The St. Francis High girls golf team didn’t have a player shoot better than 6-over-par at last week’s Northern California championships in Ripon, but it didn’t matter. The Lancers still won the team title.
That’s because no participant shot below par at the Nov. 4 event – played in windy conditions on the challenging course at Spring Creek Golf and Country Club – and St. Francis was the only team to have four competitors post scores below 90.
“The course was deceptively difficult,” said coach Phil Marrone, whose Lancers shot 423 to top runner-up Palo Alto by six strokes. “The scores were much higher than I expected, but the girls hung tough and won. The back of our order finished really strong with some of their best individual scoring of the year.”
Senior Nancy Xu and sophomore Valerie Wang led St. Francis with rounds of 6-over-par 79, tying for sixth individually. Freshman Bibilani Liu and senior Caitlin Crosby each shot 87, while freshman Jacqueline Sun tallied a 91 to round out the Lancers’ top five finishers (which make up the team score).
Xu, who advanced to NorCal as an individual last year, described her team’s effort as “one of our best performances of the season.” The Lancers finished second at Central Coast Section championships the previous week and won the West Catholic Athletic League crown a week before that.
“I feel like, as a whole, the team did really well on average,” Xu said. “We were consistent.”
St. Francis – along with Palo Alto and third-place Amador Valley (444) – advance to the state championships, scheduled Nov. 20 at Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel Valley.
Los Altos High senior Kelsey Kawaguchi, who competed at NorCal as an individual, won’t be joining them. She shot a 10-over-par 83 and missed qualifying for state by two strokes.
“The course was tough (Nov. 4) and the wind and the greens were the fastest I have played in a little while,” Kawaguchi said. “After hitting what I thought was a perfect second shot onto the green, my ball bounced off the green and into the (out of bounds) behind it. The course was playing a little bit longer with the strong winds sometimes. I learned from my mistakes and know what I need to work on.”