There’s much ground to cover for La Cañada High girls’ golf, but it first starts with building up team cohesion. Everything after, will follow.
“I’m looking forward to getting started,” La Cañada coach Hassan Doxey said. “We’ve got some work to do and I’m excited to get to it.”
For Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, the Tologs have a returning class that will hopefully propel the team to a playoff spot in the tough Mission League.
Here’s a closer look at the teams.
The Spartans finished fifth in the Rio Hondo League with a 3-10 overall record and missed the playoffs.
“Last year was a little bit of a disappointing year,” Doxey said. “I think we thought we were going to do a little better, but we did have improvements from a lot of girls. We’re in a pretty tough league with San Marino at top that’s very good and Temple City as well.
To achieve success, Doxey and the team will work hard and look to improve.
“We’re going to be pushing a little harder in practicing more earlier on,” Doxey said. “We have a little bit of a smaller group this year, so we’re really building our team chemistry together, but also making sure everyone is doing their own thing and also part of the team dynamic.”
The Spartans will be led by captain Delaney Choi, the lone senior on the team.
“She’s a four-year player on the team,” Doxey said. “She’s going to give us a boost in terms of leadership that we’re really looking to set forth this year.”
A key player coming back is junior Jayden Husseld, who was an integral part of the Spartans team last season.
“I thought last year she was our backbone,” Doxey said. “She was always there for us when we’re looking to expand. She’s really improved her game in the last year and a half.”
Also returning is junior pair Mckenna Parker and Sarah Pak, and a new addition to the team is sophomore Elanah Rae, who will round out the nucleus of the team.
“She’s definitely gotten better and improving,” said Doxey of Rae. “Last year, she was probably the best of our freshman class that came up.
FLINTRIDGE SACRED HEART ACADEMY
After a season of growth, its time for the Tologs to break into the Mission League’s top three teams and book a playoff spot. One of the ways the Tologs will aim to do that is to keep the team’s focus and harness the talent fifth-year coach Ric Moore has at his disposal.
“I’m working more with the girls and hosting more golfing clinics,” Moore said. “We’re really specific on the things that matter most in competitive golf, that’s being able to drive it in the fairway, pick your approached shots — if not on the green, certainly around the green — and having a short game that allows you to get up on the green in one or two putts, at most. Then, we will be competitive.”
Moore sees Harvard-Westlake, Marlboro and Notre Dame as the Tologs’ top challengers for a playoff berth, but will keep an eye on other league foes in Louisville, Chaminade, Alemany and Marymount.
The Tologs finished sixth in league last season.
“We lost the strength of our team and there were only a few players being able to carry the team, but there were too many high scores,” said Moore of last season. “We were not nearly as competitive, so I talked that up to developing new talent for the future.”
Moore has a trio of key returners in senior Jenny Wang, junior Katelyn Hsu and sophomore Katia Stavropoulous, who has most impressed the coach thus far.
“Boy, she is showing great promise,” said Moore of his returning sophomore. “She has improved her overall swing as well as her strategy on the golf course. Also notable is her improvement in putting, which is really going to drop her scores, and her ability to chip and pitch.”
An addition to the team is freshman Julia Kensel.
“When I conducted a golf clinic with Katia and Julia, it was very impressive how far she could hit the golf ball and how solidly she hits it,” Moore said. “She will definitely be a welcomed member on the team.”