Top 10 Boys' Athletes of 2013-14: Momdzhyan leads Glendale water polo team to magical season

The top-10 male high school athletes of the year were voted on by the Glendale News-Press sports department. These are selections 2 through 10. See Saturday’s edition for the Male Athlete of the Year.

2 Arman Momdzhyan, Glendale water polo, senior — Momdzhyan played a large role in helping the Nitros capture the program’s first-ever CIF Southern Section crown and the school’s first CIF title since 1989. The towering Momdzhyan was a force in the pool, quickly launching shots that would often strike the back of the cage.

With Momdzhyan on board and a supporting cast in place, the Nitros spent the majority of the season as the top-ranked team in CIF Southern Section Division V. Glendale finished 22-6, 8-0 in the Pacific League. It marked the third season in a row that the Nitros went undefeated in league.

He finished with an area-leading 169 goals and was named the Pacific League’s Most Valuable Player and the CIF Southern Section Division V Player of the Year. In addition, Momdzhyan was voted the All-Area Boys’ Water Polo Player of the Year. Momdzhyan finished his three-year career at Glendale with 451 goals.

Momdzhyan’s biggest outing came against Los Altos in the Division V title contest. He scored six goals to spark top-seeded Glendale to a 13-11 win.

“Over the last three years, you can see how Arman has become a dominant player,” Former Glendale Coach Forest Holbrook said. “He’s an absolute goal scorer.

“Anywhere he gets the ball, he’s more than capable of scoring. He’s known in Southern California as one of the top water polo players. He was arguably the best at his position in high school water polo this year. We are certainly going to miss him. He’s been a pleasure to coach the last three years and he will only get better moving to college.”

3 Kyle Leufroy, St. Francis basketball, junior — Leufroy did plenty for St. Francis in its historic season that featured an appearance in the CIF Southern Section Division III-A championship contest and advancement to the second round of the state tournament.

A transfer from La Salle following his freshman season, Leufroy arrived at St. Francis with little fanfare. Leufroy wouldn’t disappoint, especially last season. He averaged 20.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and four assists per game en route to being named to the All-Mission League and All-CIF Southern Section Division III-A first teams. He topped it off by being named the All-Area Boys' Basketball Player of the Year.

St. Francis finished 20-13, 4-8 in league to tie for fifth place with Harvard-Westlake. In the postseason, where the Golden Knights had earned an at-large entry and the second seed, Leufroy and Co. posted playoff victories against Yucca Valley, San Dimas, 10th-seeded Gladstone and third-seeded La Cañada before losing to fourth-seeded Oak Park in the championship game. St. Francis then made its first appearance in the state tournament. It bested San Diego Kearny in the first round before being eliminated by Santa Margarita.

Against Oak Park, he sustained a right-ankle injury early in the first quarter. However, he finished with a game-high 26 points.

“I’m just grateful to be a bystander and see all of the things he can do so well out there on the court,” St. Francis co-Coach Ray O’Brien said. “Everybody knows him now.”

4 Ty Gangi, St. Francis football, senior — For somebody who didn’t have much experience being a quarterback at the varsity level, Gangi made believers out of plenty who watched him on a weekly basis. In his only season starting at the varsity level, Gangi and the Golden Knights gained instant respect around the Mission League and CIF Southern Section Western Division that featured state powerhouses Chaminade and Gardena Serra.

St. Francis finished 10-3 and reached the semifinals for the first time since 2005. Gangi passed for 2,882 yards and 25 touchdowns. On the ground, he rushed for 421 years and 12 touchdowns, en route to receiving All-CIF, all-league and All-Area Football Player of the Year accolades.

With Gangi paving the way, St. Francis finished with 5,694 yards of offense (438 yards per game) . The Golden Knights passed for 2,890 yards and rushed for 2,804. Those numbers proved to be quite impressive considering St. Francis played a grueling schedule against teams such as Serra (twice), Chaminade, Monrovia, Camarillo, Culver City and Harvard-Westlake.

“Just looking back on the season, he exceeded our expectations with his numbers and just his play,” St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds said. “He was phenomenal.

“He absolutely made the most of his opportunity as a starting quarterback at St. Francis. It’s a year I won’t soon forget.”

5 Arthur Ghukasyan, Hoover wrestling, senior — While the Hoover High wrestling program hasn’t been around for a long time, Ghukasyan easily proved to be the most prolific figure in the lineup, advancing to the state tournament. The Tornadoes, under first-year coach Dave Beard, finished 6-2 and third in the Rio Hondo League.

At the Rio Hondo League finals, Ghukasyan started to get on a roll. Ghukasyan registered a tough 7-3 decision against Gabriel Onofre of Monrovia to capture the 160-pound league crown.

After a two-week break, Ghukasyan made another postseason splash at the CIF Southern Section Eastern Division Championships at Perris Citrus Hill High on Feb. 23.

Ghukasyan went 3-1 in the tournament, with his lone setback a tough loss to Victory Valley’s Michael Lopez in the championship bout. Despite the defeat, Gkukasyan became his school’s first-ever qualifier out of the divisional championship round and made a name for himself with an upset 5-2 victory over tournament second-seeded Mark Aceval of San Juan Hills.

