Top 10 Sports Stories of the Year: Sea Kings dominate 2010

The athletic success over the years at Corona del Mar High has been nothing short of dynastic. The gym walls are strewn with CIF Southern Section championship banners in all but a handful of sports.

The remaining checklist of sports without a CIF title was reduced in 2010, when the Sea Kings' boys soccer team claimed the program's first section crown. The team didn't stop there, either, adding a Southern California Regional title and finishing No. 2 in one national poll.

Sea Kings' success in football and boys water polo also helped the school dominate the top 10 Newport-Mesa sports stories of the year.

UC Irvine checked in with three items in the top 10, joining annual staples such as the Toshiba Senior Classic and the Daily Pilot Cup.

A closer look at the top 10:

1 CdM boys soccer: The Sea Kings finished No. 2 in the final ESPN RISE national poll after claiming the program's first CIF Southern Section Division IV and Southern California Regional Division II titles with a 27-1-1 record.

First-year coach George Larsen's squad won its last 15 games. Its only loss (to Pacific Coast League rival University) and its lone tie (to PCL rival Laguna Hills) came during a five-game stretch in which senior UCLA-bound forward Reed Williams was sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Williams, who amassed 32 goals and 12 assists to finish his prep career with 69 goals and 27 assists, was named Gatorade state Player of the Year. He was also the Southern Section Division IV Offensive Player of the Year.

Junior defender Brian Ford was the Division IV Defensive Player of the Year and Larsen was named Division IV Coach of the Year.

Sophomore goalie Connor Gaal, who helped the team produce 17 shutouts, including a 1-0 win over previously unbeaten Santa Barbara (ranked No. 2 nationally at the time) in the regional final, was a first-team All-CIF honoree.

Sophomore fullback Jack Gorab and freshman striker Jack McBean were second-team All-CIF picks.

2 CdM football: The Sea Kings went 10-2-1 and reached the CIF Southern Section Southern Division semifinal for the second time in three seasons, after claiming the program's first outright league crown since 1988.

Coach Jason Hitchens' team went 4-0-1 in the Pacific Coast League after failing to win a league game in 2009. Their only regular-season loss was a 35-15 setback to Newport Harbor in the Battle of the Bay.

They were bested, 24-3, by league rival Beckman in the semifinals, after topping the Patriots, 17-15, in the league finale three weeks prior.

Senior inside linebacker Preston Risser was named Newport-Mesa Dream Team and PCL Defensive Player of the Year after posting a team-best 110 tackles.

Other Dream Team honorees were senior quarterback Mitch Gardner, senior receiver-tailback Clay Reinhardt, senior receiver Brent Gray, senior offensive tackle Dan Steele, senior defensive end Alex Herrera, junior cornerback Cole Cottrell, senior safety Peter Markel and senior kicker Andrew Boehm.

3 CdM boys water polo: Coach Barry O'Dea's Sea Kings established an Orange County record by winning the program's 13th CIF Southern Section title, its first section crown in nine years.

Senior Chase Watson, a 6-foot-7 center, led the way with 85 goals en route to being named Newport-Mesa Dream Team and Pacific Coast League Player of the Year.

CdM (23-8) defeated Murrieta Valley, 11-10, in the CIF Division II final.

Seniors Hayden Leach, Evan Ramsey and Bruce Bearer were all Dream Team honorees who, like Watson, were named All-CIF.

4 Toshiba Classic: Champions Tour rookie Fred Couples won the 16th edition of the event at Newport Beach Country Club. His three-round total of 18-under par topped runner-up Ronnie Black by four strokes and allowed Couples, who lived in Newport Beach in his 20s, to pocket the $255,500 winner's check.

Tom Lehman and Chien Soon Lu tied for third.

An estimated 66,500 turned out to watch the three-day event, including a first-round event record 29,500.

The event raised more than $900,000 for charity.

5 April Ross: The former girls' volleyball Gatorade National Player of the Year at Newport Harbor High paired with Jen Kessy to form the dominant team on the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals beach tour.

