Golf Team Looks Ahead to New Season

Gerard Santos

For head coach Greg Osbourne the two previous seasons for his men’s golf team have only served as stepping stones to success for his new young group of players.

The Glendale College golf team went from struggling this season to being ranked fifth in the state, all the while competing against a very tough schedule.

A former Glendale College football player and golfer and a California Lutheran University hall of famer, Osbourne began recruiting golfers from local high schools last year in hopes of transferring them out to four-year universities. The result has been a level-headed group of disciplined golfers who, although striving to outplay each other, have a bond this season.

Nate Sheffield, a California Lutheran University transfer, and former center for the College of Canyons basketball team, towers above his teammates at 6 feet 6 inches. The 26-year-old is nicknamed “Pops” on the team for his seniority and experience.

“I’m not the best on the team,” Sheffield said. “But I’m doing my best to help out the team as much as I can.”

Nick Quintanilla, the team’s No. 1 player, is spending his first year at Glendale and plans to transfer to USC. Quintanilla is confident that the team will make both the regionals and state, and isn’t afraid of rallying the team with his enthusiasm to practice.

Joe Boonnopponkul from El Camino Real High School is also one of the many first-year players that Osbourne recruited. He is hopeful that his coach will guide him to a scholarship at a local university, and says that the whole team is disciplined and dedicated to keep winning. During the Orange Empire tournament on Feb. 1, Osbourne “had the team practicing at 5 a.m. while the other schools were asleep,” Boonnoppornkul said. Glendale went on to win the tournament.

Bernard Leon, also a freshman, is nicknamed “The Mayor” by his coach and teammates because of his lifelong aspiration to someday become one. When asked about how each individual’s competitive streak affects the team, Leon said, “We all drive to beat each other and be number one, but when we go to a match we all wear GCC uniforms. I feed off the guys to push myself to become better.”

Erik Stratton is a USC transfer hopeful who is also spending his first year at Glendale College. Stratton claims that the friendly competition within the team builds chemistry, and that is why the team is off to its best start since Osbourne took over the team.

A good way to judge the young core’s talent level at this point though, is to compare them to their hall-of-famer coach. “I will know that they’re good and consistent enough to make it to state when they finally beat me,” Osbourne said.

For now though, they will face College of the Canyons on Monday and compete in the North/South Invitational on March 21.