have our match on,” said Dulkanchainun.

Dulkanhainum believes confidence in yourself and in your swing goes a long way to stay champions.“If you cannot trust yourself, you will have an even harder time playing. If you want to stay as champions, then you must believe you are one.”

It is also important to bond as a team. Although golf is an individual sport the players have a close relationship.

THE FRIENDSHIP BONDS WE FORMED WERE GREAT AND I WOULDN’T WISH TO SPEND THE PAST FOUR YEARS DOING ANYTHING ELSE," SAID CO-CAPTAIN KRISTEN VITOLO

Team members have given each other nicknames. Wawa Hengthanaphaibun is “the god” whose swing is described as perfect every time. Kristen Vitolo is “the Flash” whose swing is very fast. And Dulkanchainun is “the Tornado” because her swing is described as very twisty.

Vitolo added that the team appreciated Coach Cloutier stepping in as their new golf coach this year. She said, “Coach Cloutier was a great support to the team at golf practices and matches.”

But golf isn’t just about having fun. Nor is it an easy sport to put on college apps or to get P.E credit. The girls play to win.

“No one is going to be easy on you just because you just started playing golf because there is a reason why it is called a golf team and not golf lessons” said Dulkanchainun. “A lot of people think it is okay to join a varsity golf team with no previous experience, but it just brings the team down,” she insisted.

However, Vitolo, has another perspective and says that she values each member of the team. Vitolo says, “we can always use new players on the team because we want to build up the team for next year and keep the program going strong.”

This was Vitolo and Dulkanchainun’s last season, but they both say they will always remember their time with the team.

Dulkanchainun says, “I am definitely going to miss playing golf at VNHS and there is nothing that would ever be the same as what I had experienced with my team.”

Additionally, senior Natcha Watanaharuetai says, “Although I’ve only been here since my junior year of highschool the friendships I’ve made here are amazing.”

“It is nice that we are continuing that legacy of winning league finals every year, and I hope the next golf team can keep it that way,” Dulkanchanun concluded.