West Ranch early favorite entering first girls golf league meet

West Ranch golfer Mack Bailey watches her drive at the second hole at TPC Valencia to start the final Foothill League meet on Wednesday. Katharine Lotze/Signal

After the first Foothill League golf meet, one thing is almost for certain: Golden Valley girls golf coach Tony Moskal will send out a premature, tongue-in-cheek email congratulating West Ranch for winning the league title.

Last season, West Ranch won their fifth Foothill League title in six years.

“I look at it as what are we going to do to better ourselves for the future?” said Cats coach Jeff Holen.  “The future being league, the future being CIF, the future being state play whether it be team or individual.”

MORE: West Ranch’s Campos commits to UCLA

Consistency and a deep pool of talent have brought West Ranch success over and over again. As a result, Holen has begun to focus on the individual rather than the big picture.

“If they take care of their own personal game and manage the course the way they should, league championships should follow,” he said.

This year he has plenty of golfers that can handle that feat. Paige Harrison is a freshman who has tournament experience under her belt. There’s Mack Baily, whose hyper-competitiveness took her to the CIF-WSCGA Foundation Southern California Girls’ Golf Championship, the qualifier for the state tournament last season.

West Ranch’s Zoe Campos played in the U.S. Women’s Amateur this summer in San Diego. Courtesy photo

Noelle Song put in serious work over the summer after placing third in league last season. And then there’s Zoe Campos, who competed in the U.S. Women’s Amateur this summer. Enough said.

The Wildcats aren’t necessarily feared by the other Foothill League teams, but they certainly are respected.

“I look at it as an opportunity for my team to see … sort of the seriousness and professionalism of which they go about their business,” said John Minkus, who coached Valencia to a second-place finish in league last year.

“I just want my kids to see that we play with etiquette, we play with fortitude, we play with mental strength.”

But at the start of the first Foothill League meet of the season, which takes place today, every team is equal.

The meet is the chance to “ease into the season,” according to Minkus. It’s the chance for Valencia’s top returners like Ashley Song and Natalie Souther to test their skills on a fairly easy El Cariso course in good weather.

It’s an opportunity for freshman Kimberly Tsai to test her competitiveness and develop her golf abilities further.

“We’re playing the easiest course we play which is kind of nice,” said Minkus. “Which means scores are going to be low. So it may not be a great gauge for where we all stand, but it will be a nice way to ease into the season and let the girls kind of get to know each other.”

Foothill League meet No. 1 is set to begin at 12 p.m. today at El Cariso Golf Course.

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