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SSHS golf standout Prendergast earns right to compete at Jr. America's Cup
by Dan Eckles
Jul 26, 2013 | 2317 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune file photo - Spanish Springs golfer Katrina Prendergast chips onto the 18th green at WildCreek Golf Course in Sparks at last fall's NIAA State Championships. The local standout is earning a variety of unique opportunities through her golf talents.
Tribune file photo - Spanish Springs golfer Katrina Prendergast chips onto the 18th green at WildCreek Golf Course in Sparks at last fall's NIAA State Championships. The local standout is earning a variety of unique opportunities through her golf talents.
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It's been a busy summer for Spanish Springs student athlete Katrina Prendergast. There hasn't been much relaxing at home in front of the TV or laying out by the pool trying to improve her tan.

And that's just fine by Prendergast. She's been spending a lot of time on the golf course. Prendergast, who will be a junior at Spanish Springs High School when the new school year begins next month, has been competing in Northern Nevada Junior Golf Association Tournaments all summer. In addition to NNJGA tourneys and her daily practice regimen, she also participated in the Calloway Jr. Worlds, played at the prestigious Torrey Pines golf club in San Diego.

"The NNJGA here is so good," said Prendergast's mother Karen Long. "It gives local kids the opportunity to get to these big tournaments. Kudos to them … Any exposure is good. Northern Nevada doesn't have a lot of people coming to look at our prospects."

The most recent honor Prendergast has earned is the right to play on northern Nevada's Girls Junior America's Cup team. The event will be played at the Championship Golf Club at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM July 30-Aug. 1.

Prendergast got to compete in the event last year when it was hosted in Hawaii. She's looking forward to a second go-round.

"I went last year and I've gotten better," Prendergast said. "I am really excited. Last year was fun in Hawaii … I have never been to New Mexico. This event is cool because you get to play different courses in different states."

The NNJGA hosts tournaments throughout the summer in the Truckee Meadows and surrounding region. The top four girls in the NNJGA's summer standings after the initial five events were chose to participate in the Junior America's Cup.

Prendergast, who leads those standings, will make the trip to New Mexico along with McQueen sisters Alice and Michelle Duan and Bishop Manogue's Karly Farthing. The foursome will compete as a team at the five-day event, which features opening ceremonies, a practice round and a three-round tournament.

"The goal of the event is kind of cool," said Dana Lehner, Executive Director of Sun Country PGA, the host group for this year's event. "It's kind of the first taste of what a collegiate style golf event would be like. The girls play as a group. They travel together and of course the competition is at a high level.

"The other thing is the event has a cultural aspect too. We bring the girls to the site. They stay with a host family and learn about the culture and history of the site."

Prendergast said she remembered the culture value of last summer's Hawaii event and that makes this trip a unique experience.

"Last year there was a luau on the beach and we learned about the culture there. It was really fun," she said. "This event is not just about golf. You get to meet new people and learn about their culture."

Prendergast admitted the competition was elite at last year's event, noting the northern Nevada team finished 16th out of 18 teams. She said it would be nice to be in the Top 15 and improve on the local squad's finish of a year ago.

That's not an unrealistic goal. Prendergast, who is the two-time northern Nevada champion and finished third in the NIAA prep state championships last fall, said she's been working hard to improve her game this summer.

"I've been getting better and hopefully that will show in the high school season," the SSHS standout said. "My short game is getting better and I've gotten a new driver and new 3 wood. So hopefully my long game will be more consistent."

In addition to the Junior America's Cup, Prendergast has been invited to play at Pebble Beach Golf Club on California's scenic Monterey Peninsula during the Senior PGA Tour event there in September. That opportunity comes through the First Tee of Northern Nevada.

Her mother couldn't be more proud.

"She's still got a 4.0 and is in honors courses and she misses a lot of school. That's part of the downfall but you have to play the game," Long said. "She's still playing basketball. She's grounded and her activities are varied. The burnout shouldn't be there like other kids just doing golf full-time."

Nevada's girls high school golf season starts in September. Prendergast will be looking to defend her Division I North individual title and lead Spanish Springs to back-to-back state championships this fall.
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