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2014 Foothill League Boys Golf Preview

Posted: March 31, 2014 10:54 p.m.
Updated: March 31, 2014 10:54 p.m.

Saugus' Braden Lewis is the Foothill League's top returning golfer from last year, according to final scores.

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The balancing of the playing field may be the schedule.

West Ranch boys golf has won six straight Foothill League championships and is a favorite to win its seventh this season.

But there’s a wrinkle this year.

The final four of six Foothill League matches take place in the span of 10 days.

It’s very foreseeable that the best Foothill League team doesn’t win the title — it could be the hottest team.

This makes the margin for error much smaller and the pressure that much more heavy.

“This year will be one of those ones where who will outlast each other, whoever makes the fewest mistakes,” said West Ranch head coach Jeff Holen.

Said Saugus head coach David Stradling, “You could miss playoffs with one bad week.”

The way the schedule is laid out, Foothill League play begins today at Valencia Country Club then doesn’t continue until April 23.

The final four matches are April 29, 30 and May 7, 8.

With that schedule a lot of things can happen, and five teams definitely feel that they are playoff contenders.

Canyon is still building with that.

As far as Foothill Most Valuable Player, that’s another door that’s wide open as reigning MVP Joey Downey graduated and runner-up from Hart Glen Lee has transferred out of the school district.

West Ranch

The Wildcats have built on a tradition of winning and not wanting to be the first team with a letdown.

They have talent again, despite graduating the No. 1 (Downey) and No. 4 golfer in the league (Casey May).

However, the Nos. 7 (Jack McClafferty), 8 (Steven Moentmann) and 12 (Danny DiMaria) return, as does Jason Del Rosario, who would have been a top-16 golfer had he qualified with enough Foothill matches last season.

The Wildcats’ big addition is Joon Shon, a sophomore with a swing Holen calls one of the most solid he has seen in the valley in a long time.

McClafferty is determined to be the league’s No. 1 golfer and Moentmann has struggled early, Holen said.

If the junior Moentmann gets some consistency and Shon is as good as advertised, West Ranch should claim its seventh straight title.

“I don’t think we’ve played our best golf yet,” Holen said.

Hart

There’s significant change at the top for the Indians.

Head coach Pete Calzia retired and 2013’s No. 2 golfer in the Foothill League Glen Lee left.

Steve Lindberg, the junior varsity head coach the last five years, has moved up to become varsity head coach.

His JV team won the Foothill League title last year and the top three players from that squad — big-hitting senior Lorenzo Torres, consistent junior Cory David and junior Matt Milholland — have moved up with him.

Hart has some depth.

Nick Negrosa finished sixth overall last season in league and Cory David is the other returner.

Lindberg said he has had four golfers shoot in the 70s twice this season — a good sign. But the Indians will be asking a lot of the newcomers.

“Obviously my JV players coming up it’s very important they perform well,” Lindberg said.

Valencia

Valencia has its best depth in years.

The combination up top of returners Quinton Tilley and Ronnie Bedrosian (13th and 14th in league, respectively) gives the Vikings two veterans at the top.

Bedrosian has moved into the top position for Valencia thus far and senior Chad Del Rio and sophomore Glen Teagle have improved to the point where they have become Valencia’s main trio.

That makes Tilley an important golfer, who if he gets back to where he was last year and even passes it, Valencia has a shot at a league championship.

Head coach Robert Waters is high on freshman Jackson Bright, who has a well-rounded game and has tournament golf experience.

“I think this is the first time in a long time we have a shot,” Waters said. “Golf is crazy. You have to have five guys play well at the same time (to win in this league).”

Saugus

Saugus returns its top five from last season, with its No. 1 being a bona fide MVP candidate in Braden Lewis.

Lewis is the top returning golfer from last season with a league average of 77.4.

Saugus’ Aden De Los Reyes has actually been playing on par with Lewis thus far, which gives Saugus a lot of strength at the top.

The Centurions got a late boost from junior Joey Oksas last season and will need the same this year from him and juniors Shane Cleary and Kevin Sieger if Saugus is to battle for a league title.

Head coach David Stradling said his players need to work on course management the most because although his players might have varsity experience, they don’t have a lot of combined tournament experience.

Canyon

We’ve said it before that Canyon could be a year away from competing, but this time it might carry more weight.

A team that hasn’t challenged for a playoff spot in a couple of years will likely not do that this season.

However, there is some promise.

Returners Cory Fay and Easton Bench got some action last season and both are juniors.

Sophomore Justin Noltemeyer and Dylan McCalla should make a foundation of four experienced, quality golfers who will make the Cowboys more competitive in 2015.

“It’s going to be an interesting year in the sense that we really don’t have any seniors leading us,” said head coach David Toshimitsu. “Next year, who knows? If the kids get their game in gear we could be looking really good.”

Golden Valley

There’s a sure upper tier for Golden Valley — league MVP candidate and sophomore Jonathan Chang, sophomore Kameron Hobbs (who finished 10th in league last season) and freshman Raymond Asuncion, who has a lot of golf experience.

Golden Valley is another team that will ask a lot of the rest of its players in order to compete for a playoff spot head coach Tony Moskal is confident his team can get.

Seniors Spencer Evans and Harrison Edwards-Kanak are two of those guys who the Grizzlies will lean on.

Golden Valley, he said, is putting up its best scores ever thus far in 2014.

They’re hoping that continues into league play.

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