For the seventh season in a row, the Heritage girls’ golf team has won the Bay Valley Athletic League (BVAL) championship. The team went 10-0 in league matches and beat five teams in the BVAL tournament to finish with an overall team record of 15-0.
Head coach Mark Tinder has been at the helm throughout this streak and says his team’s biggest strength this year has been consistency.
“This year’s team is solid from one through six,” he said. “We’ve learned not to give shots away by three-putting or taking extra chips. We were steady in our league play and were solid all around.”
Tinder’s strategy over the years has been to support his players and help them improve, regardless of experience.
“I have never turned away a player,” he noted. “If they want to come out for the team, we will provide the instruction and do whatever we can to make that player successful and hopefully play at the varsity level.”
This has created a competitive environment in which the players compete for spots on the varsity team for each match, allowing Tinder to put the best team on the course in any given match.
Aiyanna Christi Co was the team’s top player this year, with a 9-hole scoring average of 41. Sophomores Kendall Overgaard and Geraldine Critica also joined Co on the All-League team. All three plan to play again next year, giving Heritage a bright future in girls’ golf.
“I’m pleased with the success, and as a coach, I’d like to continue that,” Tinder said. “We’re kind of a young team. They’ll be back next year, so we’d like to continue to build upon that success and bring our newer players up.”
Co, a junior, has been named to the All-League team three years in a row, and hopes to accomplish the feat one more time in her senior year. She credits her team’s success to their ability to bond as teammates and individuals.
“There aren’t many people who can say they’ve been on a team that has been undefeated for this many years in a row,” she said. The team hasn’t lost a league match in her three seasons there. “Since my freshman year, we’ve seen the development of players and relationships grow between teammates. Our teammates really make the game more enjoyable.”
As his players prepared to play in the North Coast Section Division I Championship, Tinder reminded his team how they got there.
“I prepared my girls by saying number one, it’s an honor to play in the postseason representing our league,” he said. “Number two, individually, we should do our best and just fight through all 18 holes. These are the best teams from many leagues in our region and competition is stiff. The main thing is that we have done our best.”