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Sometimes a small gesture of sportsmanship can overshadow the final score.

Golf is a very competitive individual sport.  Even though the goal is to score better than the other golfers, sometimes those individuals put aside their competitive nature and lend a hand when needed to their playing partner.  Piedra Vista’s Sam Harris was on the receiving end of that kind of help.

Sam broke a bone in her hand when she was 12 years old, but the injury didn’t prevent her from taking up the sport of golf.  This year Sam qualified for the state golf championships, but something wasn’t right during her opening round.  On the Sunday before the opening round of the state golf tournament, Sam tore some of the scar tissue in her hand creating a very painful experience.  Sam decided to tee it up on Monday, but the pain kept getting worse and worse.  “My coach could see it on my face,” recalled Harris.  “It hurt so bad to hit a golf club.” She put some ice on her hand and continued to play, but it got to a point where Sam couldn’t push her cart anymore. That’s when Carlsbad golfer Caitlyn Sanchez stepped in.

“My coach asked if I wanted to stop,” said Harris. “I said, ‘I’ll keep playing’ and Caitlyn said ‘I’ll push it.’  I told her she didn’t have to and she said ‘I got it.’”  Caitlyn pushed Sam’s cart, not just for one hole, but for the remainder of the entire round.  One girl pushing both carts, her own and her competitor’s. “I didn’t even know her before that day, I had no clue who she was,” said Harris.  “We’d never met before.  She didn’t have to do it, she just did.  I want to give her a big thank you! It was a huge help because I was in so much pain and couldn’t bear to push it.”

The Carlsbad junior had never met Sam before, but could see the anguish her competitor was going through. “When I first started the round, I noticed the wrap on her hand,” recalled Caitlyn.  “I said, ‘If you want, I’ll help you push your cart.’  I told her I used to be an athletic trainer.” Caitlyn worked as a trainer for her high school during football and basketball season her sophomore year.  “Golf is kind of an etiquette sport,” explained Caitlyn.  “I felt obligated to help her get around as much as possible.”

Sam’s coach recognized the effort and sportsmanship demonstrated by Sanchez.  “I went over to her and told her she was a Rockstar,” said Piedra Vista coach Charles Druar.  “In my experience of coaching and playing high school golf, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

When Caitlyn’s coach heard what she did for the injured player, he said it wasn’t out of character. “She’s a helping type of person,” said Carlsbad golf coach Bryan Jones.  “We try to promote sportsmanship with our athletes.  I’m more proud of her for this than if she shot a 72.  This will follow her for the rest of her life.”

Carlsbad golfer Caitlyn Sanchez

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