Before the first ball is rolled out, the first runner takes a
step, or the first athletes hit the courts and the pools, anything is
possible -- including a winning season.
But is that overt optimism well placed? Does the area possess the
star athletes and the premier teams to make a run at a CIF Southern
Section -- or even a league -- championship?
It's time to answer what might be some of the most interesting
questions pertaining to the teams and athletes of the 2004-05
* Will any team win a CIF Southern Section title? No.
CIF crowns have been extremely rare for local teams for more than
a decade. In fact, only one championship -- captured in 1987 by the
Bell-Jeff girls' basketball team -- has been won the past 11 years.
The Guard girls' hoops team has gotten closest to a title the last
two seasons, playing for a Division IVA crown in 2003 and making it
to the semifinals in 2004.
But Bell-Jeff lost some key players to graduation, and the team
will not be as talented as it has been in recent years.
* Will any team win a league championship? Not likely.
Last season, not one team at the four locals schools was able to
win a league title.
This season, although the area will have some fine teams, many of
them play in very tough leagues -- like the Foothill League and the
Sunshine League -- where championships are very hard to come by.
Teams with the best chance to win a title will likely come from a
league that is less competitive, like the Liberty League, in which
Providence plays. Maybe a squad like the Pioneer softball team would
have the best shot.
* Who will be the athlete to watch during the year? Burbank girls'
golfer Grace Woo.
The way she has been playing this summer, Woo, a senior, looks to
have the best chance of any local to win an individual league
Woo, who has signed with UNLV, has been busy during her break from
school, taking part in American Junior Golf Assn. tournaments across
Last season's co-league player of the year, Woo played in the 56th
annual United States Girls' Junior Championship at the Mira Vista