GLENDALE — Editor's Note: The following is a recap of the 2010 local sports scene from the summer and fall seasons.
The second half of 2010 brought numerous headlines, ranging from a former Glendale Community College baseball standout helping the San Francisco Giants capture the World Series to a Glendale college women's golfer winning a state championship to Glendale wrestling the Victory Bell away from cross-town rival Hoover.
The area saw its share of local teams win Tri-Cities District 16 championships in baseball and softball. The Glendale college women's cross-country team relinquished its grip on state supremacy despite enjoying another banner campaign and the Crescenta Valley High boys' water polo team reached the semifinals for the third season in a row.
A local boxer fought and won at Yankee Stadium in a televised event. A freshman enjoyed a breakthrough season on the Crescenta Valley High girls' golf team, falling a step short of qualifying for the state tournament.
In the fall, several athletes earned all-league and All-CIF honors.
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
The top honor in Major League Baseball went to former Glendale Community College standout Freddy Sanchez. Sanchez, a three-time All-Star and a former National League batting champion, saw his dreams of winning a World Series become a reality when he played second base for the world-champion San Francisco Giants. San Francisco beat the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies before besting the Texas Rangers in five games to give the Giants their first crown since 1954.
Bell, a Crescenta Valley High graduate, began the season in the minors before being called up by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in May. Bell, a right-hander, started and relieved for the Angels.
Zaun, a St. Francis High graduate, signed as a free agent with the Milwaukee Brewers after the 2009 campaign. After handling most of the starting catching responsibilities, Zaun suffered what looked to be a possible career-ending injury less than a month into season after he was involved in a home-plate collision and sustained a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Zaun landed on the disabled list May 21 and his season was ruled over in June.
Slaten, who attended Glendale college, began his season in the minors before being called up by the Washington Nationals. He served as Washington's left-handed specialist.
Estrada of Glendale college had his season shut down early by an injury. Estrada began the 2010 season in Nashville before being promoted to Milwaukee, where he made seven appearances, including one start. He suffered a shoulder strain that forced him to miss the rest of the season.
MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
A group of former area standouts either spent all or part of the season in the minor leagues. Some blossomed and climbed up to the major league level, while others encountered injuries.
Bell, Estrada, Slaten, Jason Hirsh, Fernando Rios, Al Quintana, Bryan Longpre, Christian Bergman, Bill Spottiswood, Brandon McCarthy and others all participated in the minors.
Some helped their teams win division championships, while others competed on squads that finished at or near the bottom of the division.
After undergoing extensive renovations in 2009, Oakmont Country Club was open for business in 2010. In late May, the venue hosted a local section qualifying round for the 110th installment of the United States Open Championship at Pebble Beach. The field included several area residents, none of whom advanced. Andrew Putnam won the round with a two-under-par 69.
In August, Oakmont served host to the Southern California PGA Sectional Professional Championship. Chris Starkjohann captured the event with a six-under-par 65 and won the tournament for the third time. There was a touch of local flavor, as Oakmont assistant professional Donny Lee placed third and was part of the field which will compete in the 2011 PGA Professional Championship in June at Hershey Country Club in Hershey, Pa.
In a two-month span, numerous Babe Ruth and District 16 Little League teams competed on area softball and baseball diamonds. Some of the squads won championships.
With many fine pitching and hitting performances, several teams went on to win District 16 championships and advance to the Section 2 Tournament. A softball team reached the Division III Tournament.
The Arroyo Seco Saints, a Palomino baseball team featuring current and former St. Francis High players, advanced to the championship game of the Southern California Regional Championship and punched their ticket into the West Zone Regional in Compton.
From Las Vegas to the Staples Center, Glendale's own Vanes Martirosyan had fought on big stages in his career before, but none bigger than the one on which he defeated Joe Greene on June 5.
The rising super welterweight was part of the first boxing event staged at the new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009, putting a historical backdrop on his 10-round unanimous decision win over the hometown favorite Greene that saw him successfully defend his North American Boxing Federation and North American Boxing Organization titles while improving to 28-0 as a pro.
Martirosyan's victory at Stadium Slugfest, which was broadcast live on HBO, saw him bounce back from an underwhelming outing in his only other fight of 2010, a 10-round title defense against former champion Kassim Ouma. While Martirosyan prevailed by unanimous decision, the tepid win, which some boxing pundits and many fans thought he lost, did little to bolster his case to step up to the top of the division.
After transferring from Cal State Northridge to Glendale Community College, Tammy Panich proved to be the best in the state. Panich, a Glendale High graduate, had a monstrous goal in mind — win the California Community College Athletic Assn. Women's Golf State Championships. She accomplished that feat Nov. 16 at Los Serranos Country Club by edging Sacramento City College's Kayla Riede in a card-off . Panich became the first Vaquero — man or woman — to win a state title in golf. Panich earlier won the Western State Conference championship for the Vaqueros, who placed fourth in conference.
Not much went right for Glendale Community College, which finished 1-9 and 1-5 in the Pacific Conference's American Division. However, the Vaqueros won their final game of the season against L.A. Southwest after losing several close division games. Nate Mestizo, Ra 'Shon Harper, Jean Khajarian, Reinaldo Reyes, Patrick Donahue, Sam Campbell and Matt Buckley earned all-conference accolades.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
It proved to be a difficult season for many of the five area squads. St. Francis (6-5) was the lone team to qualify for the playoffs, falling to second-seeded Dominguez, 28-25, in a CIF Southern Section Western Division first-round game.
