This is the latest in a series looking back on the sports accomplishments of the area high schools during the 2018-19 year. This installment is St. Francis High:
Individual and team success translated into a sparkling year for St. Francis.
The spotlight shined on a pair of individuals during the spring, leading to a historic moment.
Senior player Ian Freer made an impressive journey in the CIF Southern Section Individual Tournament. After finishing runner-up in the Mission League singles final, Freer rolled to a 6-3, 6-2 win against Kyle Pham of Corona del Mar at Seal Beach Tennis Center in the finals to capture the singles championship.
Freer became the first area athlete to capture the event since Glendale High’s Dave Reed won consecutive titles in 1960 and 1961. Freer helped St. Francis advance to the CIF Southern Division II quarterfinals, narrowly losing to Cypress, 10-8.
In track and field, St. Francis’ Matthew Molina again showcased his prowess.
At the Mission League finals at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame in April, Molina took the 110-meter hurdles in 14.87 seconds and the high jump in 6 feet, 5 inches.
In the CIF Southern Section Division III finals at El Camino College in Torrance, Molina repeated as champion in the high jump with a winning mark of 6-6. The UC Santa Barbara-bound Molina opted not to compete in the Masters Meet.
The fall season saw the football and cross-country teams qualify for the playoffs.
Playing one of the area’s toughest schedules, the football team went 6-4, 2-1 in the Angelus League for second place. St. Francis suffered a 49-7 road defeat against second-seeded Calabasas in a CIF Southern Section Division II first-round contest after advancing to the Division III championship in 2018 under coach Jim Bonds.
The team was led by senior quarterback Darius Perrantes, who was named the Angelus League co-Offensive Player of the Year. Perrantes completed 142 of 216 passes (49.7 completion percentage) for 2,315 yards to go along with 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 10 games. In addition, Perrantes rushed for 380 yards in 55 carries and scored four touchdowns.
In cross-country, St. Francis made its first postseason appearance since 2011 following a fourth-place finish in the rugged Mission League finals at Crescenta Valley Park.
Coach Pat Donovan’s squad finished with 137 points behind powerhouse Loyola (15), Harvard-Westlake (68) and Chaminade (68). The Golden Knights needed a fourth-place finish or better to extend their season. St. Francis received a 14th-place finish from Stuart Serventi in 17:14.93.
At the CIF Southern Section Division IV finals in Riverside, St. Francis, placed 21st with 504 points.
Both of St. Francis’ winter teams made postseason appearances.
The basketball team received an at-large berth and went on quite a run in the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA playoffs under coach Todd Wolfson.
The Golden Knights (24-8, 2-4 for fifth place in the Mission League) bested Marina and Beckman before falling to host Oxnard, 61-49, in a quarterfinal game.
Junior guard Andre Henry was bestowed with All-CIF first-team recognition after helping the Golden Knights make their longest playoff run in the decade.
The school’s soccer team finished 10-8-4, 5-4-3 in the Mission League for fourth place behind Loyola, Harvard-Westlake and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. St. Francis lost to host Newbury Park, 1-0, in a CIF Southern Section Division II first-round match.
Junior Luis Granados earned All-CIF recognition while continuing St. Francis tradition of superb goalkeepers under the watch of coach Glen Appels.
In the spring, the tennis team enjoyed one of its best postseasons during the decade. The Golden Knights finished 9-12, 4-4 in the Mission League.
After placing third in the Mission League under veteran coach Ron Zambrano, St. Francis embarked on a superb CIF Southern Section Division II playoff run. St. Francis turned back Santa Margarita and Dos Pueblos to reach the quarterfinals before falling to visiting Cypress at Scholl Canyon Tennis Center.
The golf team took third in the Mission League before tying for second at the CIF Southern Section Central Team Divisional at Lakewood Country Club in Lakewood with Peninsula behind champion and league rival Loyola.
St. Francis, coached by Kyle Ostrom, lost to Peninsula on a sixth-man tiebreaker. Henry Fitzhugh and Lake Kim each carded one-over-par 73s for the Golden Knights in the 21-team tournament.
In volleyball, St. Francis finished 17-10, 3-3 in the Mission League for fourth place under coach Mark Frazee. The Golden Knights lost to Hart in five sets in a CIF Southern Section Division II wild-card road match.
Th St. Francis lacrosse team, coached by Jared Little, qualified for the playoffs after finishing in third in the Mission League. St. Francis, the No. 13 seed, suffered a 13-4 playoff road loss against No. 4 Oaks Christian in Los Angeles Lacrosse Foundation Division I.
Also in track and field, Serventi, a junior, set a school record in the 800 with a mark of 1:56.72 to place third in the league finals. He reached the Division III prelims at Estancia High in Costa Mesa.