Charlie Cerrone thought it might be his best team, but the longtime Centennial girls golf coach didn’t know until he recently sat down and checked the scores.
Then it became official: Numbers-wise, it’s the program’s best in his 14 years.
And that includes a state runner-up squad in 2006.
But Cerrone knows the regular season doesn’t always translate to success at regionals, which begin Monday at Boulder City Municipal and end Tuesday at Bear’s Best. The Class 4A Sunset and Sunrise Region teams will take the Boulder City course on day one, while Class 3A schools play at Las Vegas Municipal and Class 2A at Toana Vista Golf Course.
“Even though my girls are pretty good players, they’re young,” Cerrone said. “I just hope they focus on what they need to do and not (on the fact) that it’s regionals. I’ve been trying to coach it up all season. I tell them to ‘trust the process’ and do what they’ve done all year.”
And this season, that’s been a lot of winning.
Centennial, which finished 26 strokes behind champion Bishop Gorman and in fourth place in last season’s region tournament, won all nine of its matches this season with only one senior on the roster.
Freshman McKenzi Hall was the Bulldogs’ top golfer. Hall tied or took medalist honors in five of the team’s nine matches and was one of the state’s top golfers along with sophomore teammate Hailey Stevenson.
But to claim its first region championship, Centennial must get low scores from at least four golfers to beat schools Cerrone says are “battle tested” — veteran teams like Bishop Gorman, Faith Lutheran and Palo Verde.
Faith Lutheran and Palo Verde each have an individual state champion on its roster in Sydney Smith and Annick Haczkiewicz.
“It’s one of those things you can’t actively worry about,” Cerrone said. “You’ve just got to prepare the girls. Palo has four seniors. Faith and Gorman have seniors. They’re all experienced at regionals. … (But) I really like my team because they work at it away from practice. That’s part of the reason they’ve done so well.”
Centennial already has defeated the three aforementioned teams in the regular season.
And if they do it one more time, the Bulldogs will secure one of the four spots at the state tournament.
The region winners, along with the next best two teams overall from Sunrise and Sunset regions — based on 36-hole scores — will advance to state.
A good showing on day one will be crucial for Centennial.
Cerrone said his team already practiced at the 5,566-yard, par-72 Boulder City Municipal course, and planned on getting in a round at Bear’s Best before the second day of the tournament.
His Bulldogs are already students of the game. And, he says, even better teammates.
“While golf is an individual sport, it’s a team sport during the high school season,” Cerrone said. “And these girls really pull for each other. They cheer, wait for each other to finish. I feel that’s pretty important.”