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2011-12 Saugus Year in Review: Exceptional display

Posted: June 28, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 28, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Saugus' Serena Smith-Banas was named The Signal's All-Santa Clarita Valley Girls Soccer Player of the Year for 2011-12

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The 2011-2012 season was a proving ground for the Saugus athletic program.

Some teams stayed on top. Some teams rose to the top. And nearly every team was competitive in Foothill League play.

From girls soccer’s third-straight league title, to the girls cross country team winning perhaps its most improbable state title in a run of six consecutive. Or the baseball team’s surprising run to the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division I playoffs, and girls volleyball’s snapping of Valencia’s nine-year league title streak, Saugus proved itself time and time again.

And there were plenty of stars along way.

Saugus picked up All-CIF honors in girls basketball (Megan Dawe), girls soccer (Serena Smith-Banas), girls volleyball (Ashley Guthrie) and football (Denley Rodriguez).

Justin Donatella received All-Foothill Pitcher of the Year honors in baseball and Rodriguez was named All-Foothill League Lineman of the Year in football.

But no one was as impressive as Karis Frankian on the track and Abbey Weitzeil in the pool — with the two named co-female Athletes of the Year by the school.

Frankian was the senior star on a Saugus cross country team going for its sixth straight CIF State Division II cross country championship.

But more so than the previous five, in which the team had also won CIF-SS Div. II crowns, winning the state title wasn’t exactly expected.

But Frankian and her teammates came through, winning a sixth straight title and cementing the program atop the school’s athletic hierarchy.

Weitzeil, just a freshman, entered the year already qualified for the USA Swim Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Neb., and she proved she was as good as advertised again and again throughout the high school season.

The freshman won two league titles in record times and was the only Division I female athlete to take home two CIF titles.

In a sport usually dominated by Hart locally, Weitzeil helped the Saugus girls finish second in league and close the gap on the Indians.

That was just one of many of headline-worthy team performances from Saugus this year.

And the success didn’t just come in any one season, either.

The year started off in stellar fashion for the Centurions, winning three league titles in the fall.

The girls volleyball team, led by All-SCV Player of the Year Jaclyn Clark, won its first Foothill League title since 2001 with a perfect 10-0 league campaign.

The football team impressed as well, led by Rodriguez and do-everything quarterback Jared Carbajal — who ran for a team-high 1,055 yards.

The Centurions thought they had missed out on a league title after a 35-0 loss to Valencia on Nov. 11, but a retroactive forfeit by Canyon for using an ineligible player in an Oct. 14 game gave Saugus a share of the title at 7-4 overall, 4-1 in league.

Off the field drama didn’t play a role in Saugus’ girls cross country league title run, with the only drama along the way coming when they lost out on a sixth straight CIF-SS Div. II title to Simi Valley.

When winter’s cold weather crept in, the Centurions stayed hot.

February saw the girls soccer team secure its third straight league title with a 3-0 win over Golden Valley on Feb. 9.

After that, Saugus became the first Foothill League school to win a CIF-Southern Section Division I playoff game in girls soccer when it defeated Santa Margarita in penalty kicks.

On the same day the soccer team celebrated its title, Dawe and her Saugus basketball teammates were defeating Golden Valley to secure a co-league title of their own.

The league season had started out poorly, with a 50-41 loss to eventual co-league champion Canyon.

But an 8-2 conclusion, including a 52-50 victory over the Cowboys on Jan. 27 won them the crown.

Weitzeil was the headline story of the spring, dominating the competition and taking home two CIF-SS Division I titles.

But she wasn’t the only one standing out for the Centurions.

The baseball team, picked to finish fifth in a preseason poll of the league’s coaches, went on one of the most surprising runs of the season in any sport.

Saugus remained in contention for the title and was in first with just three games to go before going 1-2 down the stretch to place second in league.

But the surprises weren’t over, as head coach John Maggiora guided Saugus to the school’s most successful season since 1991 by advancing to the CIF-SS Division I quarterfinals — that after having never before won a playoff game at the Division I level.

The softball team, despite losing 12 players off its 2011 Foothill League title team, started out the league season 4-0 and held on for a second-place tie before falling in the first round of the playoffs.

The girls track and field team, again led by Frankian and teammate Jenay Jauregui, guided Saugus to a third place finish, while the boys finished fourth.

Individually, Frankian made her third trip to the CIF State Track and Field Championships in the 3,200-meter race, where she took 19th on June 2.

It didn’t matter the date, or the sport — for Saugus it was a full year of success — from fall to spring, Saugus was a force to be reckoned with.



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