Girls golf: Olinger paces LA Monday despite painful foot injury

-A A +A
By Mike Cote

While the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls golf team thinks it has the talent to make some noise during this academic year, it’s going to be a question of mindset.

That’s the Hilltoppers’ mantra as they get going on the 2009 fall season. The team’s fall tour made a stop Monday at Los Alamos Golf Course for the team’s home invitational.

The Hilltoppers finished second in Monday’s tournament which included eight schools but just three full teams. The Hilltoppers finished with 409 shots Monday, placing them behind Las Vegas Robertson.

Robertson placed two players in the top five on its way to earning a solid 395 strokes. Jayme Quintana finished as a runner-up with 91 shots, although she was 12 shots behind medalist Chanet Fiorina of Santa Fe.

For its part Monday, Los Alamos had three players in the top 10 individually. Miranda Olinger, the team’s No. 1 player, had a 92 on the day, good enough for third place on the leaderboard.

Olinger’s finish was a very good one considering she had to limp around the full 18 holes on a foot injury. The severity of the non-golf-related injury hasn’t been diagnosed yet, although there appears to be some tendon damage and possibly even some muscle damage in her left foot.

“It’s very painful, but I got through it,” Olinger said. “It’s tough going up 18. Going uphill is really hard.”

The injury, which happened about 2-1/2 weeks ago, has limited Olinger’s workouts. Prior to Monday, she hadn’t played more than seven holes at a time since her injury.

Following Olinger on the leaderboard was Shelby Fellows in sixth place. They were joined in the top 10 by Morgan Vaughn, who was ninth.

Fiorina, who burst on to the scene as a freshman, finishing second at the Class 5A tournament, had a subpar junior year but seems to have redoubled her efforts early in her senior season. She finished just 2-over par on the backside of the golf course.

Olinger shot 46s on both sides of the turn Monday.

Hilltopper head coach John McBride said Olinger’s gutsy effort didn’t surprise him, citing her top-notch work ethic. McBride said he hopes her level of intensity trickles down to the rest of his squad throughout the season.

“We just need to see improvement,” McBride said. “It’s up to the girls how hard they want to work at it.”

Fellows is one of the players McBride will have his eye most closely on.

Fellows, who is a relative newcomer to golf, came on late in the spring season and has already shown even more improvements through the course of this season. McBride thinks Fellows could be in the mid-80s as early as the spring, which, with a healthy Olinger and some help on the back end, could have the Hilltoppers right back in contention in Class AAAA.

Taylor Engleman, who was a late call-up from the junior varsity team, actually finished in the top four individually among the Hilltoppers with her 112. Sarah McBride, the lone senior on the team, finished with a 115.

“For right now as a team, we’re just trying to get a feel for how we’re doing,” Olinger said. “We’re rebuilding…and we’re seeing what we can improve on.”

Los Alamos continues its spring schedule with a tournament Oct. 1 at Cochiti Lake.

Team scores

1. Las Vegas Robertson, 395; 2. Los Alamos, 409; 3. West Las Vegas, 557.

Individual results

1. Chanet Fiorina, Santa Fe, 79; 2. Jayme Quintana, Robertson, 91; 3. Miranda Olinger, 92; 4. Andrea Grijalva, Santa Fe, 92; 5. Jamie Allen, Robertson, 93; 6. Shelby Fellows, 100; 7. Beverly Williams, Española Valley, 102; 8. Karley Bradley, Robertson, 103; 9. Morgan Vaughn, 105; 10. Shayla McCall, Española Valley, 106; Taylor Engleman, 112; Sarah McBride, 115.