Prep puts together big year

This is the sixth of eight editions in which the News-Press looks back at the area's 2010-11 seasons, school by school, before looking ahead at the year to come.

Flintridge Prep's athletic teams made their share of history during the 2010-11 school year, from a first-ever outright Prep League title for the girls' soccer team to the softball team's first league crown in 16 years, and of course the pinnacle of achievement that was the boys' basketball team's first-ever CIF championship.

Along the way, the Rebels enjoyed plenty of other triumphs, including playoff appearances for teams and individuals and the extension of the boys' cross-country team's tradition of excellence with yet another appearance at the CIF State meet.

Here are the highs and lows from fall to spring, with everything in between:

Sept. 9, 2010 — The girls' volleyball team opens its season with a 3-1 nonleague road win over Alhambra behind 12 kills from Charlotte Kay.

Sept. 11, 2010 — Despite leading St. Genevieve by 13 points in the fourth quarter of its season opener, the football team suffers a heartbreaking 21-20 loss on the road.

Offensive miscues and a defensive collapse that allows two late touchdowns doom the Rebels, who would go 0-3-1 over the remainder of their nonleague schedule to open the season.

Sept. 23, 2010 — Webb pushes the Rebels the distance, but the girls' volleyball team still comes up with a 3-2 win in its Prep League home opener thanks to 23 digs and 42 assists from Casey Meurer and 11 kills and five aces from Julia Miller.

"The league is tough for sure, and it's always going to be tough," Meurer said.

Sept. 28, 2010 — Ethan Vandeventer scores seven goals to lead an offensive explosion for the boys' water polo team in a 20-4 nonleague home rout of Alhambra.

Oct. 1, 2010 — The girls' tennis team suffers its first loss of the season in its Prep League home opener against Chadwick by a razor-thin 9-9 (71-68) margin.

Oct. 6, 2010 — Wearing down in the second half, the boys' water polo team suffers a 13-3 loss to La Salle at home in its Prep League opener.

Oct. 9, 2010 — Competing against some of the top teams in the state, the boys' cross-country team finishes seventh in the Division 4 Varsity Race at the 2010 Clovis Invitational at Woodward Park in Fresno. Jason Bunn leads the way for the Rebels with a 21st-place effort.

Oct. 15, 2010 — Another fourth-quarter collapse costs the football team an even bigger prize, a possible win over Prep League-rival and CIF Southern Section Northeast Division No. 1-ranked Chadwick.

Still seeking its first win of the season in the league opener at Occidental College, Prep takes an early 13-0 lead and leads, 19-13, with less than a minute left in the third quarter, only to see the Dolphins rally for 17 unanswered points and continue the Rebels' disappointing start to the campaign with a 33-19 loss.

Oct. 28, 2010 — In its final match of the season, the girls' volleyball team snaps a six-match league losing skid with a sweep of Westridge powered by nine kills from Kelly Wang.

Prep finishes out the season at 9-11 and 3-9 in league for fifth place, missing the playoffs.

Meurer is later named to the All-Prep League first team, while Kay earns a spot on the second team.

Oct. 30, 2010 — One year after its 18-year rule over the Prep League was snapped, the boys' cross-country team reaffirms its dominance by placing seven runners in the top 15 and edging Chadwick, 39-40, to reclaim the title at the Prep League finals at L.A. Pierce College.

"There was a point of pride for us, and we felt that we had to get it back," said Prep's Jesse Redding, who took seventh in 16:45.21 behind teammate Jason Bunn (fourth, 16:26.60).

The Rebels' girls finish third behind Kaitlyn Kelleher's eighth-place showing in 20:00.23.

Nov. 6, 2010 — The football team breaks through for its first win of the season, a 35-0 blowout of league foe Viewpoint on the road. Chris Wirthlin leads the charge for the Rebels with 124 rushing yards and two touchdowns in 10 carries.

"It's a great feeling to finally get it," said Wirthlin, who also had a key interception. "We've been working so hard for so long and I think we really needed this as a team."

Nov. 9, 2010 — The girls' tennis team opens its run in the CIF Division II playoffs with an 11-7 win over Glendale in the wild-card round. Kira Lee sweeps her two sets to lead a dominant singles charge that takes all but one set.

"We came on strong, we were all really pumped," Lee said.

Nov. 11, 2010 — Lee loses just two games in sweeping her three sets to lead the girls' tennis team to a 10-8 win over Mission Viejo in the first round of the CIF Division II playoffs.

"We pretty much cleaned up again in singles," Rebels Coach Ron Catano said.

Nov. 12, 2010 — A 34-14 league road win over Webb, in which Jared Norsworthy catches three touchdown passes, sees the football team end its season on a two-game win streak. The team finishes the season 2-6-1 and 2-3 in league for fourth place, missing the playoffs. Eric Kazangian and Jordan Whaley are later named to the All-Prep League fist team, while Kyle McDonald, Wirthlin and Chadd Cosse make the second team.

