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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.
Even if Micaela Velasquez didn't own a Foothill League record - which she does - or swim a time that gave her All-American consideration - which she did - she would still have loads of swimming success to her name.
When West Ranch infielder Chris Caldwell fell to the ground after a swing of his bat, no one needed a doctor to know it was bad.

"When I went to swing, my cleat got caught in the dirt and my [right] kneecap dislocated," recalled Caldwell, remembering the game against Golden Valley in April last year. "I felt it bend inward. It was nasty."
Canyon's Jason Ferlianto can't choose just one, so don't ask.

The junior loves tennis and already has a Foothill League singles title to his name.
Start with Chris Printz, who had never been a head coach before taking helm of the Golden Valley boys basketball team in 2004.

Sprinkle in the fact that Golden Valley was a new school and starting its sports programs from scratch, and then add in a dash of transfer players from all over the Santa Clarita Valley.
Greg Herrick has a good thing going. He knows it. He loves it.
Earlier this season the College of the Canyons women's basketball coach won his 400th game with the Cougars. Nine times along the way he's won Western State Conference Championships. Eight times his teams have produced the highest scoring in California.
Anyone who thinks boys basketball players need to leave the Santa Clarita Valley to get noticed by college programs needs to swing by Lonnie Jackson's house and take a look inside his family's mailbox sometime, or listen to his ringing phone and watch as he does his best to keep up with all his e-mails.
A four-and-a-half minute highlight video, posted on YouTube, of Santa Clarita Christian School senior football player Collin Keoshian was intended for the eyes of friends and family. Think of it as a "Hey Grandma, look at what I've been doing in school" video. It turned out to be so much more.
In the past five years, four schools have won Foothill League football titles. That's how competitive things have become.

"It's to the point where an injury or two could be the difference between finishing fourth or winning the championship," says Canyon coach Chris Varner. "Teams are that close."
Santa Clarita is filled with sports phenoms, both amateur and professional. As a special nod to "back to school," we'd like to introduce you to seven of the SCV's most impressive prep sport personalities.
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