When the prep sports season began in September, it became apparent that the 2009-2010 school year would be a special one in athletics for the local high schools.
It didn't disappoint, as both the highs and lows, put local teams and athletes in the headlines.
Below is a look back at some of the key sports happens that were reported to the Independent during the past 10 months.
Although the prep baseball season was still four months away, Edison junior pitcher Henry Owens was named the Most Valuable Player in the 2009 World Wood Bat Assn. World Championships in Jupiter, Fla., on Oct. 26. Owens, and Edison teammate Eric Snyder, played for the Braves Scout Team that won an event that featured 85 teams and more than 1,500 high school players.
Top-seed Huntington Beach fell short in its bid to win the Los Angeles Field Hockey Assn. Tournament of Champions in a 1-0 loss to Newport Harbor which won the title for the second-straight year. "It was a good game all-around," Huntington Beach Coach Cathy Van Doornum said. "I thought we dominated, especially in the second half. We just didn't finish." The Oilers' Claire Prestridge was named the Sunset League South Division Most Valuable Player.
In mid-November, the top-ranked Huntington Beach girls' volleyball team was upended in the CIF Southern Section Division I-A championship match by Dos Pueblos, 25-12, 25-10, 25-18. It was the program's first finals appearance in 13 years. The Oilers, however, went on to reach the semifinal round of the CIF State Southern California Div. I regional tournament before being eliminated by Newport Harbor.
Despite battling bronchitis, Marina senior Ashley Greer shot an 87 at the Women's Southern California Golf Assn. Championships in mid-November in Murrieta. It was the furthest Greer, ranked No. 48 in the state's Junior Golf Scoreboard rankings, had advanced in her four-year Marina career.
Nolan Biegel rushed for 101 yards and a clinching touchdown in the fourth quarter to help lead Huntington Beach to a 21-10 November victory over Anaheim in the opening round of the CIF Southwest Division playoffs. It was the first postseason win for the school since 1993.
Edison senior Matt McElroy had a busy but highly-successful November. He 14 minutes, 41 seconds, at Mt. San Antonio College to finish third at the CIF-SS Division II boys' cross-country championships. At the CIF State Cross-Country Championships the following week, McElroy ran a strong last mile to finish in 15:02, good for second-place in the boys' Division II race at Woodward Park in Fresno. He went on to finish fourth at the Foot Locker Cross-Country Championships West Regional at Mt. SAC to qualify for nationals, then went to Balboa Park in San Diego to finish second at the Foot Locker National Championships.
"I'm still pretty amazed," he said. "I don't even know what to say. It was a perfect race for me. Just to have all my team down there, my coaches and my family, it was great."
Also at the CIF-SS Cross-Country Championships at Mt. SAC, the Marina boys' team, paced by junior Karl Baranov (15:22), finished 11th in the Division I team standings and the Fountain Valley girls' team was ninth in Division I.
Fountain Valley running back Kyle Middlebrooks, the Sunset League's Offensive Player of the Year, broke his own school single-season records for rushing yards (1,875) and rushing touchdowns (23).
Edison charged through the football season and won its first 13 games to reach the CIF Pac-5 division championship game against a 12-1 Servite team the Chargers had defeated (23-9) during the regular season. On a stormy Dec. 12 night, on a muddled field at Angel Stadium, Edison saw its title hopes dashed by the Friars who scored a 16-6 upset victory in the "rain game."
"You've got to play in the conditions," Edison Coach Dave White said. "They did a better job than we did. We turned it over three times in the first 14 minutes of the game. But it was tough. The elements were tough for us."
The end of 2009 saw Edison senior Kyle Boswell go into the school record books. By scoring 28 points in a win over Calvary Chapel Dec. 22, Boswell took over the role of the school's career scoring leader from Brandon Jesse.
Marina senior Chad Schaeffer (3-2), Fountain Valley senior Barry Gee (3-2) and Edison's Scott Sire (2-2), Weston Hawkins (2-2), Victor Diaz (1-1), Aaron Lopez (1-2) and Erick Zumwalt (0-2), competed at the CIF State Wrestling Championships in Bakersfield.
The Edison boys' soccer team, which finished last in the Sunset League just a year before, came within one win of playing for the 2009 CIF Division I championship. The Chargers were denied a spot in the title game after losing, 4-3, on penalty kicks to Harvard-Westlake.
After spending 16 years on the job, Marina boys' basketball coach Roger Holmes announced that he would step down from is position at season's end. In May, Holmes would be named the new head coach at his alma mater, Fountain Valley.
The Edison girls' basketball team won the Sunset League championship and reached the semifinal round of the Division II-AA playoffs. Senior Bonnie Samuelson scored 791 points to become the program's single-season scoring record holder. Samuelson committed to Stanford.
Golden West League champion Ocean View was denied a second-straight Southern Section boys' basketball championship by Foothill which posted 64-58 victory March 6 at the Honda Center in the CIF-SS Division III-AA title game. The Seahawks regrouped to win their first-round CIF Southern California Division III regional over La Jolla (62-47) but was eliminated in the regional semifinals by Serra.
The Huntington Beach boys' volleyball team won the Division I title of the prestigious Orange County Championships in March. The Oilers went on to win the Sea View League title and advanced to the CIF Division I quarterfinals where they were eliminated by top-seed Mira Costa.
Edison won the Sunset League baseball championship, giving the school back-to-back league titles for the first time in school history.
Pole vault athletes Jeremy Kennedy of Marina and Michael Loschiavo of Huntington Beach took the CIF track and field season to the extreme, as both seniors reached the CIF State Meet in Clovis. Kennedy advanced to the finals and went on to an 11th-place finish.
At the CIF-SS Swimming and Diving Championships at Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach, Edison fell two points shy of winning a second-consecutive Division I title. The Chargers' 200 medley relay team of Cindy Tran, Kylie Boyce, Abby Oshio and Nicole Boyce, swam a 1:43.34 to set both a new Orange County and CIF record. The Cal-bound Tran also established a national record (51.85) at the meet in the girls' 100 backstroke, breaking the previous national mark set in 1998 by U.S. Olympian Natalie Coughlin.
Fountain Valley senior Cynthia Fascella claimed an individual CIF title by winning the girls' 100-yard freestyle (49.80), was third (23.36) in the 50 free and also swam the first leg on the Barons' 200 free relay team that won the event in a CIF-record time of 1:34.75. Senior Erika Lucas, freshman Jaime Dang and junior Shelby Webber, rounded out the relay team that eclipsed the previous Southern Section record of 1:34.94, set last year by the Barons. In the boys' Division I final, Marina junior Nick Soedel won a CIF title in the 100 free with a 45.63 swim. Soedel was also seventh in the boys' 50 free.
Marina third baseman Chad Lewis was selected by the Oakland A's in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball draft as the 125th overall pick. Lewis hit .395 with four home runs and 24 RBI during his senior year. His coach, Paul Renfrow, stepped down after 27 years in charge of the program. Renfrow, who also was the boys' athletic director, won 420 games and two CIF championships during that time.