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Top 10 Sports Stories of the Year: 'Victory Bell' silenced for first time leads list

Top 10 Sports Stories of the Year: 'Victory Bell' silenced for first time leads list
For the first time since 1930, the annual "Battle for the Victory Bell" football game between Hoover and Glendale wasn't played. (Tim Berger | Staff Photographer)

Chosen by the Glendale News-Press sports staff, here are the top 10 sports stories of 2018.

1 “Battle for the Victory Bell” rivalry game silenced For the first time since the crosstown rivalry began in 1930, the Hoover-Glendale football game didn’t take place.

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The contest was scheduled for Oct. 25, but an on-campus brawl Oct. 3 at Hoover that involved Hoover football players led to the ultimate cancellation. As a result, Hoover forfeited its final four games of the season — all in the Pacific League — against Pasadena, Burroughs, Crescenta Valley and Glendale.

A group of players were suspended from school as a result of the incident and some members of the coaching staff were placed on administrative leave before being cleared to return.

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Leading into the week of the rivalry tilt, the Glendale Unified School District agreed to let Glendale and Hoover play in the homecoming game, but less than three hours before kickoff the game was canceled, as the district cited safety concerns.

The district released a statement that read; “We understand that sentiments around this game run deep and, while it was our wish that our students were able to finish the season on the field, we will not run the risk of hosting an event with threats of disruption that potentially puts all involved at risk."

2 Flintridge Prep girls’ soccer wins elusive title — After years of coming up short in their quest to win a CIF Southern Section championship, the Rebels finally reached the summit

Led by coach Esteban Chavez and a terrific core that included Julia Gonzalez, the All-Area Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year, Helen Schaefer, Mika Celeste, Lindsey Uteda and others, Flintridge Prep put things together and marched through a difficult nonleague schedule before capturing the Prep League title and ultimately the biggest prize — the CIF Southern Section Division IIi championship.

Flintridge Prep outscored its league opponents, 74-6, en route to finishing 10-0.

In the postseason, Flintridge Prep turned back Buena, Culver City, West Torrance and Mayfair to reach the championship match for the first time in program history.

Flintridge Prep completed its sensational run with a 3-1 win against Garden Grove Pacifica.

In the Southern California Regional Division III final, Flintridge Prep suffered a 3-2 defeat in overtime against Our Lady of Peace.

Flintridge Prep, which won 22 matches in a row at one point, finished 26-5-4 and tallied 164 goals, good for fourth most in Southern Section history.

3 Matthew Molina has spring to remember It’s quite a run the St. Francis High junior track and field standout likely won’t forget..

Molina set a personal best and set a school record in the high jump with a leap of 6 feet, 8 1/4 inches at a Mission League meet. At the league finals, Molina captured championships in the high jump (6-7) and the 110-meter hurdles in 14.96 seconds.

Molina enjoyed a banner performance at the CIF Southern Section Division III finals, winning the high jump at 6-6 and the 110 hurdles in 14.73.

Next up at the Masters Meet, Molina finished fifth in the high jump at 6-6 to qualify for the state meet. Molina’s bid to participate in two events at state was foiled following an eighth-place finish in the 110 hurdles in 14.95.

At the CIF State Track and Field Championships, Molina concluded his season with a sixth-place mark of 6-6.

4 Flintridge Prep girls’ basketball gets back to CIF final — With a relatively young squad, Flintridge Prep likely surprised many with its accomplishments.

The Rebels won the Prep League title for the fifth straight season before embarking on another deep playoff run. It culminated with the Rebels advancing to the finals for the second time in threes seasons.

Anchored by forward and All-Area Girls' Basketball Player of the Year Kaitlyn Chen, Flintridge Prep (24-7, 12-0 in league) advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division III-A championship under co-coaches Kevin Kiyomura and Jayme Kiyomura Chan.

Flintridge Prep topped California, Oxnard Pacifica, Cerritos and top-seed Oxford Academy to reach the championship contest.

Riding a 19-game winning streak into the championship game, fourth-seeded Flintridge Prep lost, 50-46, to second-seeded Beverly Hills.

5 St. Monica Academy boys’ basketball surges to semifinals — The Crusaders put together their best season in program history, capped by reaching the CIF Southern Section Division V-A semifinals and qualifying for the CIF State Division V playoffs.

