Malini Rudra and her fellow captains spent all season explaining the joy of winning at the highest level to their new Syosset girls golf teammates.
Rudra, Arushi Gahlaut and Grace Ng were on Syosset’s last Long Island title-winning squad in 2016, leaving it up to them to tell the underclassmen about the team’s legacy and what it felt like to add to it.
The Braves got to experience that feeling again on Tuesday, as Rudra shot a 6-over-par 77 at Middle Island Country Club to lead Syosset past Sayville, 464-469, in the Long Island Championship. The title was the fourth in five seasons for coach Steve Naranjo’s team.
“We had three girls who had never been in this situation before,” Naranjo said. “The captains really took them under their wings and really brought them along and showed them what this is all about. The three of them set an example and you can see that brush off on the younger kids.”
“We explained how it amazing it was to win a Long Island Championship,” Rudra said. “We had a younger team but they were just as passionate to take back the title.”
Syosset also got help from Ng, who shot a 90, and Gahlaut (93). Ceili Howland led Sayville with a 82.
“We’ve seen so much progress from this team,” Gahlaut said. “We saw each one of them grow into their spots,” she added of underclassmen Ada Yu, Chloe Catton and Alexa Frank.
“Last year when we lost in the county tournament, we were devastated,” Ng said. “We really put in the hard work and the younger girls really understood how much this meant to us. They knew the stakes and didn’t crack under pressure.”
The squad took its cue in that regard from Rudra, who said she noticed the team score was close after nine holes and responded by taking her game up to the next level.
“I just wanted to stick it close to the pin because the greens were unpredictable today,” said Rudra, who shot a 1-over 37 on her final nine holes. Rudra will be back next season to try to win a fifth Long Island title, while Ng and Gahlaut will graduate as champions.
“This team is special,” Ng said. “It sparked my passion for the game and made me want something greater than just playing as an individual. We’ve definitely left an impact on Syosset sports.”