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 Crescenta Valley High:
It turned out to be one of the most successful seasons turned in by Crescenta Valley this decade.
The Falcons rolled up several Pacific League championships, made a couple of appearances in state action and won three CIF Southern Section titles — all in the spring — in softball, boys’ and girls’ swimming.
The softball team ended a 33-year championship drought by capturing the CIF Southern Section Division III crown with a 3-0 win against West Ranch in Irvine.
In swimming, both of Crescenta Valley’s boys’ and girls’ teams captured Division III championships. At the finals at Riverside Aquatic Complex, the Falcons boys recorded 233 points, edging out Ventura (228), and the girls finished first with 271 ½, ahead of runner-up Sunny Hills (254).
Crescenta Valley got things going in the fall with a number of success stories.
The boys’ cross-country team won its second second straight Pacific League championship under coach Mark Evans. Crescenta Valley had five top-14 finishers to earn 27 points and complete a sweep of the three league races en route to repeating as league champion.
Falcons’ Manan Vats won the league’s individual championship with a first-place effort in 15 minutes 27.8 seconds.
At the CIF Southern Section Division I finals in Riverside, Crescenta Valley registered 83 points and took fifth. Dylan Wilbur spearheaded the Falcons with a 12th-place finish in 14 minutes, 51.6 seconds over the three-mile course.
At the CIF State Championships in Fresno, Crescenta Valley placed eighth with 209 points. Vats clocked 15:33.3 for 22nd place and Wilbur ran 15:39.9 for 26th.
The girls’ cross-country team was third in league with 62 points.
In football, Crescenta Valey finished 8-3, 5-2 in the Pacific League for third place. Crescenta Valley suffered a 52-47 CIF Southern Section Division VII first-round road loss against Warren.
Leading the charge was senior quarterback Cole Doyle, who completed 149 of 239 passes for 2,067 yards. He had 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and completed 62.3% of his passes. Doyle rushed for 1,402 yards in 142 carries and 24 touchdowns en route to being named the league’s player of the year and being bestowed with All-CIF accolades.
Following the season, coach Paul Schilling stepped down as coach after nine seasons and was succeeded by Hudson Gossard.
In girls’ tennis, Crescenta Valley went 14-8, 10-2 in the Pacific League for second place and fell, 13-5, to Marlborough in a CIF Southern Section Division I first-round contest.
The boys’ water polo team finished 8-17, 4-4 in the Pacific League for fourth place. The Falcons suffered a 16-10 loss on the road to Malibu in a CIF Southern Section Division III first-round match.
In girls’ volleyball, Crescenta Valley went 24-10, 9-5 in the Pacific League to tie for third with Burbank. Crescenta Valley lost in a CIF Southern Section IV first-round match to Downey.
The winter season was paced by the boys’ basketball team, which enjoyed a remarkable postseason run.
Under coach Shawn Zargarian, Crescenta Valley finished 29-6, 11-3 in the Pacific League for second place. In the Division II-A playoffs, fourth-seeded Crescenta Valley beat Diamond Ranch, Culver City and Compton before falling to No. 1, and eventual champion Colony, in the semifinals, 74-54.
Crescenta Valley then participated in the CIF State Division III postseason. Sixth-seeded Crescenta Valley turned back Bakersfield, Santa Barbara and Granada Hills Charter and lost to No. 8 La Jolla Country Day, 71-43, in the Southern California regional final. La Jolla Country Day went on to win the division title.
Crescenta Valley’s Tyler Carlson, a junior guard, averaged 19.4 points per contest. He set the school record for most three-pointers made in a single season with 125.
The girls’ water polo team won its 10th straight Pacific League title. The Falcons lost, 16-6, to Palos Verdes in a CIF Southern Section Division III wild-card match.
Crescenta Valley’s girls’ basketball squad went 18-11, 10-4 to tie for second in the Pacific League. Crescenta Valley lost to Huntington Beach, 35-34, in a CIF Southern Section Division II-AA second-round tilt.
Crescenta Valley’s boys’ and girls’ soccer teams both finished second in the Pacific League. The boys’ team went 11-8-4, 9-2-3 and lost to Brea Olinda in a CIF Southern Section Division III first-round match. The Crescenta Valley suffered a girls’ squad finished 14-5-4, 11-1-2 to Serrano, 1-0, in a CIF Southern Section Division III first-round contest.
The spring season was filled with plenty of memorable moments, sparked by the softball and two swimming teams.
