Throughout the past year, the local community experienced its share of important, interesting and unfortunate sports stories. Some of the stories touched us, some informed us and others just entertained us.
Although many of the stories deserve recognition, a select few stood out among the others.
Chosen by the Leader, here is a list of the top 10 sports stories of 2011.
1 Burroughs baseball program rocked by underage drinking scandal: The school was embarrassed and its program was shut down after a situation involving Indians players and an assistant coach came to light.
The school fired the varsity baseball coach and three assistants and canceled the remainder of the season after discovering an assistant coach allegedly served players beer during a tournament trip to Arizona.
Indians Coach J.R. Schwer and the assistants, who were all at the mid-March tournament in Arizona, were fired April 18. Schwer said he learned about the incident just three days before he was let go and acknowledged that a large number of players were served alcohol by an assistant coach.
Initially, the 11 players who drank were suspended five days. Seven athletes who were aware of the incident but failed to come forward were given two-day suspensions. The suspensions of the seven players who did not participate were later rescinded.
“There were bad decisions made here ...,” Burroughs Principal Emilio Uriostes said. “It’s very hard then to say that this person ... was more culpable than another. Really, the best decision was to say that this is a serious matter ... and the right thing to do was to suspend the players, forfeit the season and say that we absolutely need a new coaching staff.”
Burroughs hired a new coach in June in Eddie Alvarez, only to fire him for “inconsistent leadership” in late-October. A new coach, Kiel Holmes, was hired in November.
2 Anding runs wild and breaks records for Indians: Burroughs senior running back Zander Anding had a season that was nothing short of remarkable. He shattered school records, set the single-season league rushing mark, finished first in the state in two rushing categories and was No. 1 in the country in yards per carry.
In short, he put together the best season by a running back in city history.
Anding rushed for 2,686 yards in 204 carries and 26 touchdowns. He averaged 13.17 yards a carry and a whopping 268.6 yards a game. According to maxpreps.com, Anding’s yards-per-carry average was tops in the country and No. 1 in the state and his per-game average was first in the state.
In addition, Anding notched five games in which he gained 300 yards or more, his best effort coming with a 393-yard performance in a league game against Glendale to set a Burroughs record. He also had games of 368, 360, 326 and 319. He holds the top five spots on the all-time Indians list. His 2,686 total also set a single-season record, as did his 182 points.
He leaves the school as the program’s all-time scoring leader (250) and career rushing leader (3,345).
“He [was] bigger, faster and more motivated than he ever has been in his life,” Burroughs Coach Keith Knoop said of Anding. “He is just so versatile. He can play receiver, running back, or wherever we need him. He’s just special and just one of those kids you see move and you just say, ‘Wow.’ ”
3 Memorial Field project gets underway, displacing teams: Renovation of Burroughs’ Memorial Field finally got underway in January. The ground-breaking came after a 22-month delay that left many in the community frustrated and angry.
The Burbank, Burroughs and Bellarmine-Jefferson football teams — which all use the venue as their home field — had to play all of their games on the road this past season. Even the homecoming and annual “Big Game” rivalry contest between Burbank and Burroughs had to be played on the road at Arcadia High.
The project is scheduled to be completed by the spring and the three teams are planning to have their home field back for the 2012 campaign.
4 Burroughs boys’ volleyball advances to first CIF final: Behind brothers Tyler and Lucas Yanez, the Indians captured a league crown, advanced to the program’s first CIF Southern Section championship contest and even won a first-ever match in the state playoffs.
The Indians (34-5) rolled to a Pacific League title, going undefeated in the process. Burroughs then marched its way through the Division III playoffs, advancing to the championship match against Cerritos Valley Christian at Cypress College. Although the Indians lost, 27-25, 25-27, 25-18, 25-16, just getting to the title contest was a huge accomplishment.
It was the Indians’ first trip to the finals after previously not getting out of the second round of the playoffs.
Burroughs also participated in the Southern California Regional Championships for the first time. The Indians showed they belonged in state competition, upsetting Thousand Oaks, 25-22, 25-12, 23-25, 25-23, in the first round.
5 Bell-Jeff softball team makes it to divisional championship: The spring season saw the Guards make history.
Bell-Jeff posted an undefeated record in the Santa Fe League to claim its second straight championship.
It was indeed a breakthrough campaign under Coach John Castaneda. Along with their league crown, the Guards enjoyed a historic march in the Division VII playoffs, advancing to their first-ever CIF championship game.
Unfortunately, the Guards (22-6) fell short of the title, losing, 7-6, against Pomona Catholic at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine.
The team was led by freshman outfielder Jaylen Watson, sophomore infielder Monique Landini and senior infielder Maddy Gionoli, who all earned first-team all-league honors.
6 Burbank boys’ cross-country team places 11th in state: The Bulldogs has a successful season, which included a second-place finish in the competitive Pacific League.
Paced by junior Sergio Fraire and sophomore Isaiah Amos, Burbank became the first squad in nine years from the school to qualify for the CIF-State Cross-Country Championships.
In state competition Nov. 26 at Woodward Park in Fresno, the Bulldogs placed 11th in Division I.
7 Indians boys’ tennis team makes history with trip to CIF semifinals: The Burroughs squad enjoyed the finest postseason run in the history of the program.
Led by singles player Garrett Auproux, the Indians pulled off some upsets and advanced to the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs, losing to eventual champion Palm Desert, 14-4. Auproux also won the Pacific League singles title and advanced to the round of 16 in the CIF Southern Section Individual Tournament.
In doubles, Indians Oscar Lam and Wen Yao Lin took the league doubles crown.
8 Tubert enjoys success in college and in international play: The success Emily Tubert enjoyed at Burroughs carried over to her freshman season with the University of Arkansas women’s team.
Tubert won tournaments, earned Southeastern Conference player-of-the-week accolades, made the All-SEC team, was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team, the All-Central Region Team and helped lead Arkansas to the 2011 NCAA Women’s Golf National Championship, where it finished tied for fifth.
However, Tubert earned her biggest honor of the year following the championship tournament when she garnered All-American First-Team honors by the National Golf Assn.
In the NCAA event, Tubert finished tied for 19th, the best-ever for an Arkansas freshman, shooting 76-73-71-74 for a 294.
Tubert also earned a sponsor’s exemption to play in the LPGA Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in September and helped the United States win the Spirit International tournament in November.
9 Danzeisen steps up in the postseason in golf: Burroughs junior boys’ golfer Kelsey Danzeisen enjoyed a successful postseason in the spring, advancing to the Southern California Golf Assn. Regional Qualifier. In the event at Brookside Golf Club, he shot a one-over-par 73 to finish 27th, just missing the cut for the state tournament.
Despite placing fifth in the Pacific League tournament, Danzeisen did well in the first two playoff tournaments. He took part in the CIF Individual Final, firing a three-over-par-74, tying him for the fifth-best score of the day and a tie for 17th place.
Danzeisen qualified for the final by earning a spot out of the CIF Southern Section Northern Individual. He fired a five-over-par 76 to finish tied for 20th in the event.
10 Guards girls’ basketball team advances to CIF semifinals: Bell-Jeff (23-8) enjoyed another successful season.
With a talented team, the Guards captured their fourth straight Santa Fe League championship, going undefeated in the process.
Led by Rishonda Napier and Jasmine Smith, Bell-Jeff also advanced to the Division III-A semifinals, losing to Orange Lutheran, 43-40. The team also made it to the second round of the state playoffs.