It started with Broadway show tunes, shifted to hip-hop and is now all over the charts.
The daily soundtrack is always changing in the van as the St. Ignatius girls’ golf team travels to practices and matches, but the one thing that remains constant is the winning. The Wildcats have won 50 consecutive West Catholic Athletic League matches, a dominant run that has spanned five straight seasons and five league titles in a row. St. Ignatius has already clinched this year’s regular-season crown and will look to win another WCAL title outright at the 18-hole league championship at 11:30 a.m. today at Poplar Creek Golf Course in San Mateo.
“Other than [their voices], this is just a wonderful group of kids to have,” St. Ignatius coach Julius Yap said with a laugh. “The singing is kind of crazy and keeps them loose, but once they geton the course they certainly compete.”
Yap said he actually expected this to be something of a rebuilding season after the Wildcats lost ace Rosalie-Wil Tolentino (now at Santa Clara) to graduation. But her younger sister Jari-Lee Tolentino and Victoria Student — both juniors — have become top players in their own right and are closely followed by freshman siblings Angela-Rae Tolentino and Madeleine Student. Olivia Schreader, Courtney Chan, Claire Kelly and Cammy Loback have also contributed as St. Ignatius has needed 192 fewer shots than its opponents to rack up its 10 wins this season.
Yap started the Wildcats girls’ team seven years ago while coaching the boys’ junior varsity, convinced there would be enough interest at the school to build a successful program. The Wildcats went .500 in their inaugural season, won the WCAL tournament the next year and have not lost a league match since, while also winning the 2002 Central Coast Section and NorCal titles. And the sustained excellence of the program is not something that is lost on the current players.
“They’re very aware and very proud of our streak,” Yap said. “And no one wants to be the group to let it go.”
Coach swap: What should already be a close game between the Hillsdale and San Mateo football teams Friday at 7 p.m. will be spiced up even more by the coaches roaming the sidelines. The host Bearcats (2-5, 2-3 Peninsula Athletic League Ocean Division) are led by Jeff Scheller, a 1991 Hillsdale grad who played for the Knights and coached the team in 2004 and 2005. His friend Brad Zucker is in his first year coaching Hillsdale (2-5, 2-3), but played his high school football at San Mateo before graduating in 1993.
Hoops season coming: Sacred Heart Cathedral will be one of the featured teams in the inaugural NorCal Tip Off Classic, a one-day, seven-game event scheduled for Nov. 24 at Newark Memorial High School that will showcase some of the top boys’ basketball programs in the Bay Area. The Irish will play the host Cougars at 6:15 p.m., with the marquee matchup of Mitty of San Jose and Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland following that game.
Top players in the tournament include 6-foot-8 Mitty forward Drew Gordon (who has committed to UCLA) and Newark’s Chris Jones (Fresno State).