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Boys' golf preview: La Cañada boys' golf looking to take next step

With plenty of talent returning, Spartans have state expectations.

February 26, 2014|By Charles Richcharles.rich@latimes.com
  • La Cañada's Robby Stehlin smiles to a teammate as he walks to his ball at practice at the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club on Tuesday, February 25, 2014.
La Cañada's Robby Stehlin smiles to a teammate… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

From top to bottom, the La Cañada High boys’ golf team might have the pieces in place to advance to the CIF State Tournament in June.

Until then, the Spartans have some goals along the way. One of the main ones will be shooting for a 10th straight Rio Hondo League championships with Collin Morikawa, Joshua Suh and Robby Stehlin back leading the charge. While a decade-long stretch of league dominance would merit satisfaction for some teams, the Spartans ultimately want to take the next step.

They will look to meet that challenge under new coach Rich Wheeler, who took over the program from Richard Tetu after Tetu retired following nine seasons and moved out of the area.

“It’s about putting things together now and trying to get to state,” said Wheeler, who also coaches the school’s girls’ team. “At the same time, we are also looking to keep developing talent for the next few years.

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“I think we can get both of those things done. It will take a lot of hard work and discipline to do it. We want to go out and win league and then go from there. We will do our best to get to state and have some individuals try to qualify in CIF. Richard left me with a lot of talent and I want to be able to move that forward and get us to the next level.”

The Spartans might be in good position. They will bring back junior Morikawa, the reigning All-Area Boys’ Golfer of the Year, senior Suh and junior Stehlin. Suh and Stehlin were selected to the All-Area team after helping the Spartans place fifth in the CIF Southern Section Northern Team Divisional.

Morikawa won the league’s individual championship for the second straight season. Outside of La Cañada, Morikawa captured the Western Junior championship in June for the first time at Meridian Hills Country Club in Indianapolis.

“He’s going to be even better,” Wheeler said. “His accuracy is much better and he’s focused that much more on his short game.

“We will look to get Collin to state. He’s a gamer and he’s got a positive attitude.”

Joining Morikawa, Suh and Stehlin will be seniors Michael Foster and Michael Greenberg and juniors Sam Bernstein, Colin Kreditor and Adam Horne.

With most of the lineup set to return, sprinkled in with some added depth, expectations appear to be rather lofty for the St. Francis golf team.

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