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Year in Review: Golden Valley - young and hungry

Grizzlies' youth sets up a bright future

Posted: June 25, 2013 9:39 p.m.
Updated: June 25, 2013 9:39 p.m.

Rebecca Ho completed one of the greatest athletic careers in Golden Valley history.

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If you scratch a little bit below the surface, what you’ll find is a Golden Valley athletic program building some momentum.

The league titles and major accolades aren’t flying through the doors on campus just yet, but the performances of some of the younger athletes at the school demonstrate a clear indication of a rising trend.

One general area which has already reached impressive milestones in recent years continued to live up to its acclaim at Golden Valley this season — cross country and track and field.

The most significant accomplishment for the Golden Valley Grizzlies occurred in the spring when the girls track and field team won its first Foothill League championship in school history.

The boys track and field team followed suit and split a league title with Canyon, which gave Golden Valley a second straight Foothill crown.

As dual league champs, Golden Valley went on to send a school-record nine athletes to the CIF-Southern Section Track and Field finals.

One of those athletes, senior Courtney Maduike, became the first female athlete from Golden Valley and the second overall to qualify for the CIF-SS Masters Meet. She did so in the discus toss.

Another athlete to make a lot of noise on the track was freshman Azaria Hill.
Hill burst onto the high school track scene this year, becoming the area’s top sprinter, winning four league titles and earning The Signal’s All-Santa Clarita Valley Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year honor.

On the boys side, it was more outstanding sprinters, including senior transfer Leon Jacobs and fellow senior James Chevious.

Those two also provided a spark elsewhere at Golden Valley.

Chevious and Jacobs were both key contributors for the school’s basketball team, while Jacobs excelled in football as well.

After transferring from Bishop Montgomery High of Torrance before this season, Jacobs emerged as one of the league’s top all-around talents in football and basketball.

The University of Wisconsin football commit was a Signal All-SCV first-teamer in football and track and field in addition to his Foothill League first-team status in basketball.

From a team standpoint, one of the big highlights of the year came in girls golf.

Adding to the list of young, promising athletes at the school, freshman golfer Elisa Pierre joined forces with strong senior Amanda Hobbs to finish a school-best third place in the Foothill behind champion West Ranch.

Pierre finished second in overall league strokes behind Hart senior Jamie Corr, which helped send Golden Valley to its first postseason in team history.

In boys golf, freshman Jonathan Kang made the individual postseason after finishing fifth in league.

It was also a milestone year for both the girls and boys tennis programs this season.

On the boys side, it was a team effort that helped push the Grizzlies to their first postseason berth in school history (in either boys or girls tennis) after a fourth-place finish in league.

Golden Valley, led by promising sophomore Brandon Yu, then went on to win its CIF-SS Division II wild-card match over South Hills by a narrow game score of 81-76 after the teams played to a 9-9 tie in sets.

For the girls team, it was all about senior Rebecca Ho, who won her second straight Foothill individual singles title and she repeated as All-SCV Singles Player of the Year to end one of the most decorated athletic careers the school has seen.

In addition to Ho, a few other storied Golden Valley careers came to an end this year.

As the last two leftovers from the previous year’s state champion boys cross country team, seniors Nolan Del Valle and Brendan Tinoco helped Golden Valley finish second in league and ninth at the CIF-SS Division II finals.

Though the team didn’t qualify for the state finals as a whole, Del Valle did so as an individual. The UC Irvine commit finished 15th in the CIF State Division II Cross Country final in his fourth and final appearance at the state meet.

Fellow Grizzly senior and Arizona State-bound Chelsey Totten also wrapped up a strong four-year running career at the school this year with a league track and field title in the 1,600-meter in addition to a second-place finish in the Foothill cross country finals.

In the distance running category, Totten’s successor appears to be yet another promising, young talent in Bianca Tinoco.

As a freshman, Tinoco became the first female in Golden Valley history to qualify for the cross country state finals. On top of that, she earned a spot on the podium by finishing seventh in the state Division II race.

Outside of the positives, there were a few teams that struggled this season. But nearly across the board in all sports, the presence of young, talented athletes give hope to the future.

Maybe some of these Golden Valley teams can put the struggles of its past behind it.

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