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Yellowjackets golf young but ready to go
Hilmar golf 2
Hilmar freshman Olivia Machado is a highly regarded talent coming into her first season with the Yellowjackets. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

Hilmar's varsity girls’ golf team might have lost their three-time South Valley Foothill League Most Valuable Player in Makena Azevedo, but the new Yellowjackets are ready to roll into the 2016 year and have a positive outlook for the season ahead.


“We did lose the league MVP, but I have got a handful of returners — four girls back, a senior, and three sophomores back,” said Hilmar head coach Ty Pettigrew.


During the 2015 year, Hilmar took third place with 28 total points after a 6-6 record, while Orestimba and Hughson took first and second, respectively.


In a competitive league, the 'Jackets also took third in the VFL tournament back on Oct. 19, 2015 and had the lowest scorer of the day on their side — Azevedo — who shot an 87.


“This year I don't have a superstar type of golfer like Makena, so missing that low score of hers really hurts us since we competed well with her,” said Pettigrew.


The team will have to rely on a few golfers including the team’s lone senior in softball all-leaguer, Katelyn Canella.


“She is a hell of an athlete,” said Pettigrew.


Along with Canella will be a combination of Taylor Johnson, Abby Williams, Angela Azevedo, Korey Pettigrew, Ainsley Wood and Mckenzie Martinez.


“Our numbers are okay. We definitely are looking to improve all year long and hoping to make the playoffs as a team,” said Pettigrew.


The team also is banking on a highly regarded freshman in Olivia Machado, who is looking to become the squad’s clear top golfer by the season’s end according to Pettigrew.


“She has put the time in,” said Pettigrew of Machado. “I am expecting good things from her and I expect her to take over the No. 1 spot.”


Pettigrew is also expecting her to take on a leadership role even if it’s her first year in high school.


“That is what I am expecting from her, to turn into the team leader role maybe this year towards the end, but for now I want them to get along and enjoy it as well,” said Pettigrew. “What is good is I got a good young nucleus to work with coming up.”


Hilmar will have to square off against the impressive Hughson Huskies roster if they wish to come out atop in the VFL in 2016.


“Since we have many newcomers and Hughson is experienced, we are now just trying to get everyone to understand the rules and procedures on how to play the game,” said Pettigrew. “I think they all want to do well and they are involved and want to improve, especially the older kids.”