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Looking Back: Girls’ lacrosse success highlights eventful year for Glendale

Glendale’s Rachel Fong, right, was named to the Pacific League girls’ lacrosse first team.
Glendale High girls’ lacrosse player Rachel Fong, right, helped the Nitros win the Pacific League championship and earn a trip to the semifinals in the spring.
(Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)

This is the latest in a series looking back on the sports accomplishments of the area high schools during the 2018-19 year. This installment is Glendale High:

The tradition of success for the Glendale High girls’ lacrosse team continued during the 2018-2019 campaign, and this time, it extended to an historic playoff run.

A number of Nitros teams made their mark in the postseason during the school year, but in the spring, it was the girls’ lacrosse squad that broke through in the first round of the Los Angeles Lacrosse Foundation Division I playoffs, leaving a mark on the program.

After clinching its second successive Pacific League title, Glendale reached the Los Angeles Lacrosse Foundation Division I quarterfinal round where it faced cross-town rival Crescenta Valley. Behind eight goals from Pacific League Offensive Player of the Year Rachel Fong, the fourth-seeded Nitros defeated the Falcons, 14-9.

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However, the Nitros’ bid for a spot in the championship game fell short with a loss to top-seed Redondo Union, 19-14. Glendale finished the season with an overall 18-3 record after going 4-0 in league.

The Nitros turned aside No. 13 Palisades, 12-11, in an opening-round match.

Alongside Fong, who’s midfield contributions gave the Nitros 106 goals, 39 assists, 40 ground balls, 79 draw controls and 26 caused turnovers, senior Xcaret Salvador was named the league’s co-defensive player of the year.

Salvador added 57 goals, 16 assists, 40 ground balls, 65 draw controls and 16 caused turnovers.

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In all, the Nitros garnered nine all-league honors, with five on the first team, three on the second and one honorable mention.

Perhaps the most astonishing story of the fall involved the Glendale football team.

The Nitros won just one game to finish 1-8 overall and 0-6 in the Pacific League, but its highly anticipated rivalry game against Hoover was shrouded with doubt when the Tornadoes football program forfeited league games due to an on-campus brawl Oct. 3.

Though the “Battle for the Victory Bell” was green-lighted, the annual showdown was canceled just three hours before kickoff with the district citing safety concerns.

The traditional homecoming game dates back to 1930 and is one of the state’s longest running rivalry games. However, the Nitros will go another year without a fight for the Victory Bell as Hoover’s football program begins to restructure.

The girls’ tennis team experienced a postseason run in the fall.

After a third-place finish in the Pacific League standings, the Nitros reached the second-round of the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs where they fell to Great Oak, 11-7. Glendale won its first-round match against Cypress, 10-8.

In the Pacific League tournament, singles player Celine Khachiki reached her first semifinal round as the fourth-seed. However, the sophomore fell, 6-0, 6-1, to No. 1-seed Rachelle Yang of Arcadia. Khachiki finished fourth after an 8-4 loss to Arcadia’s No. 2-seed Christina Yao in the third-place match.

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In cross-country, the boys team finished fourth in the Pacific League finals to qualify for the CIF Southern Section prelims for the first time since 2005.

Arvin Salas finished ninth in 16 minutes, 15.9 seconds to lead the boys’ team, while Vanneza Venzor led the girls’ runners with a 28th-place finish in 22:37.6 to help it place among the top four for the first time since 2005.

Also in the fall, the Nitros boys’ water polo team qualified for the CIF Southern Section Division VII playoffs and edged Ocean View, 8-3, in the first round. Unfortunately, Glendale’s run in the postseason ended in a second-round with a 5-2 defeat against El Dorado. Glendale finished 18-12 overall and 5-3 in the Pacific League.

The Glendale girls’ water polo team was the lone Nitros wintertime squad that qualified for the playoffs. The Nitros earned a berth in the Division V playoffs as an at-large Pacific League team after a fourth-place finish in league. The postseason run was cut short in a 14-3 first-round loss to Montebello.

The boys’ basketball was edged out of the final playoff spot in the Pacific League by Burbank High despite an overall 19-9 record and 7-7 league mark.

Meanwhile, the Nitros girls’ basketball finished 12-14 overall and 4-9 in league to finish sixth in the Pacific League.

The Nitros track and field athletes also captured individual Pacific League titles to add to the girls’ lacrosse team’s success in the spring.

For the boys, Dylan Andrade won two individual championships in the 200- and 400-meter events. Andrade’s 400 time of 49.19 seconds earned him his second straight title in the event, while he clocked in at 22.31 in the 200.

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Andrade added the 4x100 relay championship when he teamed up with David Fuentes, Thomas Khan and Esteban Pelayo for a time of 43.55.

Meanwhile, Faviola Ramirez won her second consecutive girls’ shot put title with a 32-foot-6-inch throw.

At the CIF Southern Section Division I Track and Field finals, Glendale senior Julius Reyes placed eighth in the boys’ discus with a 151-7 toss.

Despite narrowly missing the CIF Southern Section Division V playoffs, the Nitros softball program was led by All-CIF Southern Section pitcher Aurora Funaro. The Occidental College-bound pitcher helped the Nitros to a fifth-placed finish in the Pacific League behind Burbank High with an overall 14-8-1 mark and 7-7 league record.

Funaro finished with a 13-6 record with a 1.68 earned-run average in 20 appearances. The right-hander struck out 125 and walked 18 in 95 2/3 innings. At the plate, she hit .349 (22 for 63) with 17 runners batted in and 16 runs scored.


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