Ross and Kessy won the last four AVP events, before the tour ceased operations on Aug. 13. They won 24 of their final 25 AVP matches and finished with a 31-4 record.

On the international scene, Ross, 28, competed in 15 Federation International de Volleyball tournaments, winning two, finishing second once and third twice.

6 UCI women's soccer: Coach Scott Juniper's Anteaters claimed the program's first Big West Conference regular-season title and capped its first NCAA Tournament appearance by reaching the Sweet 16 and finishing 19-3-2.

Junior defender CoCo Goodson earned first-team All-American laurels and was named the Defender of the Year in the Big West Conference. She scored nine goals.

Senior Tanya Taylor led the Big West in goals (11) and assists (12) to earn third-team All-American honors. She was the Big West Offensive Player of the Year.

Senior Danielle de Seriere, the Big West Goalkeeper of the Year, helped UCI post 11 shutouts and was named second-team All-West Region.

Junior defender Judy Christopher, a repeat first-team all-conference performer, was also named second-team all-region.

Juniper was named West Region and Big West Coach of the Year.

7 Russell Turner: The 39-year-old former NBA assistant coach became the seventh men's basketball coach at UC Irvine in April, replacing Pat Douglass, who was let go after 13 seasons.

Turner received a five-year contract with an annual base salary of $205,000. He came to UCI after six seasons with the Golden State Warriors. He was previously an assistant coach at Stanford and Wake Forest.

He and his staff brought in three players for this season and signed at least one heralded recruit for next season.

8 Daily Pilot Cup: The 11th annual Newport-Mesa youth soccer tournament featured close to 2,500 participants on 201 teams representing 30 schools.

Some might also call the six-day spring event Shark Week, as the Rea Elementary Sharks claimed their fourth straight title, their ninth in the last 10 years, in the boys' fifth- and sixth-grade gold division.

Carden Hall Elementary won the girls' fifth- and sixth-grade gold division crown, while Mariners Christian School (boys) and Harbor Day Elementary (girls) captured third- and fourth-grade gold division titles.

9 Danny Bibona: The UC Irvine All-American pitcher capped a brilliant collegiate career by winning the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, presented annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in NCAA Division I baseball.

Bibona was 9-2 with a 2.48 earned-run average in 2010, despite missing the final month of the regular season with a rib-cage injury. He was named Big West Conference Pitcher of the Year for the second straight season.

He helped UCI finish 39-21 and advance to the postseason for the fifth straight season. His 332 career strikeouts are a school career record and he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals organization, which drafted him in the eighth round. He was also the Big West Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

10 Bridgette Reyes: The Vanguard University senior was named NAIA Co-Player of the Year in women's basketball after averaging 20 points and 6.2 assists for the Golden State Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament champions.

Reyes, a 5-7 guard, ranked second nationally in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio. She also averaged 4.7 rebounds to help the Lions finish 27-3.

Reyes is the fourth Vanguard player to earn National Player of the Year recognition.

Other notable stories:

*Aaron Chaney resigns as CdM girls water polo coach.

*Newport Harbor High and Sage Hill School reach the CIF Southern Section girls' tennis final in their respective divisions.

*Corona del Mar High boys' basketball goes 24-4.

*Vanguard University baseball reaches NAIA Tournament.

*Vanguard men's soccer reaches NAIA Tournament.

*Jones Cup.

*Estancia football wins first league title in 21 seasons.

*Sage Hill baseball reaches CIF semifinals.

*Newport Beach resident Scott Cook wins the state pole vault title representing Mater Dei.

*UCI men's soccer wins Big West crown.

*CdM High boys' volleyball reaches CIF semifinals.

*Newport Harbor High field hockey wins Tournament of Champions.

*Orange Coast College men's volleyball reaches state final.

*UCI's Charles Jock breaks Steve Scott's 800 meters school record.

*UCI men's and women's tennis win conference titles.

*CdM boys' lacrosse reaches title game.

*Estancia baseball wins league crown.

*Costa Mesa aquatic complex opens.

Brett Hanson-Dent retires from ATP.

Alexa Glatch, Taylor Dent compete at U.S. Open.

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