GLENDALE — Editor’s Note: The following is a recap of the 2009 local sports scene from the winter and spring seasons.
Whether it was individual, team or coaching success, the area had plenty of talent during the first half of 2009. Several winter teams made deep postseason runs, with one boys’ soccer team winning a Southern California Regional Championship. Area track and field athletes advanced to the state meet at the high school and junior college level in May.
Several athletes received all-league and All-CIF honors after leading their teams to splendid seasons.
Crescenta Valley High star softball player Baillie Kirker put up hefty numbers, including setting a state home run record.
For most of the season, the St. Francis High remained at or near the top of the Mission League. In the final week of the regular season the Golden Knights tumbled to fourth. They then regrouped to advance to the CIF Southern Section Division I semifinals before falling to Long Beach Millikin in overtime. The season turned out to be far from over for St. Francis, which made its inaugural appearance in the CIF Southern California Regional Division II championships. The Golden Knights, led by All-Area Player of the Year selection Eric Verso, captured the tournament championship with a 4-2 win against top seeded San Diego Cathedral Catholic.
Crescenta Valley and Glendale also participated in the playoffs after finishing third and fourth, respectively, in the Pacific League. Crescenta Valley advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division IV playoffs, while Glendale was eliminated in a wild-card match after topping Burbank in a play-in contest.
Verso, Max Cadena, Nick Rihn and David Rios of St. Francis earned All-CIF nods.
Three area teams qualified for the postseason, including Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, Crescenta Valley and Flintridge Prep. Sacred Heart won the Mission League championship for the first time in the program’s history and spent the bulk of the regular season ranked first in the CIF Southern Section Division II poll.
The Tologs saw their season wrap up with a 1-0 second-round loss to Saugus, which would go on to capture the championship.
The Falcons finished first in the Pacific League thanks to the efforts turned in by All-Area Player of the Year Tori Baldridge. Like Sacred Heart, Crescenta Valley’s playoff run was ended with a 1-0 loss to Saugus.
The Rebels, who took third in the Prep League, fell in the opening round of the Division III playoffs.
Baldridge, Brittany Berger, Danny Cardenas and Jordan Royer of Crescenta Valley and Flintridge Sacred Heart’s Sinead Fleming, Pip Harragin and Natalie Zeenni earned spots on the All-CIF team.
None of the local teams who reached the postseason advanced past the second round. Crescenta Valley, Flintridge Prep and St. Francis qualified for the playoffs.
Led by All-Area Player of the Year Coltrane Powdrill, Crescenta Valley finished tied for second before being ousted in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division I-A playoffs. Flintridge Prep captured the Prep League championship, but was eliminated in the second round of the Division IV-A postseason.
St. Francis might have been the biggest surprise. The Golden Knights took seventh in the competitive Mission League, but earned an at-large berth before topping Santa Paula in an opening-round game of the Division IV-AA before suffering a second-round loss to top-seeded Bishop Montgomery.
Flintridge Prep’s Edmund Chow earned All-CIF honors.
Five of the area’s seven teams qualified for the postseason in Crescenta Valley, Glendale, Glendale Adventist Academy, Flintridge Prep and Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy. Other than Crescenta Valley and Flintridge Prep, none won a playoff contest.
Crescenta Valley reached the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division I-A playoffs. Flintridge Prep got to the Division V-AA quarterfinals.
Cassie Pappas of Crescenta Valley and Flintridge Prep’s Megan Musashi earned All-CIF accolades.
GIRLS’ WATER POLO
Crescenta Valley saw its five-year run as Pacific League champions come to an end. The Falcons took second in league and reached the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division IV quarterfinals for the second season in a row.
Taylor Kuh, Kim Fraisse, Sofie Munoz and Olivia Trimis were named to the All-CIF squad.
Neither the Glendale Community College men’s or women’s squads qualified for the Southern California Regionals.
The men’s team, led by All-State selection Markus Monroe, went 12-17 and 5-7 in the Western State Conference.
The women’s team finished 15-15 and 7-7.
Ballie Kirker closed out her high school career in style at Crescenta Valley. She batted .519 with 16 home runs and 48 runs batted in to help lead the Falcons to the CIF Southern Section Division III quarterfinals. Kirker, who was tabbed the All-Area Player of the Year, put herself alone atop the state’s all-time home run list when she hit her 53rd career home run in her final game.
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and Flintridge Prep also qualified for the postseason. Flintridge Sacred Heart pitcher Jessica Ferri won 19 games and was the Mission League Most Valuable Player, as she struck out 254.
Kirker and Heather Bacon of Crescenta Valley and Ferri received All-CIF accolades.
Crescenta Valley, St. Francis and Flintridge Prep all qualified for the postseason. Each played in wild-card contests, with Crescenta Valley being the only team to advance. The Falcons were eliminated by Yucaipa in the first round.
Flintridge Prep’s Aaron Fried picked up All-CIF honors.
Glendale Community College finished its season at 24-19 and 14-14 in the Western State Conference’s Southern Division. Eight Glendale college players earned all-conference honors, highlighted by sophomore second baseman Michael Mendoza being named to the first team.
Mendoza batted .387 (70 for 181) with a team-high nine home runs and 38 runs batted in this season for the Vaqueros. Mendoza contributed 16 doubles and scored 43 runs to go along with a .646 slugging percentage.
Catcher Kevin Dultz, infielder Yuki Ishida, outfielder Chris Arredondo and utility player Yuya Okuda made the second team.
Glendale Community College suffered through a season that resulted in it going 10-30 and 4-19 in the Western State Conference. Krista Smith earned all-conference first-team honors.
