Shortly before arriving on the scene and beginning a captivating career with the Crescenta Valley High girls’ golf team for four seasons, the thought of considering golf as a team sport hadn’t crossed Jocelyn Chia’s mind.
Chia had previously spent several years competing in tournaments, which would ultimately help pave the way for her to enjoy plenty of success with the Falcons. Chia initially went through a brief transition while comprehending the value of team sports.
“When I got to CV, it was different to be a part of a team,” Chia said. “It was something completely new to me and you began to learn a lot about having teammates and trying to help each other get better.
“I had played in all of these tournaments and then the next thing I know I’m playing in team matches. At first, I didn’t know how to handle it, but it was huge to at least have tournament experience. Then it just became more fun to have teammates.”
Chia built an impeccable resume during her time with Crescenta Valley while roaming courses around most of Southern California. She won her share of Pacific League matches, captured a pair of league individual championships and advanced to the CIF/Women’s Southern California Golf Assn. Southern Regional Girls’ Individual and Team Golf Championships.
Though Chia wasn’t able to achieve her paramount high school goal — qualifying for the state tournament — she used her impact swing and shrewd short game to help cement her status as one of Crescenta Valley’s all-time top girls’ golfers.
In her final season with the Falcons, who finished second in league after sharing the league crown in 2012, Chia took fourth in the league final before tying for eighth with an even-par 71 at CIF Southern Section Individual Final and Women's Southern California Golf Assn. Qualifying Tournament.
She also helped the Falcons finish 10th at the CIF Southern Section Eastern Team Divisional before advancing all the way to the CIF-Women’s Southern California Golf Association Championship and Regional State Qualifier — the third round of individual play — for the fourth season in a row.
It's because of those accomplishments that Chia has been unanimously chosen the 2013 All-Area Girls' Golfer of the Year by the sports writers and editors of the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and La Cañada Valley Sun. It marks the fourth straight season that Chia has received the honor.
“One thing I knew going each into season was that you have to be calm and don’t let things bother you,” said Chia, who will attend Boston College next fall. “I’m proud of how I grew as a team player and how far I could get in the CIF individual tournaments.
“There are a lot of people who don’t get that far. To have that opportunity, I’m just very thankful. We got better as a team the last four years. We improved as a team this year and we were able to get to CIF.”
Chia got a lot accomplished in 2013, including earning or sharing medalist honors in three league matches.
It came as no surprise to Crescenta Valley fourth-year Coach Lee Pope that Chia would be among the top golfers in league again.
“She proved to be as tough as nails again on the course,” Pope said. “She knew how to manage herself well out there and make things happen like only she could.
“It wasn’t a life-ending deal to her when she didn’t win league again. She just accepted the outcome and moved on to the playoffs and went far again. It’s a game about being able to move forward. She’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime golfers that you enjoy having on your team”
Chia shot a five-over par 77 at the league final Oct. 15 at River Ridge Golf Club’s Vineyard Course in Oxnard and saw her two-year reign as league champion conclude. Chia returned to the venue Oct. 28 to participate in the CIF Southern Section Northern Individual Regional. She carded a 77 to finish in a seven-way tie for 28th and extend her season.
At the CIF Southern Section Individual Final and Women's Southern California Golf Assn. Qualifying Tournament on Nov. 7 at Talega Golf Club in San Clemente, Chia easily ahead of the top-28 cut off by finishing in a four-way toe for eighth with an even-par 71. Chia was one of 11 golfers to shoot par or better with the cut being 85.
“I thought that was my best round in the playoffs,” said Chia, who finished with three birdies and 11 pars. “My game had been struggling up to that point and I tried my best to get it back that round.
“It’s just a shot-by-shot thing. I didn’t want to worry about anything because I knew the scores were going to be pretty low.”
Chia was the lone area athlete to made the trek to Murrieta on Nov. 14 to take part in the CIF-Women’s Southern California Golf Association Championship and Regional State Qualifier at the Golf Club at Rancho California
She registered a five-over-77, but didn’t advance to the state championship in Carmel. Chia tied for 42nd in a field of 124, falling four strokes shy of the qualifying mark.
“I got there all four times and it was a lot of fun,” Chia said. “Four years ago, I didn’t know anything about CIF or the playoff system.
“I can still remember coach Pope telling me back then that I would qualify for CIF.”
There might be a line for future Falcons to carry the torch and conduct themselves on the course like Chia did.
Count Gina Chung as one of them.
“I’ve seen Jocelyn handle herself so well,” said Chung, a sophomore. “I’ve learned a lot by practicing and playing with her.
“She’s given me lots of good advice, like tips on how to improve my game mentally and physically. The one thing I’ve learned is that if I hit a bad shot, you can still do well.”
Chia did well for four years with the Falcons, leaving a lasting impression she can now fondly look back upon.
“It’s been so much fun,” Chia said. “I’m proud of the teams I played on and what I was able to do as an individual.”