Top 10 Girls' Athletes of 2013-14: Arnold continued Crescenta Valley water polo's tradition of triumph

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

2 Elissa Arnold, Crescenta Valley water polo, senior — The University of Michigan-bound Arnold provided plenty of offense and leadership throughout the season for the Falcons. Though Crescenta Valley came up short in its quest to win a second straight CIF Southern Section Division V championship, it advanced to the semifinals after winning its fifth Pacific League championship in a row.

Arnold helped pave the way, finishing with a team-best 92 goals. Crescenta Valley played a difficult schedule, finishing 24-7. Arnold, a two-meter attacker, would go on to be named the league’s player of the year and secure All-CIF first-team accolades.

Arnold, who helped the Falcons reach the semifinals for the fourth straight season, was selected the All-Area Girls’ Water Polo Player of the Year for the first time.

“Elissa was one of the top players who I have ever coached,” former Crescenta Valley Coach Brent Danna said. “She brought her work ethic to every practice and every game and we will have a gigantic hole to fill with her moving on to Michigan.”

3 Madi Witt, Flintridge Prep swimming/diving, junior — After winning the CIF Southern Section Division III crown in 2013, Witt finished second with 533.60 points in 2014.

It marked the third straight season in which Witt finished with more than 500 points in CIF action. She won the Prep League championship with 487.70 points.

Earlier in the season, Witt, a high scholl All-American, posted a mark of 532.25 at the Immaculate Heart Invitational.

4 Sophia Coffey, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy volleyball/softball, junior — It proved to be another successful season for the setter. The Seton Hall-bound Coffey was among a budding cast of players who helped reinvigorate the Tologs’ winning tradition. Coffey found herself in the middle of plenty of success on the court for Flintridge Sacred Heart.

Coffey collected 911 assists, 221 digs, 62 kills and 41 aces en route to being selected as the Mission League Most Valuable Player and earning a CIF Southern Section Division I-A first-team selection. Flintridge Sacred Heart went 26-5 and split the league championship with rival Harvard-Westlake. The Tologs reached the semifinals for the first time since 2007 before falling to champion La Salle at home in four games.

Coffey played a big part in helping Flintridge Sacred Heart top Harvard-Westlake for the first time in seven seasons before helping the Tologs record their first 20-win season since 2009 and farthest playoff advancement in six years.

Coffey, who also started for the softball team in the spring, was voted the All-Area Girls’ Volleyball Player of the Year.

“For me as a coach, I take pride in getting the girls ready for the next level,” Flintridge Sacred Heart Coach Ernest Banaag said. “Sophia listens and looked for ways to get better and she's an excellent player.

“When she's out on the court, you can see her leading by example. A lot of the players noticed that and they fed off that.”

5 Jocelyn Chia, Crescenta Valley girls’ golf, senior — For the fourth straight season, Chia proved to be the catalyst for the Falcons. The Boston College-bound Chia was named the All-Area Girls’ Golfer of the Year for a fourth consecutive season after helping the Falcons take second in the Pacific League.

In her final season at Crescenta Valley, Chia finished fourth in the league final before tying for eighth with an even-par 71 at CIF Southern Section Individual Final and Women's Southern California Golf Assn. Qualifying Tournament.

In addition, Chia helped the Falcons place 10th at the CIF Southern Section Eastern Team Divisional before advancing all the way to the CIF-Women’s Southern California Golf Assn. Championship and Regional State Qualifier — the third round of individual play — for the fourth season in a row. Chia was one of 11 golfers to shoot par or better with the cut being 85 at the qualifying tournament.

Chia was the only area athlete to made the trek to participate in the CIF-Women’s Southern California Golf Association Championship and Regional State Qualifier at the Golf Club at Rancho California in Murrieta.

She registered a five-over-77, but didn’t advance to the state championship in Carmel. Chia tied for 42nd in a field of 124, falling four strokes shy of the qualifying mark.

“She proved to be as tough as nails again on the course,” Crescenta Valley Coach Lee Pope said. “She knew how to manage herself well out there and make things happen like only she could.

