Academic Magnet Girls Varsity Golf


Academic Magnet is well known for its academic success but is often forgotten in terms of its athletic prowess. Competitive students are one aspect of the school that makes it so special, and this level of competition carries over into the sports programs and the girls’ golf team. Last year they did not qualify for the state tournament, but they are looking forward to a better year. However, with the recent realignment of school programs, Magnet sports have been moved to 2a along with school rivals Bishop England and Oceanside meaning new and old competition for the team this year. The high school golf season is a little different than other high school sports due to the way in which golf matches are played and how the teams practice. In high school golf practice, you need an agreement with a local course and then you are able to practice, but getting in practice isn’t always easy. This means that a lot of the hard work is on the girls, and improvement is dependent on solo time spent at the range or out on the course. Another difference is the lack of support. Usual golf competitions are mainly made up of older men with lots of time on their hands to follow the players in a multi-hour event. Since high schools don’t have this much time, and course locations can be difficult places to get to, golf teams are reliant on a strong team bond and leadership.


Regular Season Play

The girl’s season at Magnet started off fairly slow. At the beginning of the season, they lost a couple of close matches to rival schools Bishop England and Oceanside. The girl’s home course is Patriots Point located in Mount Pleasant. When I asked Emily Pilla, one of the team members, about the course conditions she said, she’ll “always love the unique lumpy fairways at Patriots Point and their unreliable outcomes.” As the season progressed, the team started figuring things out and was able to beat Oceanside in a very competitive match. Due to some unfortunate circumstances this year which included rainouts, the girls were unable to get into any tournaments before the regional; however, this would not seem to affect their big tournaments. 


Tournament Play

The Magnet team took first place in the region through a combination of good scores and a personal best by Courtney Hall. Akiera Sanchez is also a large part of the team’s success. You have probably heard her name on the announcements around school, but if you haven’t all you need to know is that she’s a winner. Akiera puts in the work in the offseason by playing in tournaments across the country and constantly improving her game. She medaled in almost all the girl’s matches this year and was the team’s unanimous MVP. Consistency is one of the keys to her game, and she is always providing the team with low scores.

After the team’s region win, all eyes were set on the 2022 SCHSL Girls Golf Championship Class AA. The girls felt like they were in a great place to take home the trophy coming off the recent success. The tournament was played at the Cheraw State Park Golf Course, a pristine park setting with stunning views. The girls placed 3rd out of 14 teams and a special shoutout goes to Akiera Sanchez ‘25 who finished second place in the state individual championship. She shot a 75 and was on top of the leaderboard in round 1 and shot a 77 in round 2 both tremendous scores that earned her second place. Although it wasn’t the first-place finish the team wanted, a third-place finish is nothing to scoff at and the girls will likely improve upon this placement next season.

With players such as Akiera Sanchez and many other young talents on the team, a first-place finish seems closer than ever. The Magnet Girls Golf team has a solid core and is going to be a strong competitor in the 2a region for the next couple of years. Jason Stackhouse the coach of the girl’s and boys’ golf teams also deserves some credit. He has been instrumental in Magnet’s golf success for over a decade now and does not plan on stopping anytime soon. If he’s not teaching a class you can usually catch him out on the range or at practice with his teams. His dedication does not go unnoticed, and his competitive attitude paired with the likes of Magnet athletes is just one of the reasons Magnet sports are so special.