ALHAMBRA — The Pacific League was competitive with its share of talented players and teams even before this season in girls' golf. But with La Cañada High joining the league this year, that competition got inherently tougher.
Most of the league coaches figured with the addition of the Spartans, league placement among the other teams would likely get jostled around, and the fight for individual and teams' postseason spots would become more difficult.
That premise held to form Wednesday in the opening Pacific League match at Alhambra Golf Course with the Spartans tying for third with San Marino.
However, as was the case last season, Arcadia and Burroughs showed that they are the teams to beat early on, as the Apaches won the team competition and the Indians finished runner-up.
Arcadia distanced itself from the field in the first league competition with a total of 191. It was followed by Burroughs (205), La Cañada (211) and San Marino (211), Crescenta Valley (214) and Burbank (229).
Last season, Arcadia won the league championship and Burroughs was second.
The medalist in Wednesday's competition also came from Arcadia, as Katherine Guo fired a one-under-par 35.
It is a consensus with all the coaches in the league that despite the added competition, it's good to have the addition of the Spartans this season.
"I think philosophically, I like the new competition that La Cañada brings," San Marino Coach Wyeth Collo said. "I think it makes the league better, it makes the girls better and overall I think it's positive."
Burroughs Coach Greg Everhart agrees: "La Cañada has some really solid individual girls, so I think it's going to cause a shuffle as to who is going to be able to make it to the playoffs. But it's really good thing to have a good new team in the league."
Competing as an at-large team last season in the program's first year of existence, La Cañada enjoyed its share of success. But although the squad was able to do well on its own, Spartans Coach Rich Wheeler said he is happy to be a member of a league.
"It's a higher caliber of play in this league, and we look forward to seeing how we can do," he said "It's good for the kids and it's a great experience for them."
In the league, just four teams will make it to CIF Southern Section play and only eight players will qualify as individuals in the postseason.
"We were talking and we think that there could be at least 14 solid players competing for only those eight spots," Burbank Coach Branco Sevic said. "The competition will be very tough."
Burroughs received a fine effort from Joany Gao, who shot a 37 and led teammates Ravipa Losakul (39), Jasmine Daniel (41), Tatiana Rizzotti (44) and Evyn Freedman (45).
For the Spartans, Melissa Leo shot a 37, Jennifer Kim had a 40, May Lo had a 42, Keilee Bessho had a 44 and Shannon Lee had a 48.
The top finisher for San Marino was Tiffany Gu, who had a 37. She was followed by Winnie Wang (39), Caroline VanHiel (44), Carol Young (45) and Camille Wang (46).
In the wake of his team's fifth-place finish, Crescenta Valley Coach Lee Pope said he expects his young team to continue improving."
"We struggled a bit today. This is our third time playing this week, and maybe that had something to do with it. We were 3-1 coming in, and we were able to beat La Cañada yesterday. I was expecting us to play better than we did."
The Falcons were led by Jocelyn Chia, the 2010 All-Area Girls' Golfer of the Year, who fired a 39. She was followed by teammates Audrey Chung (40), Amy Park (44) and Alice Yoon (44) and Deborah Chin (47),
For Burbank, Haley Pirruccello had a 41, Irene Maemura had a 43, Tess Apinchapong had a 44, Melanie Cho had a 47 and Erica Snow had a 54.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun