As the top girls golfer in Riverside Brookfield High School program history, senior Mayan Covarrubias hoped to make a final statement in her third straight appearance at the Class 2A state meet.
Instead, it will be her four varsity seasons that speak volumes.
Covarrubias intended to ride the momentum of her best sectional ever but ran into a rough back nine holes, Friday and Saturday, that contributed to a 36-hole total of 169 (85-84) to tie for 61st.
“It didn’t really go the way I was expecting. I was just trying to go out there and compete with the top girls, but the first day I didn’t play that well [tied for 60th],” Covarrubias said. “The weather didn’t make anything easier. It was super-cold. The wind was blowing like I wasn’t anticipating.”
Last year, she tied for 70th at state with a 167 (84-83). As a sophomore, her 101 missed the second-round individual cut.
This time, she went into state with a 3-over-par 73 at sectionals.
“I wanted [my best rounds] to be at state. I’m glad I played well at sectionals,” she said. “It’s bittersweet. I’m glad I made it there, but I wish I would have played better.”
Covarrubias has come a long way since first going to the driving range with her father, Hector, and deciding to join the team as a freshman.
Back then, she looked up to then-senior standout Kiki Keen, who tied for 11th at sectionals in 2020, when COVID-19 restrictions resulted in no state meet.
Covarrubias has since become the mentor for what arguably was the strongest RBHS golf team in program history. This year’s team qualified a program-best five individuals for the sectional.
“Personally, Mayan has been a great help and just all season she’s been awesome to play with,” said all-conference sophomore Lucia Vazzana after the Glenbard East Regional.
“For the team, she’s been incredible. She’s definitely a big part of the team and we’re going to lose a lot next year.”
Covarrubias said she’s been flattered by RBHS coach Doug Schultz calling her the greatest player in program history.
She was this season’s top individual in the Upstate Eight Conference after two all-conference seasons in the Metro Suburban. That included her first conference meet title with a 2-over-par 73.
“Freshman year, I was barely playing golf so it’s really good just to see the improvement I’ve made,” she said.
“It’s always good to be good, to be the best at something. I’m glad I’ve had good coaches and good teammates and parents who have supported me. I hope somebody comes in and breaks that. Hopefully somebody finishes higher at state. It’s a good feeling to be told that for sure.”
Last year, just making state was a special achievement. She won a four-hole sectional playoff among four players for the final individual berth.
“Getting through the playoffs was pretty awesome,” Covarrubias said. “It showed a lot of grit. Four holes with the crowd watching. If I did it again, I think I’d be nervous.”
Covarrubias began golf as a multi-sport athlete, primarily playing basketball and softball.
However, because of COVID-19 restrictions, golf was among the few sports Covarrubias could play regularly. Her growing interest coincided with less interest in playing softball after many years.
“I’d see [Keen] hitting the ball far and knew it took a lot of work. I wanted to continue to work at it and be as good as I wanted to be,” Covarrubias said.
“The mental game [is the challenge]. If you have one really bad hole, it’s really hard to bounce back, especially playing nine [holes]. I have to continue to improve on that, but I think I’ve gotten better these last couple of years.”
At state, the back nine got Covarrubias twice at state, a pair of 9-over-par 45s, even after her first birdie Saturday on the No. 4 hole.
But of course, that’s golf. She plans to continue playing in college while probably pursuing sports management.
“In my mind, a good round would have gotten me top 20, top 15,” Covarrubias said. “I know there’s a lot of good girls, and I feel like I could if I’d have a good day, but unfortunately, it wasn’t my two days.”