League golf titles to Schmuhl and Hauth

By MICHAEL COIT
PRESS DEMOCRAT

Empire prep girls’ golf looks strong with a pair of returning All-Empire players winning large school titles Monday.
Last season’s player of the year Kristina Schmuhl, from Maria Carrillo, took the North Bay League title with a 17-shot victory. And Windsor High’s Amanda Hauth won the Sonoma County League championship.

The SCL tournament, played at Oakmont East in Santa Rosa, decided the league winner with Casa Grande holding off Healdsburg to take the crown.

The teams swapped positions from last season. So the Gauchos get the automatic bid to the North Coast Section Tournament of Champions in Livermore on Halloween and Healdsburg will play in the small-school finals Monday in Alameda.

Maria Carrillo won the NBL title to earn a spot at the championships in Livermore. Ukiah was runner-up and makes the large school qualifier Monday in Hercules. Monday’s finals, at Windsor Golf Course, decided individual qualifiers for the Hercules tournament, as did the SCL championship.

Monday’s tournaments were also important because both went 18 holes compared with 9-hole league matches. Many teams play a few longer matches during the season and the league championships prepare them for the rigors of a long day on the course.

“They understand there’s a little more of a challenge for 18 holes for conditioning and mental focus,” said Ukiah coach Chris Philbrick.

The Bay Area’s top high school teams often are deeper than the Empire’s best squads, though this region’s top individuals are within range of the best in Northern California.

“We will be competitive. We’re a little deeper this year,” said Casa Grande coach Phil Emswiler.

Casa Grande needed to win Monday to secure the SCL title over Healdsburg. The Greyhounds played the minimum five players throughout the season, including a novice who picked up a club for the first time in August.

“They’re my fabulous five,” said Healdsburg coach Jane Wann. “Nobody could have a bad match. Nobody could be sick.”
Analy finished third in the SCL and could gain a spot in the Hercules qualifier.

The medalists in Monday’s league finals were: Hauth; Khiana Schmuhl, Analy; Olivia Bean, Healdsburg; and Marita Wallace, Healdsburg.

Santa Rosa finished third in the NBL and could make the Hercules qualifier.

Medaling in the NBL championships Monday were Kristina Schmuhl, Gretchen Roderick, Ukiah, and Veera Valkeinen, Ukiah.

Both leagues featured a number of young players on the leader board throughout the season.

“We had a lot of young kids near the top. The leagues should be tough in the coming years, which is good,” said Cardinal Newman coach Mike Jonas.