Eldridge retiring; Halda taking coaching reins
SAN MARCOS (12-14-2014) -- Mark Eldridge, the only women's golf coach the college has ever known, has announced he will retire from Palomar at the end of the spring semester. He's handing the head coach's reins off to assistant coach Mark Halda, who is also the men's coach.
Eldridge, who began the women's golf program in 2007, guided the Comets to the 2009 Suthern California championship and the 2011 CCCAA state title. He also coached Palomar to four conference championships, two second-place Southern California finishes and two third-place state finishes.
He coached the 2012 state individual champion, Taylor Crandall, 2008 Suthern California champion Cora Busby and 2009 Southern California champion Beth Sellers.
Halda, the assistant for Palomar's 2009 Southern California champion men's team, took over the head coach's position in 2010 and, in his first season, developed Orange Empire Conference Player of the Year Sejun Yoon, who as a freshman tied for the low score in the state championship tournament, losing a card-off to Santiago Canyon sophomore Conner Covington for the state individual title. Yoon left school after his freshman season to turn pro.
The Comets' Jordan Asper won the Southern California individual title in 201.
"I have every confidencd in Mark Halda's coaching ability and know both programs will be in good hands," Palomar athletic director Scott Cathcart said. "The opportunity to mesh both programs into a year-round instructional operation has the potential to make us the community college golf desgination of the region."
Eldridge was Palomar's long-time softball head coach and has been inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He guided the Comets to a 1,083-304-5 record, 29 conference championships and three state titles and developed one of the nation's best players in Oklahoma State All-American and national team pitcher Kim Ward.
Eldridge also was assistant coach / defensive coordinator for two Palomar national championship football teams, also serving a one-year stint as head coach, and was javelin coach for the 1977 state community college men's track team. He ws the first javelin coach of Tom Petranoff, a converted baseball player who went on to break the world record in the event twice.
"No other coach in the long and proud history of the Palomar athletic program has achieved the consistent level of excellence and success -- both on the field and in preparing student athletes for transfer -- than Mark Eldridge. His presence will be missed," Cathcart said.
Eldridge was a three-sport athlete at Palomar (football, baseball, track & field) and was a starting safety for Washington State. He also was a javelin thrower at Long Beach State.
Halda also has a football background. He was a starting quarterback at San Diego State and was a longtime Palomar football assistant.
2014 Palomar women's golf team -- Photo by Melinda Finn
Season over as Comets 5th in SoCal Regionals
TEMECULA (11-11-2014) --Palomar's women's golf season came to an end on Tuesday as the Comets finished fifth out of six teams in the Southern California Community College Championships on a 6080-yard, par 72 course at Temecula Creek Inn.
Tournament winner College of the Desert (665) and runner-up College of the Canyons (684) advanced to next week's four-team CCCAA State Championship Tournament at Morro Bay. Top individuals also advanced, but none from Palomar.
Irvine Valley (686) finished third, Fullerton (700) fourth, the Comets fifth with a 739 score and Santa Barbara City College (748) was sixth.
For the Comets, Deanna Bird (above left) had a two-day, 36-hole score of 180 but improved eight strokes from Monday's first 18 holes. She had an 84 score, compared with her 96 on Monday.
Brittany Bilek (88-95 -- 183), Jessica Campbell (95-93 -- 188) and Sydney Houser (98-90 -- 188) rounded out Palomar's team total. Samantha Runnels (105-96 -- 201) had the throw-out score.
Lexandra So from Citrus medaled with a 75-73 --148. The cutoff for individuals to advance to the state finals was 173.
Comets take 3rd, on way to regional tournamentPalomar's Jessica Campbell (left), who took medalist honors on the first day Monday with a career-best 74, finished with an 86 and 36-hole total of 160 on Wednesday to lead lead the Comets to third out of nine teams at the Orange Empire Conference women's golf championships.
Palomar advanced to the Southern California Regional Tournament next Monday and Tuesday at Temecula Creek Inn.
College of the Desert, which won the conference championship, went 16-0 against the other eight teams over two days and placed first with a 312-313 -- 625 at Woods Valley Golf Club's 5715-yard, par-72 course.
Fullerton was second with a 330-356 -- 676 and a 14-2 record. The Comets checked in with a 344-335 -- 679 to go 12-4 in finishing third and advancing to next week's Southern California Regionals. Trailing were Irvine Valley (352-348 -- 700 in fourth with a 10-6 record, Mt. SAC (351-376 -- 727 in fifth with an 8-8 record, Saddleback (353-376 -- 720 in sixth with a 6-10 record), Cuyamaca (384-363 -- 747) in seventh with a 4-12 record, Orange Coast (385-no score) for eighth with a 1-14 record and Mt. San Jacinto (no score) to place ninth.
Also for the Comets, Deanna Bird had an 86-78 -- 164, Sydney Houser 98-86 -- 184, Brittany Bilek 86-86 -- 171 and Samantha Runnels 102-99 -- 201, who had two throw-out scores.
COD's Fumika Masumoto medaled for the round and the tournament. She had scoes of 78-72 -- 150.
Comets take step toward qualifying for regional
VALLEY CENTER (10-27-2014) --Playing on the same course where they'll host the Orange Empire Conference Championships next week, Palomar women's golfers took a step toward qualifying for the Southern California Regionals on Monday.
The Comets, whose regular home course is Twin Oaks Golf Club, hosted the other eight teams at Woods Valley GC in a "neutral site" match that concluded the OEC regular season.
