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Chia grows into a contender

Freshman challenges for league title and state berth during stellar debut season for Falcons

December 23, 2010|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

Long before Jocelyn Chia became a member of the Crescenta Valley High girls' golf team, she participated in numerous American Junior Golf Assn. tournaments across California.

Traveling to different venues from Los Angeles to the Bay Area, Chia worked hard at placing quality shots on fairways, developing a consistent long game and making clutch putts on unpredictable greens. No matter the outcome, Chia used the tournaments to better her game so she could become a top golfer at the high school level.

"I knew that I would have to make adjustments once I got to high school," said Chia, who just completed a stellar freshman campaign that entailed a lengthy postseason run. "I competed in all of those tournaments around the state and I was able to gain a lot of experience by going up against a lot of good players.

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"That definitely helped me a lot."

Chia's ability to prepare for the next level went a long way. That proved to be evident during her splendid first season with the Falcons.

In a program that once featured standout Christine Cho, the Falcons have likely found somebody in Chia who might be in line to emulate or surpass Cho's magnitude. Chia became the Falcons' top player and provided a glimpse of what might be a superb career at Crescenta Valley.

Chia wasted no time proving herself in high school competition. She won or shared medalist honors in seven matches. It didn't stop there, as Chia placed third in the league individual final before marching all the way to the CIF Southern Section Northern Individual Regional, the CIF Individual Final and Women's Southern California Golf Assn. Qualifying Tournament and finally the WSCGA Foundation Tournament.

It is because of those accomplishments that Chia has been unanimously chosen the 2010 All-Area Girls' Golfer of the Year by the sports writers and editors of the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and La Cañada Valley Sun.

When Crescenta Valley Coach Lee Pope inherited the program from Ken Johnson last spring, Pope had no background information on Chia. Chia showed up for a team introduction meeting and Pope then watched her practice at a nearby course. Almost immediately, Pope had an inkling that Chia might be the Falcons' drawing card.

"Overall, she's laid down the foundation for the program that they need to get better to continue to succeed," said Pope, whose team finished fourth in league. "She's telling others that she needs to get better, but so do they.

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