Mission Division, Weather Tough on Golf Team


Melissa Chavez

Junior Diego Calderon gets a practice swing in at hole 4 in the season opener at Crazy Horse Ranch. The team finished in the middle of the pack in league, coming in 4th in the league finals, but Calderon was optimistic about the future. “We’ll have a stronger team next season since we are experienced now,” he said.

Last year the boys experienced the perfect condition for golf, a season with sunny weather and they averaged 3rd place finishes.   

This season, like the weather, was a little rougher. Due to a league realignment this year, the team was bumped up to the Mission Division.  This meant competition against new schools such as Pacific Grove, Alvarez, Monte Vista, North Monterey County, and Monterey.  Stepping up on the boys’ half had been harder this year because of historic rain. “In my 20 years as coach, I have never seen so much rain that has prevented us from practicing,” Coach Sunil Patel said.  Despite losing more than half of their practices, hope didn’t fade for the season.

At the beginning of the season, the team managed to rank 3rd beating three schools in the season’s opening match at Crazy Horse Ranch.  This was the first match in years for some, but the team’s make-up was mostly returners.  Two out of three seniors on the team have been playing for four years – Jovany Mojica and Noah Arista.  Nonetheless, the third senior Diego Vargas was a first-year player and still had the chance to compete in upcoming matches.  The team also had three juniors – Diego Calderon, Sebastian Soto, and Ivan Alonso; two sophomores – Jeremiah Baloca, Oscar Calderon, and freshman Andrew Figueroa.  

Despite difference in ages, they meshed well. “I think we have good chemistry, like we’re all pretty comfortable with each other,” Soto said.  This is because the team’s competitiveness only comes out at matches or when trying to earn a spot to play in a game.  “When we’re practicing, it’s not competitive,” Patel said, “They just want to help each other out.”  

At matches #2 and #3, the boys placed fourth, at the First Tee golf course and in Spring Hills.  On their return to Crazy Horse Ranch, the team ranked up again placing third in match #4.  They placed third at Del Monte golf course in match #5, and then outdid themselves in Pacific Grove Links by getting second place in match #6.  “It was a tough season, we had a lot of competition,” Patel said.  At the league finals, the team placed fourth but above North Monterey County and Pacific Grove.

Patel was proud of the team’s effort. “We beat Monte Vista Christian, Pacific Grove, Monterey, and North Monterey County,” Patel said. Calderon helped the most in achieving low stroke counts to be able to beat these schools.  “Our best player was Diego Calderon,” Patel said, “he was by far the lowest-scoring player we had.”  

Maintaining a positive attitude was a key for Calderon. “My approach to golf is different because no matter where I hit the ball, I’ll try to make the best out of the shot,” Calderon said. He wants to get better for his team every day, “We’ll have a stronger team next season since we are experienced now,” Calderon said.

According to Patel, Baloca was the most improved and has the potential to be even better.   “What helped me most was that I got feedback and input from other teammates like Diego, Sebastian, and Oscar,” Baloca said.

Finishing in the middle of the pack didn’t make it any less of a great season.  The team continued to have the most laughs and make a difficult, and frustrating, sport a really fun game.  “I think it’s a responsibility of the coach to make sure that you are always providing an environment and a culture where players are having fun, helping each other, not taking it too seriously, and knowing that this is just a game,” Patel said.