Nov. 13, 2010 — Newport Harbor's doubles lineup is too much for Prep, as the girls' tennis team falls, 12-6, in the second round of the Division II playoffs.

Lee and Jenise Vargas account for all of Prep's wins in the singles bracket.

The team finishes 13-4 after going 6-4 in league for third place.

Nov. 19, 2010 — Competing in the CIF Individuals Tournament at Whittier Narrows Tennis Center, Lee reaches the third round with wins over Kara Figueroa out of Ramona Convent and Anne Susdorf of Hart, 6-3, 6-4.

Lee is later voted All-Area Girls' Tennis Player of the Year for the second straight year.

Nov. 20, 2010 — Bunn's 12th-place effort in 17:02 leads the way for the boys' cross-country team's march to third place at the CIF Southern Section Division V finals at Mount San Antonio College and a berth in the state meet.

"We're thrilled," Bunn said. "We were ranked fourth coming in and we knew it would be tight, no matter what. This is the spot we were hoping for, it was a really fun race."

The Rebels girls also advance to the state meet with a sixth-place finish in Division V, led by Kelleher's 18th-place showing in 21:02.

"We're absolutely ecstatic to be going on," Prep girls' Coach Michael Roffina said. "It's a very young team, they got really serious in the last two weeks."

Nov. 27, 2010 — The boys' cross-country team wraps up its season with a fourth-place finish in Division V at the CIF State Meet at Woodward Park in Fresno.

Bunn leads the pack with a 20th-place finish in 16:36.

"Definitely, we wanted to get that third spot," Prep boys' Coach Ingrid Herskind said. "We're disappointed, but overall pleased with where we had come from in the season, considering we weren't even ranked the last time we were on the Fresno course."

The Rebels' girls' team finishes 10th in Division V behind a 27th-place showing from Sarah Yoho in 20:05.

Nov. 30, 2010 — Brooke Elby kicks off the girls' soccer season in style, scoring five goals in an 8-0 beatdown of Temple City.

The boys' basketball team opens its season with a 72-56 road win over Monrovia, in which Norsworthy scores 16 points.

Dec. 3, 2010 — Behind 11 points from Katherine Bogaard, the girls' basketball team gets its first win of the season, 34-18, over Sacred Heart of Jesus on the road.

Dec. 9, 2010 — The girls' water polo team is handed a 20-5 nonleague home loss to Alhambra to open the season. Things wouldn't get much better for the youthful Rebels, who finish the year 1-13 and 0-12 in the Prep League.

Jan. 5 — The boys' basketball team opens its defense of the Prep League title with an 81-42 victory over Chadwick on the road. Kenyatta Smith leads the way with 22 points.

Jan. 11 — Cole Rademacher's hat trick spurs the boys' soccer team to a 7-1 Prep League home win over Rio Hondo Prep.

The team would go on to finish 5-10-2 on the season and 2-6 in league and David Russell and Eric Kazangian would later be named to the All-Prep League first and second teams, respectively.

Jan. 15 — In the hostile environs of the Panthers' home gym, the boys' basketball team scores a 57-49 win over previously unbeaten archrival Pasadena Poly and puts itself in the driver's seat in the chase for the league title. Jedrick Eugenio scores a team-high 16 points and Smith pulls down 23 boards.

"It feels great because last year it was embarrassing here," Eugenio said.

The Panthers would repay the favor on the Rebels' home floor on Feb. 4 with a 61-58 win that ultimately forces a league co-championship.

Feb. 8 — With a 1-0 Prep League win over Chadwick, courtesy of Kaelin King's goal, the defending league co-champion girls' soccer team clinches its first-ever outright league title.

"The girls accomplished something big, I think," Rebels Coach Esteban Chavez said.

Feb. 11 — On the final day of the regular season, the girls' basketball team defeats Webb, 45-26, at home to finish in a tie for fourth in the Prep League, then wins a coin flip with Westridge for the final CIF Division 4-AA playoff berth out of the Prep League.

"We are definitely playing our best basketball at the right time," Rebels Coach Todd Frost said.

Feb. 16 — Casting off the ghosts of past early playoff exits, the boys' basketball team blasts through the first round of the CIF Division 5-AA playoffs with a 77-41 victory over St. Paul at home.

Smith posts the first of many playoff double-doubles for the top-seeded Rebels with 17 points and 15 boards.

Feb. 17 — After hanging with the taller Bearcats late into the second half, the girls' basketball sees its season end in the first round of the Division 4-AA playoffs with a 42-32 loss to Paso Robles. Mya Okamoto leads the Rebels with 12 points.

On the heels of an 8-16 season that included a 5-7 league mark, the Rebels see Okamoto garner All-Prep League first-team honors.