The softball team won its first championship since 1986, behind an experienced lineup and the work turned in the circle by sophomore standout pitcher Dee Dee Hernandez. The team was coached by Amanda Peek, who was named the All-CIF Southern Section Division III Coach of the Year.
Hernandez, a left-hander, pitched a no-hitter against West Ranch in the championship contest.
Hernandez was selected the Pacific League Pitcher of the Year and CIF Southern Section Division III Player of the Year, Hernandez earned additional state and national recognition as she was named to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Softball Underclassmen first team and honored as a MaxPreps National High School Underclass All-American.
Hernandez went 23-5 with a 0.98 earned-run average in 28 appearances. She struck out 164 and walked 20 in 158 innings. At the plate, Hernandez proved to be a force, as she batted .602 (53 for 88) with three home runs, 17 doubles, 25 runs, 42 runs batted in and a .943 slugging percentage for the league-champion Falcons (27-5-1, 14-0 in league). She recorded a 1.616 on-base plus slugging percentage.
Also starring for the softball team was senior shortstop Alyssa Hernandez, who was reliable with the bat and glove once again while providing the Falcons with leadership. The Cal State Fullerton-bound senior infielder hit .412 (42 for 102) with seven doubles, 40 runs, 25 RBI and a .569 slugging percentage to pick up All-CIF recognition.
Peter Kim and Jan Sakonju coached the girls’ and boys’ swimming teams, respectively, to championship glory.
Both squads won Pacific League titles before heading to Riverside for the CIF Southern Section Division III finals.
The Falcons girls received a first-place effort from Gabriela Icheva in the 500-yard freestyle in 4 minutes, 56.07 seconds. Icheva worked with Yoon Jungmin, Amanda Peterson and Kimmy Park to win the 200 medley relay in 1:47.05. Peterson was second in the 100 breaststroke in 1:04.46. Crescenta Valley’s 400 freestyle relay team of Icheva, Jungmin, Park and Miya Higuchi was second (3:30.58).
For the boys, Crescenta Valley received a huge performance from William Blake, who took first in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:38.11 and the 100 freestyle (45.08). In addition, Blake helped the Falcons place second in two relays. He worked with Andre Yarcan, Karl Puttler and Harrison Blake to finish runner-up in the 200 medley relay (1:34.78) and the 400 freestyle relay with Joshua Jeong, Puttler and Yarcan (3:08.55). Yarcan captured the 100 butterfly in 49.52 and took second in the 100 breaststroke (56.60).
The baseball team had an outstanding season, culminating in a long playoff journey under coach Phil Torres.
The Falcons went 20-10, 10-4 in the Pacific League to tie for second with Burbank. Crescenta Valley then marched to the CIF Southern Section Division II semifinals before falling, 4-3, to host Norco.
Will Grimm, a junior pitcher, went 9-3 with a tidy 1.18 earned-run average. The left-hander appeared in 16 games (13 starts) and struck out 65 and walked 36 in 83 innings. Grimm allowed 29 runs (14 earned) and 64 hits. At the plate, Grimm hit .384 (38 for 99) with 27 runs, 20 runs batted in and a .495 slugging percentage.
In track and field, Wilbur grabbed the spotlight for the Falcons.
In the Pacific League finals, Wilbur won a second league crown in a row in the 800 meters, clocking a personal-best 1 minute, 54.73 seconds before winning the 1,600 in 4:21.94. Wilbur went on to win the CIF Southern Section Division I boys’ 1,600 (4:12.31). In the 101th annual CIF State Track and Field Championships at Buchanan High in Clovis, Wilbur became the Falcons’ first male athlete ever to score in the 1,600 state final since the distance was switched from the mile in 1980, finishing eighth in 4:14.56.
The girls’ lacrosse team finished 14-4, 3-1 in the Pacific League for second place. The Falcons lost to league rival Glendale, 14-9, in a Los Angeles Lacrosse Foundation Division I quarterfinal match.
In boys’ tennis, Crescenta Valley went 12-7, 10-2 in the Pacific League for second place. It suffered a 9-9 (74-69) first-round loss against Santa Monica in a CIF Southern Section Division II first-round postseason tilt.
The boys’ volleyball squad finished 16-14, 8-4 in the Pacific League for third place. Crescenta Valley lost to Quartz Hill in four sets in a CIF Southern Section Division III second-round match.
In boys’ golf, Crescenta Valley took third in the Pacific League and placed fifth with a 410 at the CIF Southern Section Western Team Divisional at Mountain Meadows Golf Course in Pomona.