During the school’s fall sports rally, Scotts Valley High junior Elana McGrew made a bold statement that the girls’ golf team was going to go undefeated this season.
So far, she’s living up to her promise as the Falcons are coming off a 176-183 Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League win against Aptos High on Sept. 28. As of Wednesday, they remain unbeaten at 5-0 this season.
McGrew shot a 26 and earned medalist honors over six holes at DeLaveaga Golf Course.
Maisey Chard finished with a 33, while Cassie Mendivil scored a 37 for the Falcons.
McGrew has earned medalist honors in all five of their matches this season. The team captain is the lone upperclassman on a team filled with young up-and-coming players.
“The season has been going well,” McGrew said.
The sophomore class includes Challenor, Melina Sinclair and Hannah Mckibben.
Long-distance putt machine Taylor Suomela leads the freshmen class that also features Chloe Woelfel, Mendivil and Chard.
McGrew said the girls on the team have become close friends and play together outside of school. She also mentioned that two of the freshmen—Mendivil and Chard—have been playing exceptionally as of lately.
“They’re really good,” McGrew said.
Scotts Valley first-year coach John Surbridge said that Chard has done extremely well and she’s displaying great leadership as a freshman.
“[Chard] has a lot of great potential going forward as a freshman,” he said.
Surbridge took over for Tom Pera, who started Scotts Valley’s program back in 1999 and later coached at Cabrillo College for 11 years before retiring.
Scotts Valley won the league title in 2019 with a 10-0 record, advancing to the Central Coast Section Championships for the first time since 2011.
The Falcons are without Candus Shi, who won her third straight SCCAL Girls Golf Championship in a Covid-19 shortened season that saw only four players compete in the league’s first 18-hole competition.
McGrew shot 86 to place second.
McGrew said she would love to make a trip back to the CCS playoffs, even if that means going as an individual.
“The scores at CCS are really good, they’re like in the low 70s,” she said.
Surbridge said they have a young team but McGrew has been the leader, so far.
“[McGrew] definitely leads by example,” he said.
Surbridge said he can count on his standout golfer for guidance when he needs assistance to organize a drill or when one group needs to work on its short game.
“I can always put her in charge of some of them,” he said. “She’s kind of my de facto assistant coach and she’s also the best player in the league by far.”
McGrew said she played at least five times a week during the summer at Pasatiempo Golf Course in Santa Cruz, where she is currently sponsored.
She also competed in various tournaments in Northern California.
McGrew said she didn’t do quite as well as she wanted to after having shot an 81 in a couple of tourneys. But, she was able to bounce back in an event held at DeLaveaga, shooting in the 70s.
Surbridge said that Aptos High is the closest competition within a league that features two other teams: San Lorenzo Valley High and Soquel.
Surbridge said that Scott Bedell, a longtime coach at Harbor High, organized the schedules and he did all of the dirty work that nobody wants to do.
“He’s put in thousands of hours helping junior golf,” Surbridge said.
Surbridge said that golf helps student-athletes engage with each other to talk out the differences of rules, honor and other good things that come along with the sport.
Surbridge added that his job has been a lot easier because a majority of the players have experience playing on a course. He said this season has been more about correcting them versus having to teach them.
“I’m really lucky that I have a good group that all support each other,” he said. “There’s a little bit of division but for the most part they’re all encouraging of each other. They back each other up and it’s really nice to see.”