There's one thing Alysia Montano rarely does - and that's stop. But two weeks before the Canyon High graduate won the 800-meter race at the US Olympic Trials and earned a spot on the 2012 US Olympic team, Montano was finally at a standstill. She explained what life had been like leading up to trials.
How do you wrap up the entire Santa Clarita Valley high school sports year in one sentence? What a season. It began in the fall with the excitement of the Foothill League football race between Valencia, Canyon and Saugus, but the headlines were again taken away by the overwhelming success of Saugus girls cross country, joined by the upstarts at Golden Valley. In the winter, it was a Canyon-dominated time with two league titles and some unwelcomed controversy. In the spring, new programs stepped to the forefront. We saw new stars and waved farewell to athletes who peaked in the final moments of their high school careers. In the end, 2011-12 was another special chapter in the valley's rich high school sports history.
Swimming in the Santa Clarita Valley tends to get pushed aside by the sports that draw the bigger crowds. But there's a hidden truth about it locally - it's one of the most successful sports in the SCV and one that helps define the sports landscape in our community.
The highest level of soccer in the Santa Clarita Valley begins its third season on May 20 at Valencia High School. And this year, the Santa Clarita Blue Heat has set its sights on its biggest success yet.
In the spring, seven high school sports take center stage: baseball, softball, track and field, swimming, boys tennis, boys golf and boys volleyball.
This is Leif Karlberg's third season playing at The Master's College. In the first two years, it was a rarity for people to be talking about his Mustangs basketball team. But this season, professors at the private Christian school are mentioning the team. On the winter break, people were showing up more than usual at Bross Gym, despite the fact that many kids went home for the holidays. And even some of those kids, away from the Newhall campus, were texting Karlberg about the success of the Mustangs.
I'm going to be honest; I don't have a clue what teams are in contention for the Super Bowl. Actually, I wasn't even sure of the exact date (I looked it up: Sunday, February 5!). I do know that Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest day for U.S. food consumption, after Thanksgiving Day. Clearly, on this un-official American holiday, people eat... a lot!
There was some tongue biting. Canyon High head boys basketball coach Chad Phillips admits the first thought in his mind wasn't necessarily the supportive one. But he held back when his best player Coley Apsay told him prior to the summer that he was going to play football.
As the seasons shift, so do sports in the Santa Clarita Valley. Winter is the time of boys and girls basketball and boys and girls soccer. Year in and year out, the Santa Clarita Valley's high schools present some of the year's most competitive sports during this time. This year should be no different. Here are eight athletes, two from each sport, to keep an eye on in the coming months.
Cross country just might be the sport that defines this community. We're witnessing a dynasty at Saugus High School, as its girls team has won five straight CIF state titles. We're watching the success of a burgeoning cross country program at Golden Valley High and the impressive performances at the local college level, particularly The Master's College. We have reached the golden age of running in the Santa Clarita Valley.
The day everything changed was October 29, 2004. After more than a decade of squatting on the Foothill League football title, Hart lost to Valencia, signaling the end of the one-team show in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Santa Clarita is filled to the brim with athletic talent, so you can imagine how difficult it was to choose just one superstar from each local high school. Our sports guru, however, was up for the task. Meet 2011's Inside SCV All Stars!
When the Valencia High softball team won a national championship in 2007, it wasn't having a loaded offensive lineup, a roster filled with so many college-bound players that some couldn't even crack the starting lineup, that made it the best team in the country - it was the fact that it had a pitcher, Jordan Taylor, who received exactly one run of support in each of the Vikings' playoff games and still found a way to earn 1-0 wins in all of them.
Know anyone with an addiction? Someone who gets restless if they have to go 15 minutes without checking Facebook? Someone who isn't employed at a Starbucks but could tell you the full names and weekly schedules of everyone who works there?
Then you'll understand what Valencia High senior Lauren Spargo is going through.
Talk to Canyon's Chad Phillips about the Valencia boys basketball team's chances of repeating as Foothill League champs and he sounds more like a fan than opposing coach.
This isn't the case of a coach not wanting to hurt her athletes' feelings. This isn't a case of a coach taking the easy way out and not being willing to share an honest opinion.
For four seasons in a row, the Saugus High girls cross country team has been better than any other team in California. It's a squad that, with six of its top seven runners returning from a season ago, is expected to win a fifth consecutive state title this year. Only a pair of teams in the entire United States of America can claim a higher preseason ranking.
Meet six of Santa Clarita's most promising athletes. These young sports stars have more than skill, they have the heart of a competitor. Their sports may be different, but the one thing they have in common is the drive to be the best.
It's that time of year. No offense to Christmas, but 'round these parts, there's more than a few people who might say that high school football season is the most wonderful time of the year.
Don't be fooled by the thin frame, the braces-filled smile complete with dimples, or her quiet demeanor. When you are looking at 10-year-old Madison Martinez, you are looking at a BMX world champion. And while she's on the track, that's Monster Madison to you.