St. Francis, Crescenta Valley boys' golf teams turn attention to postseason

At first glance, it appeared as though the St. Francis and Crescenta Valley boys' golf teams would enter the season in a state of transition.

The Golden Knights and Falcons changed their identity at the top by bringing in new coaches in Kyle Ostrom and Lee Pope, respectively, to revamp their teams.

Looking to meet different expectations bestowed by Ostrom and Pope, St. Francis and Crescenta Valley struggled earlier on before seeing their fortunes change to put them in line for potential playoff contention.

St. Francis and Crescenta Valley recently wrapped up postseason berths and will put their lineups to the test Monday when they compete in the 18-hole CIF Southern Section Team Divisional. The Golden Knights will take part in the Central Divisional at 12:30 p.m. at Lakewood Golf Course in Lakewood and the Falcons will participate in the Northern Divisional at 1 at Soule Park Golf Course in Ojai.

The top three teams from each division will advance to the regional tournament, which will be held Thursday at Mission Lakes Country Club in Desert Hot Springs.

St. Francis, which finished second in the Mission League, will make its first postseason appearance since 2008. The Golden Knights field a lineup consisting of Vince De Pinto, Michael Mozilo, Jack Tenney, Johnny Brandt and Michael Finney.

"It's great to get back to the playoffs," Ostrom said. "These guys have improved each match and helped us get second in a tough league.

"We plan to just go in there by being relaxed and just let things happen."

Joining St. Francis from the Mission League will be Loyola, Harvard-Westlake and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. Teams from the Prep, Agape, Baseline, Bay, San Gabriel Valley, Suburban and Warrior leagues will also compete.

Crescenta Valley is no stranger to postseason competition. It finished 16th at the event last season after taking 11th in 2011.

The Falcons enter the qualifier after taking third in the Pacific League behind Arcadia and Burbank. They have mostly been led by Paul Park and Cody Renfro.

Crescenta Valley began to show marked improvement during the past two weeks.

"Our expectations [going into the divisional] are to survive and treat it as a learning experience," said Pope, the reigning All-Area Girls' Golf Coach of the Year. "We know there are going to be a bunch of stacked teams with lots of experience, where as we have a lot of sophomores."

Arcadia, Burbank and Burroughs will join Crescenta Valley. They will be pitted against teams from the Rio Hondo, Foothill, Frontier, Golden, Marmonte, Mulholland, Omega and Tri-Valley leagues.

Park, De Pinto and Mozilo will also compete May 13 in the CIF Southern Section Northern Individual Regional, which will be held at River Ridge Golf Club's Vineyard Course.

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