Photo provided by the Girls Golf team
This piece was also published in The Echo Magazine 24.1.
After finishing 4th in the 2020 Sectional Tournament at Silver Lakes Country Club last year, the Neuqua Girls Golf team is back and better than ever, with a 10-0 record for both the varsity and JV teams: a new school record.
According to head coach John Keller, “it’s on them to do summer tournaments. They do a lot of lessons on their own, things like that. They really have to, kind of, come into the season prepped and ready,” and their current performance is a huge testament to the hard-work they’ve put in when nobody is watching.
Senior golfer, Sarah Zheng, however, took this to the next level.
“I stayed in Florida for about 6 months and trained during my off season… I had the opportunity to play in a few tournaments during that time as well, which has prepared me well for this season.”
Zheng, who has verbally committed to play collegiate golf Carleton College in Minnesota has had an extraordinary season, leading the team to victory on many occasions and placing first at the DVC Conference.
Keller notes that the team has been adhering to all of the COVID-19 restrictions put in place by the administration in order to ensure the safety of players.
“One of the great things about golf is: you leave the school, you go out onto the golf course and you kind of forget about it. Last year, that was pretty much the case, but we didn’t have our weekend tournaments. Our bigger tournaments, we had to wear the masks [while] warming up, but once we started playing, we could take them off.”
COVID restrictions have made it difficult for the team to be close physically, yet they have continued to grow closer over the past year.
“We’re all a lot closer as a team. A lot of us are seniors, so we’ve all spent a lot of years together on the team. We’ve gotten closer with a lot of underclassmen as well. Just having that bond with everyone creates a more fun and collaborative environment,” said returning senior golfer, Chelea Santos.
Now, while other sports are kicking off this fall, the Girls Golf team has closed out their regular season with an impressive victory over Naperville North at the DVC Conference. After winning the DVC conference and placing first at regionals, the girls walked away with an impressive 10th place finish at an incredibly competitive state championship.