Moore League girls’ golf has been dominated by Wilson over the last decade thanks to great players and quality coaching from Jeff Evans. He’s stepped down after 13 years at the helm, and with Millikan breathing down the Bruins’ necks, the league could look a little different this season.
Kurt Holmes, who has served as the Wilson boys’ and girls’ junior varsity coach for the past 11 seasons, will step up to coach the varsity squads this year. He said he’s going to count on reigning league individual champion Emi Sverduk and four-year varsity golfer Emma Royle to lead this young squad. Sverduk and Royle are the only returning starters from last season.
Cameron Bennett and Genevieve Perez were co-MVPs on the junior varsity team last year, and had a really productive summer working together. Briana De Jesus, Emara Prak and Tara Valley are also up from the JV squad. Holmes added that incoming freshman Alyson Sor and Annika Morallos are both outstanding players and will have a positive impact for the team.
Millikan only lost to Wilson by three strokes in their league match at El Dorado Park Golf Course last year, and coach Robert Tomlin thinks his team is still headed in the right direction after three Rams finished in the top eight of the league individual tournament. Millikan also advanced to CIF team competition, but graduated three top seniors.
Senior Madison Heintzelman and junior Olivia Hibson are stepping up into team captain roles. They tied for sixth at the league finals last year. Tomlin said junior Emma Ashcraft will also be key to the team’s overall success.
Longtime Long Beach Poly boys’ golf coach Bill Dodge took over the girls’ program last year and has the Jackrabbits building in a strong direction. This year is going to be a rebuilding season after the program graduated almost its entire varsity squad.
“We’re looking good but we’re pretty green,” Dodge said.
The Jackrabbits have one strong returner in Hanna Van Wagner, a senior who finished fourth in the Moore League Finals last year and has qualified for the CIF-SS Tournament as an individual each of the last two years. Dodge has newcomers on the team around Van Wagner who he hopes will step it up this season.
Since the Moore League added girls’ golf as a sport in 2002, Poly is the only team besides Wilson to claim the crown, having won in 2008 and last in 2011.
Lakewood has been slowly growing and have a number of experienced seniors this year led by Mia Castillo and Sam Salinas. Coach Sean McWhorter said that Heaven Stewart and Amy Vo will be key newcomers who are new to the game of golf.
“Every match will be key for us this year because we need to continue to show progress and growth,” McWhorter said. “Within league we would like to close the gap with Poly and Millikan.”
Last year was Blake Dorman’s first season as girls’ golf coach at Cabrillo, where he’s seen a lot of growth as golfers over the last 12 months.
“Last year was a big learning experience for me, as it was for most of our first-year golfers,” Dorman said. “All of our girls improved significantly.”
Sophomore Marilu Quintero and junior Danyce Milotich will both be captains after only one year on the course. Sophomore Brissa Hernandez will be a key newcomer in her first year with the program.
“A successful season for our girls from the westside is representing their community and their school by playing golf, a sport that they might otherwise not have been exposed to,” Dorman said. “Golf is a tough sport and I want them to take lessons learned with them as they follow their interests and dreams.”