After Winning the Northern Division Title Last Year, San Marino Is Looking to Drop That One Extra Stroke
At the CIF Southern Section state girls’ qualifying tournament last November, golfers representing San Marino High School struck the ball about 500 times. One too many, as it would turn out.
“Yeah, one stroke,” Coach Wyeth Collo remembers.
It’s an ongoing debate among athletes – is it better to come up just short or get blown out? In this case, 6 girls had to endure the drive home wondering if the responsibility fell on their shoulders.
In retrospect, there was much to celebrate. San Marino won the first CIF championship in school history after dominating the Pacific League. Ada Wong, then a freshman, came within a single stroke of qualifying for the CIF State individual finals as well.
The Lady Titans are also victims of their own success. Junior Elizabeth Wang is currently wrapping up an aggressive amateur tour schedule that has greatly limited her ability to play for her high school.
“We are doing well,” said Collo. “We have three new players on the varsity squad. Elizabeth’s tour schedule has made it a little more challenging for us this year. We have brought up some junior varsity girls. We are developing and gaining confidence.”
Junior Bella Setio, another nationally ranked player, chose to sit out the season as well, further limiting Collo’s lineup.
San Marino is part of the Pacific League when it comes to girls’ golf, which includes Arcadia, Burbank, Burroughs, Arcadia, Crescenta Valley and La Cañada High Schools. Winning a league title will be a tougher challenge in 2016, but when at full strength, the Lady Titans are tough to beat.
Wang is currently competing in Canada, but will be ready for a playoff run.
“Elizabeth is obviously a very solid player,” said Collo. “Her outside experience really helps the team so she contributes on the scorecard as well as with her leadership.”
That scorecard part is pretty impressive. Wang has a score average of 34 on par 36 courses.
Sophomore Ada Wang is another strong component.
“Ada is a more patient, more mature golfer this year,” said Collo. “She was already mature but she is even more so this season. We are expecting her and Elizabeth to lead the team. They are our 1-2 punch.”
Wang averages 38 strokes per round in league play.
Senior Cameron McCrary, San Marino High School’s aptly designated Spirit Commissioner, is also a captain.
“She is actually playing better than she did last year,” said Collo. “She worked hard during the off-season and is contributing on and off the course. Her highs and lows are not as big. Cameron does a great job of instilling spirit on and off the course.”
Her “on the course” average of 39 is pretty solid, too.
Senior Vivian Sun is getting back in the groove after battling an injury.
“Right now, Vivian’s scores are not where she expects them, but she will contribute much more as the season progresses,” said Collo. “Vivian is a true competitor and wants to play as much as possible. It is still relatively early in the season and she is a great player.”
Over the summer, Sun participated in several exclusive competitions as well.
Junior Chloe Tsui is contributing in her second season as a member of the varsity squad.
“Chloe is a really fine young lady with an excellent work ethic,” said Collo. “We just need to get her more experience on the course.”
Chloe Lok, a sophomore, provides a chare on and off the course.
“Chloe is really in her first year on the varsity and is coming along well,” Collo said. “Consistency is key for her right now. Chloe has an excellent mental approach to the game. She acts like a captain and really contributes to the team’s overall spirit.”
With Wang missing from the lineup, the Lady Titans fell to 3rd in Tuesday’s 5th Rio Hondo League meet of the season after two seconds and two firsts. They still have another league meet and league finals to defend their championship, but are getting big challenges from Arcadia and Burroughs.
“I think that with what we have right now, winning league is going to be a big challenge and is our first challenge,” Collo said. “Within the Pacific league, we may have as many as four teams in league going to CIF and two or three possibly advancing past CIF. We actually have a shot at all of us advancing, which would be considered amazing. It will be a tough fight. The teams have really improved. Women’s golf has really improved in this area.”
To continue the growth, the Pacific League has instituted an unofficial junior varsity competition that is held on a more informal basis.
“It’s for schools that have a greater number of players,” Collo explained. “It’s a good way to get the girls exposure to competition and more experience on the course.”
More competition and exposure also helps cut down on their total number of strokes. You never know when one less shot will make the difference. Check that: Collo knows.