Banning golf

The Banning High girls' golf team coached by John Stockham (pictured) has thrived this season, thanks to the help of area golf courses and generous benefactors.

Think girls’ golf and Banning High is probably not the first high school that comes to mind.

Schools with more affluent students like Redlands High whose players are more likely to be able to afford expensive equipment, lessons and club memberships are more apt to succeed in such a niche sport.

But Banning is in its fifth year of girls’ golf and the program is making strides, said coach John Stockham, who is better known as the school’s former football coach.

“The program took a while to establish but we have seen success in the way of exposing student-athletes to the game, increasing access to golf for underprivileged youth, and garnering support from our community,” Stockham said by email.

Sun Lakes Country Club has been instrumental. It has allowed the Broncos to practice and play their home matches there.

Stockham extolled the beauty of the course and lauded the Pro Shop staff and administrators for cooperating.

He also complimented the Sun Lakes community for being so generous.

He said the Women for Hope, Sun Lake Men’s Club, Sun Lakes Women’s Club, SLCC Couple’s Club, and SLCC Men’s and Women’s Executive Course clubs have all helped out.

The clubs have donated bags, carts, equipment, and money that has been used to fund the Banning program. And Calimesa Men’s Club, led by Peter Ruggles, has also been generous in donating equipment.

“These are great partnerships which I hope will continue to develop and grow,” Stockham said.

Now for the golf. Junior Kelsey Algiers, senior Ana Ambong, senior Diana Clemente, sophomore Valerie Lu Grain, sophomore Paolo Zavala, sophomore Stephanie Ledesma, sophomore Myah Urquidez, junior Destiny Torribio, junior Cindel Ruiz, and junior Journie Gutierrez comprised the team.

“These are all great ladies,” Stockham said. “I have a good core of underclassmen coming back for next year, and hope to recruit some good kids as well.”

The Desert Valley League golf preliminaries were Tuesday, Oct. 19 at Big Bear Golf Resort, and the DVL finals (top 16 players, plus ties) was at the Terra Lago Golf Club, South Course on Thursday, Oct. 21.

Urquidez (fifth place) and Lu Grain (seventh) both made first-team All-DVL, based on their success at the league tourney. Ledesma (13th) and Torribio (15th) made second team.

Next is the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 championships at El Prado Golf Club-Chino Creek on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Representing the Broncos are Clemente, Torribio, Ruiz, Ledesma, Lu Grain, and Urquidez.

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