GOLFERS TO WATCH

* Jay Brown, Park View, Sr. -- The Patriots' top golfer a year ago qualified for the Region II tournament.

* Bryan Gale, Dominion, Sr. -- The Titans' No. 2 golfer this fall season. Last year, he was a key part of a surprising squad that finished best among area teams (fourth) in the Region II championship.

* Sara Hurwitch, Dominion, Jr. -- Among Virginia's top female golfers. Last year, she finished fourth in the Virginia girls' open championship, and she tied Heritage's Greg Brouse as the top area finisher at the Region II tournament, with a 77.

* Nick Kelley, Loudoun Valley, Sr. -- One of the key parts of a deep Loudoun Valley team, which dominated for most of last season and started off this season with a decisive victory at the Cheers mini-tournament last week.

* Hunter Pearson, Liberty, Soph. -- The Eagles' golfer has improved to become No. 1 on a quickly improving team.

* Ryan White, Loudoun Valley, Sr. -- The All-Extra selection was the Dulles District champion, and he led the Vikings to the regular-season and tournament championships.

STORY LINES

* Is Loudoun Valley once again the team to beat?

The Vikings reigned over Dulles District golf for most of last season, winning the regular season title, dominating local teams in tournaments and winning the district championship. And at the Cheers mini-tournament on Wednesday, the Vikings showed that the district will likely be chasing them again, led by a stunning performance by senior Zach Kendall. Expected to be the team's No. 3 golfer, Kendall shot a career-best 66 at Algonkian Regional Golf Course to win the tournament handily.

* Who can give Loudoun Valley a run?

At the Region II meet, a young and talented Dominion squad surprised with the best finish among the local teams. The Titans' entire lineup returns this season, led by Hurwitch. Heritage has some depth in a strong top three, including Brouse; Loudoun County should also be strong, led by Kevin McLister.

* Can Highland win another DAC title?

The Hawks have dominated the Delaney Athletic Conference over the past several years, winning three conference titles in a row. Last year, behind a bevy of talented seniors, including All-Extra player of the year and DAC Elite champion Joe Megless, Highland captured the regular-season and tournament titles in the DAC. This year, the Hawks will need to find new leadership, although senior Natalie Gallagher returns after a strong junior campaign.

* How will Fauquier and Liberty fare in the Northwestern District?

Fauquier finished third in the Northwestern District last season, but only one golfer, then-senior Chris Dietrich, qualified for the region meet. Seniors Bryce Weir and Jordan Muirhead will lead a squad that will look to continue improving as the postseason nears. Liberty's two region qualifiers graduated as well, but the Eagles have shown early improvement, according to Coach John Dietrich.

Dominion's Sara Hurwitch is among the top female high school golfers in Virginia. She was fourth in the state tournament last year.