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Central Valleys Vongphoumy, Ceres High finish first at WAC tournament
Janita posts lowest score at league event
Hawk junior Janita Vongphoumy shot a 91 en route to a first-place finish at the Western Athletic Conference Mid-Season Tournament on Sept. 22 in Merced. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Janita Vongphoumy, a new addition to Central Valley High School's varsity girls golf program, earned low-medalist honors while competing at the Western Athletic Conference Mid-Season Tournament on Sept. 22 at Merced Golf & Country Club.

Ceres High's varsity girls golf squad placed first in the team standings (423).

"Janita is definitely the most talented golfer I've seen in a while," Hawks head coach Kelly Wheelock said. "Her talent and work ethic are ridiculous. She stays an hour after practice every day. She's only been playing for three years. She's nowhere near what she can be. She's definitely got the tools to be something special. She already is. She's fun to watch. She's awesome."

Livingston (440), El Capitan (483), Los Banos (490) and Patterson (525) finished second, third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

Central Valley and Pacheco both failed to post team scores because their lineups had fewer than four golfers.

"It was closer than we thought it would be," Bulldogs head coach Randy Cerny said. "We were kind of sweating it at the end. There's some good competition in the WAC. We're still undefeated."

Vongphoumy, formerly of Rhode Island, shot a 19-over-par 91. She's just a junior.

"She could have played better," Wheelock said. "She left five or six strokes out there."

Hawk junior Else Smith (130) and freshman Arriana Ayala (133) placed 18th and 20th, respectively.

Central Valley freshman Leslie Alfonso had to withdraw from the tournament.

"If she (Alfonso) didn't hurt her back, we would have had a shot at finishing in the top four," Wheelock said.

Caitlin Pfaff, a senior at Ceres High and two-time WAC MVP, posted a score of 103 en route to a fifth-place finish.

Pfaff was slowed by a sore back. She sought treatment from a chiropractor during the morning of the tournament.

"She was hurting," Cerny said. "It's something that just came up recently. She'll be okay. She'll continue to get treatment for it."

Bulldog teammates Erica Hogner (99), Abigail Nou (108), Hannah Smith (113), Monika Ramirez (124) and Brittany Turnbow (125) took third, seventh, 10th, 15th and 16th, respectively.

Ceres High compiled a perfect 6-0 record during the first half of the WAC dual season.

"I'm very proud of the girls," Cerny said. "They've worked hard. Caitlin is the catalyst for our entire team."