“It’s a game about being able to move forward. She’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime golfers that you enjoy having on your team.”

6 Heather MacDougall, Crescenta Valley swimming, sophomore — MacDougall, an All-American, flourished following a fantastic freshman season to help the Falcons win a Pacific League championship. MacDougall won two individual league titles and played a role in igniting Crescenta Valley to a pair of relay championships.

At the league finals at Burbank High, MacDougall teamed with Iva Icheva, Gebevieve Gonzalez and Tiffany Duarte to win the 200-yard medley relay in a league record time of 1 minute 53.69 seconds.

MacDougall then won the 100 butterfly in 58 seconds and captured the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.06. For good measure, MacDougall worked with Alyssa Nguyen, Samantha Kohn and Icheva to take first in the 400 free relay ( 3:41.46). In the relay, MacDougall etched her name into the league record book with an opening 100 time of 51.27, eclipsing the mark of 52.49 from 1992.

MacDougall was far from finished entering the CIF Southern Section Division II final at Riverside City College.

She notched a runner-up finish in the 100 freestyle (50.95) and a third-place effort in the 200 freestyle (1:50.25) to lead Crescenta Valley to a 15th-place finish.

7 Megan Melnyk, Crescenta Valley cross-country/track and field, junior — In cross-country, Melnyk shined in numerous races. At the Division I race of the Mount San Antonio College Invitational, Melnyk clocked an area-best 18 minutes 32 seconds to help Crescenta Valley place sixth. She also captured first place at the Woodbridge Invitational’s “B” race, going an area-best mark of 17:43. She finished fourth in the Pacific League final in 17:50.28.

On the track, Melnyk advanced all the way to the CIF Masters Meet for the second season in a row. Melnyk had a pretty busy spring, winning a league championship in the 800-meter race in 2:19.55. She took third in the 1,600 (5:03.94) at the league final. In the postseason, Melnyk appeared to become stronger. In the CIF Southern Section Division I final, Melnyk clocked 2:13.71 to place third in the 800.

At the Masters Meet, Melnyk finished ninth in 2:13.62.

8 Hannah Cookson, Crescenta Valley softball, senior — Proved to once again be one of the area’s best all-around players on the diamond. Whether it came to providing pop in the lineup or making an outstanding catch while roaming center field, the Long Beach State-bound Cookson did it all for the playoff-bound Falcons.

The All-Pacific League second-team pick didn’t commit an error. At the plate, Cookson batted .531 (51 for 96) with an area-leading 13 home runs and 41 runs batted in. Cookson contributed nine doubles and scored 33 runs en route to securing All-Area accolades.

9 Hailey Cookson, Crescenta Valley softball, junior — The younger sister of Hannah, Hailey enjoyed a breakthrough season for the Falcons. Cookson received All-Pacific League and All-CIF first-team honors and showed incredible discipline at the plate, striking out just twice the entire season.

She batted .569 (58 for 102) with three triples, 10 doubles, five home runs and 27 runs batted in. Cookson, who picked up All-Area honors, also buoyed the Falcons to their biggest win, belting two home runs in a 6-3 CIF wild-card win over Sonora.

10 Katie Altmayer, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy swimming, senior — The senior clinched Mission League individual titles in two events, while helping win two relay championships.

Altmayer first won the 200-yard freestyle race in 1 minute 54.98 seconds before laying claim to the 100 fly (57.74) title at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center, as part of an effort in which Flintridge Sacred Heart won all 12 events, while clinching a third straight league title.

At the CIF Southern Section Division I championships at Riverside Community College, Altmayer took home a Division I title when she teamed up with Kirsten Vose, Kate Herrill and Christina Campbell to win the 200 medley relay (1:44.38) and take silver in the 200 freestyle relay (1:34.78).

Honorable mention: Sammy Fabian, Glendale softball; Kayla Lund, Flintridge Sacred Heart volleyball; Ashley Taylor, Crescenta Valley water polo.


Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich .

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