A fresh outlook for CV

In her attempt to avoid the apex of the recent heat wave — in which temperatures hit 100 degrees and above for several straights days — Jocelyn Chia deviated from her customary course of action.

When not practicing with the Crescenta Valley High girls' golf team, Chia will head to the driving range at Scholl Canyon Golf Course in the afternoon and spend a couple of hours hitting a few buckets of balls and putting. One day last week, Chia stayed inside her house to complete her homework assignments before waiting for the temperature to drop so she could fine tune certain parts of her game in a more comfortable climate.

For Chia, a freshman who has taken the Pacific League by storm with constant medalist honors this season, it's a non-stop process of staying sharp in a burgeoning career.

"I think that I'm a pretty good player and I've played for about seven years," Chia said. "I also know that to stay a good player I have to keep working on a lot of things, from putting to chipping to my overall short game."

Things have worked out better than expected for Chia, who rapidly became the top player for a Crescenta Valley squad looking to find its way to the top of the league. The Falcons, who won league championships in 2006 and 2007 and featured accomplished players like Christine Cho and Katie Park, might have somebody on board in Chia who can return the Falcons to league prominence.

While the Falcons are adjusting to a new coach in Lee Pope, they might have a new player who is on the cusp of challenging for the league's individual championship in November, and perhaps make an appearance in the CIF postseason.

Pope, who took over the program from Ken Johnson, said there's no reason to believe Chia can't accomplish one or all of those feats in the next four seasons.

"She's been phenomenal, and it's exciting to see a freshman do a lot of the things she's been able to do," Pope said. "It's not common to see a freshman with that kind of talent.

"Christine and Katie were very good golfers, and arguably the two best to come out of CV. I'm venturing to say that Jocelyn is already more advanced at the freshman level than they were at that time."

Pope's comments may indeed have some merit.

Through Thursday, Chia has medaled once and shared the accolades three times in league matches. The league features top athletes Ravipa Losakul of Burroughs and Arcadia's Katherine Guo, both whom carry more experience than Chia.

"She's taken the team to a new level with her athletic ability," Pope said. "She's no doubt our best player.

"She's pretty quiet, but she takes care of business. You can see how she acts like a pro out there on the course."

Crescenta Valley's Amy Park, a junior, said Chia continues to remain sharp in all facets of her game.

"Her whole game is good," Park said. "Her ability to go out there an concentrate has surprised me because she's so young.

"She doesn't let her hopes down. She's very accurate with her shots. She loves golf and she will succeed."

For some freshmen competing on the varsity stage, there's the possibility of not being able to handle the fanfare or pressure. Nerves creep in when the expectations rise before teeing off.

For Chia to fare well on the fairways or greens, she said she must remain patient and be able to block out all distractions.

"Usually, I'm kind of nervous before a match, but my teammates help me get over it and they make me laugh," said Chia, who carded a one-over-par 36 to tie for medalist honors during a league match at DeBell Golf Club in Burbank on Sept. 21. "I just try to go out there and get in a zone.

"If I'm patient, then there's a good chance that I can do well. If I'm impatient, then things don't go my way. I didn't think I would be medaling so much so soon. I'm going to try to win the league [individual] championship, but it's going to take a lot more work from me to make that happen."

Thus far, things have more than gone Chia's way, leading to higher expectations from her and Pope.

"I can basically count on her almost always being at or around par every round," Pope said.

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