When McDonald's released its California nominations for its All-American High School Basketball Team Wednesday, there was one surprise name from the Santa Clarita Valley.
Ariel Hale, a senior power forward from Canyon, was one of 35 girls from across the state nominated.
Four local players were honored on the All-CIF Southern Section volleyball teams, which were released earlier this week.
Three of the players hailed from Santa Clarita Christian, including senior outside hitter Kristina Gibson and senior middle blockers Kaley Morrison and Karla Eberlein. The only Foothill League honoree was Valencia junior middle blocker Katie Hank.
There was a lot of motivation going around in the Foothill League after The Signal's Winter Sports Previews, which ran from Saturday through Tuesday.
We're not taking credit for anything, but certainly those editions rubbed some local athletes the wrong way.
Golden Valley looked impressive in the pre-league season, but the Grizzlies still had to hear about how they hadn't won a league game in almost two years.
If Tuesday night was any indication, we are in for an exciting 2009 Foothill League girls basketball season.
Saugus shocked Valencia at Valencia High 55-53 in a 32-minute battle of wills.
The Canyon boys soccer team had a sack full of motivation coming into its league opener at West Ranch High.
In typical fashion, Cowboys head coach Khris Savage took every opportunity to use it.
There's an imaginary geographical line that separates part of the Santa Clarita Valley.
That line indicates whether one plays basketball for Saugus or Valencia high schools. It's a very thin marker, considering the rivalry these two teams fought down to the wire last season, with the Vikings grabbing the league crown by just one game.
The Valencia girls soccer team opened Foothill League play with an emphatic statement Tuesday, storming into Saugus and scoring four goals before the first half was even 20 minutes old.
The Vikings ended up with a 4-2 victory.
With only 10 league games, you must defend your home court.
That was the point made by West Ranch Tuesday in its Foothill League-opening 61-49 victory against Canyon at West Ranch High.
At this time last year, the Golden Valley boys soccer team began to dig itself a hole.
Chances are the Grizzlies are much happier with this season's start.
The explanation as to why he loves the game is hard to come by.
Simply, Trevor Wiseman just likes to hear the ripping sound as a basketball travels through a net.
For years, Foothill League boys basketball has had a definitive upper tier.
But the talent seems to be spread across the league this season, and because of the parity, 2009 could be a different from the past.
The road to a Foothill League championship in girls basketball has gone through Newhall Avenue.
Hart High has won seven straight titles, including a share of the crown last year with Saugus.
Hart High head basketball coach Zach Koebel goes one-on-one with a select few of his players at practice.
Megan Ford, now a center at Cal Poly Pomona, was one of his favorites last year in his first season leading the Indians.
Talk to any coach and they will tell you the same thing.
Whoever finishes as the league champions will have been the last team standing.
The Santa Clarita Christian baseball team has to be wondering when it will get a real test this season.
We've sort of neglected the play of Saugus' Braden and Aden combo because of two other great Foothill League stories this year - Golden Valley sophomore Jonathan Kang's ascension to the top of the Foothill League and Hart's displacing six-time champion West Ranch as league champion.
West Ranch didn't expect to see its season end so early.
With all of the Santa Clarita Valley boys tennis teams eliminated from the postseason, it's time to turn our attention to the CIF-Southern Section individual sectionals.
Albert Einstein Academy baseball made sure its first playoff win in school history was a memorable one.
MISSION HILLS - If Foothill League play for Saugus could be broken down into a seven-inning game, it would be a quick start, a lead in the middle and finally close but not enough.
There were the standard handshakes and hugs among players and coaches that normally follow a season-ending loss.
Before anyone at The Signal ever saw Saugus' Abbey Weitzeil swim, we knew she was fast.
There's no way around it, the Saugus Centurions softball team that took the field Tuesday resembled little from the co-Foothill League champions that rolled through most of the regular season.
The Trinity Classical Academy softball team saw its season come to an end on Tuesday with its 19-13 loss to visiting Hawthorne Math and Science Academy at Trinity.
With her adrenaline pumping, Santa Clarita Christian sophomore Shelby Boswell felt like she could keep pitching all day long.
Canyon softball ran into a buzzsaw on Tuesday, and there simply wasn't much the Cowboys could do about it.
The Vikings fell behind early in Tuesday's CIF-Southern Section first-round matchup with Oxnard High, and their sixth-inning rally fell short in a 5-2 opening-round loss.
It would be hard to imagine the West Ranch softball team getting off to a better start in this year's CIF-Southern Section Division I playoffs.
Foothill League football teams can say goodbye to the Northern Division.