There were a number of girls' underclassmen who emerged onto the La Cañada Flintridge sports scene this season to notch phenomenal seasons.
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, Flintridge Prep and La Cañada High each had a dominant freshman or sophomore who led their respective squads on impressive postseason runs in 2012:
Of course, seniors usually wield the greatest influence in high school athletics. The Spartans had a pair of seniors who led the softball team to a second straight CIF Southern Section Division V championship. In the pool, La Cañada was able to enjoy success, as Katy Campbell won her fourth straight CIF Division crown in the 500-yard freestyle.
Here is the list of La Cañada's top-10 female athletes in 2011-12.
1 Katy Campbell, La Cañada High swimming, senior — It was a year of repetition for Campbell, who won her fourth straight CIF Southern Section division title in the 500, earning her second straight All-Area Athlete of the Year award.
It was a whirlwind senior season for Campbell, as she trained for the 2012U.S. Olympic TeamTrials and still found time to be a steady force for the Spartans down the stretch.
"This year was kind of overwhelming," Campbell said. "It was my senior year and I had a lot going on, but being able to come back to my team made it a little less stressful."
It certainly made life a lot easier for the Spartans, who lost the league title to South Pasadena despite winning seven of 11 events in the finale with the Tigers. Campbell contributed to four of the seven victories and got stronger heading into the Rio Hondo League and CIF Division I Finals.
Campbell won both her individual events — the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle — and helped the 200-freestyle relay team, which was made up of her sister, Samantha, Sarah Olson and Megan Arnold, take first at league finals.
As expected, Campbell put together her finest performance at CIF Finals, as she became the fifth swimmer in Southern Section history to win the 500 freestyle four years in a row. Her mark of 4 minutes 42.83 seconds was the fourth-fastest mark in the nation in 2012.
"I thought I went out really well with La Cañada," said Campbell, who also took third place in the 200 freestyle in CIF (1:48.69). "I have so many memories with my teammates. It was a great way to end my high school career."
It didn't take long for Campbell to leave an impression on first-year La Cañada Coach Kristen Dronberger.
"She's a beast, she does not want to lose ever," she said. "Nobody does, but she swims to win and it's awesome. There's nobody in her league and nobody in CIF that can compete with her, especially in the 500 [freestyle]."
The year wasn't over for Campbell — who is set to begin her collegiate career at UCLA — as she took part in the Olympic Trials in June. She nearly swam her way into the top 30, but placed 31st in the preliminary heat of the 800-meter freestyle (8:49.42).
"I think it's been great preparation for what I will see with UCLA," Campbell said. "It was a year of learning experiences, going to the Olympic Trials, swimming there and learning what those meets are like. Everything has just prepared me for UCLA."
2 Lauren Cox, La Cañada High softball, senior — It was usually safe for the Spartans offense to take a breath after they scored a run with Cox in the circle.
More often than not, it was all Cox needed to deliver a victory, as she recorded 18 shutouts in 26 games. In addition, she had a 23-3 record and 0.62 earned-run average.
After sitting out much of her junior season with an injury, Cox used that as fuel for 2012, and La Cañada left many of its opponents in the dust as a result. The Spartans repeated as CIF Division V champions and won their fourth straight league title with a 26-4-1 record (10-1-1 in league).
"This year was definitely awesome," said Cox, who struck out 321 batters — the most in the Southern Section and third in the state. "I didn't necessarily expect to win [CIF]; obviously I had high hopes, but all the girls stepped up."
Cox, who's headed to the University of San Diego, recorded six no-hitters and allowed just four runs and 12 hits in postseason play. It all led to her being named the All-Area Softball Player of the Year, the Rio Hondo League's Most Valuable Pitcher and earning All-CIF first-team honors.