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2013-14 Canyon Year in Review

Posted: July 3, 2014 9:44 p.m.
Updated: July 3, 2014 9:44 p.m.

Natalie Rodriguez, front, took third place in the 3,200-meter race in the CIF-SS Division II finals.

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The 2013-2014 year for Canyon High will be remembered by its incredible individual performances, with three athletes earning Foothill Player of the Year honors.

First up is the senior captain for the girls basketball team and Canyon’s Female Athlete of the Year Kali Vittallo.

She helped lead her team to a share of its fifth straight Foothill League title and its fifth CIF quarterfinal appearance in five years.

Vittallo was a force every time she stepped on the court, averaging 15.3 points, 4.8 assists and 3.5 steals per game.

The Austin College commit’s play also earned her Foothill League co-Player of the Year honors.

The Cowboys also placed Monica Freidl and Delaney McCann on the All-Foothill League first team. Freidl also made the All-SCV first team and was named the MVP of the girls SCV Hoops Finale — The Signal’s annual all-star game.

Just as special was Cade Apsay, who led the Canyon football team to a second-place finish in highly competitive Foothill League.

Apsay completed 65 percent of his passes for 3,103 yards and 28 touchdowns with only six interceptions.

He set a single-game record with 419 yards through the air against Valencia in a 35-28 loss, but there’s no denying he was the most efficient quarterback in the league.

And he has the hardware to prove it.

Apsay was named to the All-CIF Southern Section Northern Division first-team offense, All-SCV first-team offense and earned the title of the Foothill League’s Player of the Year.

He will be playing for Pac-12 Colorado next year.

Last, but certainly not least, is Natalie Rodriguez.

Despite falling one hundredth of a second short for her first Foothill League track and field title, Rodriguez took third place at the CIF-SS Division II finals in the 3,200-meter race.

Rodriguez rebounded in a big way following a junior year where she battled anemia, recording her lifetime best 10:42.38 in the 3,200 at the CIF-SS Masters Meet. The mark is No. 3 on the all-time list at Canyon in its history.

Rodriguez also made the All-SCV team in girls cross country where she was joined by Kyla Danforth.

Danforth finished fourth place in the Foothill finals and Canyon’s No. 3 runner in the CIF-SS Division II finals.

On the boys side, junior Caleb McClain finished second at the Foothill finals and made it to the CIF-SS Sectional prelims where he missed making the finals by a single place.

In track and field, the Cowboys sent a total of 12 athletes to the CIF-SS finals in 10 different events, the most of any Foothill League school. The boys team won the Foothill League title behind performances by Jarrett Davidson, who qualified in the 110 and 300 hurdles and Steven Childs, who also double qualified in the long jump and in the 4x100 meter relay.

Brett Molster finished second in the Division II high jump with a lead of 6 feet, 7 inches.

One of Canyon’s better team performances came from the boys basketball team where it made it all the way to the CIF-SS Division IIAA semifinals before being ousted by Canyon of Anaheim 77-59.

Junior Ben Taufahema’s play in the postseason was outstanding, scoring 21, 21, 28 and 18 points in the Cowboys’ four playoff games. He was also deadly accurate from distance, shooting 43 percent from behind the 3-point line.

His play earned him spots on the All-SCV and All-Foothill League first teams and the All-CIF second team.

Taufahema was joined on the All-Foothill League first team by Marc Cabrera and Dean Hendrix-Davis.

The girls soccer team also made a postseason appearance, getting to the first round of the CIF-SS Division II playoffs behind the play of All-SCV first team performers Meghan Kennedy, Sarah Cipperly and Mari Kneisel.

Canyon went 14-7-4 overall and 6-2-2 in league play thanks to Kennedy’s stellar goalkeeping and the scoring ability of Cipperly.

The boys soccer team wasn’t as successful but made news when head coach Lou Aguilera left the program.

The Cowboys didn’t have to look far for a new coach, however, promoting freshman coach Robert Benavidez.

He takes over a team that lost a lot of senior leadership including All-SCV and All-Foothill League first team goalkeeper Niko Nuyda.

The Cowboys’ boys volleyball team made its first postseason appearance since 2009 after beating Hart 3-1 in the regular season finale.

Their CIF-SS Division I first round loss to Santa Margarita was tough but with juniors Jacob De Young, Jared Hathaway and sophomore Noah Ozuna coming back next year, the team is primed for an even deeper run.

The softball team reached the CIF-SS Division I playoffs where it lost to eventual champion Pacifica in the first round 6-0.

Sophomore Amanda Doyle led the team with a .464 batting average, 33 RBIs and 11 home runs. Senior Kaelie Doyle matched Amanda with a team-high 39 hits.

It was a down year for Canyon’s baseball team, but the Cowboys have something to look forward to next year in pitcher Blake Leidholdt.

He took over the top spot of the Cowboys’ pitching rotation and went 3-4 with a 2.25 ERA, two complete games and a shutout. He also had a .321 batting average.

The girls tennis, swim and volleyball teams had down years, but expect that to start turning around with all of their best performers coming back.

Sophomore Katrina DeGuzman made the All-SCV first team in tennis, freshman Alexa Skorus was an All-SCV selection in swim and junior Saya Akao was named to the All-SCV honorable mention list in volleyball.


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