Sports

Monte Vista's girls' golf team one to watch

Finished #2 in country in spring: 'Dynamic duo' from last year joined by new captain

It is easy to get caught up in the East Bay Athletic League football season as each year the teams around the league bring plenty to the table in terms of high quality performances.

Meghan Nix tees off at The Course at Wente Vineyards for the MV girls' golf team. (Courtesy of Hannah Joo)

But don’t sleep on the EBAL girls’ golf competition -- the talent level is every bit as good, while flying well under the radar.

In the Tri-Valley, one of the top teams is the Monte Vista (Danville) girls. Last year in the COVID-shortened spring season, first-year coach Ron Olds fielded a team led by three freshmen, saw them go 8-0, and finish as the No. 2 ranked team in the country.

This year the Mustangs welcome two of the girls back as sophomores, Emily Luo and Sophia Bardunias. The third member - Carolyn Morris – is now at the IMG Academy in Florida.

Luo is the No. 1 for Monte Vista, with Bardunias holding the No. 2 spot. The top three is rounded out with Meghan Nix, the junior captain for the Mustangs.

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Luo and Bardunias are a dynamic duo, perhaps the top combo in the North Coast Section.

On Sept. 2, Luo shot a 33 and Bardunias a 35 on The Course at Wente Vineyards, leading the Mustangs to a team score of 189, the lowest of the season thus far.

This year Luo has a scoring average of 36 and was recently named the Athlete of the Month at Monte Vista.

Sophia Bardunias chips on to the green for the Monte Vista girls' golf team. (Courtesy of Hannah Joo)

There is no doubt the two are accomplished golfers in one of the most individual based sports. What makes them special is how they put aside the individual aspect of the sport and buy into the team concept.

“Me personally, I enjoy playing with the team,” said Bardunias. “You get more support. In (individual) tournaments, if you have a bad hole you have to bring yourself back up. When you play with the team, you have a teammate to help pick you up.”

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Luo agreed.

“I was a little nervous at first,” said Luo of playing as a freshman last year. “But it is fun playing together. If I am having a bad day, they cheer me up. I enjoy the change.”

Pulling the team together is Nix, the captain. Olds had many positives to say of Nix.

“She runs the team,” said Olds of his captain. “She is very responsible.”

The players feel the same way.

“She is one of the best people I know,” said Bardunias. “She takes care of everything. She ordered our uniforms, did all the research, and made it to where we just had to pay the money. She always communicates all the time with the team and makes sure the freshmen are included in everything we do.”

While most high school golf coaches are coaches of other sports and mostly handle the paperwork for the program, Olds is one that brings a strong golf pedigree to the Mustangs.

A former standout golfer at Antioch High, Olds was on a Fresno State team that was a top 20 NCAA team in 1983-84. After the one season he transferred to St. Mary’s for the rest of his college career.

His younger brother, Scott Olds, won the California Interscholastic Championship in 1987, beating Phil Mickelson in the process.

In a sport where often being a coach amounts to being a supervisor of the kids, Olds brings more to the table.

“Coach Ron is great,” said Bardunias. “He plays golf, so he knows the game. He can see something wrong in our game and talks with us. And we can see sometimes what he is doing wrong when he is playing.”

The Mustangs chances to go unbeaten early this year when they dropped a tough one to Carondelet, but the recent scores have shown the team is finding their stride.

“It will be tough, but we didn’t play well the first time we played them,” Luo said of Carondelet. “We’re playing a lot better now. We shot that 189 at Wente – that was awesome.”

Emily Luo lines up a putt on the way to a 33 on The Course at Wente Vineyards. (Courtesy of Hannah Joo)

Bardunias sees great things coming as well.

“We had a pretty good start this year,” said Bardunias. “I think as the year goes on and we get more used to playing with each other, we will be scoring well. One of our main goals is to get to NorCal (Championships) and hopefully win it.”

The Mustangs will get their chance to extract revenge against Carondelet on Tuesday, Sept. 21, when they will travel to Boundary Oak Golf Course in Walnut Creek.

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Monte Vista's girls' golf team one to watch

Finished #2 in country in spring: 'Dynamic duo' from last year joined by new captain

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Sep 7, 2021, 4:41 pm

It is easy to get caught up in the East Bay Athletic League football season as each year the teams around the league bring plenty to the table in terms of high quality performances.

But don’t sleep on the EBAL girls’ golf competition -- the talent level is every bit as good, while flying well under the radar.

In the Tri-Valley, one of the top teams is the Monte Vista (Danville) girls. Last year in the COVID-shortened spring season, first-year coach Ron Olds fielded a team led by three freshmen, saw them go 8-0, and finish as the No. 2 ranked team in the country.

This year the Mustangs welcome two of the girls back as sophomores, Emily Luo and Sophia Bardunias. The third member - Carolyn Morris – is now at the IMG Academy in Florida.

Luo is the No. 1 for Monte Vista, with Bardunias holding the No. 2 spot. The top three is rounded out with Meghan Nix, the junior captain for the Mustangs.

Luo and Bardunias are a dynamic duo, perhaps the top combo in the North Coast Section.

On Sept. 2, Luo shot a 33 and Bardunias a 35 on The Course at Wente Vineyards, leading the Mustangs to a team score of 189, the lowest of the season thus far.

This year Luo has a scoring average of 36 and was recently named the Athlete of the Month at Monte Vista.

There is no doubt the two are accomplished golfers in one of the most individual based sports. What makes them special is how they put aside the individual aspect of the sport and buy into the team concept.

“Me personally, I enjoy playing with the team,” said Bardunias. “You get more support. In (individual) tournaments, if you have a bad hole you have to bring yourself back up. When you play with the team, you have a teammate to help pick you up.”

Luo agreed.

“I was a little nervous at first,” said Luo of playing as a freshman last year. “But it is fun playing together. If I am having a bad day, they cheer me up. I enjoy the change.”

Pulling the team together is Nix, the captain. Olds had many positives to say of Nix.

“She runs the team,” said Olds of his captain. “She is very responsible.”

The players feel the same way.

“She is one of the best people I know,” said Bardunias. “She takes care of everything. She ordered our uniforms, did all the research, and made it to where we just had to pay the money. She always communicates all the time with the team and makes sure the freshmen are included in everything we do.”

While most high school golf coaches are coaches of other sports and mostly handle the paperwork for the program, Olds is one that brings a strong golf pedigree to the Mustangs.

A former standout golfer at Antioch High, Olds was on a Fresno State team that was a top 20 NCAA team in 1983-84. After the one season he transferred to St. Mary’s for the rest of his college career.

His younger brother, Scott Olds, won the California Interscholastic Championship in 1987, beating Phil Mickelson in the process.

In a sport where often being a coach amounts to being a supervisor of the kids, Olds brings more to the table.

“Coach Ron is great,” said Bardunias. “He plays golf, so he knows the game. He can see something wrong in our game and talks with us. And we can see sometimes what he is doing wrong when he is playing.”

The Mustangs chances to go unbeaten early this year when they dropped a tough one to Carondelet, but the recent scores have shown the team is finding their stride.

“It will be tough, but we didn’t play well the first time we played them,” Luo said of Carondelet. “We’re playing a lot better now. We shot that 189 at Wente – that was awesome.”

Bardunias sees great things coming as well.

“We had a pretty good start this year,” said Bardunias. “I think as the year goes on and we get more used to playing with each other, we will be scoring well. One of our main goals is to get to NorCal (Championships) and hopefully win it.”

The Mustangs will get their chance to extract revenge against Carondelet on Tuesday, Sept. 21, when they will travel to Boundary Oak Golf Course in Walnut Creek.

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