Arleen Xayasone had limited playing experience prior to joining Ceres High School's girls golf team in 2009.
A standout with the Bulldogs for three seasons, Xayasone enjoyed a memorable two-year run (2012, 2013) with Modesto Junior College.
"I thought I was just going to play high-school golf," said Xayasone, a junior at Concord University in West Virginia. "It transitioned to playing for Modesto JC, then here. It's a sport I love to play. And it's paying for my school. I'm trying to have a great career in golf."
Xayasone considered joining the Cal State East Bay women's golf team as a walk-on prior to becoming a Mountain Lion. She was awarded a partial scholarship.
"I chose a small school," said Xayasone, who pointed out that Concord University has a student-enrollment size of 2,000. "It's a big culture shock here. There are just trees and mountains. The weather is different. We're isolated from bigger cities. You have to drive 15-20 miles just to get to the nearest Wal-Mart. I do miss California a lot. But this is my new home. I'm meeting new people. I'm having fun."
Arleen currently fills the No. 2 position in Concord University's lineup. Mountain Lion teammates include Briana Villa (So.), Anja Barker (Jr.) and Alex Smith (Sr.)
Xayasone and Villa played together at Modesto JC.
"She's my roommate," Arleen said. "I see her every day. We help one another out."
Xayasone made her debut with Concord University at the Mountain East Conference Fall Invitational, Sept. 6-7, in Ohio.
Arleen posted a two-day total of 177 en route to a 14th-place finish.
Xayasone tied for 18th (173) in the individual standings at the Safari Fall Invitational, staged Sept. 13-14, in Ohio.
She tied for 22nd (170) at the Ohio Valley Invitational, held Sept. 26-28, in West Virginia. "The transition from playing nine holes to 18 holes has been tough," Xayasone said. "The courses are more challenging. It's been a big adjustment. I'm progressing."
Arleen helped lead the Modesto Junior College women's golf team to record heights in 2013.
The Pirates placed fourth in the State and second at NorCals. Modesto JC captured the Big-8 Conference title. Arleen earned all-conference honors.
"That's the best season I've had during my entire golf career," Xayasone said. "We were all consistent. We all pushed each other."
Coached by Randy Cerny, Xayasone accomplished all of her goals while starring on Ceres High's varsity girls golf team for three years.
She qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs twice, improved in league each season and led the Bulldogs to program-best heights.
Xayasone fired a 93 while capturing a sixth-place medal at the 2011 Division IV tournament.
She finished second behind Central Catholic senior Joanna Nguyen in the WAC individual standings.
Xayasone defeated Nguyen at the WAC mid-year and end-of-season tournaments. Arleen also won by tiebreaker over Joanna at Divisionals.
She guided the Bulldogs to a runner-up finish in conference play (10-2). Arleen was a first-team, all-league selection.
Xayasone propelled Ceres High to its first-ever playoff appearance as a junior. The Bulldogs were third in the WAC (7-5). Arleen placed fifth in league and shot a 115 at Divisionals in 2010. She was named to the WAC First Team.
Xayasone was Ceres High's top individual player her sophomore year. The Bulldogs won just twice in VOL play.
Ceres High didn't field golf teams in 2008 and 2007 due to a lack of interest.
"Without Cerny, the golf program wouldn't be alive," Arleen said. "And I wouldn't be here at Concord."
Enrolled in six classes, Xayasone's also a member of the Delta Zeta Sorority along with several other clubs on campus.
"It's been really hectic," Arleen said.
Just five years into her golf career, Xayasone has steadily improved each season. "You're just challenging yourself," she said. "I'm more accurate from when I first started playing. I also learned how to be really patient."