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Lady Bulldogs clinch 9th league title

POSTED October 23, 2012 7:37 p.m.

Turlock High’s girls claimed their 9th consecutive Central California Conference Championship with an impressive showing at the Championship Tournament at the Merced Country Club. The Bulldogs finished the day with a team score of 439, 27 strokes in front of second place Merced High. Rival Pitman High finished third with 505.

“It’s really great for the team, the school, and the program,” Turlock’s head coach Mary Krupka said. “The girls wanted to start the school year off with a championship for THS. I was really fortunate to have this group of girls.”

Senior Hannah Gong repeated as CCC MVP, shooting an 80 on the day. Gong’s MVP achievement marked the fourth straight year a Bulldog has earned the honor. Turlock’s Kelsi Valenzuela also had a good showing, finishing third individually with an 87 while Pitman’s Taylor Beckwith finished right behind her with an 88.

“She won it pretty handedly,” Krupka said of Gong.

Unlike in years past, Turlock entered the CCC Championship Tournament with the slight possibility of not claiming the outright league title. The Bulldogs’ CCC undefeated streak of 15 years was snapped by Merced earlier in the season and the Bears wanted a repeat performance.

“We knew Merced really wanted to beat us again and were capable, so we knew we had to show up and not let up,” Krupka said. “Being undefeated was kind of a burden, so when we lost earlier in the year it wiped the slate clean.”

Turlock rode its CCC Championship into Tuesday’s CIF Divisional Tournament at Lockeford Springs in Lodi where the Bulldogs fought through four hours of rain to finish third as a team. Merced finished in fourth place, sending both CCC schools to the Masters Tournament at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton on Monday. Pitman’s Beckwith will also compete at the Masters individually.

“It’s a tough tournament,” Krupka said of the Masters.

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