The last putt

Girls’ golf triumphs in last match against Otay Ranch High


Nicole Macgaffey

Senior Madison Bianes takes her first swing at Bonita Golf Course in a match against Otay Ranch High. BVH won this match, taking home their first win of the season.

The wind blowing in the air, players concentrating on making the perfect stroke—the atmosphere at the Bonita Golf Course was calm and peaceful. 

On April 19, Bonita Vista High’s (BVH) girls’ golf team played their last game of the Spring season in a victory against Otay Ranch High (ORH). Specifically, due to a shortage of ORH players, the ORH girls’ golf team had to forfeit the game.  

BVH Head girls’ and boys’ golf coach and Physical Education (PE) teacher Tony Valdez said the match had “a calmness and peacefulness” for the players. 

“Our players could get that once a week or once every other week and matches last between two and three hours, so they had plenty of time to get that outlet and get their mind off other stuff, and calm down a little bit and enjoy themselves,” Valdez said.

The first game of the Spring season started in February, as the season was shortened due to pandemic-related complications. Players described feeling jittery playing their last game of the school year, especially as three BVH players are graduating seniors.

“Starting the matches, it was very nerve wracking having to hit a golf ball in front of everyone,” sophomore Kristen Llamas said. “It was very emotional because of all the seniors that are leaving. They mentored me when I started [playing golf as] a freshman. I’m very glad I got to make new friends and have them by my side through my learning experience.”

BVH girls’ golf co-captain Hannah Cancel is among those graduating seniors. She has been on the BVH girls’ golf team since her freshman year. Cancel described the match as bittersweet and thought that the season overall was really fun. 

“I was actually pretty excited to finish out strong. I’ve been playing for a while so it was a little bit sad to have this big part of my life end because I’m not going to be playing in college,” Cancel said. 

Llamas also said she felt grateful to participate in the match, as her team played fewer games this season due to the pandemic. She noted that players on both teams practice good sportsmanship and are supportive of each other regardless of the game’s outcome.

“It definitely felt good when you would shoot well and the other team would say ‘nice shot,’ because everyone [on ORH’s team] is really nice and friendly. That’s what makes you want to come out and keep playing,” Llamas said.

Cancel expressed that senior night was a good experience for her. According to Cancel, the team made posters for the seniors, gave them gifts and there were also decorations at the club house where the senior night was held. The team was able to celebrate their win, their season overall and the seniors. 

“This season was a little bit different than past seasons but I think this was probably the closest bonding and group we’ve ever had,” Cancel said. “[The team had] the same girls from last year but also some new girls. We got to continue what we had from last year and it was just good to go out with a bang.”

Valdez mentioned that because the team only got to play in five matches, players did not get the chance to improve and work on their game due to the season being a third as long, but he still believed that the players did well. 

“It’s the only sport I found where you could be on top of the world and the very next second it will humble you,” Valdez said. “So it’s a great character builder.”

For freshman Alexis Acosta, golf is a relatively new but revitalizing sport amid social distancing guidelines. Acosta joined BVH’s girls’ golf team in the beginning of the Spring season in February, which she said allowed her to venture outside her comfort zone and meet new people.

“[Golf] gave me something new [and] it got me out there. It’s okay to go out of your comfort zone. I didn’t think I was ever going to like golf, but it’s [become] my new favorite thing,” Acosta said.

For many students going through the motions of remote learning, according to Acosta, sports are often the only relief from isolation. Acosta emphasized the importance of finding physical or creative outlets to stay engaged in the pandemic.

“I think it’s really important that students who are online get into something like sports because it gives them a reason to go outside and interact with people [while] still being safe,” Acosta said.

Valdez expressed that he was “so proud” of the seniors and appreciated the dedication and commitment they put towards the sport and wishes he had another year with them. He recognized that “they had a year like no one else” and commended their ability to maintain a positive attitude. 

“We just want to be grateful we had a season because there was a point in time where we didn’t think there was going to be any sports. So I tried to instill in them [to] just be grateful for every match [they] got to play. We got to play the game that they all love and enjoy,” Valdez said. “That’s why they’re out for the golf team, and we did get something so we wanted to remain grateful.”