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Athletes of the Year: And the nominees are...

Posted: June 30, 2009 7:23 p.m.
Updated: July 1, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Kaylin Mahoney was one of the top runners on Saugus' squad. Kaylin Mahoney was one of the top runners on Saugus' squad.
Kaylin Mahoney was one of the top runners on Saugus' squad.
Jordan Danny won All-SCV Girls Swimmer of the Year. Jordan Danny won All-SCV Girls Swimmer of the Year.
Jordan Danny won All-SCV Girls Swimmer of the Year.
Spenser Souza led Hart baseball and football to the postseason. Spenser Souza led Hart baseball and football to the postseason.
Spenser Souza led Hart baseball and football to the postseason.
Over the last eight months, The Signal sports section has tried to recapture certain elements of the past.

It did so by giving a better presentation for its All-Santa Clarita Valley teams.

Last summer, The Signal was unable to continue another tradition it established this decade — its year-end awards.

It only awarded an Athlete of the Year prize.

Due to leadership that chose to go in another direction, its best of the best for 2007-08 didn’t materialize as it should have.

Not so this year.

We have brought back our biggest prizes.

There are six categories for these awards — Newcomer of the Year (which is awarded to a first-year varsity player), Coach of the Year, Male Athlete of the Year, Female Athlete of the Year, Team of the Year and Program of the Year.

In the past, we’ve seen winners who made great legacies at their respective school.

We’ve had heated debates.

No debate tops the one after Canyon football was revealed as Team of the Year during the season of Valencia softball’s national championship.

That’s what this is for.

This is a measure of greatness and a reason for you, our readers, to get into a debate.

Without further ado, here are the nominees for 2008-09...


Tiffini Stone
Canyon freshman
Track and field
Stone was a big reason that Canyon’s young girls team finished second in the Foothill League. She won league titles in the long jump and triple jump and finished third at the CIF-Southern Section Division II finals in the long jump. Her season best in the long jump was 18 feet, 1 inch at the San Fernando Invitational. Had it been in a Foothill League meet, it would have been a record.

Kendall Dusenberry
Hart freshman
Golf, basketball
The daughter of Hart softball great Samantha Ford, Dusenberry came onto the scene with a lot of hype and lived up to it. She earned the Foothill League Most Valuable Player of the Year in golf and helped lead the Indians to a Foothill League championship. An injury early on, though, ended her basketball season early.

Carly Mortensen
Valencia freshman
Mortensen came seemingly out of nowhere as Valencia softball rotated pitchers early in the 2009 season. She became the team’s ace and later the Foothill League’s co-Most Valuable Player. Her squad won the Foothill League championship and she was the winner in the circle against co-league champions Hart twice. Valencia is a program that produces great pitchers year after year, and Mortensen just may be the next one.

Steven Thornton
Golden Valley senior
Thornton wasn’t new to varsity basketball. He played at Chatsworth as a sophomore before transferring to Golden Valley for the 2008-09 season. But Thornton provided a new excitement to the Foothill League with his high-rising game and scoring ability. Thornton scored 41 points in the CIF-Southern section Division IIIA semifinals.


Rene Paragas
Cross country, track and field
Sure, Paragas’ teams were successful. The girls cross country team won its third straight state title, and the girls distance team in track and field placed four girls in the 3,200 final at the CIF State Track and Field Championships. But Paragas is credited for a lot of that success because of the way he works his athletes year-round and his constant encouragement.

Lisa Rollo
Saugus girls soccer
Rollo’s Saugus girls soccer team was solid all season. Don’t let a third-place showing in the Foothill League fool you. The Centurions almost won that title. More importantly, her team won the CIF-SS Division II championship. But her confidence, always playing up her team, helped the squad’s mental outlook and she prepared Saugus for every obstacle.

Garrick Moss
Santa Clarita Christian
Football, baseball
Moss doesn’t always make the right calls, but in the 8-Man Division I championship game he made the right calls every time. Having lost to Faith Baptist earlier in the season, he regrouped his boys and devised a smash-mouth, pass-absent offense that dominated Faith. His encouragement and ability to lead his players makes him a regular for this award.

