Flintridge Prep's Madison Witt dives to the top

The top-10 female high school athletes from the 2012-13 season were voted on by the Glendale News-Press sports department. These are selections 2-10. See the Thursday edition for the Female Athlete of the Year.

2 Madison Witt, Flintridge Prep swimming, sophomore – The diving phenom picked up the biggest victory of her prep career when she upset three-time defending CIF Southern Section champion Anika Lenz of Pasadena Poly at the Division III Diving Finals at Riverside Community College on May 7.

Witt outlasted the UCLA-bound Lenz (486.75) by scoring 538 points in capturing the title. The victory snapped a five-match losing streak to Lenz and also helped Witt later garner All-American honors.

Previous to the Division III championship, Witt finished runner-up to Lenz at the Prep League finals at Pasadena Poly on April 27.

“I wasn’t expecting to win; I was just hoping to get top three, that was my goal,” Witt said at Riverside. “Winning was just the cherry on top for me.”

3 Gabriel Isacson, Crescenta Valley High water polo, senior — Cinderella wore a skull cap in 2013 as the Falcons goalie, who only began playing water polo five years earlier, was named the All-Area Player of the Year after a stout season and stellar postseason run.

Isacson totaled 228 saves, along with 19 steals and 18 assists, and was also named the All-CIF Division V Player of the Year. Her stats came in limited action in the regular and even postseason, as she was often pulled when the Falcons took commanding leads — a routine occurrence in 2013.

At the CIF Southern Section Division V championship match, Isacson secured the Falcons’ first-ever championship with 16 saves in a 10-5 win over Riverside Poly at Irvine’s William J. Woollett Jr. Aquatic Center on Feb. 23

“I was actually shocked when I came out of the pool and everybody was like, ‘Oh my gosh, you did so great,’” Isacson said after the season. “I didn’t realize I was blocking so many shots.”

4 Kayla Mills, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy soccer and track, senior — The USC-bound fullback anchored a Tologs defense that only allowed 17 goals in 21 contests, while finishing runner-up in the Mission League and falling in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs.

Flintridge Sacred Heart (15-2-4) also posted nine shutouts and Mills was rewarded for such success by being named an Elite Soccer Report All-American second-team pick, the Mission League Most Valuable Player and an All-Area first-team selection.

Mills, who also helped the Tologs’ track team’s 4X100 relay team qualify to CIF with a school-record time of 50.05 seconds, also tallied four goals and two assists. She’s set to play forward at USC.

“I’m blessed and I’m thankful when I get these things,” Mills said of being named the Mission League MVP. “It took me by surprise.”

5 Shannon Hovanesian, Crescenta Valley High water polo, junior — The Pacific League MVP was a do-everything leader for the Falcons. Hovanesian led Crescenta Valley in goals (81), steals (106) and assists (90), while pacing the Falcons to a 32-2 overall record and a first-ever CIF Southern Section Division V championship.

Maybe most impressive of Hovanesian’s stats was her accuracy, as she boasted a 72% (81 for 112) shooting percentage.

On top of her league MVP award, Hovanesian was an All-Area and Division V first-teamer.

“One of our strongest points was our team effort as the season went on. I think it was a great honor to be awarded this player of the year,” Hovanesian said of winning the league MVP. “That is the reason I feel we were so successful because were able to do anything. If one person was off in a game, another person picked up the slack.”

6 Jocelyn Chia, Crescenta Valley High golf, junior — The accomplished golfer won her third straight All-Area Player of the Year award by outshining the rest of the area again.

Chia won a second consecutive Pacific League individual championship and paced the Falcons to a share of the Pacific League crown with Arcadia, much to her surprise and delight.

“I thought playing in league was real fun,” Chia said after the season. “It was cool to be able to share league because it’s a big accomplishment for the team. We thought we had a good team coming into the season and we had the type of players who never gave up and kept on battling.”

Chia helped the Falcons finish sixth at the CIF Southern Section Central Team Divisional at Los Serranos Country Club in Chino Hills on Oct. 22 before advancing all the way to the CIF Southern Section Individual Final and Women's Southern California Golf Assn. Qualifying Tournament — the third round of individual play — for the third season in a row.

