Sagehens’ women’s golf on par to bring home a title

Members of the P-P women’s golf team hold the trophy after winning their second consecutive SCIAC Championship on April 25th, 2023 (Courtesy: Sagehen Athletics)

The Pomona-Pitzer (P-P) women’s golf team are SCIAC Champions and currently ranked sixth in Division III. They consistently compete against other top 25 ranked teams and are set apart from their competition with one unique feature — there are no seniors on the roster.

For many teams, the absence of a senior class might hinder their success, but the Sagehens’ women’s golf team seems to be an exception. Captain Katelyn Vo PO 24 said it has opened up leadership opportunities for underclassmen that would have otherwise not existed.

“We have three captains this year, two juniors and a sophomore, which is really unique for this program,” Vo said. “Having so many people in leadership roles promotes a positive environment for everyone because everyone realizes that they have the opportunity to have a leadership role early in their collegiate careers.”

One of these leaders, captain Claire Whisenant PO 24, said that even though captains play a large role in the team’s success, she attributes a lot of it to a sense of individual responsibility that she feels is present on the team.

“Even though by title we’re captains, a lot of [what makes us successful] is self-accountability of being at practice and holding yourself accountable to the standards that you need to hold yourself to in order for our team to be successful,” Whisenant said.

Vo said that the Sagehens aim to promote healthy competition, while also creating a fun, welcoming environment. As a small team lacking senior leadership, Vo said that the captains have placed a lot of emphasis on strengthening personal relationships and creating a positive environment for everyone. According to her, one way the team has worked to create this environment is by supporting the freshmen on the team throughout their transition into college.

“All year we’ve been trying to acclimate the freshmen into this new setting. When there’s three new freshmen on a team of eight, nearly half of the team is new,” Vo said. “We wanted to ensure that everyone felt at home here at Pomona [College] and Pitzer [College].”

First-year Jessica Mason PO 26, who has won three straight individual titles and helped lead the team to a third-place finish at SCIAC No. 1, attributes some of her success to the support she has received from her fellow teammates. Mason said that the team chemistry and love they have for each other translates to their performance on the course.

“As a first-year, the team has been super welcoming and they have supported me through school, missing my parents and competitions,” Mason said.

This week, the Sagehens defended their position as SCIAC Champions, coming back from 10 strokes down on the final day. They defeated previously No. 1 ranked Redlands and No. 8 ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) to earn their automatic bid to the NCAA DIII Championship.

As the team nears the end of the season, Mason said she is hopeful for the future. Whisenant, who was part of the 2022 team that won SCIAC and made it to nationals for the first time in program history, said that the team has put themselves in a good position to win it all.

“Last year we had a really successful season where we won SCIAC and placed at nationals,” Whisenant said. “We have a lot of momentum from that and seeing us be so successful last season has built our confidence that we’re a really capable team and we can have big goals.” 

With a positive attitude and big goals for the team, Mason said that she knows the team is capable of big things and she is looking forward to seeing what the team will do during the remainder of the season.

“When we come together as a group and all play really well, we’re capable of being the best … I know we can win nationals if we all play well,” Mason said.

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