Chris Printz
Golden Valley
Boys basketball
Golden Valley had a team of scorers. It’s not always easy to keep the balance, but the passionate head coach was able to do so and led the Grizzlies to their first-ever Foothill League title in any sport. Printz’s team won 27 games in 2008-09.


Daniel Swarbrick
Saugus senior
Track and field
Swarbrick finished his outstanding career this past June with two medals at the CIF State Track and Field Championships. The Foothill League champion in the shot put and discus finished first at every league meet. In the postseason, he won the CIF-SS Division II title in the discus and was third in the shot put.

Jake Bernards
West Ranch senior
Football and baseball
Bernards produced his finest season on the diamond in 2009. Before that, he was the starting quarterback for the Wildcats football team. He threw for 1,694 yards. The Foothill League’s leading hitter batted .482 and was a powerful presence in West Ranch’s lineup.

Collin Keoshian
Santa Clarita Christian junior
Keoshian was a beast on the football field. A bruising running back and a powerful linebacker, the junior helped lead the Cardinals to an 8-man Division I title. In the title game, he carried the ball 39 times for 283 yards, scoring five touchdowns.

Spenser Souza
Hart senior
Football, baseball
Though Hart football had a down year, the starting quarterback was a dual threat on offense with his passing and running ability. But on the baseball field, he was one of the valley’s finest players. He hit for the cycle, hit home runs and for average and provided solid defense for the Indians.

Desi Rodriguez
Saugus senior
Football, boys basketball
Rodriguez was as electrifying a football player this valley has ever seen. Rodriguez led the Foothill League in rushing, was a solid passer and led his team to its first-ever Foothill League championship. The senior was also a contributor on the boys basketball team.


Aly Drake
Valencia senior
Girls soccer,
track and field
Drake was an All-Foothill League and All-Santa Clarita Valley soccer player, but she really turned it on during the track and field season.  The senior was the Foothill League, Southern Section Division I and state champion in the 800-meter run.

Jordan Danny
Hart senior
Girls swimming
Danny was the Foothill League and CIF-Southern Section Division I champion in the 100-yard breaststroke. She set a new league mark in the event. She won Foothill titles as a member of the 200- and 400-freestyle relay.

Kaylin Mahoney
Saugus sophomore
Cross country,
track and field
Mahoney was this valley’s running star this season. She was the CIF State Division II champion in cross country and finished third in the 3,200 at the state track and field championships after winning the Foothill League and Division II titles in the event. To have finished third and have an outstanding season in track and field is a wonder because she was so beaten down by shin splints and a stress reaction after the cross country season.

Jessica Shults
Hart senior
Being the catcher of a team is a difficult thing to do. But to do that and lead your team in nearly every offensive category is even more difficult. The Hart senior was the Foothill League’s co-Player of the Year and The Signal’s All-Santa Clarita Valley Player of the Year. She carried the offensive load in the postseason for a team that finished 10th overall in the state.

Saugus girls track and field
Saugus girls track and field didn’t have a close meet in the Foothill League. In the Division II meet, they finished second. Four Saugus girls made the state championships in the 3,200-meter run, a first in state meet history. Kaylin Mahoney finished third overall in the race and Stephanie Bulder was fifth.

Santa Clarita Christian football
After losing to Faith Baptist on Nov. 1, Santa Clarita Christian made it all the way to the CIF-Southern Section Division I 8-Man championship game. They met the state’s No. 1 team, Faith Baptist, and rolled to a 50-28 victory. The Cardinals were in control throughout and displayed the things that made them so good during the season — a bulldozing running game, a staunch defense and smart play.

Saugus girls soccer
The Centurions were strong all season long, but a late loss in the Foothill League season cost them a chance at the league title and relegated them to third. It didn’t matter. They dominated in the first round of the playoffs then continued to win. A 2-1 victory in the CIF-Southern Section Division II title game over Harvard-Westlake netted the first outright soccer division title in the valley’s history.
Saugus girls cross country

The regular season was an afterthought. They dominated, period. Then the Centurions went to the CIF State Cross Country Championships and obliterated the competition, winning their third straight state title. Saugus then went on to finish second nationally in the Nike Cross Nationals.


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