Chia recorded a five-over-par 79 at Los Serranos and advanced individually to the CIF Southern Section Northern Individual Regional at River Ridge Golf Course in Oxnard on Oct. 25, where she shot a 77 and moved on.

Chia advanced to the CIF Southern Section Girls’ Golf Individual Final at Western Hills Country Club and finished with an eight-over-par 80, which was right on the cut and advanced her to a state qualifier.

At the state qualifier, Chia finished at six-over-par 78 out of the field of 142 and just missed the cut.

7 Megan Melnyk, Crescenta Valley High cross-country and track, sophomore — During the track season, Melnyk captured Pacific League titles in both the 800- (2:19.36) and 1,600-meter (5:12.98) championships at Arcadia High on May 3rd.

Melnyk’s best effort of the track season came at the Division I Finals at Mt. San Antonio College on May 18, when she took fourth in a personal-record time of 2:13.34 in the 800 and advanced to the CIF-SS Masters Meet.

Melnyk eventually finished 12th in the 800 (2:16.62) at Masters.

As for the cross-country season, Melnyk turned in a few top-five efforts, including finishing both fourth at the Pacific League finals (18:48) and at the Mt. San Antonio College Division I green race (18:25) and fifth (19:11.62) at the Staub-Barnes Division I race.

Melnyk was also second in the area in taking 16th (19:05) at Clovis in the Large Schools competition and closed out her season by taking 52nd (17:36) at the CIF Southern Section Division I Finals.

“I ran the best race I could have ever imagined,” Melnyk said of advancing to Masters. “I don’t really know how I did it. I still can’t believe it, but I thank God I was able to do it. I prayed before the race and my prayer came true.”

8 Sarah Teegarden, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy soccer, senior — The midfielder earned one of the higher accolades of the season when she was named Mission League Defensive MVP after leading the Tologs (15-2-4) to second place within league.

Flintridge Sacred Heart’s defense posted nine shutouts.

The Wake Forest-bound Teegarden finished with four goals and two assists and was an All-Area first-teamer and a CIF Southern Section Division I second-teamer.

“I felt really accomplished getting this award,” she said of the league defensive MVP, “and it was a great way to end it.”

9 Sierra Rhoads, Crescenta Valley High soccer, senior — The Falcons star played both offense and defense, but proved a deadly attacker as she led her team with 19 goals and seven assists.

Rhoads, who is set to play defense for Vermont in college, paced the Falcons to second place in the Pacific League with a 15-5-2 record and eventual advancement to the second round of the Division III playoffs.

In the Falcons’ 1-0 victory over San Luis Obispo on Feb. 14 at home, Rhoads netted her team’s lone goal in the 33rd minute.

Rhoads was named an All-Area, All-CIF Division III and Pacific League first-team selection.

“She's the most versatile player that I've ever coached,” Crescenta Valley Coach Jordan Schulz said of Rhoads after the season. “I could move her anywhere and she would get the job done. She's just a smart player.”

10 Katie Herrill, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy swimming, freshman — Herrill teamed with Kirsten Vose, Katie Altmayer and Emily Balog to win the 200-yard medley in 1:44.26 at the CIF Southern Section Division I championships at Riverside Community College on May 11.

The underdog victory came thanks, in large part, to Herrill’s anchor leg. The Tologs found themselves in eighth place after the first 50, but overcame a substantial gap to edge top-seeded University (1:44.92). Herrill swam a 22.82 final 50, compared to University’s anchor of 24.02.

“I was just really ready to go and when I turned I saw I was a little ahead and I just needed to finish it,” said Herrill after helping her team win the 200-yard medley. “I had a great start and my underwaters got me up next to her, so it was just down to the race then.”

The quartet also took fourth in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:36.12.

Individually, Herrill also finished fourth in the Division I 50-yard freestyle in 23.66 and fifth in the 100-yard backstroke (1:03.81).

Earlier at the Mission League finals at Los Angeles Valley College on April 30, Herrill joined Balog, Altmayer and Vose to set a school and league meet record with an All-American mark of 36.95 in the 200-yard freestyle.

That day, Herrill broke a meet record in the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.70, while the Tologs won a team title earlier in the year.

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