CIF Prep Girls Golf: Rancho Bernardo High edges Carlsbad to advance to SoCal Regional Championships
By Michael Bower
The Rancho Bernardo High girls golf team found itself in a familiar position Thursday after the final round CIF San Diego Section Championships – playing the waiting game.
The Broncos had to go through a short period of nervousness while the final scores were being tallied, but for the second year in a row they edged Carlsbad 802-806 for the final qualifying spot into next week’s Southern California Regional.
“Everyone’s heart was pounding and we were all together and huddled and hoping to make it,” said Rancho Bernardo sophomore Hana Bradshaw, who fired a team-best 151 over the two days at the par-72 Coronado Municipal Golf Course. “We are happy that we got past CIF.”
The Broncos finished second to two-time defending state champion Torrey Pines (750). Carlsbad finished third and Poway (839) finished in fourth place. The Falcons’ Sandy Choi finished with a 2-under, capturing the section championship for the second straight year.
This is the third consecutive season Rancho Bernardo qualified for the SoCal Regional. Team captain Raquel Ek carded a 152, while Jessica Wagner (165), Blaiz Major (179), Tori Hancock (165) and Rachel Machado (169) rounded out the scoring.
“I am really proud of the team,” Bradshaw said. “We broke a bunch of records this year and every time we played with Torrey Pines we just got nervous because they are good. But I am extremely happy. We tried our best.”
The Broncos’ lone two losses of the season were to Torrey Pines. Rancho Bernardo set the school record at Bernardo Heights Country Club by firing a 182. The team also set the best away score, shooting 193 at Rancho Bernardo Inn.
Broncos coach Tim Steigerwald was impressed with the way his team closed the final round of the section tournament. Ek finished with a 75 Thursday and shot 1-under for the last five holes. Machado, who won the team’s CIF Sportsmanship Award, struggled with an 84, but shot par on the final four holes of the afternoon.
“I can go all the way down the line and each kid stepped up and did what it takes,” Steigerwald said. “Some didn’t play their best, but they knew it was going to be close and they didn’t just cash in their round. It is nerve-wracking when it is tight like this, but it was great to pull it out.”
Del Norte senior Paris Griffith was involved in a three-way playoff for the final two individual spots into the SoCal Regional. Griffith earned one of the spots by paring the first playoff hole, while the other two competitors bogeyed. It was the second year in a row Griffith earned a spot in the SoCal Regional by winning a playoff.
Poway was led by Maddelyn Zack’s 156, which was only three strokes short of reaching the individual playoff. Joei Ducoti and senior Devon Thompson each carded a 166, while Lauren Spitzley finished with a 167.
The fourth-place finish was a vast improvement over last year’s 7th place showing. And Poway will certainly be back in the future, as the only golfer not returning next season is Thompson.
“I am extremely proud of this team,” said Poway coach Jim Bennet, whose squad’s only six losses this season came to the top three finishers at the section tournament. “This is a big step for getting where we want to be, and that is making the regional when they are seniors or maybe next year. This group is very competitive and I am just very proud of them.”
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