Next up was the CIF-SS Masters Meet in Ontario. The 36th-ranked Ghukasyan opened by going 3-0 and finished 4-2 to advance to the state meet in Bakersfield. At the Masters Meet, he faced the Nos. 1 and 3-ranked wrestlers in the state and placed fourth overall in the meet.

The playoff journey was far from over for Ghukasyan, who went 24-5 on the season.

In the state meet, he finished a respectable 3-2. Ghukasyan saw his run come to a close in a defeat against Liberty’s Jake Maas, ranked 25th in state, in 2 minutes 42 seconds.

“He had a great season, but it was a long day,” Beard said. “He wrestled five guys and just lost at the end, otherwise he'd be wrestling Saturday.”

6 Alan Yoho, Flintridge Prep cross-country/track and field, senior — Plenty of things worked out well for Yoho while mastering both sports for the upstart Rebels.

In cross-country, Yoho helped Flintridge Prep capture its 21st Prep League championship in the past 22 seasons. Yoho clocked 15 minutes 18 seconds to win the individual league title. He also captured the Mt. San Antonio College Boys’ Division V sweepstakes in 14:58 and helped the Rebels win their first CIF Southern Section Division V crown since 2004.

At the CIF State Championships at Fresno’s Woodward Park, Yoho won the Division V championship with a personal-best mark of 15:11 to topple two-time defending state champion Trevor Reinhart (15:24) of Marin Academy.

To top off his brilliant season, Yoho finished ninth in 15:14 at the Nike Cross Nationals at Portland Meadows Course in Portland, Ore. Yoho was named the All-Area Boys’ Cross-Country Athlete of the Year.

After regrouping from an exhausting fall season, Yoho came back refreshed in the spring.

In track and field, Yoho dominated in the 800- and 1,600-meter races. At the Prep League finals, Yoho won the 800-meter run (1:59.39) and the 1,600 (4:21.75). The Rebels placed second overall in league.

Yoho proceeded to win a CIF Southern Section Division IV title in the 800 (1:56.27) and finished second in 1,600 (4:15.90).

7 Barrett Weiss, Flintridge Prep track and field, junior — The Rebels continued to get top marks from their standout pole vaulter throughout the season, resulting in an appearance in the CIF State Meet in Clovis.

At the Prep League finals, Weiss had a school-record mark of 15 feet 1 inch. In the CIF Southern Section Division IV finals, Barrett and his twin brother, Gareth, tied for the top height at 14-9. However, Gareth was declared the champion by virtue of scratching fewer times.

At the following week’s CIF-SS Masters Meet back at Cerritos College, the brothers both reached rarefied air as each hit new personal- and school-record jumps of 15-2, which was the state qualifying standard and advanced both to the season-ending meet in Clovis.

Barrett, along with Gareth, then became the first two Flintridge Prep athletes to participate in the state meet. Barrett finished tied for 17th at 14-3 1/2 and Gareth tied for 19th at the same height in the preliminaries, but neither made the cut to the event’s final day of action.

8 Edward Yi, Crescenta Valley swimming, junior — Yi proved to be one of the area’s top swimmers in 2014. He helped propel Crescenta Valley to the Pacific League championship. In the process, Yi captured individual league titles in the 200-yard freestyle and the 100 butterfly. He clocked 1 minute 43.71 to win the 200 and then had a time of 51.72 in the butterfly.

Yi also played a big part in the Falcons winning two relay events. He worked with Eric Park, Hyun Sung Kim and Eddie Gallegugh to win the 200 medley relay in 1:40.11. Kim also grouped with Park, Ryan Moguel and Kim to take the 400 freestyle relay in 3:17.81.

At the CIF Southern Section Division II championship in Riverside, Crescenta Valley placed seventh. Yi placed third in the 100 butterfly (50.65 seconds) and sixth in the 200 freestyle (1:42.68). He also helped Crescenta Valley finish fourth in the 400 freestyle relay and ninth in the 200 medley.

9 Dante Fregoso, Flintridge Prep basketball/volleyball, sophomore — Flintridge Prep came into the season having lost a good chunk of its team to graduation. Thankfully for the Rebels, they still had Fregoso on board.

Flintridge Prep finished 19-8 and gained a split of the Prep League championship after winning it outright in 2013. The Rebels advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division IV playoffs.

Fregoso finished the season with an area-best 398 kills, a team-best 286 digs, 37 aces and 38 blocks en route to being named the league’s co-most valuable player. He received All-CIF honors and was named the All-Area Boys’ Volleyball Player of the Year.

10 Robert Cartwright, Flintridge Prep basketball, senior — The Stanford-bound Cartwright played most of the season injured. However, when healthy, he showed flashes of his brilliance that he’s been accustomed to since helping Flintridge Prep win a CIF championship in 2011.

Cartwright, a guard, helped the Rebels win the Prep League championship. Flintridge Prep finished 11-14, 7-1 in league.

Cartwright was named the league’s most valuable player, averaging 21 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.7 steals per contest in 15 games despite missing 10 games with injuries. He also earned All-CIF and All-Area accolades.

Honorable mention: Gabe Collison, Crescenta Valley cross-country/track and field; Marco Flores, Flintridge Prep swimming; Eric Patten, Crescenta Valley basketball.


Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich .

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