St. Monica (21-6) won the International League championship and qualified for the state playoffs for the first time.

Unfortunately for St. Monica, both playoffs runs were ended by Duarte. Duarte posted an 87-47 win against St. Monica in the CIF playoffs before winning the division crown. Duarte turned back St. Monica, 81-32, in the first round of the state playoffs.

Under coach Peter Grimm, the All-Area Boys’ Basketball Coach of the Year, the Crusaders turned to standouts Charlie Boles and Peter Ford.

6 Flintridge Prep boys’, girls’ cross-country teams march to state — The Rebels proved to be among the top teams in the state on both stages.

Both teams captured Prep League championships. The boys’ squad won its 21st league title in the last 22 seasons and the girls captured their second league crown in the last three years.

At the CIF Southern Section Division V finals, Flintridge Prep’s boys team took second with 111 points and the girls registered 89 to claim runner-up status. Both squads finished behind St. Margaret’s.

After winning four state championships in a row, the girls took third at the CIF State Meet at Woodward Park in Fresno with 166 points, The Rebels were paced by Haley Allen, Hope Codiga and Sasha Codiga.

On the boys’ side, the Rebels finished sixth in state with 211 points. Flintridge Prep was led by Carson Hasbrouck and Bennett Oakes.

7 Crescenta Valley boys’ cross-country rules league again — Having lost the bulk of its team to graduation, Crescenta Valley regrouped and dominated.

The Falcons easily won a second straight Pacific League championship by way of capturing all three meets. The Falcons featured the impressive 1-2 punch of Dylan Wilbur and Manan Vats, who won the league’s individual championship with a mark of 15 minutes, 27.8 seconds at Crescenta Valley Park.

At the CIF Southern Section Division I finals, Crescenta Valley took fifth with 83 points.

Crescenta Valley was eighth at the CIF Division I State Championships with 209 points at Woodward Park in Fresno.

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8 Ingrid Herskind steps down at Flintridge Prep boys’ cross-country coach — An amazing run ended in January when Herskind stepped down from the coaching ranks to take an administrative job at Flintridge Prep.

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It turned out to be a stellar 21-year run for Herskind, who piloted the Rebels to 20 Prep League and six CIF Southern Section championships, with individuals winning five titles.

At state, Herskind’s squads captured five crowns and finished in the top three 16 times with two athletes garnering championship accolades.

“We have built an amazing running climate and I am proud to have worked with these young men over the past 21 years. I can't wait to see them take on new challenges,” Herskind said.

9 Crescenta Valley baseball marches to quarterfinals — Crescenta Valley had yet another excellent season, going 25-5 and 14-0 in the Pacific League.

Led by standout pitcher Trevor Beer, the All-Area Baseball Player of the Year who went 11-2 with a 0.80 earned-run average, the Falcons won their third straight league championship in impressive fashion.

In the final week of the regular season, Crescenta Valley met rival Arcadia, which came in ranked No. 1 in Southern California by the Los Angeles Times, No. 4 in California by CalHiSports and No. 10 in the nation by Baseball America. The Falcons responded with a 2-1 victory in the first meeting, ending Arcadia’s 23-game winning streak.

Crescenta Valley followed with a 2-0 win in the league finale against the Apaches.

In the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs, Crescenta Valley defeated Lakewood and Fountain Valley. In the quarterfinals, Crescenta Valley suffered a 5-3 defeat against Yucaipa after coming within three outs of dispatching the eventual division champion.

10 Glendale Community College women’s tennis wins another conference crown — Glendale continued its impressive run in the Western State Conference by capturing a fourth straight conference crown.The Vaqueros finished 22-3, 14-0 in conference.

At the California Community College Athletic Assn.'s Southern California Regionals, Glendale defeated Riverside before eliminating Orange Coast, the defending state champion. Glendale’s team run ended with a defeat against top-seeded, and eventual champion, Cerritos.

Glendale’s Miah Webb won the conference singles title and Glendale’s doubles team of Srna Lepchevska and Hailey McNall captured the doubles conference crown.

At the Ojai Invitational, which serves as the state tournament, Lepchevska and McNall reached the quarterfinals.

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