FAU High State Champs compete in National Invitational
FAU High State Champs compete in National Invitational

The Florida Atlantic University High School girls golf team has secured participation in the upcoming Girls High School Golf National Invitational in Frisco, Texas.

The team captured 1A District 14 and 1A Region 4 titles in the fall of 2023 before claiming the school’s first state title in girls golf. The Owls — consisting of Kayla Bryant, Angelina Guertin, Valentina Guertin, Alexandra Phung, Amelie Phung and Morgan Rodriguez — won the 2023 Class 1A FHSAA state championship at the Mission Inn Resort and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, winning the team competition by seven strokes over defending state champion First Academy.

Three members of the team finished in the top 20 individually, led by runner-up Bryant. The sophomore has since been named the Sun Sentinel’s Palm Beach County Girls Golfer of the Year, as well as Golfweek’s Female Golfer of the Year at the Palm Beach County High School Sports Awards.

“I couldn’t be happier with the team’s performance this season, especially the way we fought our way to victory in the district, regional and state championships,” Bryant said. “I was also very pleased to receive these awards and feel very honored to receive both awards.”

Five Owls were named to the Palm Beach Post girls’ All-County golf team: Bryant, fellow sophomore Valentina Guertin, juniors Amelie Phung and Rodriguez, and eighth-grader Alexandra Phung. Bryant, Valentina Guertin and Rodiguez were also selected to the All-Palm Beach County First Team by the Sun Sentinel, while Alexandra and Amelie Phung were each named Second Team honorees.

The team is led by head coach Cherene Castillo, who has already received two awards herself: She was named Palm Beach Post Girls Coach of the Year and Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Girls Coach of the Year.

“I knew we were disappointed as a team after our third-place finish last year and that we would come back stronger this season, but I didn’t expect an undefeated season,” Castillo said. “Kayla Bryant had her best season yet and was a force to be reckoned with on the court. With each season, each athlete has grown and developed on the court, gaining distance and getting better mentally. The girls have been working on their game individually this summer to prepare for the National High School Invitational.”

As state champions, the team has been extended eligibility to the 2024 Girls High School Golf National Invitational. This invitation-only tournament is a three-day, 54-hole stroke play event featuring the nation’s best high school golfers at the “Modern Home of American Golf.” It will be played at the PGA Frisco Campus and Home of the PGA of America from Monday, July 8 through Wednesday, July 10 at Fields Ranch West, Old American Golf Club and Gentle Creek Country Club.

“I’m excited to get to compete and play at the PGA Frisco courses in Texas, gain experience and represent the state of Florida,” Bryant said. “I’m excited to showcase our skills on one of the biggest stages in high school golf and I know this team can accomplish anything we put our minds to. But regardless of the outcome, it’s going to be a great experience and a fun week.”

Castillo is also confident about the team’s performance in Texas.

“We expect this tournament to be strong and play our game,” said Castillo. “Our team prepares for each match, going through each course hole by hole and discussing shots and distances with each other. They are confident in their ability as a team. We are very fortunate to have so much depth as a team. We have six extremely strong golfers who can produce great results.”

The FAU High School girls golf team is able to participate in this National Invitational with the support of Vistage Florida and SCALES Gear. For more information about the event, click here.