MORRO BAY, Calif. — College of the Canyons has won back-to-back CCCAA State Championships capping a two-year run that saw the Cougars win every tournament in which it played. COC sophomore Haruka Koda also won the individual state championship.
The state title is the fourth in COC program history (2001, 2007, 2018, 2019) all coming under head coach Gary Peterson. Koda's individual title is the third in program history behind Jenny Lee (2007) and Kris Grimes (2011).
The women's golf team now holds the distinction of being the first COC athletic program to win back-to-back state championships.
Earlier this season COC won the program's fourth Southern California Regional Championship, as well as the 10th Western State Conference (WSC) title. Canyons finishes the 2019 season a perfect 94-0 through 13 events, and has won 25 straight tournaments dating back to the start of 2018 season. Included in that number is 19 straight conference events.
"It's very fulfilling," said Peterson about this year's championship. "(Going back-to-back) is something I've always strived for, so it's very rewarding to have these women come together two years in a row and basically dominate the field."
Canyons won the 2019 state championship by a 39-stroke margin over runner-up Reedley College (648). Modesto College (657) was third followed by Saddleback College (661) in the fourth spot. Sierra was fifth (662) with College of the Desert (663), Santa Barbara City College (668) and San Joaquin Delta (747) rounding out the field.
In 2018, COC won the state title by 16 strokes over second-place College of the Desert.
"I think we definitely improved from last year," said Koda, who finished as the individual runner-up in 2018 before winning an individual state title as a sophomore. "We were mentally tougher this year, and so played better."
Koda's two-under-par score of 70 in Monday's opening round gave her a one-stroke lead over teammate Jessie Lin (71) heading into day-two action. Koda carded a two-over 74 on Monday to end the tournament at 144.
Lin also finished at 144 after a second-round score of 73. However, the card-off result went to Koda due to her Monday low round.
"It's definitely a feeling of accomplishment," said Lin about her team's most recent title. "I didn't feel the pressure, I just tried to enjoy the course and make a good shot on every hole."
Lin, who won the 2018 SoCal Regional title before finishing third at the same event this season, joined Koda in earning All-State team honors.
Sophomore Paige Heuer also earned an All-State nod after finishing sixth overall in the field of 59 with a score of 151 (74/77).
"It's amazing, I'm very proud of this team," said Heuer. "It's emotional because with this being our second year it's the last time playing together as a team."
Sophomore Shabana Poswal (170-87/83) was the fourth to score for Canyons. Poswal tied for 23rd overall.
"It really hasn't sunk in yet," commented Poswal about winning a second straight state championship. "But those last five holes were really emotional. This is a very close group and I'm going to miss everyone so much.
"It's a really fun group of girls and we all really connected," Poswal added. "It's like the perfect team."
Canyons got another batch of exciting news after clinching the state title when Lieberman revealed to coaches and teammates that she has played the 2019 season while pregnant.
"I feel great, I don't know if it has really sunk in yet, but the whole team is invited to the delivery," joked Lieberman.
The College of the Canyons athletics department has now won a combined 36 state championships (19 team, 17 individual) in its 50 years of existence.
The 2019 women's golf state championship is the 13th team title for Peterson, who has also guided the men's golf program to a record nine state titles. Peterson has also coached individual student-athletes to state titles on six occasions, with three coming for each program.
CCCAA State Championships, Round 1 — Nov. 17, 2019 — 18-hole Scores — Morro Bay Golf Course
TEAM SCORES — 1. Canyons (306) 2. Reedley (320) 3. Modesto (323) 4. Santa Barbara (326) 5. Sierra (330) 6. Saddleback (331) 7. Desert (338) 8. S.J. Delta (373) … CANYONS INDIVIDUAL SCORES — Haruka Koda (70-medalist); Jessie Lin (71-second); Paige Heuer (77); Shabana Poswal (87); Fredeliza Lieberman (96); Delaney Young (103).
CCCAA State Championships, Round 2 — Nov. 18, 2019 — 18-hole Scores — Morro Bay Golf Course
TEAM SCORES — 1. Canyons (609-306/303) 2. Reedley (648-320/328) 3. Modesto (657-323/334) 4. Saddleback (661-326/335) 5. Sierra (662-330/332) 6. Desert (663-338/325) 7. Santa Barbara (668-326/342) 8. S.J. Delta (747-373/374) … CANYONS INDIVIDUAL SCORES — Haruka Koda (144-70/74-medalist); Jessie Lin (144-71/73-second); Paige Heuer (151-77/74); Shabana Poswal (170-87/83); Fredeliza Lieberman (190-96/94); Delaney Young (207-103/104).
Stay up to date on all this season's action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.