The 2016-17 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Girls Golf Teams were selected based on performance and level of competition primarily at the high school level.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Rachel Heck, St. Agnes Academy
Name: Sister Lynn Winsor
School: Xavier College Prep (Phoenix)
Winning six straight state titles is pretty impressive. Unless you’re Sister Lynn Winsor, coach of perhaps the most dominant high school athletic program in the country.
That state championship, won in November, was Xavier College Prep’s 18th in 19 years and 34th since Winsor won her first team crown with the Gators in 1980.
And Xavier Prep doesn’t just win, the program dominates.
Xavier Prep won theArizona Division I state tournament in 2015 by an amazing 45 strokes, despite trailing after the first day.
In 2016, the team had stretched a two-shot lead over Hamilton (Chandler) to 16 strokes at the state tournament before multiple weather delays ended the tournament early, and Xavier was declared the winner. (Because the round was not completed, the title will go down as a two-stroke victory.)
Xavier Prep had three of its five golfers finish in the top five at the Division I state championship. Two golfers, freshman Ashley Menne and senior Elizabeth Caldarelli, shared the state title with Chandler Hamilton’s Hannah Li.
“It’s that tradition of excellence that has followed us,” Winsor said. “We call it the Xavier golf experience.”
Winsor started coaching at Xavier Prep in 1974 and it took her six years to win that first state title. But then they never stopped. The Gators won the crown in Arizona’s highest classification every year from 1980 to 1995. After coming in second to (Scottsdale, Ariz.) Horizon in 1996 and 1997, Xavier Prep reclaimed its proper place at the top of the mountain in 1998 and has won every year since save for a runner-up finish to Hamilton in 2010.
Winsor is a nun as well as the athletic director at Xavier Prep, and perhaps most incredibly, not a golfer— Golf Digest says she gave up the game shortly after joining the convent. She is a 2013 inductee into the National High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame and has twice been named that group’s Girls Golf Coach of the Year (1998 and 2005).
She has also coached some pretty good players, including 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Amanda Blumenherst, Arizona State head coach Missy Farr-Kaye and Cheyenne Woods, LPGA Tour member and niece of Tiger Woods. Her players today are still pretty good: senior Elizabeth Caldarelli—headed to Texas A&M—and freshman Ashley Menne shared medalist honors at the state tournament.
Winsor is joined by co-coach Tui Selvaratnam.
“We have the No. 1 freshman in the state, and we bonded really well, so it was just a good group of girls,” Selvaratnam said. “It wasn’t just the golf. We did a lot of other activities outside, like yoga, and we took a trip to Flagstaff. It was a whole experience. So it was a whole bonding experience, and it was really good.”