Prep Girls Golf: Rancho Bernardo High leads local teams into section tournament
By Michael Bower
The CIF San Diego Section girls golf tournament starts Tuesday at 8 a.m. at the spacious par-72 Coronado Municipal Golf Course.
Rancho Bernardo High, Poway and Del Norte have all qualified to play in the 16-team field.
The top two teams and the top 12 individuals not on a qualifying team at the section tournament will advance to the Southern California Regional Championships. The final round of the 36-hole section tournament will be Thursday.
Torrey Pines, the two-time defending state champions, is the heavy favorite to win the section title again. Rancho Bernardo, which has finished runner-up to the Falcons the last two years, will likely battle it out with Carlsbad for the second straight year for that coveted second qualifying spot.
“I think those three are clearly the best teams in the county,” Poway golf coach Jim Bennett said. “I think it is going to be a really tight one for that second spot behind Torrey Pines.”
The Broncos’ only two losses of the season have come to Torrey Pines in Palomar League play. Rancho Bernardo coach Tim Steigerwald said this is the most talented team in the history of the school.
The Broncos have five or six golfers (Blaiz Major, Jessica Wagner, Raquel Ek, Rachel Machado and Hanna Bradshaw) who on any given day could be the medalist. They will need all of them to play well in order to hold off Carlsbad for the second straight year.
“I think it is going to be close again with them,” Steigerwald said. “We are anticipating taking second place. I think we are looking pretty good.”
Del Norte captured its third straight Valley League title, but this year had to share the title with Mission Vista. Mission Vista proceeded to win the automatic berth into the section tournament at the North County Tournament, but the Del Norte earned an at-large spot.
Nighthawks senior Paris Griffith hopes to get back to the SoCal Regionals. After losing out on a playoff during the section tournament as a sophomore, Griffith captured the final qualifying spot during a playoff at last year’s section tournament.
While Del Norte hopes to make the cut down to the final eight teams for Day 2, Poway will try to improve on last year’s seventh-place finish.
“Our goal is to make the cut and we would like to finish in the top five or six teams,” Bennett said. “We really just want to better our position from last year.”
Junior Joei Ducot, who has been battling through injuries, and sophomore Maddelyn Zack have led the Titans throughout much of the season. The two have an outside chance of reaching the SoCal Regionals as individuals.
“I think it would be tough, but if they play lights out they are capable,” Bennett said.
The course at Coronado has wide fairways, fast greens and the pin placement is usually tough. The wind can also come into play, but Bennett thinks his team will shoot well.
“Our kids are so used to being crunched in at Stone Ridge Golf Course,” he said. “This gets them out in the open and lets them relax a little bit.”
Poway shot a team-best 206 earlier this year on the front-nine at Coronado.
- Prep Girls Golf: Rancho Bernardo High, local golf teams loaded for success
- Prep Girls Golf: Del Norte High clinches third straight Valley League crown
- Prep Girls Golf: Bradshaw leads Rancho Bernardo High to third straight win
- Prep Girls Tennis: Rancho Bernardo High, Poway, Del Norte all advance to second round of section championships
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