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2013-14 Golden Valley Year in Review

Posted: July 4, 2014 8:29 p.m.
Updated: July 4, 2014 8:29 p.m.

Jonathan Kang became Golden Valley's first Foothill Player of the Year in boys golf this spring.

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Of all sports at Golden Valley High, it was golf.

That was the most newsworthy of all the sports at the school in 2013-14.

It’s rather unique because just five years ago, Golden Valley golf was nearly hopeless.

Its own coach was having doubts about the Grizzlies competing with the other teams in the Foothill League.

Kids within the Golden Valley boundary just weren’t golfers.

Then came a golfer named Amanda Hobbs.

In 2011, the junior became the second-ever Golden Valley golfer to reach a CIF individual postseason.

That coach, Tony Moskal, said Hobbs’ work ethic and leadership turned the tide at Golden Valley.

On top of that, golfers started coming to the school — the most heralded being Elisa Pierre.

Then, this year the arrival of Justine Reblando put the Grizzlies over the top.

The Golden Valley girls golf team won the second-ever Foothill League title for a girls program in the school’s eight years competing in the Foothill League.

Pierre, just a sophomore, was the league Player of the Year, and she finished tied for eighth overall on Nov. 20 out of 54 golfers in the CIF State Individual Girls Golf Championship at Quail Lodge Golf Course in Carmel.

Going into her junior year, she is already one of the Santa Clarita Valley’s biggest female stars.

The boys’ side has its own star as well.

Jonathan Kang, in his sophomore season, won the Foothill League’s Player of the Year and made it all the way to the CIF/SCGA Southern California Championship on June 2.

The Golden Valley boys golf team missed out on the CIF team postseason by just three strokes.

But golf at Golden Valley is strong.

And so is girls track and field.

The program that won the school’s first girls Foothill title in 2013, won its third in 2014.

Golden Valley girls track and field members Crystal Orellana, Azaria Hill, Jada Selexman, Zakora Merriweather, Samiyah Hawkins, Bianca Tinoco, Caitlyn Zindroski and Nikaela Harris have made up the core group of athletes who have turned the program into a powerhouse. But the two most powerful members of the team had the biggest 2014.

Harris scored a third-place finish in the CIF-Southern Section Division II shot put final on May 24 with a school-record throw of 41 feet, 7 1/2 inches. Hawkins finished fourth in Division II discus with a toss of 123-01.

Harris’ throw broke Hawkins’ old school record.

Those marks advanced both athletes to the CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet, the first time the school had ever had two athletes competing at the same Masters Meet.

One of Golden Valley’s track stars, Caitlyn Zindroski, helped lead the girls basketball team to its fourth postseason in school history and first playoff win ever.

That came on Feb. 22 with a 57-37 beating of Rancho Alamitos in Garden Grove in the CIF-SS Division IIA second round.

Senior Mariah Madison’s tough play, leadership and scoring ability helped the Grizzlies to a 15-12 season overall.

This past season also marked change for Golden Valley.

Football, baseball and boys basketball all struggled in 2013-14, all going winless in Foothill League play.

But Grizzlies head football coach Robert Fisher graciously handed over the reins after the season to Dan Kelley in January.

Kelley spent the last three years as the head coach at Arleta High, which finished 9-2 in 2013. Arleta went 26-7 overall under Kelley’s guidance.

Golden Valley boys basketball coach Dan Alon and baseball coach Gino Pomilia brought a new enthusiasm to their respective programs in their first seasons and plan to build their programs in the coming years.

Sara Soltani also was a first-year head coach on the cross country side in 2013 and had big shoes to fill with the Grizzlies cross country program being one of the best in the Santa Clarita Valley. The girls and boys cross country programs finished in fifth place in Foothill League play.

Finally, we go full circle in a way.

We talked about two sophomores in Pierre and Kang and we’ll close with two other underclassmen.

Golden Valley boys soccer and boys tennis has experienced mild success in the past.

Each program has an athlete who could help propel it to the next level.

Junior Brandon Yu helped lead Grizzlies tennis to its second straight team postseason and he finished third overall in the Foothill League.

Sophomore Francisco Perez led the league with 16 goals.

Golden Valley may not be thriving in the sports that get the most exposure.

But its other sports are having more success.

Who would have said five years ago golf would be the leading sport at the school?

Who’s to say another unlikely sport won’t lead in 2014-15?

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