Atholton sophomore Bryana Nguyen

Atholton sophomore Bryana Nguyen led the county in scoring average, won the county tournament, won the district tournament and finished second at the state championships this fall on her way to Player of the Year honors. (Staff photo by Jen Rynda, Patuxent Publishing / November 29, 2011)

The accomplishments section on Bryana Nguyen's golf résumé is running out of room.

Already a decorated junior golfer on the national level, she also owns the county's best regular-season round by a female, is a two-time county tournament champion and has twice finished as the runner-up at the state championships.

And she's done it all by the end of her sophomore year.

"I remember hearing stories about Bryana before she got to high school and somehow she's managed to exceed everything I could have imagined," Atholton coach Scott Robinson said. "The thing that really sets her apart is that she's already had so many life experiences at such a young age that nothing fazes her.


Submit a Letter to the Editor for the Laurel Leader, Columbia Flier and Howard County Times

"She's a model of consistency at the highest level."

When you reach the level Nguyen has, though, the expectations naturally become exceptionally high. Winning becomes the standard.

That's why, even after victories at the county and district championships this season, Nguyen walked away disappointed with a second-place effort at the state championships at the University of Maryland.

"I'm to where not winning is a letdown. It's a high standard, I know, but that's the mentality you have to have to get where I want to be," Nguyen said. "People say, 'you have two more years, you have plenty of time,' but I don't want to settle for something just because I'm a sophomore."

State tournament disappointment aside, however, Nguyen is still able to step back and appreciate just how special a year she had.

"States wasn't what I wanted, but the season as a whole was everything I could have hoped for," she said. "Starting with the spring and summer, I shot so much more consistently. I definitely improved a lot since last year."

A long hitter with tremendous accuracy, Nguyen did a good job all season putting herself in position to make birdies. And she made plenty of them on her way to an under-par scoring average of 27.7 points a match, which set the county record for girls golf.

Her score also marked nearly a two-point improvement from her freshman year (26.0). Over the course of 10 matches, she never shot worse than 26 points and produced some of her best rounds against the best teams. She shot 29 points against first-place Marriotts Ridge and 28 against third-place River Hill.

At the county championship tournament, she kept things going with an even-par round of 54 points to beat Marriotts Ridge sophomore Rachel Lee by six.

Then, the following week at the District V event, she came through with the highlight of her season. With her even-par round of 70, she outdistanced a field that included eventual state champion Elyse Smidinger of Arundel.

"Beating Elyse was a great accomplishment because she's a really great player. I have a lot of respect for her and we're good friends," Nguyen said. "It's a bummer to not have her coming back next year and to have that competition."

At the state tournament, Nguyen couldn't duplicate her performance from districts. She posted rounds of 76 and 78 (154), falling nine shots behind two-time champion Smidinger.

It marked the second straight year that Nguyen finished second at the season-ending event, which is something that has her even hungrier for next fall.

"Trying to beat the scoring record I set last year (31 points) and states are my main focuses," Nguyen said. "I reached most of my goals this season … next season hopefully I can accomplish all of them."

Named to the first team all-county squad are:

Ariana Dial, River Hill. Already one of the county's top golfers as a junior, Dial took her game to the next level this fall. She upped her scoring average by two points, finishing tied for fifth in the county with an average of 19.2. A lot of the scoring boost had to do with improved consistency, as she shot 18 or more points in all but one match. She also set a personal best with a 23-point day against Centennial at Fairway Hills.

Dial fired a round of 38 points at the county championships, placing her fifth and showcasing an eight-point improvement over the previous season. She finished her year with a 95 at the District V event.

Ellisa Lee, Long Reach. Thanks to her incredible work ethic, Lee made tremendous improvements every season at Long Reach. This year, that progress made her one of the top female golfers in the county. She averaged 19.2 points during the regular season, putting her among the top five county scorers and 11 points better than her average as a sophomore.

At the county championships, Lee finished third with a round of 41 points. The following week, she shot an 87 and became the first Long Reach girls player to qualify for the state tournament. Once she got to states, she took advantage by shooting rounds of 88 and 86 to finish tied for 11th overall.

Rachel Lee, Marriotts Ridge. Quietly, Lee put together a truly special season as a sophomore this fall. Her season-ending average of 24.2 ranks her fourth on the all-time list for girls since golf was revived as a varsity sport in 2005. On three different occasions she shot rounds of 28 points (1-under par) for a Mustangs team that finished the year undefeated.

Then in the postseason, Lee showed just how much she had improved from her freshman campaign. She shot 10 shots better at counties than the previous season to finish second with a total of 48 points. Then at districts, Lee was 12 shots improved to finish in third place (76). Finally, she wrapped it all up by finishing fourth at the state tournament with a two-day total of 161 (76-85).

Samyra Lewis, Oakland Mills. Another one of the county's impressive young core of girls golfers, Lewis hit the ground running this fall. She shot a round of 24 points against Howard in the season opener, a personal best, and proceeded to put up 20 or more points on seven different occasions. Her season-ending average of 19.8 points was third best in the county.

She didn't slow down in the postseason, with a fourth place finish at counties (39 points) followed by a sixth place finish at districts (85). Then she wrapped everything up by finishing in the top 10 (tied for eighth) at the state tournament with rounds of 87 and 86 at the University of Maryland.

Alex McShane, Centennial. The Eagles' top player for the third straight year, McShane was a little better in almost every aspect this fall as a senior. She had one of her best regular season rounds (24 points) in Centennial's tri-match to close out the regular season and finished the year with a scoring average of 19.3. It was the second straight year she was one of the county's top five scorers.

At the county championship tournament, McShane put up 36 points to place sixth and at districts she shot an 87 to place ninth. At those same two events as a junior she scored 32 and 89, respectively. Then at states, she used rounds of 88 and 86 to tie for 11th.