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GOLF NOTEBOOK: VALENCIA AND HART RENEW ACQUAINTANCES.

Byline: Dave Shelburne Staff Writer

Foothill League champion Valencia (32-2) and league runner-up Hart (30-6) carry their season-long rivalry of excellence into postseason play this month, starting with the 18-hole Southern Section individual championship Friday at Diamond Bar Golf Club in Diamond Bar.

League MVP Stevy Loy, league tournament champion Michelle Mannix and improved Stacy White will represent Valencia, and Tessa Harp will represent Hart in the section individual final, which starts at 8 a.m. and will advance the top 26 finishers to the Nov. 14 Southern California final.

That 18-hole WSCGA Championship, co-sponsored by the California Interscholastic Federation and the Women's Southern California Golf Association, will be played at SCGA Golf Club in Murrieta and is the final individual and team qualifier for the Nov. 16 state championship at PGA of Southern California Golf Club in Beaumont.

Valencia and Hart, which met seven times in team competition this year, took their rivalry to the wire in the Foothill League before Valencia prevailed 205-218 last week in at Woodley Lakes Golf Course in Lake Balboa at the fifth and final league tournament of the year.

Westlake, getting a 1-2 finish from Loy and Mannix, wound up winning the league title by a point after the two teams had split in the first four league matches - Hart winning the first two to come within a point of taking league before Valencia prevailed in three consecutive must-win situations. Both advanced, with third-place Saugus, to next week's first round of Southern section team competition - the Nov. 8 Northern Regional at River Ridge Golf Club in Oxnard.

The competitive situation could hardly be better for Valencia and Hart - ranked No. 1 and No. 2 by the Daily News - in terms of preparing them for a run at the Southern Section title, something no area team has ever achieved but seems a realistic goal for both of them this year.

``This is really exciting,'' said Burroughs coach Mike Krose, a neutral observer who is thrilled at the way Hart and Valencia have raised the profile of an already strong league.

``Valencia was a little bit down and Hart played really well the first two league matches. And Valencia's performance in the third tournament was amazing (winning at El Cariso after Loy had to withdraw because of illness).''

After Valencia won in the fourth tournament, at Vista Valencia, Krose sounded more like a golf fan than a golf coach:

``For me, my program is down,'' he said of Burroughs, which finished fifth in the six-team league this season. ``But this is exciting to see these kids I've known for four years - I saw a lot when they were just beginning.''

One of the league's biggest success stories is Valencia senior White, who has improved dramatically since beginning as a lightweight freshman who had trouble hitting for distance.

``When she started, if the wind blew she was in trouble,'' Krose said.

This year, White can consistently shoot 82 to 83 on a big course and was at her best last week when it counted most. She shot 4-over-par 80 Wednesday at Woodley Lakes in the league individual qualifying tournament to move past four players in the second round and grab the league's final postseason berth.

``She's worked hard and she's earned it,'' said longtime area instructor Lee Breckenridge, who has coached White and most of the Valencia team since they were freshmen.

``Tracy's hitting the ball,'' Krose said, ``Michelle has really improved - you could tell all those lessons she took and all the hard work paid. To me, as an observer and a coach, I love to see these girls improve.

``I know Valencia girls and Hart girls and a lot of the Saugus girls take a lot of lessons and work really hard. Saugus last year, with (current NCAA Division I golfers Melanie De Leon of Nevada and Stephanie Aston of Cal State Northridge), it was nice to see them, knowing them for four years.''

Krose is one who thinks Hart and Valencia have the ability to contend for the area's first Southern Section title in girls' golf.

``I'm happy to see it,'' he said of the success of the league's current powers. ``Very jealous, but happy. But I'm happier than jealous. I try to impress upon my kids that they could be this much better if they really work hard.''

--Looking ahead: The top four teams in the Nov. 8 Northern Divisional field at River Ridge, which includes traditional Southern Section girls power Dos Pueblos, advance to the Nov. 10 section team final at Indian Hills Golf Club in Riverside.

Other area teams at River Ridge - one of four regionals that will each advance four teams to the section final - include three-time consecutive Golden League champion Quartz Hill, traditional Marmonte League power Westlake and resurgent Thousand Oaks, which started league with an 11-1 record and could tie defending champion Westlake for the league title this week.

--Scholarship watch: Valencia senior Mannix and Quartz Hill senior Ali Erdman, who led the No. 7-ranked Rebels to a 15-3 overall record and undefeated league season, both have received NCAA Division I scholarship offers from UC Riverside.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 1, 2005
Words:859
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