Zhang earns GMC girls golf Player of the Year honors

Eric Miller | Sports Editor

The top girls golfer in the Greater Miami Conference (GMC) resides at Mason High School. Junior Julanna Zhang took home GMC player of the year honors after compiling a 39.25 average across 108 holes for the 2017 season.

Zhang led the Comets to a second place finish in the GMC tournament, as the Comets fell to Lakota East 659-665. Girls golf coach Chad Layton said Zhang’s awards are due to her will to improve as a player.

“Based on last season, I knew the potential was there,” Layton said. “Julanna’s Player of the Year recognition is directly a result of her dedication and work ethic not only during the season, but in the offseason as well.”

Zhang, who was fifth in the GMC in scoring average as a sophomore, said the award was not something she ever expected to earn.

“I didn’t think I would have this honor at all my entire high school career,” Zhang said. “I practice a lot, everyday, to the point where my sock tan looks like I’m wearing socks. It’s just a lot of hard work and a little bit of mental game because golf is a lot of mental game.”

For Layton, it was Zhang’s ability to be a constant force throughout the course of the year that benefitted the Comets as a team.

“In almost every 18 hole event we played this season, she broke 80 (strokes),” Layton said.” Her nine hole average over the course of the season was right around 39.  Golf is a fickle sport, some days you play great and other days not so well.  Her consistency has allowed a teammate to have an off day, and not affect the outcome of a match.”

Zhang said a ‘team first’ mentality was a key factor in helping not only herself but the entire team find success.

“I feel like all of us really work together,” Zhang said. “We do everything together and it’s not always just one person saying, ‘Let’s do this’, everyone plays their part.”

Zhang will return to lead the girls golf team as a senior in 2018, and Layton believes the offseason is key to how Zhang’s senior campaign will unfold.

“I’m excited to see the growth that she has as a player between her junior and senior year,” Layton said.  “If it’s anywhere near what she was able to do between sophomore and junior years, the sky will be the limit for her as a player.  I’m also looking forward to working with her on being a leader of our team and set the example of what that looks like and means for our younger players coming up in the program.”