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Where are they Now?
Catching Up with Six Santa Clarita Sports Stars
December, 2008 - Issue #50
The last five years have likely been the most eventful in Santa Clarita Valley's prep sports history. It's hard to argue with the fact that there have been three state and two national champions. Each of the six Foothill League high schools can stake its claim to a unique accomplishment - whether it is individual or as a team.
Some of the people responsible for these achievements have moved on from high school and have started anew. These are their stories.

Ben Longshore
Canyon High graduate, Class of 2007

Ben Longshore has conflicting feelings - nervousness and anxiety. He knows little of Uruguay. He doesn't speak Spanish.

But he'll learn.

"I don't know much about [Uruguay]," he says. "I'm just looking forward to taking a break from crazy SCV life and helping people out there."

The former Canyon quarterback who helped lead the Cowboys to a monumental upset of powerhouse Concord De La Salle in the 2006 CIF State Championship game is preparing to leave for South America in December.

He's going on his Mormon Mission. Longshore took this semester off after a full year at Utah State.

He walked onto the football team, redshirted and was named scout team player of the year. When he comes back from Uruguay in late 2010, he'll resume classes. He hopes to get into broadcast journalism.

The 19-year-old says he's not done with football, either. His options are open.

Should football not pan out, he said he wants to be an entrepreneur - maybe start his own clothing line.
Grace Nam

Golden Valley graduate, Class of 2008
Golfer Grace Nam has taken a different course in her life - one that might ultimately lead her to court.

Nam was the first Golden Valley athlete to make a CIF individual playoff when she advanced to the first round of postseason play in 2006.

She's dropped the clubs and picked up the books as a student at UC San Diego. Nam's an English Literature major with hopes of one day going to law school.

UC San Diego doesn't have a golf team, and Nam hasn't picked up a club since midsummer. "You can't be this great golf superstar; there's a reality," she says. "There's a way to do it, but I really want to get into law school."
The 4.3-GPA student at Golden Valley is now reading two to three books a week in college. Nam started the record book at Golden Valley.

"Each of the six Foothill League high schools can stake its claim to a UNIQUE accomplishment."


Michael Montgomery
Hart graduate, Class of 2008

It's a Thursday night in Surprise, Arizona, and Michael Montgomery is bummed.

The Boston Red Sox just erased a seven-run deficit and beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-7 in the American League Championship.

Montgomery became the first Hart player in 31 years to be drafted in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft when the Kansas City Royals took him in June. He was also the first Santa Clarita player taken in the first round in 19 years.

But Montgomery is a Rays fan on this day. He's rooting for them because one of his idols, former Hart pitcher James Shields, is on the team.

Montgomery had an outstanding start to his pro career, going 2-1 with a 1.69 ERA for the Rookie Arizona League Royals.

"I came in here not knowing what to expect," he says. "It was the same approach to high school. It didn't seem more difficult. ... It was a good first test for me."

He stayed in Arizona through mid-October to train in the instructional league. After that, he's taking a cruise and preparing for next season. "The next few years will be a real test," the 19-year-old says.

Katie Dunn
Saugus graduate, Class of 2008

Katie Dunn just can't stop putting her team first. Now a runner for Glendale Community College, Dunn is on another winning team. Like her Saugus cross country teams of 2006 and 2007, Glendale won a state title in 2007.

Yet Dunn, who already defeated defending state champion Crystal Reed of Orange Coast College this year, is trying to add something to her new squad that is lacking.

"When I was [at Saugus], it was a huge family atmosphere," she says. "I'm hoping to try and get [Glendale] closer together because we were close in high school and we ran so well because we were so close."

Dunn is hoping to bring her talent to the university level after two years at Glendale.

She might study kinesiology.

Until then, she'll keep talking about her team's success before her own. "It's hard in college. It's more on the individual side," Dunn says. "I believe it's for the team. I'd rather win a state title than an individual title."

Jordan Taylor
Valencia graduate, Class of 2007

Jordan Taylor likes Japanese food. Not the spicy stuff, though. And the 20 year old still hasn't tried sushi.

Looking toward the future, Valencia High's all-time record-holder in every pitching statistic might try to play softball in Japan after she's done at the University of Michigan.

The 2007 California Softball Player of the Year led her Vikings to a national title. In her first season at Michigan, she was named Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year.

"In high school there are talented people on certain teams. Some teams are good, some not so good. In college everyone is good," she says.
Taylor says that softball leagues in Japan are very competitive and pay well so she might give it a chance down the road. Taylor is a communications major at Michigan who might want to get involved with advertising or marketing for a career.

She says she'll try sushi when she returns to California. "It scares me to try it in Michigan," she says. "You don't know where the fish is coming from."

Gina Tumasone
West Ranch graduate, Class of 2008

Gina Tumasone has been to the beach a grand total of two times thus far. West Ranch High's first athlete to receive a scholarship is busy with the University of Hawaii at Hilo soccer team. "You still have to work," she says. "You have to keep up with school work."

So Hawaii's not a vacation after all.Yet Tumasone is doing well. And she's had to make a major change.

West Ranch's all-time leader in goals (67) and assists (41) is now a defenseman. "I was kind of shocked. Oh gosh. I didn't know if I could do it," she says of the move. "But we have an easy system to get used to." So far, so good. Hilo won nine of its first 12 games.
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