Editor's Note: The Independent looks back on the past year in high school athletics. Listed below are some of the main highlights reported on by or to the Independent.
The New Year started with a bang for local teams.
In girls' basketball, Huntington Beach — which shared the Sunset League title with Edison — reached the CIF Southern Section Division 1-A final, where the Oilers were edged by top-ranked Summit, 56-51. The Oilers were making their first championship game appearance in 34 years. The school also finished runner-up in 1978. Huntington also reached the second round of the CIF State Championships SoCal Regionals, where it was defeated by host and top-seeded Mater Dei. The Oilers had set a school single-game record for three-pointers (17) in a first-round win over San Diego. The Oilers hit 250 three-pointers in the 2011-12 season.
"It was a great season with lots of great memories," Huntington Coach Russ McClurg said. "I told the girls this might be one of the greatest teams in school history. They played with great discipline and made their families, school and coaches very proud. I was very proud and thankful to be around such a great group of girls."
Edison, Fountain Valley, Marina, Ocean View and Brethren Christian also qualified for the CIF girls' basketball playoffs. The Chargers, the No. 4-seed in Division 1-AA, reached the quarterfinal round. Both No. 13-seed Ocean View (3-A) and No. 14-seed Brethren Christian (5-AA) advanced to the second round in their respective divisions. Fountain Valley and Marina fell in Division 1-A first-round games.
Guards Maya Kennedy and Kelsey Minato of Huntington Beach were named to the 2011-12 All-CIF Southern Section 1-A team.
In boys' basketball, Ocean View claimed another Golden West League championship, enjoyed an 18-game winning streak and a No. 1 ranking in Division 2-AA before it was upended in a second-round game at Thousand Oaks. The Seahawks have won or shared a league championship in 14 of the past 15 years.
Edison, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach and Marina also made the boys' basketball playoffs out of the Sunset League. Edison, the No. 8 seed, and Huntington, the No. 12 seed, reached the second round of the Division 1-A playoffs. Fountain Valley, which had its best record (17-9) in 10 years, lost in the first round of the Division 1-AA playoffs at No. 12-seeded Upland. Marina was an at-large entry to the Division 1-A playoffs and lost a first-round game at No. 2-seeded Capistrano Valley.
Brethren Christian won its fourth consecutive Academy League crown. The Warriors, the No. 7 seed, reached the quarterfinal round of the Division 5-AA playoffs, where they were bumped off by No. 2 seed Village Christian.
Edison senior guard Dreon Barlett was named to the All-CIF Division 1-A team, Ocean View senior center Conor Clifford was named to the All-CIF Division 2-AA team and junior Mamadou Ndiaye of Brethren Christian was named to the All-CIF Division 5-AA team.
In soccer, Marina won the boys' title and Edison the girls' crown in Sunset League races that were decided in the final week of the regular season.
In the boys' soccer CIF playoffs, eighth-seeded Marina knocked off top-seeded Servite in Division 1 quarterfinal play to reach the semifinals. The Vikings had their season end in a 2-0 semifinal loss to Ventura. Ocean View, the No. 3 team from the Golden West League, had a six-game win streak and impressive postseason run end in a 3-0 Division 2 quarterfinal loss to No. 2-seeded Valley View.
Marina seniors David Elias and Kevin Moses also were named to the 2011-12 All CIF Southern Section Division 1 team. Vikings teammate Josue Medina, a senior, made the Division 1 second team. Ocean View senior forward Joel Contreras was named to the All-CIF Division 2 team.
In girls' soccer, Edison, Huntington Beach and Ocean View all reached the postseason. Edison made it to the second round of the Division 1 playoffs where the Chargers fell to Orange Lutheran. Huntington, an at-large entry in Division 1, gave Corona del Mar all it could handle before succumbing, 1-0, to the top-seeded Sea Kings in a first-round game. Ocean View, the second-place team from the Golden West League, made the second round of the Division 6 tournament, where it was eliminated by La Canada.
In girls' water polo, Ocean View won the Golden West League title and reached the semifinals of the Division 7 playoffs. Edison (No. 3) and Huntington Beach (at-large) both advanced to CIF from the Sunset League. Eighth-seeded Edison, won a wild-card game over Peninsula before being eliminated in a first-round loss to Santa Barbara. Huntington Beach, a 20-game winner, lost in the first round to Villa Park.
