The footsteps on fields across the Santa Clarita Valley are getting louder. Lacrosse is here and it's growing.
Foothill League softball could certainly argue that it is the most competitive battle in all of Santa Clarita Valley sports. In the last four seasons, four schools - West Ranch, Saugus, Valencia and Hart - have claimed league titles. But more importantly than the fierce competition is just how talented the girls who play are. It is one of the most successful sports in the SCV in terms of sending athletes on to play at the college level. As usual this year will be a battle with tons of talent spread across the valley.
It was a bit of an upset. Coming on the heels of one of the worst reported violations committed by a program in the Santa Clarita valley in the last 10 years, Canyon girls basketball turned to an unknown coach from Indiana named Chuck Johns in 2009.
Every year, Foothill League boys basketball is one of the most competitive sports in the SCV. Over the last six seasons, every single school - with the exception of Saugus - has won a league championship. Sure, there are title favorites this year, West Ranch and Hart, but this is shaping up to again be a highly-competitive league. Here's the lowdown on the teams.
Is it the system, the partner or the personality? It's all of them. It's what makes College of the Canyons women's basketball coach Greg Herrick, now in his 21st season at the helm of the Cougars, one of the Santa Clarita Valley's most successful and significant coaches.
During the 1990s and into the early part of the 2000s, Hart football was the program that the Santa Clarita Valley was identified with. Between 1995 and 2003, the Indians won six CIF championships and had a series of superstars who went onto play at higher levels.
David Neville, originally of Indiana, has called Santa Clarita "home" for over five years - but his work representing our country has taken him well beyond SCV borders.
In the last decade, no high school sport in the Santa Clarita Valley has been more successful than cross country. It's been a valley-wide show of success, but no two teams have been the flag bearers of that success more than Saugus High girls cross country and Golden Valley High boys cross country.
When you're talking about the elite athletes of the Santa Clarita Valley for the 2012-13 season, no conversation can begin without the following six. These athletes are some of the best of the best.
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.
It is said that of all the sports, football is king in the Santa Clarita Valley and the crown is the Foothill League championship. In 2012, there's a favorite, but that team is not necessarily a runaway favorite. Hart High football, armed with its most potent offense since its last Foothill League championship in 2007, is the trendy pick for the team to beat in the Santa Clarita Valley.
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.