Second-half goals by Alina Okamoto and Arielle Baptiste key a 3-1 home win for the girls' soccer team over Diamond Bar in the opening round of the CIF Division III playoffs.

"It was really nerve-wracking at the beginning, but it's just like a big weight off our shoulders, for sure," Baptiste said.

Feb. 18 — The boys' basketball team's Division 5-AA playoff roll continues with a 75-46 road win over Whitney in the second round behind 18 points and 15 rebounds from Smith.

Feb. 22 — Smith dominates in the paint, as the boys' basketball team advances to the Division 5-AA semifinals with a 79-57 win over visiting Blair.

"My goal was to keep doing what I was doing in practice — being a dominant force," said Smith, who finished with 26 points and 15 rebounds.

Elby and Kelleher provide the scoring for the girls' soccer team in its 2-1 home win over Cypress in the second round of the Division III playoffs.

Feb. 24 — Up against No. 1 seed Ayala on the road in the quarterfinals of the Division III playoffs, the girls' soccer team takes a 1-0 first-half lead behind an Elby tally, but loses its star forward for the rest of the match when Elby is injured late in the first half. Ayala rallies for a 3-1 win to end the Rebels' season at 17-4-3 with an 8-1-1 league mark.

"It was the best team I've played with in all my four years," Prep's Alina Okamoto said. "It's difficult, but we've accomplished so much."

Elby is later named to the All-CIF Division III first team along with teammate Connell Studenmund, while Kate Lyon and Casey Cousineau are named to the second and third teams, respectively.

In the Prep League, Elby is named offensive most valuable player and Studenmund defensive most valuable player to lead a total of seven Rebels included in the all-league honor roll.

Feb. 25 — Led by Eugenio's 18 points, all five members of the boys' basketball team's starting lineup score in double figures to lift the Rebels to an 86-72 home win over No. 4 seed Mission Prep and to the program's first CIF finals berth since 2004.

March 5 — Led by a big third-quarter spark from Norsworthy and a team-high 15 points from Smith, the Rebels survive their toughest test of the Division 5-AA playoffs and break away from Muir down the stretch of a close game to bring home the first CIF title in program history with a 47-44 win over Muir at Mater Dei High.

"We had struggled in the first half," said Norsworthy, whose 10 points in the third helped turn the tide. "You have to be mentally tough. I didn't want my emotions to get the best of me."

March 8 — Entering the CIF Southern California Division V Championships as the No. 2 seed, the boys' basketball team annihilates Tranquillity in the first round, 98-32, behind 18 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks from Smith.

March 10 — The boys' basketball team's groundbreaking season comes to a close in the second round of the state playoffs with a 68-54 loss to St. Bernard at St. Francis High.

After finishing 22-6 and winning the first CIF title in program history, numerous members of the team garner postseason recognition. Smith rakes in the lion's share, taking home Prep League co-Most Valuable Player, CIF Division 5-AA Player of the Year and the John R. Wooden High School Player of the Year Award for Division V. He is also named All-Area Boys' Basketball Player of the Year.

All-CIF Division 5-AA first-team accolades are also bestowed on Norsworthy and Kory Hamane, while Coach Garrett Ohara is named coach of the year for the division.

Hamane is named All-Prep League first team, while second-team nods go to Norsworthy, Eugenio and Robert Cartwright.

April 5 — Despite squandering a nine-run lead in the sixth inning, the Flintridge Prep baseball team rallies to beat visiting St. Michael's, 14-10, in a nonleague game.

"We learned that you always have to play your hardest," Alex Sierra said. "Once they took the lead, we had to turn it back up. We needed to step up and we did."

April 12 — Denise van der Goot strikes out 13 with no walks, while allowing only two hits, and Kelly Wang hits a walk-off single in the seventh inning to help the softball team take sole possession of first place in the Prep League with a 2-1 win over Mayfield.

"We were able to kinda just out-battle them," Rebels Coach Julie Jaime said. "It's huge. Just to have, if nothing less, that cushion [in the standings is key]."

April 14 — Behind an eight-run first inning, the Flintridge Prep baseball team beats visiting Chadwick, 15-0, in a Prep League game shortened to five innings because of the mercy rule.

Including two runs batted in apiece by Clayton Weirich and Dylan Arya, the outburst is the most runs the Rebels score in a game all season, and their only shutout.

April 27 — Boys' golfer Jack Bouchard fires a two-round score of 153 to finish second in the Prep League final at Brookside Golf Course No. 1 and advance to the CIF Southern Section Northern Individual Regional.

"I was hitting the ball better, though I was struggling a little with my driver," said Bouchard, who finishes the day with three birdies. "My approach shots were OK."

