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The Age of Excellence: Reaching out

Posted: December 27, 2009 11:34 p.m.
Updated: December 28, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Members of the Saugus football team (in white) raise their hands in celebration after a score against Valencia during the 2008 regular season. The Centurions clinched a share of the Foothill League championship by beating the Vikings, and later won it outright by beating Canyon.

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In many ways, 2008 demonstrated the reach of Santa Clarita Valley athletics.

Fresh off its national title in 2007, Valencia softball repeated as CIF-Southern Section Division I champions.

Saugus girls cross country made it three straight CIF state titles.

While the local high schools and colleges were proving themselves in other respects, players from the valley’s past made waves on grander stages.

Hart graduate James Shields won Game 2 of the World Series for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Canyon grad Crystl Bustos won a silver medal in softball with the U.S. National Team in Beijing.

Hart grad Stephen Susdorf hoisted a national championship trophy in Omaha, Neb.

In 2008, the valley had success at all levels of the sports landscape.


Jan. 8 — West Ranch boys basketball beats Canyon 68-56 to earn the program’s first Foothill League victory. The Wildcats went on to finish 19-9 overall and third in the league with a 6-4 record.

Jan. 11 — Valencia girls basketball snaps Hart’s 20-game league winning streak, beating the Indians 62-58 in overtime. Hart’s last loss to a league opponent came at the hands of the Vikings in January of 2005.

On the same day, West Ranch boys soccer posts a 3-2 win over Golden Valley for its first Foothill League win in program history.
Jan. 29 — Former Hart High defensive coordinator Rick Herrington leaves the program to coach at Bishop Alemany of Mission Hills, where brother Dean Herrington is the head coach. Rick had been with the Indians for 30 years in one capacity or another.

Feb. 1 — Hart’s Sarina Coutin scores her 100th career goal. She would add her 101st goal later in the game, and finishes with 104 for her career. Coutin goes on to play at Cal State Bakersfield and currently plays at the College of the Canyons. Hart retires her No. 5 Jersey on March 5.

Feb. 6 — West Ranch soccer player Gina Tumasone accepts the school’s first-ever scholarship, signing her letter of intent to the University of Hawaii-Hilo.

Feb. 8 — Valencia boys basketball wins the Foothill League with a 70-48 victory over Canyon, while Saugus and Hart split the girls basketball championship. The two schools also share the boys soccer title, and the Centurions take the girls soccer championship, as both titles were wrapped up a few days earlier.

Feb. 22 — Hart girls soccer and Valencia boys basketball become last local teams to be ousted from the playoffs, both suffering heartbreaking losses. The Indians fall to Agoura 2-1 in overtime in the CIF-SS Division II bracket, while the Vikings lose 71-67 to Arroyo Valley in the CIF-SS Division II-AA playoffs despite leading with less than two minutes to play.

Feb. 23 — The Amgen Tour of California passes through the Santa Clarita Valley as local spectators watch Mark Cavendish finish first in Stage 6. However, Cavendish is disqualified when it is determined that he had grabbed a team car earlier in the day. Brazilian Luciano Pagliarini is awarded the win. Levi Leipheimer retains the yellow jersey as the overall leader and wins the event the next day in Stage 7, which runs from Valencia to Pasadena.

On the same day, eventual 2008 MLS Cup champion Columbus beats Chivas USA 2-1 at the College of the Canyons in the second benefit game for the Michael Hoefflin Foundation.

Feb. 28 — Former College of the Canyons defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga signs a five-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers. He currently starts at defensive end and has 25 tackles and one sack for the 49ers, who rank fifth in the NFL in rushing defense and 19th in overall defense.

March 1 — Former Hart head girls basketball coach Dave Munroe is inducted into the Southern California Interscholastic Basketball Hall of Fame. He spent 18 seasons with the Indians, winning 15 Foothill League titles and CIF-SS titles in 1990 and 2006.

March 4 — Saugus head boys basketball coach Jeff Hallman resigns after 21 years of coaching at the school. The Centurions name Derek Ballard as his successor later in the year.

March 16 — Denis Watson comes from seven strokes back to force a playoff with Loren Roberts, and Watson wins the 2008 AT&T Champions Classic at Valencia Country Club.

April 4 — Hart baseball gets 25 hits in 29-0 rout of Golden Valley. Michael Montgomery strikes out six and doesn’t give up a hit through five innings. The Indians go on to win the Foothill League title behind the duo of Montgomery and current UCLA pitcher Trevor Bauer.

April 11 — The Saugus girls 4xMile relay team sets a new California state record with a time of 20 minutes, 10.76 seconds at the Arcadia Invitationals, besting the previous mark of 20:20.38, set by Corona Del Mar in 2005. The time achieved by Anne Randall, Kaylin Mahoney, Nina Moore and Katie Dunn is the third-best time in United States history at the time.

April 19 — COC baseball, which had a 12-game winning streak snapped earlier in the season, locks up its first Western State Conference title since 2004 with a 21-3 win over Los Angeles Mission College. Left fielder Tyreace House, designated hitter Brian Charnock and second baseman Brian Hernandez are later named Southern California All-Americans by the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association.

