By Ethan Vue, Clarion Staff
Coming off a stellar season in 2018 where they won sections with a metro record of 8-0, the 2019 Kennedy golf team was looking solid and hoping to capitalize on the momentum. The team only lost three seniors from the previous year, so there were high hopes for this season being successful.
Kennedy’s Golf Team has always been a competitor, dominating their opponents each year while staying above .500 winning percentage. Their winning records reflect their hard-work and determination to the sport, as golf requires a lot of time. It is not a sport of physical prowess, but rather, a sport of patience and mental strength. It takes long-term commitment due to the countless hours of practice required to become skilled.
This year, a new coach, Dean Okasaki, was hired to lead the winning team. He was excited to be a part of Kennedy Athletics, as Kennedy has a history of many achievements in sports. “I have watched Kennedy for many years. My son Keith played for Kennedy from 2004-2007 and they had some good teams. A few years ago I believe they had a very good team anchored by current senior Dylan Van Ostrand,” says Coach Okasaki. He patiently prepared for this moment, being ecstatic about the opportunity provided by administrators at Kennedy.
“It’s still early so it’s hard to tell how much the players will improve by post-season,” Okasaki stated. “We have solid players led by senior Dylan Van Ostrand, junior Zachary Simpton and sophomore Ethan Lu. Sophomores Ethan Firth and Tyler Firth have also made good early improvement.”
Already at the beginning of the season, players were shown to have exponential improvement, in a small amount of time. With seniors and juniors on the team too, freshmen and sophomores can look for guidance amongst their older teammates. “First, I want the players to be as good as they want to be. That means they must put in the effort to get better. For the team I’d like to see us do well in playoffs and get to NorCals as a team or individuals.” A goal set by Okasaki was to reach playoffs and excel in play, providing a achievable objective for the season.
At this point in the season, the boy’s golf team has racked up many wins with a league record of 4-0.
“Things are going well even though we haven’t had some players come consistently. Some of the young players are improving and making a difference,” says coach Okasaki. This consistency would prove when they entered the Metro League Tournament held at Yolo Fliers Country Club in Woodland on March 25. This tournament was important because it determined who would advance forward on to the postseason, and the boy’s golf team were able to win by a whooping 60 strokes. The cougars were led by Senior Dylan Van Ostrand who shot 6 under-par 66 and Junior Zach Simpson’s 1 under-par 71. A lot of good gameplay show from the team, and they were ready to win it all.
The boy’s golf team were in a good position to winning league champs again. Riley Onodera (℅ of 2020) said, “It’s something that we expected going into the season, so we’re not surprised. Judging by the season so far we expect to win sectionals again.” The players were confident in their gameplay, using momentum from last year, to outwork and perform their opponents.
Overall, a great first half of the season for the boy’s golf, is showing the true talent of the team.