Edison senior Alys Williams, who signed with UCLA, was named to the All-CIF Southern Section Division 1 team.
In wrestling, Fountain Valley's Dean O'Bourke (120 pounds) and Marina's Tyler Smith (220) won their respective weight classes at the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet at Temecula. O'Bourke and Smith, along with Steele Escobedo (145) of Fountain Valley, Colin Navickas (152) of Marina and Greg Meline (170) of Edison, all qualified for the CIF State Tournament.
The spring season also was full of superlatives.
Fifth-seeded Huntington Beach won the Sunset League boys' volleyball championship and forged a 17-game win streak before having its season end in a second-round, five-set loss at San Clemente in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. Ocean View shared the Golden West League title and won 16 games in a season that was halted in the second round of the Division 3 playoffs at sixth-seeded Camarillo.
In boys' golf, Andre Vu (tie for ninth place) of Fountain Valley and Marina's Matt Janelli (tie for 20th) advanced out of the CIF Southern Individual Regional to compete at in May the CIF finals tournament. Huntington Beach's Jake Schulze also competed at the Individual Regional and finished in a tie for 48th place.
Fountain Valley, the No. 2 team from the Sunset League, reached the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 boys' tennis playoffs where the Barons were eliminated in the second round by Northwood. John Lieu of the Barons advanced to the third round of the CIF Southern Section Boys' Individual Tennis Regionals.
The CIF Southern Section Swimming and Diving Championships in May were held for the first time at Riverside Community College. In the Division 1 girls' team finals standings, Edison finished in fourth place and Fountain Valley was seventh. In the Division 1 boys' team standings, Edison was fourth and Huntington Beach was in 28th place. In the Division 4 boys' team finals standings, Ocean View finished ninth and the girls' program placed 28th.
On the final weekend of May, a trio of local athletes, Laura Hollander and Kylie Nishisaka of Marina, and Karen Snapper of Edison, earned their way to the CIF State Track and Field Championships in Clovis. Hollander, the Division 1 champ in the event, qualified in the girls' 3,200 meters run. Nishisaka, originally qualified in the girls' 1,600 meters race. Snapper qualified in the girls' pole vault. At the state meet, Hollander overcame a fall in the first lap to come on strong for a third-place finish in the 3,200.
Included in the girls' pole vault field at the CIF Masters Meet, the step before the state championships, was Huntington Beach senior Amy Loschiavo, who cleared 11-2, and tied two other competitors for sixth place.
In softball, Edison's deep postseason run ended in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 semifinals. The No. 2 team from the Sunset League, the Chargers pounded Murrieta Valley (6-0), Canyon (13-0) and Orange Lutheran (6-0) before their title hopes were dashed in a loss to defending champion Santiago of Corona.
Marina and Fountain Valley also made the Division 1 playoff field, and Ocean View competed in Division 4 postseason play. Marina (Sunset No. 3) lost a first-round game at Etiwanda, and Fountain Valley (Sunset at-large) lost a wild-card game to Rosary. Ocean View (Golden West No. 2) beat Northview but lost in the second round at La Habra.
In baseball, Edison, Huntington Beach, Marina and Ocean View, made the CIF Southern Section playoff field.
In Division 1, Marina (Sunset League No. 2) beat Lakewood before being eliminated by Esperanza. Edison (Sunset No. 3) won a wild-card game against Chaparral but had its postseason run end in a first-round loss at defending Division 1 champ J.W. North. Huntington (Sunset at-large) won its first two games, both on the road against Great Oak and Moore League champion Long Beach Poly, before falling to El Dorado in the second round. Ocean View (Golden West No. 2) was knocked off in a Division 3 first-round game against Whittier.
Ocean View senior Timmy Robinson made the All-CIF Southern Section Division 3 team. In June, the USC signee went to the Minnesota Twins in the 31st round of the Major League Baseball Draft.
The fall sports season started off well enough but reached its crescendo just before winter break.
