By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Empire prep girls golf enters the 18-hole realm with league finals today highlighted by a battle for the Sonoma County League title.
After a season playing 9-hole matches, the SCL and North Bay League double the difficulty with tournament championships.
Maria Carrillo already has sealed a sixth consecutive NBL title. The NBL finals, at Rooster Run, in Petaluma, and the SCL tournament, at Oakmont East, also will determine individuals moving on to the North Coast Section qualifier.
Healdsburg can clinch the SCL title with a win. But an Analy victory would give the Tigers the title after Analy defeated Healdsburg in the regular season finale last week. A year ago Analy won the championship following the same script, so Healdsburg recognizes the stakes at hand.
“It’s been awesome. We’ve had a really strong season even though this year’s been a rebuilding year,” said Healdsburg coach Jane Wann.
Healdsburg moves on to the NCS Division 2 finals with a win and likely would advance as a league runner-up.
An Analy win takes the Tigers to the NCS Division 1 Tournament of Champions, and a second- place finish puts the Tigers in the section qualifier.
Leading the Greyhounds are Amanda Pruitt and Hannah Mae Cronin. Low scorers for Analy have been Madison Beckett and Taylor Ocasio.
Following the league’s top two teams is El Molino, with Jane Weggenmann and Mariah Udell pacing the Lions.
Petaluma, Sonoma Valley and Piner round out the SCL standings. Ivylee Senn and Sarah Jane Catarozoli lead Petaluma, Jacquie Peterson is low scorer for Sonoma Valley, and Ana Stephenson is Piner’s best hope.
With a handful of returning All-Empire golfers, play in the NBL was particularly competitive.
“The top players shoot some pretty good scores. They hit the ball really well,” said Casa Grande coach Phil Emswiler.
Maria Carrillo was tops to gain a spot in the section finals. Returning Empire player of the year Hailey Begert-Hellings is joined by Morgan Olhiser and Alyssa Chandler to lead the Pumas.
Ukiah was second in the NBL, earning the Wildcats a berth in the NCS qualifier. Hayley Drake, Gretchen Roderick and Cassidy Schutz are the Ukiah low scorers.
Finishing third in NBL play was Cardinal Newman. Led by Megan McConnell, the Cardinals could be headed to the NCS Division 2 finals.
Windsor, Montgomery, Casa Grande and Santa Rosa complete the NBL standings.
Best among the players seeking a section qualifier spot is Emily Hulsman, out of Casa Grande. Also aiming to continue playing are Hayley Komrij, Montgomery, and Ashley Llames, from Windsor.
Advancing to the section qualifier for both leagues are the top three individuals not on teams advancing to either the section qualifier or championships.
At Rooster Run, Petaluma, 12 p.m.
At Oakmont East, Santa Rosa, 12 p.m.