BURBANK — After finishing second in the Pacific League last season, expectations have been further raised for the Crescenta Valley High girls’ golf team this season.
The Falcons return several key players, including junior Jocelyn Chia, who will look to help them win their first league championship since 2007.
Crescenta Valley got off to a good start during the first league match of the season, as it carded a 203 and won by 26 strokes on Wednesday at De Bell Golf Club, although it came with defending champion Arcadia absent due to a bomb scare on its campus.
Chia, the reigning All-Area Girls’ Golfer of the Year and league individual champion, finished with a one-over-par 38 to secure medalist honors.
“I think we have a good team that can challenge for league,” said Chia, who finished with a pair of birdies on the short course. “We’ve also got some good freshmen.
“I felt like I had a good round. I used my driver once or twice, and the greens were a little slower for me.”
La Cañada finished second with a 229, followed by San Marino (257), Burroughs (269) and Burbank (288). Arcadia, which has won four straight league championships, didn’t compete in Wednesday’s round. Due to a bomb threat, according to multiple reports, it wasn’t until just before 3 p.m. that Arcadia students were allowed to leave campus.
According to San Marino Coach Wyeth Collo, the Apaches will be credited with a team loss. However, the Arcadia players will be able to throw out one individual round score.
Crescenta Valley received 39s from Audrey Chung and Andrea Han. It also got a 41 and 46 from Gina Chung and Alice Yoon, respectively.
Crescenta Valley Coach Lee Pope, whose team finished sixth at the CIF Southern Section Central Team Divisional last season, said it was important for the Falcons to capture Wednesday’s round.
“To get a 203 is great because you are playing on a much shorter course,” said Pope, the reigning All-Area Girls’ Golf Coach of the Year. “I’m very happy, and it’s the tip of the iceberg.
“I still think we can do much better, but it’s a great opening step.”
The Spartans got 41s from Jennifer Kim and Melissa Leo, a reigning All-Area honoree. They also received a 45 from Keilee Bessho and 51s from Megan Lee and Madelyn Merchant.
La Cañada Coach Rich Wheeler said he was a bit disappointed by the Spartans’ scores.
“I thought we’d do better overall,” Wheeler said. “I thought some of them would shoot in the 30s.
“We are improving every day, and now it’s about adjusting.”
San Marino got a 43 from Caroline Van Hiel and a 49 from Tess Denham. It also received a 52 from Elizabeth Van Hiel, a 57 from Gaby Arifin and a 56 from Valerie Wang.
Collo said he expected a better round from the majority of his players.
“Maybe we weren’t as focused,” Collo said. “We need to do a little better job at concentrating.
“It’s mostly about course management. De Bell is a tougher course, and you have to be able to put the ball in play on a shorter course.”
Burroughs and Burbank, which came into the season looking to solidify their respective teams, struggled on their home course.
Joany Gao, a reigning All-Area pick, finished with a 41 to lead Burroughs. Burbank’s Tess Apinchapong shot a 45.
Burroughs also got a 50 from Stephanie Adachi, 54 from Evyn Freedman, 56 from Alex Chandler and a 68 from Tiffany Mirabal.
“I was expecting us to get around a 237 because this is our home course,” said Burroughs Coach Greg Everhart, whose team finished tied for 11th with Long Beach Poly at the Central Team Divisional last season. “It’s our home match and we now have to use this now as a stepping stone and see what we can do to get better.”
Irene Maemura finished with a 45 for Burbank, which got 66s from Alexis Poche and Caitlin McGrath and a 67 from Kaitlin Brooks.
The next league match will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Alhambra Golf Course.