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Vongphoumy makes a name for herself during first year with CVs girls golf program
Janita Vongphoumy was a late addition to Central Valleys varsity girls golf team. The junior transfer from Rhode Island enjoyed a memorable first season with the Hawks. She was voted Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Janita Vongphoumy made a name for herself during her first season with Central Valley High School's varsity girls golf program.

The junior transfer from Rhode Island shot a 14-over-par 86 while finishing in the top 15 at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament on The Reserve at Spanos Park on Nov. 3 in Stockton.

The event featured 108 competitors.

"That's pretty impressive," Hawks head coach Kelly Wheelock said. "She's in a very elite group of golfers. She'll do even better next year."

Vongphoumy made history by becoming the first female golfer from Central Valley to advance to Masters.

Janita posted the fourth-best score (85) at Divisionals.

She fired a 7-over-par 79 while capturing the title at the Western Athletic Conference Year-End Tournament.

Vongphoumy was also named the conference's Most Valuable Player. She posted a near-perfect 7-1 record during the WAC dual season.

"Her work ethic is off the charts," Wheelock said. "She sticks around after practice to hit extra balls after everyone's gone. She's got the right mental makeup. She's pretty even-keel. That's what you need in this game. Her swing is unbelievable. She has a whole toolbox of skills. That's crazy."

A transfer from Rhode Island, Janita had never played a team sport in high school until this year.

Vongphoumy's older sister Juliet is a standout golfer at the University of Maryland.

"My school didn't have a golf team," Janita said. "I played U.S. Challenge Cup. I'm used to having really good competition. My dad pushes me hard. My older sister has been playing for a while. I'm trying to follow in her footsteps."

Vongphoumy surpassed Brooke Davis as Central Valley High School's all-time greatest female golfer.

Davis, a 2008 graduate, secured two trips to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV playoffs and made the All-Valley-Oak League team twice.

"I got to know Janita pretty well this year," Wheelock said. "From day one, she set the bar so high. It's pretty exciting to be able to coach someone like that. She's got so much potential. She hasn't touched the surface of it yet. She'll continue to get better. My goal is to try to get her a full-ride scholarship somewhere."

"It's definitely something I'd like to shoot for," Vongphoumy said. "It would be nice to make my mark."

Janita will hone her skills on the Junior Golf Association of Northern California circuit this offseason.

"She's going to keep working on her game," Wheelock said. "There's going to be more expected out of her next year. She'll be the one to beat in league. I foresee her going to Masters. She'll also have a pretty good shot at NorCals."