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POSTED March 12, 2010 10:37 p.m.
Turlock Bulldogs
2009 record: 12-0 CCC, 17-2 overall
Head coach: Ben Culala (seventh year)
Assistant: Jason Boswell
Key returners: Paul Smith, Travis Souza, Jeff Chapman
Key newcomer: Tyler Gomes
Outlook: The Bulldogs lost their first league match in 60 tries earlier this week, but coach Ben Culala says his team will still be a Central California Conference contender. In fact, they have won six consecutive league titles. But Culala expects it to be a little more difficult this time without Sam Smith — now at USC on a golf scholarship — and the fact that only recently the Bulldogs went back to full strength. Travis Souza and Eric Wetzel weren’t in the lineup against Golden Valley because they were still making the transition from basketball. Paul Smith, Sam’s younger brother, is the team’s top golfer.

Pitman Pride
2009 record: 6-6 CCC
Head coach: Matt Jeans (third year)
Assistant: Gary Austin
Key returners: Troy Bennett, Josh Parker, Trevor Wells, Dillon Schmidt, Jon Trout
Key newcomers: Avery Austin, Antonio Diaz
Outlook: The hope is to make the postseason. The Pride have a solid group of leaders, as five of them are upperclassmen and “provides us with a solid foundation for the rest of the season. Our ultimate goal is to always win league,” coach Matt Jeans said. The lineup of seniors — Trevor Wells, Dillon Schmidt and Jon Trout — and juniors Troy Bennett and Josh Parker, along with up-and-coming talent Avery Austin (freshman) and Antonio Diaz (freshman) will help the Pride in reaching for an extended season. “We have everyone back as well as a couple of underclassmen that will help us in the CCC race,” Jeans said.

Turlock Christian Eagles
2009 record: 9-0 Southern League
Head coach: Jeff Cederlind (eighth year)
Key returners: Beau Warda, Kathleen Rojas
Key newcomer: Esther Rojas
Outlook: The expectations are always high for the Eagles, who are chasing their seventh consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section championship under Jeff Cederlind’s guidance. The coach expects his team to once again be a contender for the section title, though he also knows Mariposa and Jim Elliot Christian could prove to be serious challengers. Cederlind welcomes back a number of returners from last season, including Beau Warda, a CIF NorCals qualifier. But the senior has a bad knee, an injury he suffered during the Turlock Christian football season. Cederlind doesn’t think Warda’s knee will fully heal anytime soon but believes he’ll be competitor.

Hilmar Yellowjackets
2009 record: 6-9 WAC
Head coach: Ty Pettigrew (eighth year)
Key returners: Zack Ribera, Taylor Bettencourt, Eric Youngborg, Jonathan O’Brien
Key newcomers: Raine Martinez, Jesminder Singh
Outlook: The Yellowjackets are 4-0 in the Western Athletic Conference. The last time the program had such a start was back in 2004, when Hilmar was 12-0 and won the Sac-Joaquin Section title. “It’s a good start for us,” coach Ty Pettigrew said. But he’s not making any assumptions yet. He believes his golfers still have progress to make before reaching the postseason. However, he does believe he has a solid group, one that had a huge win over Central Catholic recently. “There’s a lot of golf left,” Pettigrew said.

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