April 30 — At the Prep League finals at Pasadena City College, the boys' swimming team gets first-place finishes from Marco Flores and Bruce Park in the 500-yard freestyle (5:18) and the 100 butterfly (56.99), respectively.

On the girls' side, Jennifer Langen qualifies for the CIF Division II prelims in the 100-yard freestyle and would go on to finish 18th in that event at Belmont Plaza pool in Long Beach on May 13.

May 6 — On the final day of the regular season, the boys' volleyball team defeats Rio Hondo Prep, 3-0, to clinch third place in the Prep League and an automatic CIF Division V playoff berth.

"We had hoped to split with Poly, but it's good to bounce back and make the playoffs," Rebels Coach Sean Beattie said.

May 10 — After falling behind two games to none and 8-4 in the third game, the boys' volleyball team rallies to stun host Laguna Blanca with a 3-2 win in the first round of the Division V playoffs.

Kenyatta Smith comes up big with 20 kills and eight blocks and Norsworthy adds 12.

"I think from game two to game three, it was all about our energy," Smith said.

May 11 — The boys' tennis team suffers a 12-6 road defeat to Claremont in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs.

Prep receives one singles win apiece from Alex Wood and Eric Kazangian to wrap up the season at 6-9 with a second place finish in the Prep League.

"They are really solid in singles and there wasn't much we could do," Coach Ron Catano said. "I thought we could get some more wins in singles, but we couldn't."

May 12 — Smith and Norsworthy each notch 12 kills in the boys' volleyball team's 3-1 home win over Firebaugh in the second round of the Division V playoffs.

With a 10-0 win over Westridge in the regular-season finale, the softball team clinches a share of the league title for the first time since 1995.

Van der Goot fans 13 and tosses a no-hitter to lead Prep to a split of the crown with Mayfield.

"It was definitely a big game for us, it was a must-win for us to win league and the girls knew that," Jaime said. "[Van der Goot] is a phenomenal pitcher. [After she hit the first batter] everything just came together and it is a great reward for her."

May 14 — With an injured Smith out of the lineup, the boys' volleyball team falls to top-seeded Vistamar at home in three games in the quarterfinal round of the Division V playoffs, ending its season at 12-14 with a 4-4 league record.

"We went out there and gave it our best shot," said Norsworthy, who led the team with seven kills. "They are the No. 1 team for a reason."

Later, Smith is named to the All-CIF Division V first team. He also garners an All-Prep League first-team nod along with Norsworthy, while Nolan Jimbo makes the second team.

May 16 — Bouchard cards an 83 to tie for 57th at the CIF Southern Section Northern Individual Regional and bring his season to an end at Las Posas Country Club in Camarillo.

"I hit a lot of solid shots and my putting was OK, considering the greens," Bouchard said. "I just had some bad bunker shots and I had a triple-bogey on the sixth hole. It was a fun experience. I wish I could have played better."

May 19 — Rachel Simon hits a walk-off single to lift the softball team to a 2-1 win over visiting Santa Paula in the opening round of the Division VI playoffs.

"Rachel was ready," Jaime said. "I didn't see a scared approach. I saw a ready batter, ready to get that winning hit."

Van der Goot tallies 16 strikeouts, giving up just one hit and one run in a complete game and striking out the first nine batters she faced.

An 8-6 loss to Vasquez in the opening round of the Division VI playoffs ends the season for the Flintridge Prep baseball team.

The Rebels, who finish 14-10 overall and second in the Prep League, commit four errors, including two in the bottom of the first that allow Vasquez to tie the game, 3-3.

"We talk ad nauseum that you have to play defense, especially in the playoffs," Rebels Coach Buzz Cook said. "If we didn't make errors, we would've won the game."

May 20 — Doubles partners Kent Byun and Kazangian fall, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 10-8, to Benson Lu and Alvin Huang of San Gabriel in the opening round of the CIF Individual Tournament, finishing their season with a 35-6 record.

"Kent and Eric played well in the super-tiebreaker, but they just got a few unlucky bounces," Catano said. "They had the pressure of playing behind virtually their whole match."

May 21 —Kate Kennedy places fourth in the Division IV 300-meter hurdles in 45.39 at the CIF Southern Section Track and Field Divisional Championships, but falls short of the cut for the CIF Masters Meet.

The freshman, who clocked a personal-best time of 46.32 to take fifth overall in the prelims, was the lone Rebel to qualify for the CIF finals.

May 24 — A 3-1 road loss to Rim of the World ends the softball team's season at 14-5 in the second round of the Division VI playoffs.

Down three runs, van der Goot hits a solo shot to center to open the seventh inning and that hit is followed with a single and a walk, but the team's rally falls short.

"I think it reignited hope," van der Goot said of her home run. "We did get a rally going after that. We came pretty close to tying it. Ashley [Kim] had another good hit, but unfortunately they caught it.

"It's nice to end the season that way ... fighting back to the end."

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