After seeing all sports shut down last March, the Escalon High School athletic program is welcoming the return of competition. The Lady Cougar golf girls have put two wins on the books, getting back on the course this past week, playing this spring in the Valley Oak League.
“We have 13 matches scheduled, but will play two teams during one match, so 14 total,” said head coach Kristie Cathcart. “The VOL uses five or six scores; we usually only use four.”
Escalon defeated both Ripon Christian and Central Catholic in action to open their season, considered ‘Season 1’ in what is projected to be a two-season school sports campaign. They defeated Ripon Christian on the road Tuesday, Feb. 16 and then hosted Central Catholic at Escalon for a Wednesday, Feb. 17 contest.
“Although we are playing the other team, the VOL coaches suggested we stay in our teams, so we tee off and stay with our team and then compare scores at the end,” Cathcart explained of the socially distant form of play. “Usually the girls go out in foursomes, two from each team. Since we stay in our team, I have been able to have more than six girls play, which is a big advantage for the girls getting course experience. Per CIF rules when we started, players and coaches need to wear masks during play and spectators are not allowed.”
The Lady Cougars feature seven returning players this year: two seniors, two juniors and three sophomores along with three new players, a senior, a sophomore and a freshman.
“Emma (Guevara) is the new sophomore. She has only been playing golf since last summer, but will have a big impact on our team,” Cathcart predicted.
At the Jack Tone course against Ripon Christian on Feb. 16, it was a 163-236 win for Escalon, with four scores counted. Leading the way for the Lady Cougars were senior Ella Adams at 39 and senior Ella MacKinnon at 40. Bella Ambro, junior, shot a 41 with sophomore Lucy Allbaugh and Emma Guevara each carding a 42. Junior Sarah Bava shot a 48, sophomore Nathalia Guevara rounded out the day with a 52.
Wednesday at the Escalon Golf Course, the host Lady Cougars won 189-234 over Central Catholic. Five scores were counted. Allbaugh shot a 32 for Escalon, followed by Adams at 36, MacKinnon with a 38, Emma Guevara at 40, Bava at 43, Ambro carding a 46, Nathalia Guevara at 47 and sophomore Gracie Bracco coming in at 50.
“Although this season of golf will be different for us, it is great for the girls to be able to have some normalcy back. I’m happy that our two seniors get to play a sport for their senior year,” Cathcart said. “We are used to playing in triple digit heat, so having to deal with cold and wind is something new. I was able to purchase umbrellas and rain gear for the team so we will be prepared for any conditions.”
The girls were scheduled to play at Swenson Golf Course in Stockton against Weston Ranch on Feb. 22, after The Times went to press, and host Kimball (Tracy) at Escalon Golf Course on Feb. 24.