Maya Ghosh and Reed Canavan lead with resilience and willpower

Maya Ghosh
Maya Ghosh (junior), member of Occidental’s golf team, at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. Oct. 19, 2022. Luka Jackson/The Occidental

Maya Ghosh

Maya Ghosh (junior) is one of two captains on the college’s women’s golf team and has been playing golf competitively since eighth grade. Due to the absence of a 2020 season during the pandemic, Ghosh began playing for the college last year, and said her laser focus and leadership are skills she has worked to perfect.

Ghosh most recently competed in the Chapman Invitational, which was held in early October. According to Ghosh, she was off to a rough start, taking 8 strokes to complete a par 4 hole, making a quadruple bogey. However, Ghosh said she made a recovery, finishing off the round with an eagle by completing a par 5 hole in 3 strokes. Her powerful turnaround in performance helped the team win the tournament.

“Your mind can do this amazing thing by staying out there. It’s really mental; you have to be able to let things go. You have to be able to move on,” Ghosh said. “Knowing that I have both the mental and physical ability to do that is really cool.”

Ghosh said she felt constrained by her identity as a golf competitor in high school and that she was fearful there would be a similar dynamic on the college team. However, she said having a set of shared experiences with her collegiate teammates has allowed her to separate herself from the game and approach it in a healthier way.

“Being on the team is so different than it was in high school,” Ghosh said. “You have people that have the exact same schedule as you, the same struggles in the morning of going to lift, [or] leaving at 4:30 in the morning for a tournament. Having those people around you that understand it, it makes it a lot easier to not necessarily think of it like this is your identity. It’s just like, ‘Oh I’m on the team and I’m enjoying it.’”

Will Morris, the men’s and women’s head golf coach, said Ghosh’s intensity on the course is an invaluable part of the team.

“She does what I think all really good athletes do — she makes the game look easy,” Morris said. “Even on days she’s not playing as well, she’s got a very calming steady presence.”

Reed Canavan

Reed Canavan
Reed Canavan (senior), member of Occidental’s cross-country team, at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. Oct. 21, 2022. Luka Jackson/The Occidental

Reed Canavan (senior), the only member of Occidental’s men’s cross-country team to have run every season the past four years without injury, said he is flourishing this fall.

“I think this season is my best so far,” Canavan said. “I haven’t run my best time this season, but I have been very consistent in my times.”

Canavan said he began running track in seventh grade, and cross country as soon as it was available at his high school in ninth grade. Canavan said that this season he is focusing on being a leader and a supportive presence for the younger members on the team.

“This is my fourth year, so I think I’m in a leadership position in that [regard],” Canavan said. “I’m focused on making sure people do the things they need to be doing and being there as a friend and a peer, especially to underclassmen.”

Canavan said the energy on the team, while always positive, has improved this season. He said the team has been more ready to tackle adversity, like races in extreme heat.

“This cross country [season] we had a very, very difficult first race because of that heat wave in the triple digits… so that was pretty intense,” Canavan said. “But the team energy for that was actually pretty good, especially among the underclassmen.”

Canavan said factors like the dynamic workout routines of head coach Robert Bartlett and a healthy team atmosphere have helped him stay engaged as a runner. According to Canavan, the most important asset for him has always been his strength of mind.

“You have to have a lot of mental endurance,” Canavan said. “There’s not a high skill bar to get into the sport, but to be good and get to a place where you are competitive, you have to have that willpower.”

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