One of the first teams to capture a fall postseason championship was the Huntington Beach field hockey team. In its sixth-straight trip to the final of the Tournament of Championships, Huntington capped its season by defeating Harvard-Westlake, 1-0, in a 10-minute, sudden-death overtime period. Huntington took the crown when Kayla Wigney, who would be named tournament MVP, scored off an assist from Abbie Masters four minutes into overtime.
Huntington, champion of the Sunset League and 22-1 overall, won the Tournament of Champions, which caps the field hockey season, six years ago but finished in the runner-up spot the past four years.
"It's been a long time coming," said Huntington Coach Cathy Van Doornum. "It's a big senior group on this team, and it was kind of disappointing for them, after losing last year's final. To win the title has been a goal of theirs since last year. They were determined to win it, and the girls weren't to be denied."
Huntington Beach, Edison, and Ocean View all advanced to the CIF Southern Section boys' water polo playoffs.
The Oilers and Chargers both played Division 1 wild-card games. The Chargers advanced after outlasting Long Beach Poly, 15-14, but had their season end in the first round following a 21-10 loss to defending Division 1 champion Mater Dei. The Seahawks reached the quarterfinals of the Division 7 playoffs. There, they were eliminated, 9-7, by Cypress.
Ocean View's girls' volleyball team, which won its first two playoff games, also advanced to the quarterfinals of the Division 4-AA playoffs. The Seahawks, the No. 2 team from the Golden West League, were eliminated in three games by top-seeded Saddleback Valley Christian. In other girls' volleyball playoff action, Huntington Beach (Sunset League No. 2), rallied from two games down to defeat Peninsula in five sets in an opening round match of the Division 1-AA tournament. The Oilers fell in the second round to No. 4 seed Mater Dei.
In November, the Marina girls' cross country team brought home a ninth-place finish from the Division 1 competition at the CIF State Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno. Individually, Marina senior Kylie Nishisaka finished in seventh place with a time of 17 minutes, 50 seconds. Edison senior Haley Seward finished 13th (18:06). Marina junior Brittany Shoffner was 42nd (18:44), Marina junior Eileen Stressling was 54th (18:53), Marina freshman Madeline Fox was 81st (19:13), Marina senior Lauren Carr was 135th (20:00), freshman Erin Nighswonger was 136th (20:00) and senior Giovanna Caruso finished 150th (20:20).
In the state Division 1 boys' competition, Edison senior Jeff Thies placed ninth in 15:27.
Marina had advanced to the state meet after placing sixth at the CIF Southern Section Division 1 finals at Mt. San Antonio College. Nishisaka took sixth individually (16:30) to pace the Vikings. Edison's girls' team finished ninth at the Division 1 finals but did not advance to state. Both Seward, who took ninth place in the girls' race, and Thies, the only Charger in the boys' Division 1 race and who finished eighth, advanced individually to the state meet.
As the fall season wound down, so too, did the prep football season. But, it was a big finish.
Edison took the Southern Section season to its fullest. The Chargers, in their first year competing in the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division, took the division title by defeating Villa Park, 28-10, at Angel Stadium on the final day of November.
Top-seeded Edison, ranked No. 1 throughout most of the season in the division, won its 10th consecutive game to improve to 13-1 overall.
It was the first Southern Section title in 27 years for the Edison program since it shared the 1985 Big Five crown with Long Beach Poly. It was the school's first outright title since 1980, and fifth, overall.
"I'm just so happy for these kids that they are CIF champions," Edison Coach Dave White said after the win. "They worked hard for this. We were challenged early tonight but we've been a fourth-quarter team all year. I'm just so proud of these guys and our coaches, and happy for our fans."
Two days after claiming the title, Edison was awarded a berth in the CIF Division II State South Regional Championship game. The Chargers had their sensational season end on Dec. 8 in a 27-10 loss at Orange Coast College to Serra of Gardena. A week later, the Cavaliers defeated North Region champion Oakdale to win the state Division II title.
In addition to Edison, Huntington Beach and Brethren Christian reached the football postseason. The Oilers won a first-round game at Capistrano Valley to reach the quarterfinals of the Southwest Division playoffs where they were eliminated by defending champion Tustin. The Warriors were eliminated in the first round of the East Valley Division playoffs at Big Bear.