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Golden Valley Year in Review: The Grizzlies’ step forward

Posted: June 22, 2009 8:01 p.m.
Updated: June 23, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Grizzlies distance runner Seth Totten competes in this undated photo. Totten finished fifth at the CIF State Division III Cross Country Championships.

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Ever since opening in 2004, Golden Valley High School has faced an uphill battle in athletics. Not only was the program trying to get off the ground, it was going up against distinguished programs across the Santa Clarita Valley.

General opinion held that Golden Valley couldn't be a winner, that the odds were stacked too tall.

Last fall, the Golden Valley cross country team put a dent in that perception by finishing 11th at the CIF State Division III Cross Country Championship. Last winter, the boys basketball team smashed that perception to bits by winning the school's first Foothill League championship in any sport and advancing deep in the CIF-Southern Section Division IIIA playoffs.
The baseball team made strides under first-year head coach Scott Drootin, including the school's first win over Hart in the sport.

Other sports experienced success, and a couple of coaching changes in football and girls basketball may have those teams pointed in the right direction.
Looking back, this year was a step forward for the Grizzlies.

Sept. 4
The football team opens the season with a 28-8 loss to Littlerock, gaining only four first downs and punting eight times. Golden Valley's only touchdown comes after senior linebacker Richard Sarabia scoops up a fumble on a flea-flicker attempt by Littlerock, and junior tailback Joseph Figueroa plunges into the end zone from one yard out and tacks on the two-point conversion.

Sept. 12
The football team blows out Hoover 48-6, setting a school record for points scored in a game. Senior running back Richard Sarabia has 106 yards on 10 carries and is one of four Grizzlies to score a rushing touchdown. Senior wideout Bino Horne returns the first kickoff for a touchdown in school history.

Sept. 19
The football team has a winning record for the first time in school history after beating Santa Paula 21-13. The Grizzlies rally from a 13-0 deficit as senior wide receiver Jon Schlegel hauls in two touchdown passes from junior quarterback Jimmy Hughes, and Hughes scores on a 1-yard sneak early in the fourth quarter.

Sept. 26
The football team loses to Camarillo 28-0, despite forcing five turnovers. The Grizzlies only gain 62 yards and five first downs on offense.

Oct. 4
The football team beats Kilpatrick 7-6 to win its first-ever game on its own campus, usually playing its home games at Canyon High School. Junior running back Joseph Figueroa scores on a 49-yard run off a direct snap early in the second quarter, and senior linebacker Jon Schlegel picks off two passes in the last two and a half minutes to seal the win.

Oct. 17
After a bye week, the football team opens league play by falling 28-0 to West Ranch. Senior Jon Schlegel shifts from receiver to running back and gains 86 yards on 11 carries, while junior tailback Joseph Figueroa rushes 13 times for 51 yards.

Oct. 24
The football team falls to Valencia 48-6. Senior Jon Schlegel sees time at quarterback and scores on a 24-yard keeper with 1:53 left in the third quarter to stop the shutout.

Oct. 31
Eventual league champion Saugus defeats the football team 42-7. Junior tailback Joseph Figueroa has 103 rushing yards.

Nov. 6
The boys cross country team finishes second at the Foothill League Cross Country Finals and qualifies for the CIF-Southern Section Division III prelims for the first time in school history. Junior Seth Totten finishes second individually with a three-mile time of 15 minutes, 21 seconds.

Nov. 7
The football team gets blanked 49-0 by Canyon. The Grizzlies manage 119 rushing yards, 51 of which come from junior running back Joseph Figueroa on 16 carries.

Nov. 14
The football team loses to Hart 47-0 to finish 3-7 and winless in league for the third straight year.

Nov. 15
The boys cross country team qualifies for the CIF-Southern Section Division III finals for the first time in school history, finishing fourth overall at the CIF-SS Div. III prelims with a time of 82 minutes, 28 seconds. Junior Seth Totten leads the way with a time of 15:29, good for third in his heat.

Nov. 22
The boys cross country team finishes seventh with 178 points at the CIF-Southern Section Division III finals, qualifying for the CIF State Division III Cross Country Championship for the first time in school history. Junior Seth Totten finishes sixth overall with a time of 15 minutes, 20 seconds, despite being pushed down to start the race.

