Central Valley High School’s varsity girls golf program will compete with a three-person lineup this season.
The Hawks will be unable to post team scores during league matches due to their lack of numbers.
“I’m a little bummed we don’t have a full team,” fourth-year standout Amelia Daoheung said. “But I’m just happy we’re getting to play. I didn’t think there was going to be a season this year.”
High school athletics have been put on hold since mid-March when the statewide shutdown began in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The start date for girls golf was moved from fall to spring this school year due to COVID-19.
“It’s been a year since these girls have done anything,” Central Valley head coach Kelly Wheelock said. “If they get better and enjoy being out there, that’s a success.”
All three of Central Valley’s players are returners. Sayra Rodriguez (Sr.) and Lucia Bernal (So.) round out the Hawks’ lineup.
Daoheung, Rodriguez, Bernal and Central Valley will compete in the Western Athletic Conference.
The Hawks moved from the Central California Conference to the WAC for just this season because of travel and COVID-safety reasons.
The WAC South features a total of five teams, including Central Valley, Ceres High, Johansen, Los Banos and Pacheco.
The Hawks will also face WAC South member Mountain House.
There will be no league championship tournament.
WAC coaches have yet to decide if all-conference honors will be given out.
“Amelia and (Ceres High sophomore Alysabeth Marquez) are the best two players in our half of the league,” Wheelock said.
“I know her (Marquez) through First Tee,” Daoheung said. “We’ve been in that same program for many years. We’ve received the same coaching. We have most of the same skills. She’s pretty good. It will be neck and neck between us.”
Central Valley posted a team score of 635 on its way to a fifth-place finish at the Central California Conference Year-End-Tournament a season ago.
Daoheung, a senior, has improved each year while filling the top spot in Central Valley’s lineup.
She made program history last fall by becoming just the second Hawk female player to earn league Most Valuable Player honors.
She followed in the footsteps of Janita Vongphoumy, who was named WAC MVP her junior and senior years.
“Amelia has the mindset and makeup you want a golfer to have,” Wheelock said. “Nothing is going to rattle her. She’s almost too humble. She’s definitely a next-level golfer if that’s something she wants to pursue.”
Daoheung won the Central California Conference MVP award during the 2019-20 school year.
She turned in a career-best performance en route to claiming the championship at the CCC End-Of-Season Tournament.
She shot a 93 at Rancho Del Rey Golf Course.
Daoheung won the CCC title by eight strokes.
She avenged a pair of losses to Merced’s Lauren Palumbo, who fired a 101 at the conference finals.
Daoheung earned first-team, all-CCC accolades as a sophomore. She was a first-team, all-WAC selection in the ninth grade. She finished in fifth place in the league standings both years.
A three-time Sac-Joaquin Section Divisional qualifier, Daoheung can boost her status as one of Central Valley High School’s greatest players by experiencing another success-filled season.
“I never envisioned anything of this happening,” Daoheung said. “I just thought it (golf) was a game. I’m doing this not only for me but for my school, my coach and my team.”
“I’m sure she’s going to have a great season,” Wheelock stated. “She’s one of the best two golfers to come out of here.”
“I have more confidence in myself because it’s my fourth year playing in high school,” Daoheung added.
Wheelock was Daoheung’s eighth-grade P.E. teacher at Cesar Chavez Jr. High.
Daoheung’s father introduced her to the sport of golf at the age of four.
“We were having a floor hockey unit in the gym,” Wheelock said. “We were talking about golf. And she mentioned she played. I knew right away her potential was high. Her swing was smooth and effective. Some of the stuff she does is not teachable. She’s gifted.”
“I’m beyond grateful to have him as my coach,” Daoheung said.
Daoheung and her Central Valley teammates will not get an opportunity to vie for individual postseason berths this spring.
Playoffs were canceled in an effort to allow student-athletes as much time as possible to play some contests during the 2020-21 COVID-19 shortened season.
Coronavirus safety measures must be followed during practices and matches.
“If you’re by someone, it needs to always be on,” Wheelock said.
“It’s a distraction,” Daoheung said. “It makes it harder to breathe when you’re carrying your bag and moving around. But I’m just grateful we get to play this year.”