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2013 Foothill League boys golf preview: Beginning of a tradition

West Ranch trying to hold off contenders after winning last five league crowns

Posted: March 26, 2013 10:39 p.m.
Updated: March 26, 2013 10:39 p.m.

West Ranch High's Joey Downey figures to contend for Foothill League Player of the Year this season.

 

Last season, West Ranch won its fifth straight Foothill League championship.

But the season started in an odd way.

Saugus won its first-ever Foothill League match.

In 2013, West Ranch is slated by many to win its sixth straight title, but there could be other repeats of last season.

With depth not as strong in the Foothill and less strength at the top of team’s lineups, it really could be anybody’s day at a given Foothill League match.

Hart, with veteran returners Paul Schneider and Kyle Del Valle, and the transfer of Glen Lee from Valencia, is said to be the Wildcats’ top challenger.

Saugus, Valencia and Golden Valley all lack the depth that those schools have, but if five golfers put it together and the Wildcats and Indians have an off day, this turns into a race.

And speaking of races, it appears that the Foothill League’s Most Valuable Player race is between two golfers – West Ranch senior and 2012 MVP runner-up Joey Downey and 2012 Foothill No. 4 golfer and Saugus junior Braden Lewis.

Or maybe, if they’re off, it could be anyone’s prize to claim.


West Ranch

The Wildcats proved with last year’s league title that they weren’t a one-golfer program.

“That we’re going to start a tradition,” said West Ranch head coach Jeff Holen on what last season’s team also proved.

To win consistently in the Foothill League, teams have to be strong top to bottom.

West Ranch is that again.

Senior Joey Downey is the top returning golfer in the Foothill, having finished just four strokes away from tying for the top spot in the Foothill League.

Fellow senior Casey May finished 11th overall in league and figures to challenge for one of the seven CIF postseason individual sports last year.

The Wildcats have a pair of promising freshmen in Danny DiMaria and Jason Del Rosario and sophomore Steven Moentmann is a returning scorer from last year’s varsity league champions.

Another newcomer, junior Jack McClafferty, gives the Wildcats five golfers who are capable of shooting sub-80 rounds.


Hart

The 2007 season marked the last year a team other than West Ranch won a Foothill title and it was the Hart Indians in head coach Pete Calzia’s first season at the helm.

Now in his last, before retirement, the Indians are in position to reclaim the Foothill title.

The Indians return the ninth (Schneider), 14th (Del Valle) and 15th (Andrew Mulhausen) best golfers in the Foothill and add the eighth in Lee.

That’s the sort of depth no team can compete with.

Freshman Michael
Lotta is capable of playing better than all four and junior Mick Negrosa also has sub-80 golf potential.

“I’d favor West Ranch, but I think Hart has a good chance of dethroning West Ranch,” Calzia said.


Valencia

Everyone’s new.

The whole lineup is different for the 2013 Vikings.

Most notable, the Foothill MVP Jonathan Chang (graduated) and Lee (at Hart), are making the Vikings a real hard team to gauge.

Former baseball player and junior Ronnie Bedrosian has been the Vikings’ best golfer early and sophomore Quintin Tilley has shown a lot of promise, even making a hole in one at Valencia Country Club.

Senior Christian Brannon is making a lot of quick progress, but past those three, spots are up for grabs.

Stat-heavy head coach Robert Waters, though, relies heavily on numbers and matchups and said it has paid off for him in years past.

“At this point of the year, numbers aren’t good enough. But one thing is true at Valencia. Every year we start out with really high numbers then the middle of league numbers get lower,” Waters said.


Golden Valley

Once the doormat program of the Santa Clarita Valley, Golden Valley’s girls program changed the perception with a berth in the CIF team postseason in
the fall.

Though expectations aren’t set for the Grizzly boys to repeat that, there are higher expectations nonetheless.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” said Golden Valley head coach Tony Moskal. “When I said to them, ‘Guys, look what the girls did. What’s to say we can’t do that.’ Granted, you have to go out and work, but they have at the range. They have been, and it’s reflecting in their scores.”

Golden Valley’s hopes are more set on the future because its top two are freshmen are both brothers of girls who played for the Grizzlies — Jonathan Kang (Susan) and Kameron Hobbs (Amanda).

Kang, Moskal said, would have been his No. 1 as a freshman.

The top returner is senior Justin Lee, whose best score in league last year
was an 86.

Two juniors also return in Spencer Evans and Harrison Edwards, who will both have to shave some strokes off if Golden Valley wants to have a say in the playoff race.


Saugus

Saugus may have one of the strongest golfers in the league in Lewis and two promising young players in freshman Aden De Los Reyes and sophomore Shane Cleary, but they are the perfect example of just how important it is to have Nos. 4 and 5 golfers.

Saugus is lacking in experience past those three, and in reality might be a year away from really making noise.

“We’re so young. A couple of days ago, I started our oldest lineup of the year — one freshman, four sophomores and a junior,” said Saugus head coach David Stradling. “Not a lot of experience going in. I’m trying to find kids to figure it out. Those three are set, then five others will take the other spots.”

Lewis is a top notch golfer who has a future beyond high school.

De Los Reyes is intriguing because he can shoot near par, but gambles on occasion.

Saugus is another one of those Foothill teams where it’s wait to see how it all comes together for it on a given day.


Canyon

Despite Canyon not being in the playoff conversation last season and possibly the same this season, the Cowboys continue to take a carefree approach.

That approach makes the Cowboys a team, that with the current state of the Foothill League, better suited to climb out of last place this year.

Will it happen?

“If we all put it together we definitely won’t be at the bottom,” said Canyon head coach Brian Ingino.

Canyon junior Jason Prins finished strong last year, including shooting an 82 at the Foothill League final.

Senior Cody Mulvihill has a 78 this season.

If fellow senior Kory Abel and sophomore newcomer Cory Fay can bring in scores in the high 80s, the Cowboys could put up some respectable team scores.

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