FAU High State Champs Head to National Invitational

fau high golf

The Florida Atlantic University High School girls’ golf team poses with their medals and the championship trophy for the 2023 Class 1A FHSAA State Championship. From left: Head Coach Cherene Castillo; Angelina Guertin; Valentina Guertin; Alexandra Phung; Kayla Bryant; Amelie Phung and Morgan Rodriguez.

By jonathan fraysure | 6/24/2024

The Florida Atlantic University High School girls’ golf team has earned a bid to play in the upcoming Girls High School Golf National Invitational in Frisco, Texas.

The squad took home 1A District 14 and 1A Region 4 crowns in fall 2023, before claiming the school’s first-ever state title in girls’ golf. The Owls – made up of Kayla Bryant, Angelina Guertin, Valentina Guertin, Alexandra Phung, Amelie Phung and Morgan Rodriguez – won the 2023 Class 1A FHSAA State Championship at Mission Inn Resort and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, taking the team competition by seven strokes over defending state champions First Academy.

Individually, three members of the team finished in the top 20, paced by state runner-up Bryant. The sophomore has since been named Sun Sentinel’s Palm Beach County girls’ Golfer of the Year, as well as Golfweek girls’ Golfer of the Year at the Palm Beach County High School Sports Awards Show.

“I couldn’t be happier with the team’s performance this season, especially with how we were able to grind out winning the district, regional, and state championships,” said Bryant. “I was also so excited to have received these awards and I feel very honored to have been awarded both.”

Five Owls were named to the Palm Beach Post All-County girls’ golf First Team: Bryant, fellow sophomore Valentina Guertin; juniors Amelie Phung and Rodriguez; and eighth-grade student Alexandra Phung. Bryant, Valentina Guertin and Rodiguez were also chosen All-Palm Beach County First Team by the Sun Sentinel, while both Alexandra and Amelie Phung were each recognized as Second Team honorees.

The team is guided by head coach Cherene Castillo, a double honoree in her own right, chosen as the Palm Beach Post girls’ Coach of the Year and Sun Sentinel Palm Beach girls’ Coach of the Year.

“I knew after last year’s third place finish, we were disappointed as a team and that we would come back stronger this season, but I did not expect an undefeated season,” said Castillo. “Kayla Bryant had her best season to date and was a force to be reckoned with on the course. With every passing season, each athlete has grown and developed on the course, gaining yardage and a better mental game. The girls have been working on their game individually this summer to prepare for the National High School Invitational.”

As state champions, the team was extended entry into the 2024 Girls High School Golf National Invitational. This invite-only tournament is a three-day, 54-hole stroke play event, made up of the top high school golfers across the country, competing at the “Modern Home of American Golf.” It will be played at the PGA Frisco campus and Home of the PGA of America, Monday, July 8 through Wednesday, July 10, on the Fields Ranch West, Old American Golf Club and Gentle Creek Country Club courses.

“I am looking forward to competing and playing on the PGA Frisco courses in Texas, along with gaining an experience and representing the state of Florida,” said Bryant. “I’m looking forward to showcasing our skills on one of the biggest stages in high school golf, and I know that this team can do anything that we put our minds to. But regardless of the outcome, it’s going to be a great experience and a fun week.”

Castillo is also confident in how the team will compete in Texas.

“Our expectation for this tournament is to go in strong and play our game,” said Castillo. “Our team prepares for each match, going over each course hole by hole, and they use each other to discuss shots and the yardage. They have confidence is their ability as a team. We are very lucky to have the depth we do for a team. We have six extremely strong golfers that can put up great scores.”

The FAU High School girls’ golf team is able to attend this National Invitational with the support of Vistage Florida and SCALES Gear. To learn more about the event, visit here.