Seo spectacular at CIF

GLENDALE — The top-10 individual performances by an athlete in an individual setting from the 2010-11 season were selected by the sportswriters of the Glendale News-Press.

1 Young Tae Seo shatters and impresses again at CIF Southern Section Division II finals, May 14 — No matter the significance of the event or meet, the standout Crescenta Valley High sophomore boys' swimmer came prepared to win. Seo, the reigning All-Area Boys' Swimmer of the Year, did more than his share of winning.

From the start, Seo was ready to meet all challenges.

At the Division II finals at Long Beach's Belmont Plaza pool, Seo came set looking to break records and lead the Falcons to a title. Though Crescenta Valley finished third in the competition, Seo was a part of three record-breaking performances. Seo collected two CIF individual titles and another as part of the 200-yard medley relay.

Seo worked with teammates Harrison Thai, Andrew De Jong and Louis Wojciechowski in breaking their own division record in the 200 medley relay, winning in 1 minute 33.79 seconds. That mark eclipsed the time of 1:34:23 the quartet set in the prelims the previous day.

Seo accomplished two more marks, starting in the 200 individual medley. He won the event in 1:48.38, shattering the mark of 1:48.83 by Darren Ward of Sonora in 1987.

Seo continued to push himself in front of a packed crowd in the indoor facility. He recorded a time of 55.81 in the 100 breaststroke. Seo owned the record (55.88) the day before and took his swimming to another plateau.

"He's always been motivated," Crescenta Valley boys' Coach Jan Sakonju said. "He wants to be the best at all of the races. He certainly pushes himself."

2 Young Tae Seo closes out spectacular season at CIF Masters Meet, May, 17 — Fresh off excelling at the CIF Southern Section Division II finals in Long Beach, Seo reached back one last time at the Masters Meet.

Seo concluded his record-breaking sophomore campaign with three titles after picking up Pacific League and Division II crowns.

Seo took the 200-yard individual medley in 1 minute 50.35 seconds.

Seo also showed he could work well with his teammates, as he was part of the 200-medley relay team that won their race in 1:35.58 at Irvine's William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center.

"My mind set is to always win," said Seo, who grouped with Harrison Thai, Andrew De Jong and Louis Wojciechowski in the 200-medley relay and took second in the 100 backstroke (56.93). "I hate to lose."

As the second seed, Seo worked with Wojciechowski, Thai and Josh Chi to capture the 400-freestyle relay (3:10.51).

3 Louis Wojciechowski wins at CIF Southern Section Division II finals, May 14 — Wojciechowski, a junior on the Crescenta Valley High boys' swimming team, came into the CIF Southern Section Division II final at Belmont Plaza pool in Long Beach confident.

Though the Falcons came up short in their quest to win a CIF title — they placed third — Wojciechowski enjoyed a fine day. He captured a championship and finished second in another race.

Wojciechowski worked with Andrew De Jong, Harrison Thai and Young Tae Seo to capture the 200-yard medley relay in a record-breaking time of 1 minute 33.79 seconds.

Wojciechowski came into the meet seeking titles in the 200 freestyle and the 100 butterfly. The top-seeded Wojciechowski finished second in the 200 freestyle in 1:39.14, but bounced back to take the 100 butterfly in 49.72.

"I tried to forget about [the 200 freestyle]," Wojciechowski said. "I was still upset about it, though. I just didn't want to lose two races."

4 Louis Wojciechowski excels in first CIF Masters Meet, May 17 — After transferring from Arizona to Crescenta Valley High, Wojciechowski showed he could compete with many of the top boys' swimmers from across Southern California.

At the CIF Southern Section Swimming and Diving Masters Meet at Irvine's William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center, Wojciechowski, who helped Crescenta Valley place third at the CIF Southern Section Division II finals and win a Pacific League championship, proved to be among the best. Wojciechowski worked with Young Tae Seo, Harrison Thai and Andrew De Jong to capture the 200-yard medley relay in 1 minute 35.58 seconds.

Despite being seeded second in the 400 freestyle relay, Wojciechowski, Thai, Seo and Josh Chi bested El Segundo and wrapped up their season with a mark of 3:10.51. Earlier, Wojciechowski finished second in the 200 freestyle (1:40.45).

