By Julia Hernandez
The Varsity Boys Golf team started out their season on the right foot as they won the Cougar Invitational, placed second in the Riverside Poly Tournament, and placed third in Martin Luther King tournament. The Cougar Invitational took place on April 1, 2019, at the Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon. Riding their wave of success, the boys remain 3-2 in league matches and have goals of beating their rivals, Great Oak High School and Vista Murrieta High School. With hard work, both physically and mentally, the team may have the capability to not only win league, but also go far in California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) individually.
Although the team overall performed well at each of the tournaments, Senior Captain Jack Sunderland admitted to having a rough start to his season. “I’ve been playing pretty well recently, though,” he commented. He has been improving his shot accuracy by working hard and practicing every day. A previous struggle of Sunderland’s was becoming frustrated during a match, which would affect how well he would play. This season, however, he has “been really good at keeping [his] emotions in check.” In order for Sunderland to deem his last high school season a success, he is determined to make it to the CIF State Finals. After high school, he intends on being a walk-on player at Dixie State University. By keeping up with his daily practice routine and mentally preparing himself before each match, Sunderland’s future in this season, and at college, appears to become more and more likely to be successful.
With his eye on winning league also, Sophomore Chance Mitchell is practicing his swing as well as maintaining a strong mindset. Mitchell reflected on his strengths, like being able to “hit different types of shots” as an example. He practices the unlikely angles so that he is prepared for anything during a match. Although he can lose focus during games and tournaments, he enjoys playing with his team. “Our team is great at cooperating and working together, however, we don't all have a good day on the same day, so there is [sic] always one or two bad scores,” Mitchell said. The varsity team encourages one another to do their best at all times, and to push each other so they can achieve their goals this season.
Outside of teaching math, Head Coach Mr. Jonathan Mitchell trains the varsity team into the best athletes they can be. “They’re good golfers,” Coach Mitchell praised, “. . .but they take it for granted. . .[In order for them to get better,] they have to get mentally tougher on themselves.” The team practices every day at the Golf Club at Rancho California for couple hours. They spend their time hitting balls at the range, then playing some chipping and putting games. Just as the players have their own individual goals and improvements they would like to achieve this season, Coach Mitchell has goals for the team as a whole as well. “We want to win league, but we’ll go baby steps in. We’ll beat Great Oak first, beat Great Oak for the second time, then throttle Vista [Murrieta] when we play them the next time—just to embarrass them,” he described. By conquering the Pumas’ rivals, the team will be at the skill level they need to be at in order to succeed in the CIF rounds. Hoping his team does well enough to win league, Coach Mitchell hopes for the best for all of his players for the remainder of the season, especially the individuals who will continue onto CIF.
The outcome of the season purely depends on the athletes’ work ethic and their own desire to succeed. With the team’s task of getting “mentally tougher” in order to handle each difficulty they may face in a match, they will find themselves calmer instead of overthinking each shot they take. With consistent hard work and practice, the Varsity Boys Golf team will find themselves at CIF.