La Cañada High, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy girls' golfers look to close out careers strong

It wasn’t too long ago when coach Rich Wheeler helped set up the La Cañada High girls’ golf team for its inaugural season.

That occurred in 2010, when Wheeler and assistant Richard Tetu searched around campus to find potential golfers.

After finding a formidable cast of athletes willing to learn and continue to sharpen their skills, Wheeler is now set to coach a couple of the original players for their senior seasons.

“Where did the time go?” said Wheeler, whose team took third in the Pacific League behind Crescenta Valley and Arcadia and tied for 15th at the CIF Southern Section Central Team Divisional in 2012. “It seems like just the other day we were a freelance team, but we’ve come a long ways since.

“Some of these players I have coached the whole time. It’s the last couple of links to when we started up the program.”

Wheeler and Co. hope to build off last season and earn a return trip to the postseason.

The Spartans will bring back seniors Melissa Leo, Megan Lee, Annie Bae, Sang Hee Lee, Mikaela Choi and Madlyn Merchant and junior Keilee Bessho. Leo, a three-time All-Area honoree, finished third at the Pacific League individual tournament and reached the Women’s Southern California Golf Assn. Regional Qualifier.

“We hope we have the kind of group that can go out with a bang,” Wheeler said. “I haven’t seen them play yet, but it’s about how you practice [during the summer] that will determine how far you can go in the season.

“It’s a group that’s mostly been together for quite some time. There seems to be cohesiveness and we are excited about getting ready to go. We have more experience and will play a tough schedule again. We hope that can help us again, just like last season.”

At Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, coach Bill Sanchez returns to guide the Tologs for his sixth season.

The Tologs enter the campaign with some leadership from a group of returners following a fourth-place finish last season in the ultra-competitive Mission League.

Flintridge Sacred Heart will most likely feature a lineup that will have seniors Karin Gredvig, Katie Hartwig and Raleigh Scharre. They will be grouped with junior Cara Liwanag and sophomore Allie Wilson.

“It’s the first time in the last few years where we’ve had some more depth,” Sanchez said. “Maybe we can get some more turn out.

“I like their work habits. Maybe we can go out there and make a little noise.”

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