After 13 consecutive seasons of the Yosemite High School girl’s golf team dominating the North Sequoia League, a title is not in the works for this year’s Badgers - growth and development is.
This season, five of the team’s new players - three of them freshman - had never played competitive golf. Claire Oetinger’s departure has had an impact on the team, as well. Oetinger, a three-time NSL MVP, graduated in May, along with three other seniors. Her contributions have been missed and the Badgers currently sit in second place in NSL standings behind Chowchilla High School.
With Chowchilla winning all five of the NSL mini tournaments played thus far, the Tribe have the league title secured. Head coach Rusty Oetinger acknowledged the talent in Chowchilla but was still proud of where his team stands a week away from the final league tournament.
“Although we are young, my players have been progressing nicely. We are in a position to finish in a solid second place, and looking to return to our winning ways next year,” Rusty Oetinger said.
That progress has been showing up on the score sheet. The team shot 490 last week at the NSL tournament in Chowchilla, a 70-shot improvement from the Sept. 24 head-to-head match against Lemoore.
Senior Trinity Curtis established herself as one of the prime contributors on the team, along with Taylor Oetinger and Megan Rich. Much like last season, Curtis is currently on track to make the all-league team.
Oetinger is also encouraged by the performances from freshmen Tenaya Ahrens and Gina Abrahams.
Encouraging performances from some of the team’s newer faces and the fact that Chowchilla’s MVP-caliber golfer Claire Wright is graduating in the spring lead the Badgers’ coach feeling next year should be “fun and competitive.”
For the remainder of this season, the Badgers are focused on qualifying for the CIF D-II Championship. The team must shoot 525 or better at the NSL Girl’s Golf Championship on Oct. 17 in order to qualify for the tournament.
“I believe we have a very good chance of qualifying because our young players are improving quickly,” Oetinger said.