The team qualified for the state tournament, but they didn’t qualify as a team.
It was a curious turn of events last year for the Fallon girls golf team, but the results matched the goals for each golfer.
This year, however, Fallon returns to the links aiming to get at least its trio of seniors back to the state tournament and hopefully squeeze in one of two freshmen.
“It’ not how you start, but how you finish,” Fallon coach Phil Pinder said. “I think over the years, our program has been defined by that. We get kids to improve. We work backwards. We start on the green, then with chipping and then driving.”
The Lady Wave, though, were delivered their second big blow in as many years when senior Carissa Parsons was not cleared to play. She injured her arm last year and missed the entire season.
Although it’s a blow, Fallon does return state qualifiers Sara and Hannah Evans and Viviane Ugalde. Hannah Evans, meanwhile, slipped into the state field last season after posting one of her best rounds of her career in the final regular season tournament.
At state last year, Sara Evans was 20th with a two-day total of 211, Tabetha Park, who graduated, tied for 23rd with a 213, Viviane Ugalde was 31st with a 223 and Hannah Evans tied 35th with 241.
“There may be a little rust,” Pinder said. “We’ve set the expectations pretty high.”
The chase for state, however, runs through plenty of competition as the top three teams in the Northern Division I-A qualify followed by the top five individuals from non-qualifying teams.
Sara Evans and Ugalde said excitement swirls around the team, especially with the potential of Lister and Park.
“With five girls, hopefully we’ll get as many individuals or the team (to state),” Ugalde said.
Through the years, Evans has taken her game to another level each season. This season is the same, from a mental standpoint, as she aims to continue her improvement, especially from 100 yards.
“I hope it’s low 90s (average),” she said of her goal.
Ugalde, meanwhile, is a third-year player joining the team as a sophomore and first-time player. Since then, she has rapidly become an anchor for the Lady Wave and a state qualifier after just two seasons.
“I think my goal is to finally break 100,” she added. “I came out in the summer to practice. The second shot is kind of the deal breaker, so we work on that most.”
Those three, Pinder said, will also assist freshmen Ali Lister and Kimberly Park in developing their games.
Lister and Park, meanwhile, are new to the game, although Pinder has high hopes for the duo.
“I don’t know how much pure golf experience they have,” he added. “I think they are a little more athletic than some of our past players. You may see them bring those scores down a little quicker.”
The road for the freshmen, though, is expected to be bumpy at first, but with Pinder and assistant coach Sandy Vanderbeek’s attention to fundamentals, Pinder said he expects rapid improvement.
“We don’t care what level your at, we just want to see you get better,” he added. “Hopefully, it’s something you can play for the rest of your life.”