Girls golf ekes out close win in short league season
Fans of Claremont High School girls golf were amazed last season by the talent of Jett Legacion, a freshman who was tearing up the links. Those same fans were undoubtedly stunned when Legacion announced that she would be home schooled this year and would not be competing for CHS.
Enter freshman Kelly Xu, Claremont’s latest golf phenom. Xu has the calm confidence, and an amazingly strong drive, that are consistent with a much more experienced player. On Tuesday she did not disappoint, shooting an impressive one over par 37 on the front nine holes, leading the Pack to a narrow 234-238 victory over visiting Wilson High School.
It was not her best round at Marshall Canyon Golf Course, Claremont’s home course. She shot a four under par during practice, according to Coach Terrance Lynch.
It was also not the best day for the whole team. But a win is a win and crucial because the Pack’s entire regular season lasts only seven matches, finishing in just three weeks.
The quick season is due in part to the restructuring of the Palomares League. With the exit of South Hills and Diamond Bar there are just four schools, Claremont, Wilson, Bonita and Glendora, that have girls golf programs. On the plus side, the exit of the CIF defending champion Brahmas opens a door for Claremont to secure a league title.
“We have a good chance of taking league, with a nice mix of youth and experience on our team,” Coach Lynch said. “However, with only six league matches there’s no room for error. If you lose a match you are not supposed to, it can be hard to recover.”
In addition to Xu, Tuesday’s top scores include Madison Stout who shot a 45 and Amanda Gale with 47 strokes. Wilson’s top pairing, number one Lisa Romero and number two Rocelyn Lee, had a good day as well playing side by side with Xu and Stout.
Fittingly the coaching staff first found out about Xu from Legacion last year. While this is the first year Coach Lynch has led the girls team, he’s been head coach for the boys for seven years.
Last year Legacion told him her friend Kelly, then an eighth grade student, was a good golfer. Coach Lynch recalls asking, “Is she good like you?” and Legacion replied, “She is better than me.”
“She is a dedicated golfer,” Coach Lynch said, “but she is just one of the girls out here.”
Ayala and Glendora will be big obstacles for the Pack if they hope to hoist that league plaque next month. In particular Glendora, who are the defending champions, have two key players returning from last year and will be the team to beat this year. The Claremont girls will find out next week whether they have the right stuff, as the Tartans are next on the schedule.
Senior Sally Wang could not attend the Wilson match, but will be a key part of the Pack attack as co-captain with Gale.
Rounding out the roster are senior Jillian Berry, senior Alexandra dePillis-Lindheim, sophomore Allyson Krahn-Contois, senior Cailin Lorek, freshman Ella Misawa, sophomore Mikala Purugganan, senior Gabrielle Woodford, and freshman Olivia Yang.
The shotgun season ends with Claremont’s final league match on October 11, at home against Ayala. After that the team move on to Palomares League prelims on October 16, with the finals the next day at Western Hills Country Club.
Claremont High School won a narrow 32-31 victory over Montclair on Friday at CHS. The Pack trailed 16-14 at halftime and 25-20 at the end of the third quarter, but added 12 points to Montclair’s 6 in the fourth for the win.
Senior quarterback Cole Weaver had 12 completions from 19 attempts for 266 yards and three touchdowns. His longest pass was 75 yards.
Sophomore Alex Sotolongo caught five passes, including the game’s longest, for 153 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior Braden Pichay caught three passes for 87 yards and one touchdown. Running back Elijah Bennett had 16 carries for 103 yards and a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Junior Brandon Fairman had a game high 13 tackles including five solo tackles.
With the win, Claremont is now 3-2 in pre-league play. They will host Alta Loma on Friday for the Palomares League opener.
Boys water polo
Claremont won a competitive Palomares League match, 19-13 over Colony on Wednesday in Ontario. Claremont led throughout the game with a 10-6 gap at the half. The Titans came on strong in the second half, but the Pack held on for the win.
The Pack is now 1-2 in league and will compete in the Villa Park tournament this weekend, followed by a league match against Bonita on Tuesday in La Verne.
Claremont rolled past Colony High School, 18-0, on Tuesday in the first match ever between the two teams. With the win, the Pack remains undefeated, 3-0 in league play 4-3 overall.
The girls played Bonita on Thursday after press time and will face last year’s league co-champion, Ayala High School on Tuesday.
Claremont lost an away league match, 3-0, to Alta Loma on Tuesday. The Braves fairly easily handled the Pack, wining 25-19, 25-13 and 25-19.
However, last Thursday the Pack won a barnburner home league match, 3-2 against Ayala. The Bulldogs won the first set 25-22, but Claremont answered with a 25-21 victory in the second and a 25-18 win in the third. Ayala took the fourth set 25-23 forcing the tiebreaker, which Claremont won 15-8.
The girls are now even in league play at 3-3. They had an away league game against Glendora on Thursday after press time.