5 Kira Lee journeys deep at CIF Individuals Tournament, Nov. 19, 2010 — Lee, a junior and the reigning All-Area Girls' Singles Player of the Year, enjoyed another stellar season. Lee advanced to the third round of the CIF Individual tournament at Whittier Narrows Tennis Center in South El Monte before being defeated by San Marino's Sarah Gaeler, 6-0, 6-1.

Lee reached the third round after posting a 6-1, 6-0 win against Kara Figueroa of Ramona Convent. She then notched a 6-3, 6-4 victory against Hart's Anne Susdorf, the Foothill League champion.

"She was happy about [making the] third round and happy about how she did," Flintridge Prep Coach Ron Catano said. "She's looking forward to her senior year making it to the fourth round."

6 James Knowles clears huge hurdles at CIF Southern Section Division III finals, May 14 — The St. Francis High junior hurdler was the lone area athlete to advance to the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet after performing well at the CIF Division III finals at Cerritos College in Norwalk.

Knowles, the reigning All-Area Boys' Track and Field Athlete of the Year, clocked 38.38 seconds in the 300-meter hurdles to place ninth and keep his season going. Knowles recorded a mark of 14.62 in the 110-meter hurdles, but he missed the automatic cut by .07 seconds and was an alternate in the Masters Meet.

Knowles became the first Golden Knight to reach the Masters Meet since Andrew Steben in 2006.

7 Paulina Antaplyan finishes season strong at CIF State Meet, Nov. 27, 2010 — The Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy cross-country team received a huge lift from Antaplyan, a junior, at the CIF State Meet Division IV race at Fresno's Woodward Park.

Behind a strong performance from Antaplyan, the Tologs registered a third-place effort. It was the program's best state-meet performance.

Antaplayan led the pack with a 14th-place finish in 19 minutes 3 seconds and helped Flintridge Sacred Heart record 183 points to edge Mission League-rival Harvard-Westlake by just three points.

8 Mike Davis tunes up for CIF Division I finals with strong showing at prelims, May 14 — Davis entered the CIF Southern Section Division I prelims at Trabuco Hills High on a roll after winning Pacific League championships in the 100- and 200-meter races.

The Glendale High sophomore qualified for the Division finals and helped the Nitros' 4x400 relay team advance. Davis won his heat (fourth overall) in the 200 with a personal-best mark of 21.65 seconds, also the third fastest in school history. He then took eighth overall in the 100 (10.92).

Later, Davis worked with Paul Archer, Dillon Fuller and Jeffrey Massin for a personal-best mark of 3:22.93 in the 4x400 relay, good for eighth overall.

"Mike looked real good in the 200," Glendale Coach Bob Bailey said. "We expected a close race, but he won fairly easy."

9 Stephanie Vargas fares well at CIF Division IV prelims, May 14 — The junior Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy track and field standout excelled in the prelims at Carpinteria High and was one of five Tologs to move on to the CIF finals at Cerritos College.

Vargas began her day by working with Noelle Niëderhaus, Daelyn Moon and Drew Washington to set a school record in the 4x100-meter relay in 49.85 seconds for an overall finish of seventh place. Vargas then won her heat in the 400-meter race with the fifth-fastest time of 58.35.

"That started the day off real well setting the school record," Flintridge Sacred Heart Coach Mario Aguilar said.

10 James Knowles steals the spotlight at Mission League finals, May 5 — Knowles stepped to the center of the stage during the league finals at L.A. Valley College. Having tinkered with his racing mechanics and made the proper adjustments earlier in the season, Knowles turned in two top-notch performances.

The St. Francis High junior captured the 110- and 300-meter hurdles. Knowles clocked a personal-best mark of 14.77 seconds in the 110 and came back with a time of 39.43 in the 300.

"I kind of looked at my techniques on the 110 and I could see the small things that could make a difference," Knowles said. "I worked on things like my lead leg and that helped me go between hurdles.

"With the 300, I've learned my steps and I ran my hardest. It's just about being dedicated and I showed myself that I could improve and win."

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