They started stretching, practicing and dreaming, about what could take place during the 2013-14 school year. Then, in late-August, local prep athletes and teams began competition that would, for some, lead to league championships and Southern Section championships, and one team, a Southern California Regional championship.
The fall started another memorable journey for local prep teams, and it triggered a year that also ended with one team again taking center stage and the spotlight.
Below is the Part One highlights from the 2013-14 prep athletic year.
September through December
Girls' Volleyball: A busy fall included big performances in girls' volleyball. Both Huntington Beach and Ocean View finished near the top of their respective leagues, and each qualified for the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
Huntington, the second-place team from the Sunset League, fell in a second-round Division 1AA game to Mater Dei, and ended a successful season 25-7. Ocean View, runner-up in the Golden West League, was defeated in a Division 4AA second-round match at No. 1-seeded Hemet.
Boys' Water Polo: The season saw Ocean View, Huntington Beach and Edison, reach the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
Ocean View, the No. 2 team from the Golden West League, reached the Division 7 semifinals where the No. 5-seeded Seahawks (21-11) were eliminated by No. 2-seeded Yorba Linda. Huntington Beach finished second to Newport Harbor in the Sunset League title race. The Oilers had their season come to an end after a first-round Division 1 playoff loss to Corona del Mar.
Earlier in the season, Huntington Coach Brian Anderson notched his 100th career win at the school.
"This year was banner for our program," Anderson said. "We were highly ranked for most if not all of the year in CIF and in Orange County, I got my 100th [career] win, and the boys got the experience of playing for the league championship."
Edison won 20 games and placed fourth in the Sunset League, and went to the Division 1 playoffs as an at-large entry. The Chargers won a wild-card game at El Toro, then were eliminated in the first round by No. 2-seeded Harvard-Westlake.
"This was arguably the best season [Edison boys] have ever had, for sure during my 12-year tenure," said Coach Diggy Riley whose 2013 team posted the best record of his 12 teams.
Cross-Country: Prep teams begin their quest for spots at CIF Southern Section divisional races, and CIF State Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno. That's what the Edison girls' cross-country team accomplished, and the Chargers went on to earn an 11th-place State finish in the Division 1 competition on the final day of November.
Junior Julia Sienski led the Edison contingent at State with a run of 17:54 to garner a 14th-place individual finish. Edison advanced to the state meet by taking seventh place in the Division 1 team standings at the CIF Southern Section Championships Nov. 23 at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.
In the CIF Southern Section Division 1 boys' race Nov. 23, Fountain Valley junior Norberto Osorio took 13th-place (15:33) and qualified for State.
Also at the CIF Southern Section Championships Nov. 23 at Mt. SAC, Marina (1:36:19) finished 16th in girls' Division 1, and in 39th-place, overall. In boys' Division 1, Fountain Valley (1:17:48) was eighth. The Barons placed 17th overall, among all teams in all divisions.
Girls' Division 1 individual race times and placements: 9. Julia Sienski, Jr., Edison (17:44); 19. Eileen Stressling, Sr., Marina (18:12); 26. Cassie Durgy, Soph., Huntington Beach (18:19); 37. Gabrielle Yatauro, Sr., Edison; 49. Sara Zylstra, Sr., Edison (18:41); 58. Alexa Yatauro, Sr., Edison (18:52); 60. Madeline Fox, Soph., Marina (18:53); 64. Mac Queenenville, Jr., Edison (18:56); 78. Cassy Borton, Sr., Edison (19:18); 84. Isabella Walker, Soph., Marina (19:26); 90. Riley Bennyworth, Soph., Edison (19:32); 99. Brianna Shoffner, Sr., Marina (19:49); 107. Erin Nighswonger, Soph., Marina (19:59); 108. Jordan Rovano, Fr., Marina (20:00).
Boys' Division 1 individual race times and placements: 8. Norberto Osorio, Jr., Fountain Valley, 15:02; 12. Craig Huff, Sr., Marina, 15:08; 25. Galyn Nash, Jr., Fountain Valley (15:24); 46. Hunter Gulino, Sr., Fountain Valley (15:40); 47. David Abraham, Sr., Fountain Valley (15:41); 70. William Hua, Soph., Fountain Valley (16:01); 101. Kenneth Barrios, Jr., Fountain Valley (16:42); 114. Alan Loi, Sr., Fountain Valley (17:45).
Football: The 2013 season started with high hopes for local teams in late-August, and culminated the first Saturday in December where one team reached the pinnacle by winning a CIF Southern Section championship.
A wild finish to a wide-open Sunset League race concluded with Edison repeating as league champion. Fountain Valley finished tied with Newport Harbor and Los Alamitos for the No. 2 slot, and all four teams advanced to the Southwest Division playoffs. A fifth Sunset team, Huntington Beach, was granted an at-large playoff berth.
A fourth local team, Brethren Christian, finished second in the Academy League and secured an automatic berth in the East Valley playoffs. The Warriors finished 8-3 after falling in the first round to Shadow Hills.
Fountain Valley won seven games under first-year head coach Ray Fenton. The Barons had their season come to an end in their playoff opener, a one-point loss at San Juan Hills.
Defending Southwest Division champion Edison won its first two playoff games to make its way to the division semifinals for a second-straight year. This time, the Chargers would face city rival Huntington Beach. And this time, it was the Oilers, who emerged victorious.
Huntington's 28-21 victory at Orange Coast College in late-November was the school's first in 20 years over Edison, and thrust the Oilers into the Southwest Division championship game. On Dec. 7, they met another Sunset League foe, Newport Harbor. By late-afternoon on a day that started with rain, the Oilers had their first major football championship.
Huntington scored 28 unanswered points in the second half and went on to win going away, 42-28, at Angel Stadium. The Oilers, once a 4-5 team in November, won five consecutive games to close out a 9-5 championship season.
"This [championship] is awesome for our community," Huntington Coach Eric Lo said a few days after the title-game triumph. "The support from former Oilers, through emails, texts, phone calls, has been incredible. It meant a lot to Huntington Beach High graduates."
Next week: Part Two (January-June).