This school year marks just the third season for the Santa Clara High School Bruins fielding a girls-only golf team. Star senior Janna Andaya played her freshman year with the boys’ team, but she has helped lead this year’s girls’ team to a scorching start. The Bruins are undefeated overall at 6-0, 5-0 in league play.
“We have three seniors, and it just seems like everybody this year came out ready to go,” remarked Bruins Head Coach Kevin Vannest. “The girls are all just playing really well, it’s a whole team effort, everyone is shooting about as good as they can shoot right now.”
“It’s definitely the best start we’ve had in the four years I’ve been here,” chimed Andaya. “It feels great to get some wins here early, hopefully, we can keep that momentum going.”
Helping Andaya lead the squad are fellow seniors Kathleen Podraza and Erin Mizota. The Bruins have one other upperclassman in junior Grace Calfee, but the varsity squad actually has half underclassmen. Three sophomores in Arya Yadav, Catalina Lopez and Hazel Katalik, and one freshman, Marcella Calfee, round out the roster.
It’s a strong mix of veterans and youngsters on this Bruins golf squad, and Coach Vannest couldn’t be more pleased with the team environment. Despite being the medalist in nearly 90% of her matches, Andaya has been almost too selfless in helping her teammates according to her coach.
“She’s spent so much time early on the first couple years trying to help the beginners. She kept trying to spend so much time coaching her teammates on the range, putting, trying to teach them everything he should,” recalled Vannest on Andaya’s first couple seasons at Santa Clara High School. “I had to tell her over and over, ‘I am so appreciative that you want to do that, but I would like you to be a little more selfish right now and worry about your own game.’”
Taking that advice as she’s gotten older has helped Andaya continue to hone her game and she has already verbally committed to playing next year at UC Riverside. Her end goal is to keep going with golf and to try to play at the professional level. Having started playing at six years old, Andaya says she can’t see herself ever not playing golf.
“My goal is to become a pro,” remarked Andaya without any hesitation. “I definitely want to play at that level, for me, golf has been my entire life, I can’t imagine myself doing anything other than that. I’ve always aspired to be like the pros ever since I was little. So, I’ve just kept that dream up.”
Andaya admits though it hasn’t been smooth sailing in terms of improving every year and getting to the level she’s at now.
“It definitely has been hard. I lost some confidence within the last year, but I think now I’m definitely getting it back,” said Andaya. “It can be hard. Sometimes, I have thought I was never going to make it, and I never thought I was going to make it to college golf. But I think just putting my head down and continuing to work, doing my best every day, has helped me get to the level that I am now.”