Three sets of siblings make up half the Cypress Bay girls’ golf team.
Of its 14 members, there are Sherrell and Brianna Buckley, Brooke and Michaela White, and Macarena, Valentina and Josefina Haupt.
The latter sisters moved to the United States from Santiago, Chile in May. Their father was born in New York City, but moved to South America with his family when he was 1.
About a month before school started, their father called Lightning coach Mike White about their interest in playing for the team and meeting him in person. During tryout week, the girls impressed and made the squad.
“They played very well and made a good team that much better and made competition very strong,” White said. “For a girls’ team to have six to seven quality girls is very, very good.”
Six years ago the Haupt sisters took up golf at the urging of their father, who started playing at a later age. They traveled for golf tournaments, including a visit to the United States for the Junior Orange Bowl International Golf Championship in Coral Gables.
But this marks the first time they have played for a team.
“I love it,” said Valentina, the middle sister and a sophomore. “I never had been on a team so this is awesome. We have more friends and a lot of fun with the team.”
White has noticed how the other girls have helped the Haupts transition in a new country by eating lunch or walking through the hallways together or teaching the rules of football.
During the first day of practice, there was a rain delay. According to White, the girls started to bond and get to know each other for almost two hours since there was nothing to do as they waited. .
“It’s a good relationship,” said Macarena, the oldest and a junior. “We go to the mall, and we’re friends with the team.”
With fellow Chileans attending the same school and living in the same neighborhood, the Haupt sisters have acclimated well. They get together to cook Chilean cuisine and “everybody knows everybody,” Josefina, the youngest and a freshman, said.
“I love it here with the different cultures,” Josefina said. “We were thrilled because the United States is cool. If you had told me [we’d move] somewhere else we’d be nervous. We’re good.”
On the golf course, the team hopes the Haupt sisters can help the Lightning snap a two-year skid of missing out on states.
Last weekend at the nine-team Carrollton Invitational at Doral Golf Resort and Spa, Cypress Bay finished third behind American Heritage and Lake Mary High from Central Florida.
Valentina shot the sixth-best individual score, and Macarena rounded out the top 15.
Junior Mikaela Thibodeau earned 10th. Senior Sherrell Buckley placed 65th at state last year.
“We’re playing well, and our ultimate goal is to get the state playoffs in November,” White said. “The way we’re playing now — we’ve shot some very good scores.
“If we can keep that up and get better, we should have a chance to play into states. When you get there, there’s all good teams there and hopefully they’ll shoot their best round of golf.”