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Golf team heads into new season with experienced players
Written by Jeff Bear   
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 18:46

There is nothing more pleasing to a high school coach than a roster full of athletes with varsity experience.

Mingus Union High School golfer A.J. Valenzuela watches his shot sail down the fairway at a tournament last season.So when Mingus Union’s golf coach Craig Mai looks down the roster of players on this year’s team, it’s probably safe to say he is very pleased with what he sees.

“I’m excited about this year because we’ve got a lot of upperclassmen — four seniors and two juniors, all with a lot of experience,” Mai said. “They’re all playing well, but it’s practice right now — we’ll see how they perform when it’s for real.”

Mai said that the team’s returning No. 1 player, senior Gary Baker, is back with a steely eye toward returning to the state tournament again this year.

“He was a state qualifier last year, and didn’t perform up to his expectations at state,” Mai said. “I was pleased with his performance, but I know he wished he would have played better.”

Mai said he thinks that the size of the stage at the state tournament may have unnerved Baker a little bit, especially since he was playing at that level for the first time.

“He is capable of playing better, but it was his first time there and I remember what it was like playing for the first time in a real big tournament like that,” Mai said, “and so I know he’s looking forward to getting back there and doing better.”

Another senior, Ryan Sullivan, will be returning to the team this season after an injury suffered in a car accident wiped out his junior season.

“He and Gary were going to be 1 and 1A [last season] — there was going to be a battle back and forth,” Mai said. [Sullivan]’s back this year and he’s playing really well — doing an outstanding job.

“Their averages so far this season have been even par or one over, so I’m real excited about their performance.”

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, Aug. 28, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.


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