The Mountain View High girls golf team is having a historic season, though coach Jim McGuirk was quick to point out that the program doesn’t have a long history.
“This is absolutely our best team,” he said, “but this is only the third year.”
McGuirk is still proud of what the Spartans have accomplished: they’re off to their fastest start (6-1) and have twice set the school record for lowest team score.
“The girls are doing great,” he said. “The scores are way better (than past years).”
Prior to the season, Mountain View’s best nine-hole team score was the 230 it shot last year. The Spartans beat that total Sept. 20 against Cupertino (shooting 222 at Shoreline Golf Links) and broke that school record Sept. 26 versus Homestead (213 at Sunnyvale Muni).
McGuirk cited the improvement of top players Reeya Vasishta and Katelyn Lee – juniors who have been with the program from the start – and the addition of freshmen Chloe Weng and Catrina Yang as the key reasons for the team’s success.
“Reeya and Katelyn usually shot in the 40s last year, and now they’re in the 30s on a more regular basis,” he said. “Chloe shoots around 40-41, and Katrina is in the mid-to-high 40s.”
Last year, Vasishta and Lee were the only Spartans who consistently shot in the 40s. That wasn’t enough to contend with the likes of rival Los Altos in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League El Camino Division.
The Eagles (4-0 league) are the lone team to beat Mountain View (3-1) this year, prevailing 217-233 last month at Shoreline. If the Spartans hope to win their first league title – which McGuirk and Vasishta both said they’re capable of doing – it would likely require beating Los Altos in Thursday’s rematch at Shoreline (2:40 p.m. tee time).
“We’re very close,” McGuirk said in comparing the teams. “Our scores are similar. It could come down to the fifth or sixth player.”
The two players who round out the Spartans’ starting six (only the top five scores count toward the team total) vary by match, according to the coach.
“We rotate those spots a lot because five through nine are all about the same,” said McGuirk, who has nine players on the roster. “They all shoot between 58-65.”
Mountain View may need one of those players to have a record round to beat Los Altos, though the Spartans’ season won’t depend on it. Win or lose, the team is on course to qualify for the SCVAL tournament for the first time.
“We have a good shot,” McGuirk said. “We’re shooting better than three teams in the upper (De Anza Division).”
Only six squads – the two division winners, along with the four teams with the next-best scores – are invited to the league tourney, scheduled Oct. 24 at Santa Teresa Golf Course in San Jose.
As of last week, the Spartans were 10 strokes ahead of Lynbrook for the final spot.
Getting into the following week’s Central Coast Section tournament will be a much tougher task; the only team ensured a berth is the winner of the league tourney. If Mountain View doesn’t make the cut, McGuirk said he expects Vasishta and Lee to at least qualify as individuals and that Weng has a chance to do the same. Vasishta is a two-time CCS participant; Lee made it last year.
“Reeya has improved her consistency, and her putting and short game are a little better (this year),” McGuirk said. “Katelyn has gotten stronger – she’s hitting the ball farther – and her short game has been more consistent.”
In Mountain View’s 231-273 rout of Wilcox last week, Vasishta and Lee shared medalist honors with rounds of 39 at Santa Clara Golf & Tennis Club.
McGuirk noted that while the two girls are good friends, they can get competitive with each other on the course, which makes them raise their games.
Like most of the team’s other players, Vasishta and Lee take private lessons and play year- round.
“I enjoy the fact that all these girls are always trying to get better,” McGuirk said.