With the new coed group, golf is eager to qualify for the State Tournament. The golf team began practicing in early February with many of the same players as last year. The roster consists of three seniors with Nick Neal, Heather MacQuarrie and Marcos Castillo, three juniors with Skylar Decker, Austin Boocher, and Bob Wang, sophomore Jaiveer Katariya, as well as freshman Elena Acuña. The Hawks are coached by Jim Carlson.

Like basketball, there were not enough girls this year to fill a girls roster, so MacQuarrie and Acuña joined the boys to form a coed team. Coach Jim Carlson said, “I think the girls will be a good addition, both to the competition as well as social realms.”

Heather MacQuarrie played on the girls golf team her freshman year along with four other players. Each year, more players graduated until she was left as the only female golfer in the school. “Since we used to have two small teams, I think merging the two programs makes sense and helps keep the program going by having a bigger group,” said MacQuarrie.

Despite everything else, all eyes are going to be on Nick Neal for his senior season. Neal said, “We have gotten better every year as a team, and I have high expectations this year. As for myself, I just hope to do my part for the team and not let us down.” Carlson feels that Neal could have a great season. “He has tremendous ability, he just needs to translate it to the course,” said Carlson.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) has a new qualification system for the State Tournament this year, but Carlson and MacQuarrie are both optimistic that the team can make the State Tournament. “It depends on players working and improving as the season goes on,” said Carlson.

In the past, state qualifications were based upon teams hitting a certain score five times during the season. This year seven section winners and eight at-large teams will go to the State Tournament in Prescott. The ten individuals from non-qualifying teams will also be able to play in the postseason. Recently, the Boys Golf Team has had difficulty reaching the State Tournament as a team.

When asked to talk about something funny that happens on the golf team that no one knows about, MacQuarrie responded, “During practices we try to challenge Mr. Carlson to competitions, and if we win, we get to stop for slushies on the way back to school.”

The golf team’s first match was on March 10 against Desert Christian. Only Castillo, Decker, and Neal were able to play. Due to the new state tournament qualification guidelines, the results of the match will be ambiguous until after the team’s seventh match.