The girls golf team is hoping for its third Peninsula Athletic League (PAL) title this season. Led by captain Christiana Park, along with seniors Naomi Lee and Angie Yang, the girls are again looking strong for another PAL title and a trip to the Central Coast Section (CCS).
However, the team has experienced some significant changes that may have an impact on its performance throughout the regular season and possibly into the postseason as well. Jennifer Taylor, who is a teacher in the Special Education department and has been the boys golf coach at M-A the last three seasons, is going to coach the Bears. She will be the co-head coach along with Dean Wilkins, who was the assistant on the boys varsity squad last season.
Ramon Young— the previous head coach of the Bears who led the team to many PAL titles— has moved. However, Taylor, who will still coach the boys in the spring, has an impressive resume herself.
The rebuilding process of the boys golf team ended last season as Taylor led her team to an undefeated season, a PAL championship, and a strong showing at CCS. Taylor also played on the University of Santa Clara’s golf team before deciding that she would become a teacher.
With the past success of the girls golf team, it seems to be in good shape for the 2016 season. No seniors graduated last year and six seniors are returning for their final run, giving the team the most experienced line-up in this year’s PALs. To ruin a perfect story, M-A’s star player last season, Abigail Pederson, has moved to Chicago, leaving a void that the Bears desperately need to fill.
Naomi Lee is next in line to fill these shoes and lead the team to another PAL championship. Lee is the 25th ranked player in her graduating class in California and is coming off a seventh place finish at a major junior girls event in South Carolina. Lee and company should not have any trouble with their regular season opponents until they face Aragon and San Mateo, the other two best teams in their league.
Taylor sees that there is a “difference between the returning upperclassmen players and underclassmen because they have more experience and they have been playing a lot more.”
She is also optimistic about the future of her team. She stated,“It is a little early to tell, but they have potential.” Taylor believes that winning PALs and contending at CCS is expected: “That is the goal. I think we have a really strong chance to defend our title.”
On the chances of continuing to coach girls golf next season, Taylor said, “Let’s see how this season goes. A lot of my time and dedication is put into the boys golf team. It is very difficult with having three kids and working full-time.”
Why does she do this? Why spend so much time with these golfers when she teaches students and takes care of three kids? “I really like golf. I like how it is not only a sport that you physically learn how to play, but it also teaches you a lot of life lessons. I like seeing people mature and develop as they are playing golf. That is is why I became a high school teacher, to help change people’s lives and to watch people grow. So putting those two together— a sport that I enjoy and a sport that can teach you life lessons— and it being high school kids, all together, it makes it great.
Her girls golf team might be in store for a great season too. Go get ’em Bears!