Matteo Bonales had his sophomore season with Central Valley High School’s boys golf team cut short this past spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bonales missed out on a chance to earn his first league Most Valuable Player award.
Bonales was named MVP at the conclusion of the 2021 Western Athletic Conference South season.
“I’m proud of him for the year that he had,” Hawks’ coach Scott Edwards said. “He was very consistent. He was the best golfer in the league. At the same time, I want to recognize (Erik) Hott and Ceres High’s team play as well.”
“It’s definitely special, especially after coming up short freshman year and not having a full season sophomore year,” Bonales said. “Every day we weren’t practicing, I was playing on my own.”
Bonales compiled a near-perfect 7-1 record against WAC South competition.
He finished 1-1 versus Bulldog junior Hott, who earned first-team all-conference honors.
“They were a top notch above everybody else. Matteo and Hott could have been co-MVPs. It was an extremely close vote.”Coach Scott Edwards
“They were a top notch above everybody else,” Edwards said. “Matteo and Hott could have been co-MVPs. It was an extremely close vote.”
Hott attended Central Valley Christian Academy the previous two years.
He originally planned to transfer to Central Valley High School but wasn’t allowed to.
“I’m proud of how I did,” Hott said. “Being in the No. 1 spot wasn’t easy. This year, we had a really good team. Any one of us could have been No. 1.”
“There’s still stuff I need to work on,” he added. “I’m trying to get my name out there. I want to play in college.”
Bonales and Hott both fought boredom this season as eight of their team’s 10 matches were staged at St. Stanislaus Golf Course.
“It’s a par-3 course,” Bonales said. “It got boring because we played there so often. It was repetitive.”
“Playing at St. Stanislaus had its up and downs,” Hott said. “My short game got a lot better.”
Bonales and Hott both play golf year-round.
They compete in Junior Golf of Northern California (JGNC) events.
They’re also longtime First Tee members.
“Matteo’s a good player,” Hott said. “I’m trying to reach his level of golf. When I’m playing against him, I don’t focus on trying to beat him. I focus on what I need to work on.”
“It’s nice to have somebody push you,” Bonales said. “It can get boring if you don’t have competition.”
Ceres High (8-0) and Central Valley (6-2) finished first and second, respectively, in the WAC South standings. The Bulldogs were coached by Ron Edwards.
“We accomplished our goal,” Hott said. “I’m proud of all of us. Everyone stepped up when we needed it the most. I think we can go undefeated again next season. That might be a bold statement.”
“It’s the best golf season Central Valley has ever had,” Scott Edwards said. “That tells you how deep Ceres was as a team.”
“I’m excited we don’t have anybody graduating,” Bonales said. “Hopefully, we do better in the CCC next year. I want to go undefeated, win league MVP and get a scholarship for golf. I’ll probably go down to SoCal or Oregon.”
Central Valley moved from the Central California Conference to the WAC for just this season due to COVID safety and travel reasons.