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2011-12 Valencia Year in Review: The bar had been set high

Posted: June 29, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 29, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Valencia track and field runner Clint Gingrich.

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It was kind of an odd one for Valencia High in 2011-12.

The school has spoiled its student body for years with an abundance of athletic talent and championships.

The talent was clearly there — name recognizable multiyear varsity stars in Ryan Gorman (football), Troy Hammel
(boys basketball), Carly Mortensen (softball), Jonathan Chang (golf), Eric Ensing (boys volleyball), Trey Williams and Brian Mundell (baseball) and J.R. Macalutas (boys tennis).

Yet, that didn’t always guarantee championships or postseason success.

Out of the aforementioned sports, football, boys volleyball and boys tennis were league champs.

Football had a disappointing end in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs.

Boys volleyball made its first division semifinal since 2008, when the Vikings actually won a national title, and was even selected for the CIF Southern California Division I Regional.

Boys tennis was dominant, dropping only three sets in Foothill League play. But the Vikings fell to Burroughs in the second round of the Division II playoffs.

So success varied.

The girls volleyball team failed to win the Foothill League title for the first time since 2001 and girls tennis experienced the same fate.

Yet if there was one thing that Valencia was in 2011-12, it was competitive.

Thirteen teams went to the postseason (not including swimming, which qualified 12 swimmers for the playoffs).
Girls tennis and boys volleyball made at least a division quarterfinal.

Football was supposed to be down because of key graduations on the offensive side, yet the defense elevated the Vikings to elite status in the Foothill League.

A 35-0 win over Saugus on Nov. 11 gave Valencia football its third straight league championship.

The winter was quiet with all four teams finishing at third place or below.

Yet in the spring, boys tennis and boys volleyball kept incredible runs going.

The Vikings’ boys tennis team won its seventh straight Foothill crown and boys volleyball won its 12th straight and ended the league season at 112 straight Foothill match wins.

Individually, track and field athlete Clint Gingrich finished seventh in the CIF-SS Division I finals in the long jump with a school record mark of 22 feet, 5 1/4 inches.

Golfer Jonathan Chang ran away with the Foothill League Most Valuable Player and made it to the third of four rounds in the state postseason.

In swim, Sophie Fiscella won a league championship in the 100-yard backstroke and was a co-champion in the 50-yard freestyle.

So in many ways, Valencia’s athletic program had a respectable year.

Is it up to the standard of its past?

That’s debatable.

Yet it gives Valencia a higher place to aim for in 2012-13.

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