St. John’s Women’s Golf begins their season this Monday, Sept.23 when they travel up north for the Boston College Intercollegiate Tournament. If last year was any indication, it will be the beginning of a season filled to the brim with potential growth and success.
A brief glimpse at their roster will tell you why. Sophomore Jessie Kweon,a local product, spent her 2018 fall season with Hofstra University before transferring and winning Big East Freshman of the Year in the spring of 2019. “I think Jessie was a really strong player for us in the spring. She had a quick transition into the program but she’s a very strong player as well. She just adds more depth into our roster, into our lineup,” Coach Ambry Bishop-Santillo told the Torch.
Junior Andrea Sanchez is looking to make the next big step in her first season without her sister, who graduated with the class of 2019. She will be taking on a larger leadership and mentor role for the younger players.
Finally, seniors Kaitleen Shee and Linda Wangare both coming off stellar seasons as well. Shee finished with a 76.59 stroke-average, which was good for 12th in the Big East, as well as six top-15 finishes and four top-five finishes. Wang went for a 76.45 stroke-average (11th in the Big East), eight top-20 finishes, four top-four finishes, and even an impressive four-under 68 at Hofstra.
“Obviously Kaitleen and Linda are great players, and I think they really lead by example out on the golf course with their play and just make everybody better, because they normally carry a pretty high level when they’re out there,” said Bishop-Santillo.
Alongside the returners are a cast of freshmen hailing from across the world, with Jill Beglin from Nevada, Laia Barro from the Philippines, and Cloe Clocchiatti from Italy.
“We are continuing our trend of being very global. That’s worked well for our team in the past and obviously works well here at St. John’s… The three girls have been great coming in. They’ve done a really good job of getting adapted to campus and I think they’ve shown a lot of independence and being able to figure out a lot of things on their own,” Bishop-Santillo noted of the freshmen.
Piecing this roster together you begin to see what looks like a coach’s dream. The mix of talented upperclassmen have room to take the next step after strong showings in the past few seasons, a sophomore who proved she could hold her own against any competition in her Freshman of the Year campaign, and a group of freshmen who can learn and grow under the veterans without any significant pressure.
With a team this talented and deep, Bishop-Santillo has their goals set on one thing. “I think just having team tournament titles, there’s no reason why we can’t go into every tournament and think that we have a chance to win. And I don’t mean that in an arrogant way. I mean that they have the talent to do that. They have the experience to do that and so I look for that to be our mind set and our goal.”
It is certainly a reasonable expectation and one the Johnnies look to bring home this fall. They have four chances to do so. After Boston, they head to Princeton University on Sept. 28, Towson University on Oct. 14, and Lehigh on Oct. 21.