Kings of clubs

Boys Golf Senior Night celebrates 2 seniors

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Angelina Ruckman

Seniors Alex Baker (left) and Max Domashchenko (right) pose next to the boys’ and girls’ golf head coach Tony Valdez. Parents and friends were there to celebrate the senior night after the golf game against Otay Ranch High (ORH).

Jose Solis, Podcast Manager

On April 21, Bonita Vista High (BVH) seniors and boys’ golf team Captains Alex Baker and Max Domashchenko played their final home game against Otay Ranch High (ORH) at the Bonita Golf Course. Following their subsequent game, the entire team and families moved to a venue where they could eat, talk and enjoy the soon-to-be end of the season with a celebratory senior night.

The players on the team greeted the seniors with cheers as their final game led to a victory over ORH. Applause was shared between them all as they pushed for a final hurrah with food and celebration. 

“The parents do a fantastic job; pictures, [celebrating] our seniors last home match with their teams, with me as their coach. They’ll never play on this course again as a member of the BVH golf team,” head boys and girls golf coach Tony Valdez said. “So we’d like to celebrate and honor them for their time and dedication to the program. It’s a really enjoyable time and something we all look forward to every year.” 

For the end of the season, these seniors were not only recognized with a celebration by the parents and the coach, but all the team members as they shared their final moments on the home field. Along with the captains’ skill, all parties involved recognized their ability to lead the golf team.

“They give everyone tips. If you ever need them, they’re there for you. Whether it be getting a read on the green to know how the ball is going to move when you putt, or even what club to use and yardages. They’ll give you tips on your swing, if you need help with that,” golf team member and junior Dorien Geske-Wilson said. “They are more than outgoing in aiding the entire team.”

So I think if you’re having fun and doing what you really love, a lot of great work will come out of that”

— Senior and golf captain Alex Baker

As for the players themselves, they both had different achievements and great levels of success in the sport. Starting with Baker, his successes can be seen numerically, as in getting one of the best scores on the team but also consistently getting through their usual nine holes with minimal strokes. 

“It’s [Baker’s] first year on the golf team [and] he hit a 39 par, which is a goal that all the golfers have to hit in the 30s. The par  here is 35. So if you hit 39, you’re 4 over which is amazing for nine holes,” Valdez said. “Right now he’s only shot in the 50s one time all year. He’s the only guy that can say that on the team.”

Along with Baker’s scoring successes, he is also acknowledged for his success in being a role model for the other golfers on the team. These successes are told directly from the mouth of the coach as he explains that character and attitude are big contributors to his smiling success.

“I’ve never had a situation where an athlete has come out for his first year [on the team] as a team captain, but that’s the kind of character this kid has. He’s always smiling,” Valdez said. “He has a great attitude [too]. He’ll have a bad shot [where] most of the guys get mad and storm off; he’s one of the few guys on the whole team that’ll say ‘I’ll birdie the next hole Coach, don’t worry about it’. He’s the kind of kid that I want these young guys to emulate, so we really appreciate [Baker].”

Along with Baker, Domashchenko was also congratulated for his work on the golf team. Even though his first year was as a junior, he will be praised for his work he’s put into the team these past two years, according to Valdez’s speech.

“[During] the beginning of COVID-19—his first year of organized golf—he [was already hitting] his 30s. He has a team low of a 37 this year. That’s 2 over par,” Valdez said. “His game has developed [too]. He’s just blossomed as he shoots 37s.”

At the end of Valdez’s speech, he commented on the high amount of dedication the seniors had to the game and how much time they’ve put into golf. As parents gave “oohs” and “ahs” for the students’ achievements, the coach continued to emphasize how much dedication the seniors would have.

“[Domashchenko would] be up out there [at the golf course in Chula Vista] at night. I saw him several times. All the girls left their matches and it would be me and Max at the parking lot waiting [in the] nighttime. He’s a grinder. It’s like [he had] to have a golf mindset wherever [Domashchenko could],” Valdez said.

With senior night winding down, Domashchenko, expecting to go to a restaurant to have some food and hang out with friends would be met with much more than just food and friends. As it would turn out, he and Baker would see a wide array of pictures of them, frames of blue and gold so that they could take their final pictures with their coach. As they took their final pictures, Domashchenko reflected on his previously stated highlights of the season.

“[There were] a few matches where we had good partners that we played with. It was fun and we also shot our best scores. My favorite matches this year were against Mater Dei. It was just a good match,” Domashchenko said.

The party was followed by rowdy laughter, hugs between coaches and heartfelt and emotional words as parents surrounded tables of food and memories. Each senior is held in high regard for their experience on the team and the memories they shared with one another.

“[The parents] have pictures of our two seniors [and] different matches throughout the year [since] we try to focus on them. We made baskets for them with their names and Class of 22’ Bonita shirts… [There were mostly] just nice pictures of different memories throughout the year, so it’s something that they can keep forever [to] remember the golf team,” Valdez said.

In the end, the work that the seniors have done this year has eventually paid off with their skills and their dedication while still showing the fun times of golf. The senior night was a ‘thank you’ for the seniors as their lasting friendships, leadership and contributions to the team, according to Geske-Wilson.

“Hard work really does pay off. People should really take pride in what they do, give it their fullest, and have fun,” Baker said. “A lot of these guys would get beat up at the end of the day. I would just tell them, if you’re not having fun, then there’s no point in being on this team. So I think if you’re having fun and doing what you really love, a lot of great work will come out of that.”