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Golf teams reflect on current ‘season to remember’

By Joshua Bray

Slatonite Intern

Due to the spread of COVID-19 around the country, many sports have been put on hold, with their future unclear as the situation with the virus develops.

For Louisa Gonzales, Slaton High School’s Head Golf Coach, the uncertainty on whether or not the season will continue has been disappointing.

“I was really excited about where our teams were going into the weeks before our District meets,” Gonzales said. “We would have played our first round of District this Monday and Tuesday.  Our new golfers were improving with each tournament we played, and we were on track to return to the Regional meet this year.  We were really excited.”

Players from freshmen to seniors have all shown growth in their time with the team. Gonzales said that freshman Kathryn Castillo is someone who she has been excited to watch grow as a player.

“We had just fitted her with the right driver, one she was extremely comfortable teeing off with,” Gonzales said. “On the boys’ side, newcomers Gabriel Solis, Jose Sanchez, Quincy Graham have significantly improved since we started and have contributed greatly to our boys’ team.”

Gonzales said that players JD Hogan and Ryan Stone have also shown a lot of growth since their last season.

“It is evident that they have been practicing throughout the year in preparation for this season,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales said that her heart hurts the most for the seniors of the team during this hiatus, and hopes that when all is said and done, they will be able to make one last run at the Regional meet. For the girls’ team, the seniors are Deauna Garcia, Mallorie Rivera and Araceli Valdez.

“Four were Regional qualifiers last year and were working hard to advance again this season one last time,” Gonzales said. “I have really enjoyed witnessing their growth as leaders, taking on the new members of our teams and teaching them the game.  Watching them during our ICU indoor practices and early in the season during our backyard practices, mentoring and guiding them, was really inspiring.”

The boy’s team’s senior are Michael Solis, Isreal Hererra and Shaun Smith.

Smith, who just joined the team this season, brings an infectiously positive attitude, according to Gonzales

“(Shaun) has been so fun to watch,” Gonzales said. “His attitude and spirit on the court has been such a joy to see.  Parents and coaches from other teams have commented to me how much fun he is to watch.  I’m so glad he stepped into the golf world this year.”

Gonzales said when the season resumes she will look forward to watching the new players play in their first District tournament and to watching the seniors close the door on their high school careers, hopefully with a run at the State tournament.

While the COVID-19 epidemic is still in full swing, Gonzales hopes that things will return to normal quickly so that the team can finish off their season.

“I am praying that we are able to finish out this season,” Gonzales said.  “The weather has been perfect for practice, but of course, we have not been able to go as a team.  I am looking forward to getting back out on the course and finishing what we started.”

Gonzales said she is appreciative of all the support and encouragement she and the team have received of the course of this season.

“This was my first year as the head golf coach and there is no way I could have done this without all those who have helped us,” Gonzales said. “I am sad that this is our last season with the seniors, but I am super excited about the young ones who have joined us this year. 

“This will definitely be a season we will all remember.”

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