April 23 — West Ranch boys golf wins the school’s first Foothill League title in any sport with a team score of 385 at the Foothill League Final/Newhall Land Cup at TPC Valencia. Hart’s Johnny MacArthur is named Foothill League MVP after shooting a 3-under 69.

On the same day, Hart boys and girls swimming sweep Saugus to win a pair of Foothill League championships. West Ranch later qualifies for its first CIF team final. MacArthur would go on to win the CIF-SCGA Southern Regional High School Championship and currently attends Pepperdine.

April 24 — Led by Delano Howell’s victories in the 200-meter dash, the 400 and the long jump, as well as a victory as a member of the 4x400 relay, Hart boys track captures its first Foothill League title since 2000 with a 72-64 victory over Saugus.

On the girls side, the Centurions cruise 111-24 over the Indians to win their third consecutive title.

April 28 — Saugus graduate Nick Delio is named the Big West Freshman of the Year and is selected to the All-Big West First Team after helping Cal State Northridge win its first tournament title in eight years.

On the same day, former COC defensive back Justin Tryon is drafted by the Washington Redskins in the fourth round, while former Cougar teammate Joey LaRocque is taken by the Chicago Bears in the seventh round.

May 1 — Canyon freshman Jason Ferlianto upsets West Ranch’s Jordan Hovis to win the Foothill League singles title, while Valencia’s duo of Tyler Gottshall and Jack Zapala wins the doubles title.

May 10 — Hart girls swimming beats Westlake by 42.5 points to win the program’s first CIF-SS Division II title. The Indians took first in the 200-yard medley relay in 1:47.81 to set a new Division II record. Then-junior Jordan Danny takes first in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.96). The next season, Hart moves back up to Division I.

May 24 — Valencia boys volleyball beats Santa Barbara 3-0 (25-16, 32-30, 25-22) to win the CIF-SS Division II championship. It is the Vikings’ fourth CIF-SS Division II title of the decade. A week later, Valencia is voted the national champion by StudentSportsVolleyball.com.

May 31 — With senior Jessica Spigner in the circle, Valencia softball beats previously undefeated Simi Valley 3-0 to win its second straight CIF-SS Division I championship. The season prior, Spigner played third base and made the transition to pitcher in the offseason and goes on to be named the Gatorade Player of the Year. Spigner is currently at the University of Tennessee.

June 4 — Montgomery is drafted No. 36 overall by the Kansas City Royals. In his senior season, Montgomery was 8-2 with 99 strikeouts. The left-handed pitcher finished his first season with the Wilmington Blues Rocks with a 4-1 record and a 2.25 ERA and 46 strikeouts.

June 5 — House is selected in the sixth round of the MLB draft by the Oakland Athletics. The next day, Saugus’ Michael Hebert is drafted in seventh round by the New York Mets and Shawn Smith is selected in the ninth round by the Tampa Bay Rays. Former Centurions Tommy Milone is taken in 10th round by the Washington Nationals and Travis Babin goes in the 16th round to the Mets. Susdorf is drafted in the 19th round by the Philadelphia Phillies, former COC pitcher Ryan China McCarney goes in the 29th round to the Cleveland Indians and former Viking Virgil Hill is taken in the 35th round by Oakland.

June 19 — The Master’s College head women’s basketball coach Ken Sugarman resigns after 13 years with the program. During his tenure, Sugarman won seven conference titles and reached the NAIA National Tournament seven times. Dan Waldeck, who was his assistant coach for 12 years, takes over as head coach.

June 21 — Delio wins the 97th California Amateur Championship.

June 25 — Susdorf and Fresno State win the NCAA College World Series with a 6-1 victory over Georgia in Game 3 in Omaha. The Hart graduate scores three runs in the victory and was 1-for-2 with a walk in the game.

July 13 — Hart grad Chris Valaika plays in the MLB All-Star Futures Game as a member of the Cincinnati Reds organization. Valaika was named to the Reds’ 40-man roster in November.

Aug. 21 — Bustos and the U.S. National Softball Team fall 3-1 to Japan in the gold-medal game at the Olympic Games in Beijing. It is the first time the team has lost since 2000. It was the last time softball was played in the Olympics.

One the same day, Santa Clarita Valley resident Allyson Felix takes silver in the 200 and David Neville finishes third in the 400. Neville goes on to win the gold as a member of the 4x400 relay, as does Felix. Kim Rhode, who trains in the Santa Clarita Valley, wins her fourth Olympic medal by taking silver in skeet shooting.

Sept. 3 — Montgomery wins Pitcher of the Year for the Surprise Royals in his first season with the team. In 12 appearances, the Hart grad was 2-1 with a 1.82 ERA.

Sept. 23 — Shields ties a Rays record with 14th win on the season. The victory would come at the Orioles’ expense as Tampa Bay inches closer to its first division title with the 5-2 win.

Oct. 4 — Golden Valley football beats Kilpatrick 7-6 in first game ever played at Golden Valley High School.

Oct. 17 — Saugus football beats Hart 55-20, the first time Saugus has beaten Hart in 16 years.

