La Cañada has proven to be a powerhouse for baseball, softball, volleyball and now football. No matter what sport is being played at any time of the year, there are sure to be talented standouts out there on the city's fields.
This year was no exception. Records were set, expectations were realized and playoff runs were made in the 2009-10 La Cañada sports season.
Many athletes hung up their high-school jerseys to don the uniform of NCAA Division I universities.
Here are the top-10 male high-school athletes of the year in La Cañada, as voted on by the sports editors and writers of the La Cañada Valley Sun and Glendale News-Press.
1 Dietrich Riley, St. Francis, football and basketball, senior — For the past four years, Riley blessed St. Francis with his athletic prowess. He played both sides of the ball and multiple positions for the Golden Knights as a safety, linebacker, running back and receiver. He even lined up at quarterback at times. Every time fans came out to Friedman Field on Friday night they were treated to a show.
Riley accumulated 1,300 yards, 15 touchdowns, more than 60 tackles and led his team to a 9-3 record and the second round of the CIF Southern Section Western Division playoffs in his final year as a Golden Knight. He leaves St. Francis as a three-time All-Area Football Player of the Year and an Under Armour All-American with plenty of All-CIF and All-Mission League accolades to boot.
He is now at UCLA playing football, and Bruin bloggers have plenty to be excited about with Riley. His versatility made him an impact player on offense and defense for St. Francis, and his raw talent could make him a solid contributor as a true-freshman safety for the Bruins.
2 Justin Posthuma, St. Francis football, basketball and track and field, senior — There is no such thing as an offseason for Posthuma, a three-sport athlete. Most of his praise was earned while playing quarterback for St. Francis. He played through an injured left hand in the last four games of his senior season and there wasn't much of a drop off.
Posthuma's arm led the Golden Knights to a second-place finish in the competitive Mission League and a playoff berth, as they finished the season 9-3 overall and made it to the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Western Division playoffs.
A dual threat at quarterback, Posthuma did it with his arm and his legs, passing for 2,115 yards and rushing for 787 yards in 109 attempts. Posthuma completed 55% of his passes, 19 of them for touchdowns. He was good for 14 more touchdowns on the ground. Posthuma was picked as the Mission League's co-Offensive Player of the Year and earned a spot on the All-Area first team.
3 Alex Campbell, La Cañada, swimmer, senior — He was a force to be reckoned with in the water. Campbell's ability to swim multiple events and place high in all of them made him a pillar of the Spartan squad over the past few years.
At the CIF Southern Section Division II Championships, Campbell swam the 100-yard freestyle, 200 freestyle relay, 100 backstroke and 400 freestyle relay. Campbell wanted to do more than merely swim — he wanted to win. He stood on a few different podiums at the end of the day at CIF after finishing first in the 100 freestyle (46.22) and never placing lower than fourth.
Campbell's time of 24.36 seconds in the 50 freestyle and 46.22 in 100 freestyle were area bests this year.
The Spartans' loss is UC Santa Barbara's gain, as Campbell is going on to swim for the Gauchos.
"He's leaving a hole because he swam so many different events for us; it hurts losing him," LCHS Coach Art Lopez said. "Alex will be sorely missed."
4 Anton Arboleda, La Cañada, golf, senior — Arboleda's resume filled out his senior year, as he completed the season as the Glendora High School Invitational champion, Rio Hondo League champion, the league's Most Valuable Golfer and the All-Area Golfer of the Year.
After most golfers had hung up their spikes for the year in June, Arboleda was still in the hunt to qualify for the CIF State Championship. He placed 17th out of 123 players in the CIF Southern California Golf Assn. High School Championship, missing the cut for the state championship by two strokes.
He went out in style though, sinking his last shot of his high-school career from 120 yards out with a nine iron. His 18-hole scoring average of 69 last year was a team best.
During Arboleda's four-year high-school career, the Spartans put together a 59-7 overall record.
"Statistically speaking, he is the best golfer we've ever had here — period," said Richard Tetu, the Spartans' golf coach.
And now Arboleda will be teeing off for the UCLA Bruins.
5 Kenyatta Smith, Flintridge Prep, basketball and volleyball, junior — Whenever Smith stepped into a gym he made his presence felt, whether in the paint or at the net. He was an All-CIF selection in both basketball and volleyball with the Rebels. The Rebels won the Prep League championship in basketball and a share of the league title in volleyball in Smith's junior year.
As a 6-foot-7-inch center, Smith averaged 18 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots per game to help deliver the Rebels earn their third straight league title. He was named the league's most valuable player and garnered All-Area first-team accolades.
When Smith switched to volleyball, he still maintained all-league and All-Area first-team honors. He finished the season with 221 kills and 101 blocks.
6 Edmund Chow, Flintridge Prep, basketball and volleyball, senior — Like Smith, Chow suited up for both basketball and volleyball with the Rebels. Both proved to be integral members of both squads.
As a senior, Chow averaged eight points per game and made multiple significant contributions for the Rebels' basketball team. He averaged four assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game, which earned him all-league recognition.
The Rebels won a share of the league championship in volleyball for the first time since 2003. The squad went 16-8 and 6-2 in league, sharing the title with Pasadena Poly and Chadwick before advancing to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division V playoffs.
As an outside hitter, Chow notched a team-high 221 digs and added 211 kills and 287 receptions. His stats qualified him as an All-Area and all-league first-team member. He also notched All-CIF Division V honors.
7 Travis Talianko, St. Francis, football and basketball, sophomore — Talianko emerged as Posthuma's favorite target, hauling in 52 receptions to go along with 859 yards and seven receiving touchdowns, all team bests. He proved a threat on defense as well, lining up as a defensive end.
Not only did Talianko play on the other side of the football, he also played with a completely different ball. The Golden Knights sent him out on the basketball court as a forward.
As the 2010-11 season approaches, Talianko figures to be an even bigger problem for opposing defenses to solve on the field and the hardwood, now that Riley and Posthuma have been graduated.
8 Josh Hanson, La Cañada football, senior — Hanson did a little bit of everything for the Spartans on the football field. He was the team's No. 1 receiver, a kick and punt returner and a defensive back. And he even punted a few times during his senior year.
Where he really made his mark was at receiver. When Hanson and Moore were clicking, they were hard to stop. Hanson finished his senior year with 31 receptions for 800 yards and seven receiving touchdowns, which were all a team best for the Spartans.
9 Rocky Moore, La Cañada, football and basketball, senior — Moore led the way for the Spartans his senior year through the air. La Cañada High qualified for the first round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs in Moore's senior season. The Spartan quarterback finished the year with a quarterback rating of 105 and more than 2,100 passing yards.
Accuracy was the name of the game for Moore. He completed 55% of his 242 passing attempts, connecting for 21 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
After the venturing from the football field, Moore took to the hardwood, playing guard for the Spartans' basketball team. He aided his team with 233 points, 37 assists, 92 rebounds and 15 steals, which put him among the top-five for the Spartans.
Now that both Hanson and Moore are gone, the Spartans have the task of replacing 2,000 yards of offense this upcoming season.
10 Tim Kim, La Cañada, baseball and basketball, senior — A two-sport athlete, Kim spent winter in the gym and spring on the baseball field. He really shined while he was on the diamond for the Spartans.
Kim's senior season earned him the labels of All-Area and All-Rio Hondo League first-team honors for his production on the diamond, as the Spartans finished the season with a 13-12 record.
Carving out his niche at the plate with his bat, Kim's .464 batting average was a team best and he added 23 runs, 18 runs batted in and 11 stolen bases.