Abbey Hurst prepares to swing at Dairy Creek. Photo contributed
On Oct. 15 in San Luis Obispo at Dairy Creek golf course, the Atascadero girls golf team played at the CCAA Mountain League Finals to qualify for the upcoming CIF championship for the first time ever. They qualified by defeating the SLO team on their home course at Chalk Mountain with a score of 244-249. Their regular season ended with great success.
The team consisted of four seniors: Abbey Hurst, Alyssa Melendez, Cairo Murphy, and Sierra Powell; two juniors, Madison Hosford, and Julia Smith; and one sophomore, Katie Burson. Burson played in the No. 1 spot, Hurst played in No. 2, Murphy played in No. 3, Melendez played in No. 4, and Julia Smith played in No. 5. Powell originally played in the No. 6, but her season ended with an injury. Hosford substituted for Powell afterwards.
Despite having had no golfing experience when she joined the team freshman year, Burson has shown great potential in the sport. “I practiced a lot on my own with my grandpa but having the extra practice hours help me prepare for tournaments,” Burson said. “My mind is always on playing the best game I can. Golf is a lot of fun and I wish there were more girls to come out and play, we make so many memories and it’s just so awesome to be part of a team,” Burson said of her golfing experience. Her promising future in golf is supplemented by her tremendous journey to becoming the school’s first CIF qualifier.
Smith tries to focus on improving her shot accuracy. “Personally, my handicap could improve tremendously. I just need to work on the silly mistakes, like topping the ball,” she said. The entire team works on their skills to improve little things to help their overall handicap score.
The team consists of a strong team. “I felt really excited [that] we were the first team to ever be able to qualify for CIF, and we had such a strong team dynamic,” Hurst said. She and the team were uplifted when they qualified for the CIF. They knew then that their practice and determination had paid off. Even though Powell’s injury kept her from participating early in the season, she still supported her team by being present at the matches. “I’ve been watching the tournaments, and I’m so proud of how hard we have all worked to come this far!” she said. Smith said, “I feel like we play most confidently when we have a "dual" match because we get to play with another teammate from Atascadero. We are a strong team together, giving support to one another, and making it to the CIF’s was a big accomplishment.”