Oct. 18 — Santa Clarita Christian football collapses in the second half and loses 54-38 to Thacher. It is the Cardinals’ first defeat of the season after starting 5-0.

Oct. 21 — Led by senior Shelby LeDuff, Valencia girls volleyball beats West Ranch in five games in a battle of two previously unbeaten teams. The win gives the Vikings the inside track to the Foothill League title, which they claim with a second victory over the Wildcats later in the season. It is Valencia’s seventh straight championship.

Oct. 23 — Shields joins Hart grad Bob Walk as the only Santa Clarita Valley products to win a World Series game. Shields strikes out four through 5 2/3 innings in Game 2 for the Rays, who beat Philadelphia 4-2 and tie the series at 1-1. The Phillies would go on to win the World Series and Shields wouldn’t pitch again.

Oct. 27 — Hart girls golf wins Foothill League title led by co-medalists Amanda Corr and Kendall Dusenberry, who each shoot 39s on the par-36 Elkins Ranch Golf Course.

Oct. 30 — Valencia girls tennis clinches its seventh straight Foothill League title with an 18-0 rout of Canyon. Vikings senior Isabella Fraczek sweeps all three of her sets in her return from an injury.

Nov. 7 — Saugus football clinches a share of its first-ever Foothill League title with 31-24 win over Valencia. Both teams come into the game undefeated in league. The Centurions amassed a 28-10 halftime lead, which proved to be too much for the Vikings to overcome. Saugus quarterback Desi Rodriguez finishes the game with 159 yards and one touchdown passing, while rushing for 182 yards and two touchdowns. Rodriguez is currently at the Air Force Academy. The Centurions beat Canyon 56-28 in the final week of the season to clinch the outright championship.

Nov. 8 — COC football wins the National Division Northern Conference title with a 42-41 win over Pasadena City College in overtime. The Lancers decide to go for two in overtime, but the Cougars defense holds. Running back Fred Winborn racks up 235 yards and five touchdowns on the night — a new COC record. Now at Texas A&M Kingsville, Winborn set a host of Cougar records, including career rushing yards (3,158), career touchdowns (42) and carries in a career (403).

Nov. 10 — Hart girls golf wins CIF-SS Northern Team Divisional at River Ridge Golf Club in Oxnard. Saugus, led by senior Tiara Wells, takes seventh and West Ranch winds up eighth.

Nov. 21 — Hart football loses 34-21 to Atascadero, ending head coach Mike Herrington’s streak of consecutive trips to the CIF-SS division quarterfinals at 19.

Nov. 24 — Valencia girls tennis loses for the fourth straight year in the CIF-SS Division III team finals, this time falling 13-5 to Valencia of Placentia.

Nov. 29 — Saugus girls cross country wins its third straight CIF state title led by Mahoney’s individual title, and the Centurions finish second at the Nike Cross Nationals a week later. The three-peat matches Hart boys cross country’s string of three straight titles in the early 1990s.

Meanwhile, Golden Valley vaults to the forefront of the local cross country scene as then-junior Seth Totten places fifth to lead the Grizzlies to an 11th-place overall finish.

Dec. 5 — Santa Clarita Christian football wins its first CIF-SS Division I 8-Man title with 50-28 win over Faith Baptist. Collin Keoshian carries the ball 39 times for 266 yards and five touchdowns in the victory. The Brigham Young-bound star breaks the Santa Clarita Valley record for touchdowns in a season with 44, finishing with 32 rushing touchdowns along with seven receiving and five passing. The previous record was 43, set by Canyon grad J.J. DiLuigi in 2005.

One the same day, Saugus football is routed 35-8 by St. Bonaventure in the CIF-SS Northern Division semifinals.

Dec. 6 — COC football’s season comes to a stunning close as the previously unbeaten Cougars are defeated 51-44 by Mt. San Antonio College in the Southern California Community College Football Championship. Winborn would go to be named an All-American, while receiver Hayo Carpenter, offensive lineman Joe Evinger, defensive lineman Marquis Jackson and linebacker Eric Wells would be selected as well. Jackson also wins the Defensive Player of the Year award. Carpenter is now at Minnesota, Evinger is at Louisville, Jackson went on to UCLA and Wells is at Northern Michigan.

Valencia football is ousted in the CIF-SS Northern Division semifinals with a 30-8 loss to Moorpark.

Dec. 11 — After three seasons with the program, Golden Valley head football coach Steve Pinkston resigns. He is later replaced by Andy Campbell.

Dec. 12 — TMC men’s basketball knocks off NAIA No. 11 Azusa Pacific 79-69, a feat matched on the women’s side by a 75-68 win by the Mustangs. APU women’s basketball is ranked No. 5 in the NAIA at the time.

Dec. 17 — COC inducts the 1981 state championship baseball team, basketball player Jesse Boyd, golfer Susan Latch, football coach Larry Reisbig and counselor Al Adelini into the school’s Hall of Fame.

Dec. 18 — Mike Kane resigns as West Ranch’s head football coach after five season with the program. Sean O’Brien would later replace Kane.

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