Granite Bay's Richani shoots 83 at state

By: Steven Wilson,
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After shooting a team-best 75 last week, Granite Bay’s Vanessa Richani advanced to the CIF State Individual Championships in Rancho Cucamonga this week and performed as best as expected.

The Grizzlies sophomore made her first individual state appearance after last week’s team trip to the Northern California State Championships and started a little shaky. But she rebounded to finish nine-over par with an 83 at Red Hill Country Club. 

“It’s my first time making it to state, so I didn’t know what to expect,” Richani admitted. “But it was a good experience. I was a little nervous through the first two holes, but after that I feel like I settled down a little bit. Overall, I had fun, and that’s what really matters.”

Joined by her coach, Richani made the 380-mile plane flight down to Southern California to take on some of the best golfers in the entire state.

“It was a gorgeous day,” Granite Bay’s coach Jason Sitterud pointed out. “It was high-70’s or low-80’s and it was a great day for golf. The course is challenging though — very hilly with a lot of sucker pin placements and really tough greens.”

Richani, who was paired with Elizabeth Wang (San Marino) and Beah Cruz (Christian Brothers) during the tournament for a shotgun start, has been strong all postseason. She notched a team-best 73 at Divisionals before recording a second-place 71 at Masters, which was only two strokes behind the Grizzlies top performer. She added a three-over par 75 last week at The Club at Crazy Horse Ranch in Salinas to keep the momentum rolling. 

Despite her rough start, she had a friendly face to compete with throughout the day. 

“I was used to playing with Beah before because she lives close by and we’ve played in tournaments together before,” Richani explained. “So that made the day a little bit easier and we were able to just enjoy the day and take in the sights.

“I had a few bad holes, but those came down to placement shots,” she added. “I didn’t place the ball where I should have and I was penalized for it. Other than that, it really came down to putting.”

On hole 17, Richani had a strong approach and used her iron to get in position for par, but she couldn’t sink the putt on the first try and added an extra stroke to her score to finish the hole. 

“If you were on the green and you were above the hole, then it was a fast putt, and you needed to compensate for that,” Richani explained.  

Although Richani didn’t find the top-six to become a state medalist, there was one NorCal representative in that group. Lexi Perry from Oak Ridge shot a 74 and finished fifth on the individuals side. 

All things considers, Richani wasn’t too far behind Perry and she still has two more years to bridge that gap.

“For her first time in the State Tournament, I think she did a great job,” Sitterud admitted. “It’s always a little bit different pressure when you’re (the only one there) representing your school. So this was a great experience for her and hopefully she can come back the next two years.”