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2013-14 Saugus Year in Review

Posted: July 6, 2014 9:25 p.m.
Updated: July 6, 2014 9:25 p.m.

The Saugus boys cross country team won the CIF State Division II championship, the school's first such title on the boys side.

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It may have been a bit of a down year for Saugus overall, but that doesn’t mean the Centurions didn’t have a good 2013-2014 year.

Some of the Foothill League’s most memorable moments came from Saugus athletes this year, starting with swimmer Abbey Weitzeil.

The junior won two CIF-Southern Section Division I titles in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, breaking two national records in the process. Her 47.91 seconds in the 100 free bested North Dakota’s Dangy Knutson’s time set in 2009.

Weitzeil’s time in the 50 fee of 21.98 seconds broke Olivia Smoliga’s time of 21.99 set in 2012 in Illinois.

She now has six Foothill League and six CIF-SS Division I titles in her career and still has another year to add to that.

And if her history proves anything, it’s that Weitzeil is just going to get better. Expect another record-breaking year from her next year.

It’s not very often that Saugus’ cross country programs get second billing, and if not for Weitzeil’s incredible season, they would be the story of the year.

Both the boys and girls teams won Foothill League titles and the boys went on to win both the CIF-SS and CIF State Division II championships. It was the school’s first boys state title, which followed seven straight from the Saugus girls.

That girls streak ended this year with a second-place finish at state.

Brian Zabilski had a great year, winning all three league meets and coming in fourth in the state Division II final.

The Signal’s All-Santa Clarita Valley Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year was the headliner for the team, but the Centurions also got strong performances from Alex Pearson and Ethan Walker.

On the girls team, Samantha Ortega blew away the local competition, winning the Foothill League title and going on to earn All-American honors with a 15th-place finish at the Footlocker Cross Country National Championship.

Saugus continued its success in track and field season as well.

Avery Schulhofer earned All-SCV honors after winning the 100- and 200-meter Foothill League titles.

Ashley Heys won the 3,200 final by outkicking Canyon’s Natalie Rodriguez in the final 100 meters and winning by a hundredth of a second.

On the boys side, Zabilski won the 3,200 and Alex Pearson won the 1,600 and was the anchor leg on Saugus’ winning 4x400 relay team.

Zabilski wound up advancing all the way to the state championship in the 3,200 by running a school record time of 8 minutes, 59.98 seconds at the CIF-SS Masters Meet. It was arguably the most impressive moment of the track and field season for a Foothill Leaguer.

In softball, Saugus had the most dominant pitcher in the league in Mariah Lopez, who helped the team to a 9-1 record and a share of the Foothill League championship with West Ranch.

The sophomore Lopez, already committed to play at the University of Oklahoma, sat out much of the preleague season due to injuries but came back as strong as ever. She was 14-3 on the year with a 0.59 ERA and struck out 170 batters while only walking 21.

Lopez was the All-SCV co-Player of the year and was named to the All-CIF-SS Division I first team.

Alyssa Rodriguez was the Foothill League’s co-Player of the Year and earned a first team spot on the All-SCV team where she was joined by Cayla Kessinger, Lindsay Clare and Cassidy Fitzgerald.

The baseball team also made a playoff appearance, losing 5-4 to Alemany in the wild-card round of the CIF-SS Division I playoffs.

They were led by the Foothill League’s Pitcher of they Year Anthony Donatella and his 0.53 ERA.

Rex Kemple and Eric Little also made the Foothill League’s first team.

The football team had a solid year, coming in fourth in the Foothill League standings before making a surprising run to the CIF-SS Northern Division semifinals, where they lost 45-8 to Valencia.

Blake Austin led the team with 88 solo tackles, 116 total, and was named to the All-CIF Southern Section Northern Division team.

Reid Rupe and Marc Langford were named to the Foothill League’s first team offense and Austin Davenport, Chase Madrigal, Austin McKinney and Austin made the first team defense.

On the golf course, Braden Lewis led the boys team to a fourth place finish in league play and fifth in the CIF-Central Coast Division tournament.

Lewis was the runner-up for Foothill League Player of the Year and was named to the All-SCV team along with teammate Aden De Los Reyes.

De Los Reyes is just a sophomore, so expect big things in the coming years.

The boys volleyball team finished third in league play and made it to the first round of the CIF-SS Division I playoffs. Max Nua and Zech Lee made the All-SCV and All-Foothill League first teams after quality senior seasons.

The other two teams to make postseason appearances were the boys soccer team and the girls tennis teams.

They both lost in the wild card rounds but had successful seasons.

The rest of Saugus’ programs had down years but are hoping to turn that around soon. But there is still plenty of reason for Saugus fans to be excited.

With athletes like Weitzeil, Zabilski, Ortega and Donatella all coming back next year, the future is bright for the Centurions.

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