Led by a 79 by Deanna Bird (left), Palomar finished fourth.
The Comets' other scores were an 83 by Sydney Houser (right), Jessica Campbell's 85, Brittany Bilek's 97 and Samantha Runnel's 101, the throw-out score. Irvine Valley's Cindy Dang and Leleaga Meredith tied for medalist honors by shooting 74s.
The conference finals, which will be contested next Monday and Wednesday at Temecula Creek Inn, will count as two additional rounds on top of the regular season.
College of the Desert (311, 8-0 win-loss record) again finished first in team scoring on Monday. The Roadrunners held off Irvine Valley by two strokes, with the Lasers checking in at 313 for a 7-1 record.
Fullerton was third at 326 and 6-2, followed by the Comets with a 344 and a 5-3 record on the day. Mt. SAC (354), Saddleback (362), Cuyamaca (419), Orange Coast (no score, not enough golfers) and Mt. San Jacinto (also no score, not enough golfers) trailed.
With the Comets sitting at 48-32 in conference matches, it would pretty much take a meltdown for the Comets to finish out of the top four for the season. And the first four OEC finishers advance to the regionals.
TOP PHOTO: Palomar golfer Deanna Bird hits out of a bunker during nine-team Orange Empire Conference match on Wednesday at the Comets' home course,Twin Oaks Golf Club. Bird shot a 78. Palomar placed third with a 338. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Jessica Campbell, Palomar's second low-scorer with an 82, follows through on a shot. BELOW: Sydney Houser, who had the third-best score with an 86, follows through on a chip shot. -- Photos by Hugh Cox
Comets place 3rd again as Bird cards a 78
SAN MARCOS (10-22-2014) --Deanna Bird carded a 78 at Twin Oaks Golf Club on Wednesday as Palomar took its second third-place finish of the week in an Orange Empire Conference nine-team match.
Jessica Campbell was Palomar's No. 2 on the day, shooting an 82.
Also for the Comets, Sydney Houser checked in with the team's third-lowest score on the day, an 86, followed by Brittany Bilek's 92 and Samantha Runnels' 94 for the throw-out score.
College of the Desert, which is running away with the conference championship, won with a 314 and an 8-0 head-to-head record for the day against the other teams in the conference.
Irvine Valley was second with a 321 and a 7-1 win-loss record, with Palomar checkng in at 338 and a 6-2 record in its third-place finish.
Rounding out the team results: Saddleback 345, Fullerton 350, Orange Coast 373, Mt. SAC no score (not enough entrants) and Mt. San Jacinto no score (also not enough entrants).
Runnels' tie-breaker score lifts PC to 3rd of 9
COSTA MESA (10-20-2014) --Palomar's women's golf squad won a tie-breaker to take third place in the latest nine-team Orange Empire Conference match that was hosted by Orange Coast on Monday at Costa Mesa Country Club.
Ties are broken by the best No. 5 score, with the Comets' Samantha Runnels finishing two strokes up on her Fullerton opponent 96 to 98. Her effort knocked the Hornets down to fourth place in team competition.
College of the Desert (314) and Irvine Valley (345) again placed 1-2. Palomar and Fullerton both had 347 scores not counting the tie-breaker.
Finishing in fifth through ninth place were Saddleback (350), Mt. SAC (366), Orange Coast (372), Cuyamaca (390) and Mt. San Jacinto (no score).
Jessica Campbell and Sydney Houser both shot 86s for the Comets. Brittany Bilek had an 87. Deanna Bird finished at 88.
Palomar picked up six wins and two losses in head-to-head competition with the other eight teams.
'Groundhog Day' scenario as PC is 4th again
MISSION VIEJO (10-15-2014) --Palomar had a 353 score, going 5-3 in head-to-head competition and again finishing fourthout of nine teams, in an Orange Empire Conference women 's golf match that was hosted by Saddleback on Wednesday at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club.
Conference leader College of the Desert again won with a 313 score to go 8-0, followed by Fullerton at 339, Mt. SAC 340, the Comets, Irvine Valley 356, Saddleback 364, Orange Coast 365, Cuyamaca 381 and Mt. San Jacinto no score.
For the Comets, Brittany Bilek shot an 85, Deanna Bird (left) 89, Jessica Campbell 89, Sydney Houser 90 and Samantha Runnels with 95 for the throw-out score.
Palomar finishes in 5th place at Sycuan GC
EL CAJON (10-8-2014) -- Deanna Bird carded an 81 to lead Palomar on Wednesday at the Comets took fifth place at Sycuan GC's 5900-yard, par-72 Oak Glen Course in a nine-team Orange Empire Conference match.
College of the Desert finished first with a 316 score and an 8-0 head-to-head record vs. the conference's other eight teams. Irvine Valley was second with a 330, followed by Mt. SAC 338, Fullerton 342, the Comets 345, Saddleback 359, Orange Coast 382, Cuyamaca 396 and Mt. San Jacinto with no score.
Sydney Houser was Palomar's second-low scorer with an 87. Brittany Bilek shot 88, Jessica Campbell 89 and Samantha Runnels with the throw out score (91).
Comets 4th out of nine teams, move into 4th
CHINO (10-06-2014) -- Palomar finished fourth in a nine-team Orange Empire Conference women's golf field on Monday at par-72, 5809-yard El Prado Golf Course in Chino.