Athlete of the Week: La Jolla High’s Charlotte Cantonis sets a school record at state golf championship
La Jolla High School freshman Charlotte Cantonis set a school record last month at the CIF state golf championship in Pebble Beach by finishing seventh. It was the best finish for any female golfer in the school’s history.
But that’s not all. Charlotte, 14, also placed sixth out of 125 girls at the regionals, 10th in the IMG Junior World Championships this year against girls from all over the world, and qualified for the Southern California Women’s Amateur Championship this past summer.
“She is mature beyond her years ... how she is emotionally on the course,” said her coach, Christie Quinn. “Golfing is very mental because it’s not a reactionary sport. The ball doesn’t move until you move it. You need resilience. She has that special zone she gets into that you don’t see at her age.”
Charlotte has been competing for only four years but has played casually since childhood.
“I like that it takes a lot of hard work and practice to get good at it, which is nice because the people that do put in the hard work and get good get rewarded,” Charlotte said. “You can see your results improve over time; it won’t just come immediately, you have to be dedicated for a long time. So the people that are really good at it, you know they are the ones that put in the time and effort.”
While Charlotte’s game has improved “as a whole” over time, including her putting, swinging and chipping, she said the most important thing is that her mental game has improved.
“I used to get really frustrated and if I had one bad hole, I would kind of fall apart,” she said. “Now I know I can get it back, and I’ve been calmer on the golf course. I use tools like breathing and meditating to center myself after a bad shot. It’s been really helpful, so I don’t start spiraling.”
She took those mindfulness techniques with her to Pebble Beach in Monterey County.
“It was cool because California has a lot of good golfers and junior golfers, so this competition, compared to other states, is more competitive,” Charlotte said. “I knew a lot of the Southern California kids and ... a lot of the Northern California people. But I was just excited to compete in a bigger field. During the fall season, tournaments tend to slow down, and this was the first big tournament I participated in in awhile.”
After she bogeyed her first hole, “I tried to be very calm, because I was very nervous. I remembered to breathe and try to focus on things shot by shot. If I had some downtime, I would look at the trees because it’s really pretty in Monterey.”
She said she is “happy to have made it to state as a freshman and I’m proud of myself” for how she placed. “I surprised myself with how I did this year and I’m excited for the coming years because I feel like I can do better and better.”
Charlotte said she plans to continue to play through high school and college. After that, who knows?
“She’s got goals and she’s realistic about her goals. But as far as her talent, she could be a top professional, but she’s looking at college for now,” Quinn said. “She’s very well-rounded. She can be cheeky but also very grounded. When it comes to her academics, she’s responsible. That’s the first thing she’s concerned with when she finishes her rounds.
“She’s one of the pack when it’s game time, and when it’s time to take a break, she becomes the rightful kid she should be, carrying on about dresses for homecoming and TikTok. Skill-wise she’s a bit of a standout, but she’s still a humble and respectful athlete. She’s a dream to have on the team.”
La Jolla Athlete of the Week features athletes from all sports in high school (La Jolla High, The Bishop’s School, La Jolla Country Day School) and other local youth sports. We’re looking not only for the stars of competition but also for student-athletes who set an example for teamwork, academic achievement and/or community involvement. Please email your nominations, and a way to reach your nominees, to Editor Rob Vardon at firstname.lastname@example.org. ◆
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