Shine in the Olympics, MLB & More
September, 2012 - Issue #95
If there's ever been a time in Santa Clarita Valley history where the world knows more about its sports than its amusement park, it's now.

This summer, the spotlight shined bright on the SCV because of its home-grown athletes. From Olympians to professionals to even an amateur, locals made huge impacts.

The best place to start is the 2012 Olympic Games in London. There were four home-grown athletes from the SCV competing on sports' grandest stage. Each athlete had their own unique story picked up by media across the world.

Hart High graduate Anthony Ervin won a gold medal in the 50 freestyle in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and added to that a silver medal. Then he gave up the sport for nearly a decade while going through a soul-searching journey that was detailed in the August 2 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine. His return to the Olympics in 2012 nearly netted him a medal.

Canyon High graduate Alysia Montano missed out on the Beijing Olympics in 2008 because of injury, but the focused, ultra-competitive runner made her first Olympic team this year and ran in the 800 meters.

Saugus graduate David Smith, a hearing-impaired middle blocker, defied the odds to make the successful 2012 Olympics men's US volleyball team.

Three-time Olympic medalist coming into 2012 and Santa Clarita Valley resident Allyson Felix had to deal with the controversy of tying for, and ultimately earning, the final 100-meter spot for the US Olympic team. Felix tied Jeneba Tarmoh for third place at the June Olympic Trials and faced a run-off until Tarmoh ultimately surrendered her spot. Felix, who was raised in the SCV and is one America's most popular athletes, competed in three Olympic events.

Away from London, one American prodigy, another Alison, enjoyed her own success. Valencia High senior Alison Lee has been one of the nation's top-ranked junior golfers since she was a preteen. In the span of one month, the 17 year old proved why she is one of the best girls golfers in the United States. In early July, Lee competed in one of women's golf's most prestigious events - the U.S. Women's Open. It was the third time in her young career that she played in the event. This time around, the UCLA-commit tied for 60th place, but she was one of three amateurs among 28 who competed to make the cut.

A little more than two weeks later, she played in the nation's top girls event and nearly won it. She outlasted 156 other golfers to make it to a one-on-one stroke play match at the US Girls' Junior Championship. After 30 holes, she was leading, but Lee eventually finished in second place in a match televised on Golf Channel.

At the professional level, the Santa Clarita Valley experienced a unique first. On July 31, Hart High graduate and Tampa Bay Rays pitcher James Shields started his Major League Baseball game against Saugus High graduate and Oakland A's starter Tommy Milone. The pair never faced each other in high school, as Shields graduated in 2000 and Milone graduated in 2005. In the game, Shields was masterful in an 8-0 shutout. Yet Milone has been outstanding for the surprising A's. Both pitchers are playing for teams who are in the playoff mix.

Another pitcher made his much-anticipated debut. Hart graduate Trevor Bauer, one of baseball's top prospects, made his Major League debut in a start on June 28 in Atlanta. The 2008 Hart grad won his first big league game on July 8 against the Dodgers. Along with Valencia's Danny Worth and former Canyon player Zach Britton and College of the Canyons player Dana Eveland, the SCV has been well represented in Major League Baseball in 2012.

And the local impact will continue into the fall. Locals represent the SCV on numerous National Football League teams. Hart graduate and Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore could be the team's starter for a second straight year. Valencia graduate and running back Shane Vereen is looking for a bigger role on the New England Patriots after a rookie season that saw him battle hamstring injuries. Super Bowl champion and New York Giant Jason Pierre-Paul is one of the league's best defensive linemen. The valley could have six others on NFL Opening Day rosters, including COC product and San Francisco 49er Isaac Sopoaga and Hart grad and Buffalo Bills hopeful Delano Howell. It would have been seven had Hart graduate and quarterback Kyle Boller not retired after eight NFL seasons.

It's plain to see that the SCV is a sports factory. These athletes all represent it.
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