Armed with plenty of stability and depth, the La Cañada High boys’ golf team appears ready to turn the corner with its sites set on qualifying for the state tournament.
La Cañada Coach Richard Tetu said it wouldn’t shock him if the Spartans qualified as a team or sent multiple players to the event in June.
“This team has got such incredible depth in that we have 12 players who can compete at the varsity level,” said Tetu, whose team will look to win an eight consecutive Rio Hondo League championship. “We have six guys who can shoot under 75 during an 18-hole match or 37 or less over nine holes, so that puts us in good position.
“We have had some individuals go far, but haven’t had a team get out of the regionals.”
Tetu, the reigning All-Area Boys’ Golf Coach of the Year, will present a lineup that will include seniors Noah Bernstein and Daniel Rhee, junior Joshua Suh and sophomores Collin Morikawa and Robbie Stehlin.
Morikawa secured All-Area Boys’ Golfer of the Year after winning the league’s individual tournament by eight strokes last season. Morikawa earned medalist honors in six of eight league matches.
Morikawa didn’t stop there, as he advanced to the CIF Southern Section Individual Final.
“He just does everything so well,” Tetu said.
Suh finished second in league and advanced to the individual final, providing the Spartans with a lethal 1-2 punch for the next two seasons. He received All-Area accolades last season.
St. Francis will begin a new chapter with its program under the direction of first-year coach Kyle Ostrom, who succeeds Jeff Durfee.
The Golden Knights will look to improve on their fifth-place finish in the Mission League last season. St. Francis will return the bulk of its starting lineup, including seniors Vince De Pinto and Eric Suarez and juniors Michael Finney, Johnny Brandt and Jack Tenney.
Ostrom, a St. Francis graduate, said he’s eager to see how the Golden Knights respond in some difficult nonleague matches before jumping into league.
“We are going to have some depth, which will be real nice because they will be challenging each other to get better,” Ostrom said. “They have some experience and have been working hard on their games.
“I expect us to be real good heading into league, which will be hard once again. I expect us to be in the thick of things and get back to the CIF playoffs.”
Flintridge Prep will return senior standout Jack Bouchard, who earned All-Area accolades last season after finishing second in the Prep League’s individual tournament for the third straight season. Bouchard was the lone Rebel to advance to the CIF Southern Section Northern Individual Regional.
Veteran Flintridge Prep Coach Bob Loughrie said Bouchard will likely be in good position to challenge for a league individual championship and move on to CIF.
“Jack is very talented,” Loughrie said. “I’d love to see him get even farther, but we don’t want to put pressure on him.
“I think there’s been some pressure on him because we don’t have a lot of low-handicap kids with him and he feels like he has to carry the team that much more. We have a bunch of kids who are learning to play and a lot of freshmen who are completely untested. That doesn’t make it bad. We just want them to relax and have a good time out there.”
Joining Bouchard will be senior Dylan Colliflower and freshman Jonah Sachs.