Nov. 29
The boys cross country team finishes 11th at the CIF State Division III Cross Country Championship. The Grizzlies rack up 303 points and a cumulative time of 82 minutes, 4 seconds. Junior Seth Totten leads the way with a fifth-place time of 15:25, just 17 seconds off the first-place time. Johnny Tapia, Danny Carrillo, Gabe Vazquez, Luc Schutz, Andrew Valenzuela and Elie Buotros also compete for Golden Valley.

Dec. 2
The boys basketball team defeats Dos Pueblos 70-62 in overtime in the season opener at the Simi Valley Tournament. Senior guard Maverick Ahanmisi scores 24 points to lead the Grizzlies, while junior swingman Trevor Wiseman has 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Dec. 3
The girls basketball team rebounds from a loss in its season opener to blow out Vasquez 72-25 behind junior forward Jasmine Jefferson's 23 points.

Dec. 6
The boys basketball team wins the Simi Valley Tournament by beating host Simi Valley 89-83 in overtime. Senior guard Maverick Ahanmisi scores 13 points in the final game and is named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Senior guard Steven Thornton scores 23 points to lead Golden Valley while junior forward Erick Serrano finishes with 16.

Dec. 6
Junior cross country runner Seth Totten pulls out of the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships after a mile due to a foot injury.

Dec. 11
Head football coach Steve Pinkston resigns after three seasons, during which his teams went 5-25 overall and 0-15 in the Foothill League. Pinkston cites "philosophical differences" between himself and the school administration.

Dec. 22
The boys basketball team suffers its first loss of the season, a 63-60 decision to Hart in the semifinals of the San Fernando Valley Invitational.

Dec. 23
The boys basketball team beats league rival Canyon 70-65 to clinch third in the San Fernando Valley Invitational behind 22 points and 10 rebounds from senior guard Steven Thornton.

Dec. 30
The boys basketball team avenges its only loss by defeating Hart 95-89 in the championship game of the Hart Holiday Classic. Golden Valley jumps all over Hart in the first quarter and holds the Indians off the rest of the way, led by senior guard Maverick Ahanmisi's 25 points and senior guard Chris White's 13 points, most of which came during the second quarter when everyone else was cold.

Jan. 13
The boys basketball team wins its first Foothill League game in almost two years by upending Hart 63-55 in the league opener. The Grizzlies shoot an ice-cold 16 percent in the first half but rally late in the third and take the lead for good. Senior guard Maverick Ahanmisi has 16 points and junior swingman Trevor Wiseman has 14.

Jan. 13
The boys soccer team stuns Hart 6-1 in the Foothill League opener. Sophomore striker Andy Ruiz finishes with two goals and an assist, and the Grizzlies control the run of play throughout.

Jan. 23
Labeled as an athletic team that doesn't pay much attention to defense, the boys basketball team holds Valencia to just 25 points on 38 percent shooting in the second half of a 69-67 win at Valencia High School. Senior guard Steven Thornton scores 28 points to lead all Grizzlies.

Jan. 24
The boys basketball team loses to Etiwanda 75-51 in the prestigious SoCal Shootout. The nation's 12th-ranked Eagles pull away in the fourth quarter, but Steven Thornton has a team-high 25 points, including 15 in the first half.

Jan. 30
Hart ends the boys basketball team's perfect Foothill League season with a 67-63 win. Senior guard Maverick Ahanmisi has 20 points to lead the Grizzlies, who falter late in the fourth quarter.

Feb. 6
Junior swingman Trevor Wiseman pulls down a team-record 18 rebounds and senior guard Maverick Ahanmisi scores 31 points as the boys basketball team beats Saugus 85-76.

Feb. 10
The boys basketball team defeats Valencia 69-56 to clinch at least a share of the school's first Foothill League title in any sport. The Grizzlies go on a 16-0 run to start the fourth quarter, and senior guard Maverick Ahanmisi pours in 29 points on 55 percent shooting from downtown. Five seniors who normally come off the bench start the game on Senior Night.

Feb. 12
The boys basketball team blazes past West Ranch 84-66 with a big second half to claim the school's first outright Foothill League title in
any sport. Junior swingman Trevor Wiseman scores 31 points on 71 percent shooting, while the senior backcourt of Maverick Ahanmisi and Steven Thornton combines for 39 points.

