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Adipietro vs. Van Etten, the second installment

Look for the Wesley Chapel junior and Mitchell senior at the top of the leaderboard.

Published October 1, 2006

ZEPHYRHILLS - The 2006 graduation of two-time defending champion Ashley Aguilera has left rivals T.J. Adipietro and Emily Van Etten as favorites for the Sunshine Athletic Conference individual title.

As teammates, Van Etten, who finished third in last year's conference meet, and Aguilera led Mitchell to the title. Adipietro, last year's runnerup, helped Wesley Chapel place second.

Talk about close, last week Adipietro edged Van Etten by a stroke (35-36), but Mitchell beat Wesley Chapel 177-179.

"It was incredible," Wesley Chapel coach Scott Boyd said. "They're always within one stroke of each other."

For Van Etten, a senior, this is her final shot at a conference title. "It would be great for my senior year," said Van Etten, adding that to win Monday at Hidden Creek she will "have to putt better."

As for junior Adipietro, Van Etten said, "She's a great golfer and she's a good putter."

The loss to Mitchell was the first time Wesley Chapel finished on the wrong side of the ledger this season. Though the county's other seven teams are involved in the SAC tournament, the title could wind up as a two-team race.

"Team-wise, we're actually sitting in a good position," Boyd said. "They're the ones on our schedule we're always gunning for. I couldn't ask for a better situation."

Mitchell heads into this week's tournament unbeaten at 9-0 and is out to make it six SAC team titles in a row. But unlike last year, the Mustangs do not have a home-course advantage. That belongs to host Zephyrhills.

While the focus will be on Adipietro and Van Etten, Zephyrhills' Justina Merizalde cannot be overlooked. Especially considering her one-stroke (30-31) finish ahead of Van Etten last week.

Van Etten's sister Megan, a freshman, also is expected to make a run. Emily and Megan shot 31 and 38, respectively, in Thursday's 166-221 win over Ridgewood.

[Last modified September 30, 2006, 21:45:59]

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