Golf Team Seeks To Make History Again

Birds cried out overhead as Seth Maxwell swung his club and hit the golf ball in a high arc over the fairway and toward the green of hole No. 4 at Sherwood Forest Golf Club.

Then fellow Apache Jacob Calhoun, a freshman from Hallmark Charter, stepped into position and did the same after a test swing with his club. But this drive elicited a long “Whooooo” from Bullard High golf coach Randy Seib. Calhoun didn’t react. Like the rest on that April 4 afternoon, he treated the competition between the two schools as serious business.

Coach Trevor Schmidt explained the rivalry this way. “In the van going to a Bullard match it’s usually gloomy,” he said.

Not this year. This season, their talent on the course has given them hope. In fact, Schmidt said one of the team, perhaps junior Alejandro Mendibles, said prior to the match, “Let’s shock the world.”

Granted, that world is small. Golf is also a quiet game. Those who know its secrets often talk very little or simply whisper during competition.

And Bullard maintained its standard for playing excellent golf. The two top players competing against Calhoun and Maxwell also fired off brilliant shots at the fourth hole, driving them so high, it appeared they would land in a dense thicket of trees just beyond the green.

And that offers some of the sport’s allure. John Pena, a sophomore who played varsity football and basketball this season, said he enjoys it. “It’s easier on my body, and it’s really mentally challenging,” he said. “You could hit four bad shots in a row. Then you can hit 10 good shots.”

Pena said the way to maintain the balance in favor of the good shots requires three elements. “Staying focused, staying strong and staying with the plan,” he said.

Bullard ended up winning. But not by the margins the team has become accustomed. “We put up a good fight,” Schmidt said. Maxwell won his match. Dominic Daddino, a senior, came close.

“We’re going to dismantle them the next time,” Daddino said. And of his match, he added, “I lost him on the eighth hole. I was tied going into the seventh.”

And on the quality of this year’s team, Daddino said, “Yeah. I like this team. My favorite since freshman year.” Mandibles agreed. “Very special team. Great teamwork We like each other. We hope so we keep practicing.”

Calhoun said his goal this year is to compete in the Valley championships. He said he lost but not by much, and that his confidence “is pretty high.” He agreed in principal with Mendibles’ “shock the world” prediction, calling it pretty accurate.

Just how well this group of Apaches gets along may be best illustrated by a rivalry that Schmidt said developed between Maxwell and Pena. “They try to hit it over the net,” he said, referring to the driving range. “One will hit and talk trash to the other. “

When asked about the good-natured rivalry, Maxwell smiled. “We have a driving competition,” he said. “I won the last couple of times.”

The contest with Bullard that day was supposed to be held at Riverside Golf Course in Fresno. But Schmidt and Seib opted to switch to the less crowded and more sedate Sherwood off Frankwood Avenue east of Sanger.

Except one dad, Maxwell’s. He opted for Riverside, even though his son had told him otherwise, thinking perhaps Seth didn’t want the pressure of a parent’s expectations.

Not the case, Seth said. “You never know if you’re going to have a good day,” he said. “You can do good (at the start), but in the middle of a round do bad. But, yeah, I love the sport.”

Somewhat like Xander Perez did on one of the seventh hole that afternoon. He made an excessively hard putt. “I came back,” he said. “I was three down.”

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