La Cañada has a rich history of top scholars who also excel in athletics. Honoring the best student-athletes the area has to offer is the La Cañada High School Athletic Hall of Fame, who inducted three new members on Jan. 18.
Nicole Bonino, Lonnie Dietz and Lauren Guza were honored last Friday night for their contributions to La Cañada High School as outstanding athletes for the classes of 2001 and 2002.
“It's just awesome because it brings back so many great memories of outstanding human beings,” said Hall of Fame Adminstrator James Harvey. “Lonnie, Nicole and Lauren were great students here and great athletes.”
Bonino was inducted for her contributions as a distance runner for the cross country team. La Cañada earned CIF and State Division 3 Cross Country Championships in her freshman and sophomore years, leading the girls' varsity team to be ranked ninth in the nation by Harrier magazine.
The cross country team continued to rank high on the CIF and state level her junior and senior years, and was a standout in Rio Hondo League competition. Bonino also played soccer for three years.
“Running was a big part of my high school experience,” Bonino said. “You can always find me on the track at 3 o'clock.”
On the basketball court and softball field, Guza stood out as a stellar indoor/outdoor athlete. As a basketball player, she twice made the All-Rio Hondo League First Team and was the co-Most Valuable Player in Rio Hondo as a senior.
As a softball player, she was All-Rio Hondo League for three years, and made the First Team her junior and senior years.
“Being here today helps me understand how sports have shaped my life,” Guza said. “I think it gave me a lot more confidence. The reason my parents put me in sports was because I was shy and it helped me come out of my shell. It's a sense of empowerment.”
Dietz was not present to accept his award, though his parents, Paul and Reba, attended on his behalf.
Dietz had an outstanding career in football and soccer. As a football player, he made the All-Rio Hondo League and All-CIF First Teams as a senior, and is the school record holder for interceptions for a career with 11.
He is also in the top five all-time in career receiving yards, and played football at Claremont-McKenna College after leaving La Cañada.
“We're both very thrilled and I know Lonnie is very touched, as well,” said Paul Dietz. “I know sports were a big part of his life. It ended too soon.”
The Hall of Fame was founded by Harvey when he was the school's athletic director in 1989, and the inaugural class of 18 former athletes was inducted on June 1, 1989.
Each subsequent year, deserving former athletes were added to the Hall based upon outstanding accomplishment and achievement to the La Cañada athletic program.
“We're one of the few high schools to have a hall of fame like this,” Harvey added. “It's become very special and the feeling that the athletes and their families have, it's just amazing.”