Editor’s note: This is the fifth in an eight-part series previewing the Davis High fall sports.
Coaches rarely make specific predictions about what an upcoming season holds.
Sure, they’re often excited about their players, they look forward to improvement in league and they hope the team is playing its best as postseason nears.
But specific predictions? Rarely. Coaches like to play it cool.
However, as Blue Devil girls golf mentor Rhonda Mohr looks over her fall roster, a broad smile breaks across the veteran coach’s face.
“You know, this is probably going to be one of the best teams I will have ever had at Davis High,” Mohr said boldly.
Despite her squad edging Franklin, 405-406, in the final Delta Valley Conference tournament of 2012, the Wildcats held on win to the league championship and the Blue Devils found themselves in unfamiliar territory, a second-place finish.
In the past decade, under Mohr’s watchful eye, DHS has won five league titles and sent countless golfers to section and NorCal competition.
“This year I’m really excited,” Mohr told The Enterprise this week. “We have eight girls on the team — all real golfers.”
A season ago, the Blue Devils had no seniors. This year 12th-graders Kaitlyn Honeychurch, Hayley Mitchell and JiHye Lee are expected to provide leadership and maturity.
Juniors Casey Harris, Yuexin Xiang and Emily Masiel figure prominently in the DHS ladder, and Harper Junior High ninth-graders Emma Cowan and Jessica Christopulos are turning heads in practice.
Mohr said her player rankings could see constant change as girls emerge from one week to the next, but the Devils’ top three looks like a combination of Honeychurch, Xiang and Masiel.
“All three have played in tournaments and shot in the 70s,” Mohr explained. “And River (Xiang’s Americanized name) has been in three tournaments here and one in China and done well.”
Lee returns to the program with a handful of rounds in the low 80s with room to put a 70 up if her improvement continues. Ditto for Harris and Mitchell, according to the coach.
“We’ve got some girls who can hit the ball long (Xiang, Masiel and Honeychurch can send it 250 yards) and the two freshmen, I think, are ready to contribute,” said Mohr, who attended this summer’s American High School Championship in St. Andrews, Scotland.
“The two freshmen are hard workers and are contributors to the team in terms of dedicating themselves to practice and thinking everything through. It’s really exciting.”
Mohr has been doing a lot of team-building in practice, pairing girls in buddy drills and putting four players together for other exercises. Mohr says one of the freshmen is pushing for “a social outing” already and after a couple of weeks of workouts, things appear headed in the right direction.
Calling Wildhorse Golf Course home, DHS hopes it can re-establish itself as DVC champs and do some damage at the Sac-Joaquin Section meet. In last year’s rain-swept divisional playoff tournament, the Blue Devils finished mid-pack, falling to St. Francis by more than 80 strokes.
The Troubadours, along with Pleasant Grove and Sheldon, in 2014 join the locals in the region’s super league.
“It’s going to be good,” Mohr said. “That’s what these girls need, top-level competition to be better. I’m sure it will (affect their) focus during summers.”
Once fall season ends, Mohr says she tells her players to get as much golf in as possible. But she realizes, between school work and summer jobs, that’s not always possible:
“To do well in the new league, the girls need to go out and play on their own. They can also come train with me.”
Davis opens competition by teeing off with Will C. Wood on Tuesday (3:30 p.m.) at Cypress Lakes, then traveling to Sunset Whitney for the Helen Langfield Memorial Tournament (Wednesday at 10 a.m.).
Two more nonleague matchups, with Vacaville and Rocklin, precede DVC tournaments hosted by Franklin, Laguna Creek, Davis (Oct. 10) and Grant.
Sac-Joaquin Divisionals are Oct. 21 at Sunset Whitney.
Knowing what Mohr thinks of her team, Blue Devil golf fans might want to pencil in the Masters (Oct. 28) and NorCal (Nov. 4) tournaments, too.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at email@example.com or 530-747-8047.