In what’s getting to be a pretty safe bet, the Yosemite High School girls golf team continued its dominance of the North Sequoia League, winning its 12th consecutive league title Oct. 12 at the Lemoore Golf Course.
Playing its best team round of golf this season, the Badgers, coached by Rusty Oetinger, scored a 467, 28 strokes ahead of second place Chowchilla, who had a team score of 495. Liberty placed third at 556, followed by Sierra (565), Kerman (574) and Washington Union (638).
The team was lead by two-time NSL MVP junior Claire Oetinger, who shot a four over par 76 to win the tournament.
The number two player on the team, sophomore Trinity Curtis, shot a 91, a score inflated by an uncharacteristic 10 strokes on one hole. Coach Oetinger said that Curtis would have easily shot in the 80s if not for that one hole.
Following Curtis was the only senior on the team, Hailey Abrahams, with a 95. Then came Meagan Rich, a sophomore shooting 102, junior Sarah Meeks with a 103 and junior Sarah Davey at 105.
In addition to Oetinger, Curtis, Rich, and Meeks were also named to the NSL All League team.
The next step for the Lady Badgers is participating in the North Area Tournament at Madera Municipal on Oct. 24. It will take excellent play from every team member at that tournament for Yosemite to contend for the CIF D-II Section Championship on Nov. 1 at Kings Country Club in Visalia.
When asked about his team’s chances of playing beyond the North Area Tournament, Coach Oetinger said he is very superstitious, from coaching and playing baseball for many years.
“I really emphasize the cliché, ‘It is bad luck to look past the next game,’ so we are focusing on posting a good score at the North Area Tournament,” Coach Oetinger said. “It’s going to be tough because we will not have two of our starters, both Sarahs (Davey and Meeks), who will be flying back from Europe on the day that we play. Claire, Trinity, Hailey, Meagan and Maya (Magdaleno) are going to have to really focus and depend on each other like they have all year.”
Coach Oetinger said his team has really focused on the team aspect of the game and have picked each other up when needed this season.
“I have had two teams that were very much like this team - the team that had the Keyser sisters, Amanda Rudd, Raquel Hernandez, Brianna Smith and Kelsi McPhetridge,” Oetinger said. “That team should have won a section title, but we were in D-I at that time.”
The other team was the 2014 D-II Section Championship team made up of Kelsi Stieler, Jessica Rudd, Jordyn Ahrens, Claire Oetinger, Libby Haggard and Hailey Abrahams.
More consistent play for Oetinger
Claire Oetinger said that despite being named the league MVP last year as a sophomore, she wasn’t playing with very much confidence going into the postseason.
“This year as the league MVP, I played with a lot more consistency and I feel much more confident about reaching my post season goals,” Claire said.
Her ultimate goal is to reach the Southern Section State Championship, but she’s smart enough to know she has to focus on “one step at a time.”
The next step is the North Area Individual Championship, held during the North Area Team Championship. The top 10 individuals at that tournament will advance to the Central Section Individual Championship tournament. That tournament will be held on the same day as the Team Championship at Kings Country Club. She has to finish in the top 10 to move on to the Southern Section Sate Championship.
Coach Oetinger is also trying not to get ahead of himself and look too far ahead, but the incoming eighth grade class next year has some great prospects, including another Oetinger, daughter Taylor.