“Gloria can hit the ball far because she has that athletic build,” says La Jolla High golf coach Aaron Quesnell of his sophomore golfer, Gloria Devitt. Despite having just started playing the sport last year, Devitt is projected to be the Vikings’ fourth or fifth golfer on their six-person varsity squad.
La Jolla, which placed third in CIF Division 2 last year, faces a major makeover in its lineup with the graduation of three seniors. Seniors Amalia Parzen and Olivia Krasuski move up to the one-two slots, with junior Chloe Kim a likely number three as the Vikings begin fall competition.
“Amalia is hitting the ball a lot farther than last year,” reports her coach. “She got much stronger. She improved dramatically.” Krasuski is looked to for the same development.
“Chloe, like Amalia, has improved over the summer. I’m hoping she can shave two strokes off her 9-hole score. Chloe, with maturity and age, is going to be a smarter and more patient golfer this year.” Seva shot a 48, while Kim shot a 49 on Aug. 29 at Riverwalk against Torrey Pines.
Golf, though competitive, maintains a lot of its traditional values and genteel nature. Quesnell observes, “Chloe’s a nice person. We’re really fortunate in this. A lot of the girls are really nice and have a good attitude.”
The Vikings lose what Quesnell calls the “diehard ethic” of former No. 1 Brea Tyrus, who graduated and is going to play golf at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado. They gain the “bubbly ethic” of Parzen. “Amalia is bubbly. She’s a lot of fun,” is her coach’s comment, though the team had not been together yet as a six-some when he spoke.
After the top three of Parzen, Krasuski, and Kim come junior Kiana Seva and Devitt, the 10th-grader. “I envision Gloria and Kiana together, “ says the head coach. “Kiana was playing well at the end of last year. She improved over the season. In tryouts [in August], she was hitting the ball really solidly. She doesn’t hit the ball far, but she doesn’t hit a lot of bad shots.”
Quesnell continues, “Gloria is more raw because she’s new to the sport. Around the greens, she’s less experienced. I bet she improves over the year.”
Sophomores Aurora Preis and Ebony Crandle, and juniors Paige Dierlam and Rebecca Gillison will vie for the fifth and sixth spots. “They’re going to work on getting better around the greens, on chipping and putting,” the coach says.
Comments on each team member: “Aurora is similar to Kiana in that she isn’t going to hit the ball far, but she is going to be accurate.”
“Ebony’s short game is actually pretty good. We’re going to work on her length. Paige hits the ball pretty well. We’re going to work on her consistency avoiding bad shots. Rebecca is hitting the ball far. She has improved.”
Freshmen include Callahan Armstrong, Stella Artukovich, Chloe Lynn, Paige Repp, Ella Stevens, and Cate Alexander.