Feb. 12
The boys soccer team loses to West Ranch 1-0 and falls out of a guaranteed playoff spot by slipping to fourth in the Foothill League standings. The team still qualifies for the postseason as a wild card.

Feb. 18
The boys soccer team falls 3-2 to Lompoc in a CIF-Southern Section Division III wild card game. The Grizzlies allow three goals in the first 15 minutes of play and can't recover, finishing 9-10-5 on the season.

Feb. 24
After two blowout wins in the CIF-Southern Section Division IIIA playoffs, the boys basketball team gets 41 points from senior guard Maverick Ahanmisi and holds off Foothill 75-72 in the CIF-SS Div. IIIA quarterfinals. Senior guard Steven Thornton hits two clutch buckets in the final minute to help win the game.

Feb. 27
The boys basketball team bows out in a 96-87 loss to Gahr in the CIF-Southern Section Division IIIA semifinals, one win short of a guaranteed berth in the state tournament. Senior guard Steven Thornton takes over and scores 41 points, but Gahr proves to be too athletic to overcome. Junior swingman Trevor Wiseman helps key a second-quarter run that gives the Grizzlies a three-point lead, but Wiseman then picks up his third personal foul and Gahr takes off. The team finishes 27-4 overall.

Feb. 27
Girls basketball head coach James Wilson resigns after just one season, citing medical issues with his family. Wilson was 7-19 overall and 1-9 in the Foothill League in his only season.

March 20
The baseball team beats Canyon 5-2 to open the Foothill League season. The victory marks just the second league win in school history. Sophomore pitcher Josh Smith hurls five innings of two-run, four-hit ball, and sophomore catcher Rocky Sherwood goes 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored.

March 24
Golden Valley announces the hiring of 29-year-old Andy Campbell as its third head football coach. Campbell's previous experience includes a head coaching stint at Silver Valley High in Yermo, where he went 4-6 in 2007 and 7-5 in 2008.

March 26
Chris Printz resigns as head coach of the boys basketball team, citing a lack of time spent with family. Printz was 59-51 in four seasons and made the playoffs three times.

April 15
The baseball team beats Hart for the first time in school history, a 4-2 decision that includes a three-run home run by senior Nick Rhoades, who also wins the game on the mound by giving up just one run.

April 16
The boys volleyball team pushes perennial power Valencia to five games before falling 3-2. The Vikings win by scores of 25-20, 20-25, 25-10, 24-25 and 15-8. Senior Cody Hounanian has 30 assists, while sophomore Ryan Kessler has 14 kills and senior Mikael Hounanian has 13 kills.

May 7
Junior swimmer Michelle Duraj wins the Foothill League title in the 50 freestyle race in 24.28 seconds at the Foothill League championship swim meet. Duraj is named girls swimmer of the meet.

May 7
Chris Printz announces he is returning as head coach of the boys basketball team after his family urged him to reconsider his resignation. The school also announces the hiring of Todd Jackson as the new head coach of the girls basketball team. Jackson took over at Canyon after former coach Stan Delus resigned in January and led the Cowboys to a 7-3 record the remainder of the season. Jackson is the fourth different girls coach in four seasons at Golden Valley.

May 15
Junior swimmer Michelle Duraj finishes eighth in the 100 freestyle (53.63 seconds) and eighth in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.52) at the CIF-Southern Section Division I swim meet.

May 16
Senior high jumper Tessy Sproul clears 5 feet, 2 inches at the CIF-Southern Section Division III prelims to qualify for the divisional finals. Seven other Grizzlies compete but do advance, including sprinters Lauren Hackney and Corey Chaison, distance runners Kristian Martinez, Gabe Vazquez and Seth Totten, hurdler Dylan Olson, and long jumper Dillon Jones.

May 19
Junior swimmer Michelle Duraj competes in the CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet, winding up ninth in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1 minute, 6.47 seconds, and 13th in the 100 freestyle at 53.00 seconds.

May 23
Senior high jumper Tessy Sproul finishes fifth at the CIF-Southern Section Division III finals in the high jump by clearing 5 feet, 3 inches, capping her only season in track and field after playing volleyball.


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