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Program of the Year: Saugus High School

Wherever the games were played, the Centurions reigned supreme in 2008-09

Posted: July 6, 2009 11:01 p.m.
Updated: July 7, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Saugus High School produced a collection of teams and athletes in 2008-09 that is unrivaled in the school's history. The girls cross country team won its third straight CIF State championship, the football team won its first Foothill League title and many other Centurions helped leave a lasting impression.

 
From the first snap of the football season to the last leg of the CIF State Track and Field Championships, Saugus High School shined in athletics.

Saugus High has had great teams and great athletes in years past.

CIF championships have come from the 2006 and 2007 girls cross country teams. The Cinderella Centurions boys basketball team that surprised almost everyone made 1987 a special year. Even baseball teams in the 1980s and softball teams of the 1990s gave Saugus High athletic pride.

But things never came all together like they did in 2008-09.

The school had two CIF championship teams this past year — the only other schools to boast one were Santa Clarita Christian, a private school that doesn’t have the capacity to compete in the Foothill League, and Hart girls golf, which won a division title but it was the first round of the playoffs.

For years, Saugus has played second and even third fiddle to other schools in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Maybe it was justified.

The Signal devised this point system for Program of the Year in 2005 and in the three years it has been awarded, the Centurions have finished fourth (2004-05), fourth (2005-06) and second (2006-07). The Signal did not hand out the award in 2007-08.

Yet the school’s workmanlike, blue-collar mentality finally paid off.

And it began in the fall.

The Saugus football team, which began the decade as the No. 4 team in the valley in terms of winning, attention and respect, turned things upside down by finally winning its first-ever Foothill League title.

Then the girls cross country team achieved even better, if that was possible, than it had in the previous two state championship seasons.

The Centurions broke their own state record time in Fresno at the CIF State Division II Cross Country Championship, and sophomore Kaylin Mahoney became the second Centurion in the last four years to claim an individual championship.

In terms of points, the six teams of the fall scored more points than any other program in 2008-09.

Give most of that credit to Saugus girls cross country, which amassed 242 points for the program.

That number by itself was almost good enough to beat second-place Valencia’s entire total of 261 points.

The Vikings saved some of their best performances for the end of the year, racking up 141 points in the spring.

The baseball team, softball team, boys tennis team and boys volleyball team each won Foothill League titles, and senior Aly Drake won the CIF State Division I championship in the 800-meter run with a time of 2 minutes, 7.45 seconds, a new Santa Clarita Valley record.

Saugus wasn’t too shabby in the spring, either.

But first, the girls soccer team rose to the top in the winter.

After a third-place finish in the Foothill League standings, Saugus began a surprising run through the CIF-Southern Section Division II playoffs.

That run culminated with a 2-1 victory over Harvard-Westlake in the Division II championship game in early March. Coupled with the girls basketball team’s league title, Saugus emerged from the winter season with 80 more points than anyone else.

The winter turned out to be Hart’s weakest season in 2008-09. But the Indians wound up third with 169 points thanks to consistent performances in the fall and spring.

Last fall, the girls golf team won the Foothill League title, and sophomore Anne Susdorf won the league singles title in girls tennis.

In the spring, Hart’s softball team shared the league championship with Valencia and went deeper than any other Foothill League team in the postseason.

The boys and girls swim teams added two more league titles, and senior Jordan Danny won the CIF-Southern Section Division I championship in the 100-yard breaststroke.

West Ranch continued to build its program in 2008-09 and had its strongest showing in the spring. The boys golf team won the league championship, senior Jordan Hovis won the league singles title in boys tennis and the baseball team finished second.

Canyon and Golden Valley had their best seasons during the winter, when the Cowboys won Foothill League titles in both boys and girls soccer and the Golden Valley boys basketball team claimed the school’s first league title in any sport.

Meanwhile, the Saugus boys track team won the school’s first league title since 1986, when it competed in the Golden League.

Senior Daniel Swarbrick earned state medals in two events for the Centurions, who had even more success on the girls side.

The girls team won its fourth straight league crown, and Mahoney, senior Anne Randall, sophomore Stephanie Bulder and freshman Karis Frankian all advanced to the CIF State Division II finals in the 3,200-meter run.

It was the first time in the history of the state meet that any school had advanced four runners to the 3,200 finals.

That’s just the kind of year it was for Saugus.

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