Clovis West girls continue golf dominance, win another Valley title

The Clovis West girls golf team won the Division I Valley Championship Monday in Porterville. It was the team's sixth title in a row.

Monday afternoon in Porterville, the Clovis West girls golf team captured another Valley Championship. This continues a Golden Eagles dominance of the area for nearly the last decade and a half.

Gary Player once said, "Gold is a puzzle without an answer."

While the Clovis West girls may not actually have solved the sport - it can sure feel that way.

The Golden Eagles are winners of 14 consecutive TRAC Championships, 12 of the last 13 North Area Championships and now 11 of the last 13 Division I Valley Championships, including six in a row.

“I don’t think I actually like realized how big it actually was freshman year," says senior Taylor Dufresne. "But like once I got in, I was like, ‘ok, this is actually how it is, we actually like win a lot.’”

What makes all the winning even crazier, Clovis West's six varsity players only picked up the sport between 7th and 9th grade.

Senior Kayla Terrey recalls, “I, um, didn’t really know what golf was until my freshman year.”

Fellow senior Autumn Gonzales adds, “The only reason I started was because my best friend was doing it. She’s like, ‘ok, like, let’s try out for a sport.’ I'm like, ‘ok, what sport?’ She’s like ‘golf.’ I’m like, ‘don’t know what that is, but whatever, like ok, I’ll go talk to my dad, I’ll figure this out.’”

When the girls were freshmen, Clovis West head coach Ken Shipley remembers, “One of them couldn’t break 120, another one couldn’t break 115, another one couldn't break 105, another one hadn’t started playing yet.”

Now, only a few years later, the four seniors, one junior and one sophomore all can, and often do, shoot in the 70's. They're following in the foosteps of previous champions in the program.

“I wanted to be doing what they were doing and winning all these tournaments and having the fun times,” says senior Claire Shubin.

Junior Marissa Martinez says, “People might view it as like, they’re super hard on us and we have such a strict practice regimen, and long practices and all that stuff - but it’s really not like that. We just have good practices and it’s just a fun team to be on.”

Fun is the word of choice for a team that considers itself family. The slogan for the Golden Eagles 2018 poster is "Stronger Together."

“Golf is considered to be an individual sport," says sophomore Isa Montes, "but I think when we lift each other up, when we’re encouraging, playing with each other and for each other rather than for your own individual success.”

That sounds like an answer to the puzzle. Maybe not of golf, but at the very least, team success.

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