Crescenta Valley, Glendale, Hoover and Flintridge Prep did not qualify for the postseason.
In the "Battle for the Victory Bell," Glendale rolled to a convincing 54-19 Pacific League win against Hoover. Glendale running back Chan Kim rushed for 111 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Both teams finished 1-9 on the season. Crescenta Valley went 4-6 and Flintridge Prep finished 2-7.
BOYS' WATER POLO
Once again, Crescenta Valley, Glendale and Hoover finished first, second and third, respectively, in the Pacific League and advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division V playoffs. The Falcons advanced to the semifinals for the third season in a row, while Glendale fell in the second round and Hoover was ousted in the first round after a wild-card win.
Those securing All-CIF honors were Rane Colvin, Alan Dearman, Jack Snyder, Robby Ruzicka and Louis Wojciechowski of Crescenta Valley and Hakop Kaplanyan and David Pogosian of Hoover. Kaplanyan led the area with 138 goals and was named the league's most valuable player.
Flintridge Sacred Heart, Crescenta Valley and Holy Family all qualified for the playoffs. All were eliminated in the first round. Holy Family went undefeated in the Horizon League and won the program's first league championship.
Glendale Community College's women's team saw its bid to win a second state championship in a row and a third in four years fall short after the Vaqueros took second behind San Diego Southwestern at Fresno's Woodward Park. Angie Martinez led the Vaqueros with a ninth-place finish in 18 minutes 34 seconds on the 5K course.
In the men's portion of the meet, the Vaqueros placed sixth. Rico Gutierrez clocked 20 minutes 28 seconds to place sixth in the event.
Both squads repeated as Western State Conference champions.
The women's team then placed second in the Southern California Championships. The men finished sixth in the race.
HIGH SCHOOL CROSS-COUNTRY
There were several storylines throughout the season. The Flintridge Prep boys' squad won the Prep League championship for the 18th time in 19 years. The Rebels ended up placing fourth in the CIF-State Division V race at Woodward Park in Fresno.
Two girls' teams reached the state meet. Flintridge Sacred Heart had a best-ever finish of third in the Division IV race and Flintridge Prep took 10th in the Division V event.
Crescenta Valley's girls' team shared the Pacific League title, making it eight straight.
Crescenta Valley, Glendale and Flintridge Prep all qualified for the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs. None advanced past the second round.
At the Pacific League Tournament, Sarah Ali and Karen Ataian of Crescenta Valley teamed up to win the doubles championship. They then advanced to the round of 16 at the CIF Individuals' Tournament at Seal Beach Tennis Center. Among those who also participated were Erin LeVoir of Crescenta Valley and Flintridge Prep's Kira Lee.
With his four-round unanimous-decision win over Demetrio Soto at the Irvine Marriott hotel on Dec. 16, Glendale lightweight Artur "The Punisher" Bernetsyan concluded a perfect 2010 in which he went 6-0 to begin his professional career.
Bernetsyan, who made his professional debut with a unanimous decision over Francisco Solis at Glendale Glory 2 on Jan. 8, was one of several up-and-coming Armenian fighters who either reside in Glendale or have ties to local trainers that continued to improve in 2010.
Featherweight Gapo Tolmajyan went 4-0 with two knockouts to improve to 10-1 in his career, while light welterweight Art "Lionheart" Hovhannesyan won his only two fights of 2010 to remain unbeaten at 12-0-1.
MIXED MARTIAL ARTS
A Dec. 6 loss to Kyle Watson wasn't the Ultimate Fighting Championship debut Sako Chivitchian was hoping for, but the unanimous decision defeat at "The Ultimate Fighter" finale at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas was still the conclusion of a remarkable run of exposure and opportunity for Chivitchian and fellow Glendale resident Sevak Magakian.
The two were cast members on the 12th season of the popular reality television series that aired on Spike TV and had their exploits among a house of aspiring UFC hopefuls broadcast into millions of living rooms nationally each Wednesday night.
Magakian, who was hampered by a rib injury, was eliminated in the first round of the 'TUF' Tournament by future winner Jonathan Brookins, while Chivitchian fell to Brookins in the second round after a first-round win over Dane Sayers.
But Chivitchian was able to conclude his TUF run with a three-round, lightweight bout on the preliminary portion of the finale that represented his arrival at the UFC level after just five professional fights.
Chivitchian and Magakian weren't the only rising mixed-martial artists with Glendale ties who saw their careers take off in 2010. It was also a banner year for Manny Gamburyan, who rode a World Extreme Cagefighting three-fight winning streak all the way to a shot at the promotion's featherweight title.
After months of training extensively at Glendale Fighting Club for his training camp, Gamburyan was cornered by GFC's Edmond Tarverdyan and George Bastrmajyan, as well as Team Hayastan's Gokor Chivitchian, for his Sept. 30 match with champion Jose Aldo at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo.
Unfortunately for Gamburyan, Aldo, who is considered by most MMA pundits to be among the top-four pound-for-pound fighters in the world, defeated Gamburyan via technical knockout at 1:32 of the second round for his 11th win in row and second straight title defense.