Yumi So of Crescenta Valley closed out her high school career in grand style. So was named the All-Area Swimmer of the Year after winning Pacific League championships in the 100-yard butterfly and the 200-individual medley. At the CIF Southern Section Division II finals, So became a five-time CIF champion with dominant victories in the same events. Her butterfly time of 53.03 seconds was a CIF Division II and state record and came nearly a half second away from the national high school record. Her backstroke time was also .85 seconds faster than the previous Division II record that had stood for eight years.
At the Masters Meet in Long Beach, her final high school meet, So went out with another title and record, winning the 100 butterfly in 53.08.
Sharif Alaoui, Jason Kim and Andrew De Jong of Crescenta Valley High were among the area’s top swimmers. Alaoui excelled in the 200-yard freestyle, while Kim and De Jong fared well in the 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley, respectively.
BOYS’ TRACK AND FIELD
Crescenta Valley High’s Zack Torres turned in his finest track season, advancing to the CIF-State Track and Field Championships in Clovis for the first time in his career. Torres, who was tabbed the All-Area Track and Field Athlete of the Year and James H. Jenkins Male Athlete of the Year, won Pacific League championships in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races. At the state meet, Torres clocked nine minutes 15.18 seconds to place 21st in the 3,200. Other top area athletes included Robert Weathers of Glendale (100), Harold Tabora of Hoover (400), Crescenta Valley’s Jimmy Jones (300 intermediate hurdles), Ronnie Marquez of Glendale (shot put) and St. Francis’ Luther Walker (triple jump).
GIRLS’ TRACK AND FIELD
Daniela Pollard of Glendale was named the All-Area Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Pollard established herself at the Pacific League finals, as she captured the long and triple jumps. She also set the school record in each event. Other top local athletes were Jessica Beerman of Crescenta Valley (100), Dot Silverman of Flintridge Prep (1,600), Crescenta Valley’s Michelle Callister (3,200), Hannah Gerald of Crescenta Valley (100 high hurdles), Holly Wilson of Crescenta Valley (300 low hurdles), Kristina Gustovich of Crescenta Valley (high jump) and Flintridge Prep’s Tina Smith (shot put).
COLLEGE TRACK AND FIELD
The Glendale College women’s team finished first in the Western State Conference and the men’s team placed fourth. Ten Vaqueros participated in the California Community College Athletic Assn. Track and Field Championships at College of San Mateo.
The women’s team placed 10th with 27 points. Zitlalic Ley had the best finish for the Vaqueros, as she clocked 11 minutes 19.41 seconds to place second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Angelina Gonzalez placed sixth in the steeplechase (12:03.37). Samantha Bogatz took third in the 100- and 200-meter events. Bogatz clocked 12.07 seconds in the 100 and 24.34 in the 200. Bogatz worked with Crescenta Valley High graduate Ashley Baucham, Janette Morfin and Melani Artoun-Livaskan to take fifth in the 4x100 relay with a school-record mark of 47.70. Katie Dunn of Glendale college took ninth in the 1,500 in 5:12.82.
Glendale college’s men team finish 16th with 22 points. The Vaqueros got third-place finishes from Nathan Sellers in the 5,000 (15:21.79) and Jonathan Alpizar in the 3,000 steeplechase (9:49.76). Frankie Quijada clocked 9:56.72 to take fifth in the steeplechase.
Flintridge Prep, Crescenta Valley and Glendale Adventist Academy punched their tickets to the CIF playoffs.
Led by Gavin Thomson, the reigning All-Area Player of the Year, the Rebels advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division V semifinals for the second time in three seasons. Thomson earned All-CIF honors after posting an area-leading 461 kills.
Those who stood out included Edmund Chow, Stephen Morse, Kenyatta Smith and JT Treadwell of Flintridge Prep and Ryan Peters, Vivek Voletti, Eric Kjorklund and Gabriel Can of Crescenta Valley.
The Vaqueros finished 14-7 and 8-2 in the Western State Conference. Glendale college fell, 5-0, to Palm Desert, the top team in the state, in a first-round match of the Southern California Regionals.
Having made his way through the top-notch competition of the Western State Conference and the Southern California Individual Regionals, Rony Yeghnazary earned a spot in the Community College State Playoffs. Unfortunately for Yeghnazary, a sophomore, his stay didn’t last long after he sustained a 7-5, 6-3 loss to Joao Noguiera of Fresno City College in Sacramento. Yeghnazary was named the conference’s co-player of the year. Yeghnazary also earned all-conference second-team honors in singles along with Ryan Stanbury, Joey Tresierras, Paul Nagapetyan and Marko Gortinski. The doubles teams of Stanbury and Tresierras and Nagapetyan and Gortinski secured honorable mention.
In what would turn out to be the last season under the direction of Coach Terry Coblentz, who retired, Glendale Community College finished 7-8 and 5-7 in the Western State Conference. Singles players Meldia Hacobian, Sarah Aguilar and Minelli Ebrahimi all earned conference honorable mention. Aguilar and Ebrahimi netted honorable mention in doubles.
Three teams advanced to the postseason — Flintridge Prep, Glendale and St. Francis. Flintridge Prep shared the Pacific League championship, the first time it won a league crown since 1939. Jeff Asano and Elliott Kim of Glendale advanced to the doubles championship of the Pacific League finals. Vinni Lodolo of St. Francis finished at 59-5.
Crescenta Valley High saw its bid to win a fifth straight Pacific League championship fall by the wayside. The Falcons placed third in league and junior Michael Timpson placed third in league.
Behind Richard Maloof, St. Francis took fourth in the Mission League and seventh in the CIF Southern Section Western Team Divisional.
In its second season of existence, Glendale Community College finished 2-75.