Team ded­i­cates sea­son to for­mer coach

Team ded­i­cates sea­son to for­mer coach

Porterville Recorder - - FRONT PAGE - By NAYIRAH DOSU NDOSU@PORTER­VILLERE­CORDER.COM

Each time the Monache High School’s girls golf team steps on a course for a match this sea­son, they’ll be play­ing in mem­ory of for­mer head coach An­thony “Tony” Grande.

Speak­ing to Tu­lare Union at the team’s open­ing East Yosemite League match, Monache coach Dave Koontz told those in at­ten­dance that the Ma­raud­ers had ded­i­cated the sea­son to Grande who lost a four-year bat­tle with lung can­cer on Aug. 31. Koontz said the Ma­raud­ers were still play­ing with “heavy hearts” and that Grande’s fu­neral was on Satur­day.

“He was the most pos­i­tive, most pas­sion­ate man I think I’ve ever met,” said Koontz. “Never met a man who was so brave in the face of can­cer. He never gave up.”

Grande coached the Ma­raud­ers for 11 years. Last sea­son he led Monache to a 9-0 un­de­feated EYL record and a third place fin­ish in the CIF Area Tour­na­ment.

Be­fore the teams headed out to play, Koontz and the Ma­raud­ers re­layed Grande’s three rules for play­ing golf — have fun, have fun, and have fun.

Play­ing with­out two of their top play­ers, Monache fell 316364 to Tu­lare Union at River Is­land Coun­try Club af­ter nine holes. No. 3 San­dra Ren­te­ria was the team’s low medal­ist with a 53.

Other scores for the Ma­raud­ers were No. 1 Vanessa Mendoza with a 57, No. 2 Danielle Mar­gosian with 62, No. 4 Janelle Ca­marena with 102 and No. 5 Eve­lyn Loehner with a 92.

“Its been tough,” said Koontz. “Be­tween the loss of the coach, the fire, the air qual­ity. We haven’t been able to prac­tice much.”

Two weeks ago the Pier Fire be­gan rag­ing over Springville and forced Porter­ville Uni­fied School Dis­trict to can­cel out­door prac­tices and games on mul­ti­ple days through­out the week. The fire is now 60% con­tained.

“I don’t like ex­cuses

but the girls have been un­der a lot of stress,” said Koontz.

This was the team’s only game for the week and Koontz hopes that the next few days of prac­tice will help the team im­prove.

The de­fend­ing league cham­pi­ons have a tough road ahead of them but Koontz said he plans to keep them up­beat and play­ing their game.

RECORDER PHOTO BY CHIEKO HARA

Monache High School's Vanessa Mendoza makes an ap­proach shot near first green Tues­day at River Is­land Coun­try Club.

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