2007- With some honorable mentions, the Top Ten in local sports
The year 2007 will forever be remembered as one of the best years for sports in Santa Clarita. We had it all; a National Championship, heart-breaking finishes, surprise stars, and Olympic qualifiers. The KHTS Sports department has put together the following Top 10 list, which we feel were the top stories, players, and games of 2007. Enjoy!
While the following student and team didn’t muster enough support for the top 10, there was some heavy consideration:
Tyler Woodard is a freshman at College of the Canyons. In the spring, as a senior at Canyon High School, Tyler Woodard was only a few inches from qualifying for the State Championships. tied a 35-year-old Santa Clarita record in pole vaulting, with a height of 14’8”.
The Hart District Wildcats boy’s rugby team is entering their third season in Santa Clarita. A club team, anyone from any of the six Hart District high schools can join the team. In their first season, the team finished second in the state, losing in double-overtime in the final game. This year the team proved they are no fluke, as Coach Andruw Smith and his team took home third in the state. The team is looking to take home top honors in 2008, and advance to the National Championships. For more information on the Wildcats, visit http://web.mac.com/rugbycoach/Site/Home.html 
10. Hart Varsity Basketball Sweeps League
2007 was a great year if you are a Hart basketball fan. The Indians boy’s team went 9-1 in league, with their only defeat coming at the hands of Canyon in the season finale. The Indians suffered a disappointing first-round loss to St. Bernard in the opening round of playoff action, however the team only lost four seniors, and with Foothill League player-of-the-year candidates Michael Montgomery and Marcus Moloznik back, the team is primed for another great year.
The Indians girls were the top basketball team in Santa Clarita in 2007. Undefeated in league, the girls advanced all the way to the quarterfinals of the Division 1 State Championships, where they lost to the eventual State Champion Long Beach Poly.
9. Johnny Mac-who?
Unless you know your Foothill League soccer, or are a Hart golf fan, you probably never heard of Johnny MacArthur until October 12, 2007. In his first year on the Indians football team, MacArthur intercepted a Sean Gavin pass, and then following a huge run by Delano Howell, kicked the game-winning field goal, in the pouring rain, during a nationally broadcast game, as time expired to defeat the defending State Champion Canyon Cowboys.
Encore please? Not a problem for Johnny Mac. After missing two chances at a field goal in a tie versus Valencia, MacArthur coolly marched on the field with 25 seconds on the clock, in a tie game versus Saugus on November 9th, and knocked through the Foothill League winning field goal. It’s a shame that Pepperdine, where MacArthur has received a full golf scholarship, does not have a football team.
8. Jordan Taylor, Gatorade Player of the Year
Who would have guessed four years ago that Jordan Taylor would go down as the most dominant high school softball player ever in Santa Clarita? Well, pretty much everyone at Valencia High School. Taylor, now a freshman at the University of Michigan, was named the Gatorade California Player of the Year in softball, and was a finalist nationally. Exclusively a pitcher, Taylor was undefeated her senior year, breaking school and valley records for strikeouts, wins, complete games, and no-hitters in a season and a career. In her senior year, Jordan was 32-0, with 31 complete games, 24 shutouts, and 406 strikeouts. Taylor allowed only six earned runs, and 14 total runs in 216 innings, for an earned run average that makes Roger Clemens wilt: .194. And did I mention Taylor helped the Vikings to some pretty special places as a team? Stay tuned for that story.
7. Hart Football Back On Top
The Hart Indians were the favorites coming into the 2007 Football Season. But as everyone knows, being the favorite in the Foothill League doesn’t exactly guarantee you the league title. Just ask Coach Mike Herrington. The Indians won two games on last-second field goals (Canyon and Saugus) and tied arch rival Valencia, only the second time the Indians did not walk away victors (2004). Yet still, when the dust was settled, Hart was back on top of the Foothill League. Their first title since 2003, the Indians went on to the CIF-SS Northern Division Championship game, where they lost to State Champion St. Bonaventure.
The Indians have four players with Division I offers, two who have accepted (Delano Howell, Stanford and Patrick Larimore, UCLA) and two who are still deciding (B.R. Holbrook and Derrick Bickford). And we have already documented the Johnny MacArthur story. The Indians also have a few of the more promising underclassmen in the Foothill league, led by Demitri Diamond and Jacob Stephens.
6. Jordan Danny Qualifies for Olympic Trials
Hart junior Jordan Danny is the queen of the breast-stroke in the Foothill League. Better yet, she may end up being queen of the world one day. Danny qualified for the Olympic Trials in the 200m breast-stroke, and although she faces tough competition in making the Beijing team come 2012, the swimming world will know the name. Jordan also swims the 100m well, and come the 2012 games, you never know, she just might be in the running for two medals. By the way, if you’re expecting a child, and it’s a girl, perhaps you should consider the name Jordan. Just a thought.
5. Saugus Football Welcome Back
Or should we say welcome. There were some rumblings and grumblings around town that the Centurions football squad could be good. Well, they were good all right. Try 25-seconds from winning the schools first Foothill League Championship. And even though the season didn’t turn out like Coach Jason Bornn and his team planned, you have to admire the job everyone at Saugus has done to turn this program around. Saugus And even in defeat in the semi-finals of the CIF-SS Northern Division playoffs, the Centurions gave St. Bonaventure all they could handle. was about 45 seconds of football from being undefeated in the regular season, losing to Notre Dame and Hart in the final seconds.
Desi Rodriguez and Ryan Zirbel, both juniors, became the first combo in school history to rush for 1,000 yards each. Zirbel led the Foothill League in rushing with 2,281 yards. Desi had 1,256 yards on the ground and threw for another 986. Shane Watterson, a senior guard, is headed to UNLV. The McKillop twins, Ryan and Justin, led a defense that put constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks. And Nick Green finished top ten in the state in sacks, setting the school mark with 17.
4. Tujague Leads Cougars Rebound
When Chuck Lyon, the only head coach College of the Canyon’s football had known since it’s rebirth in the mid-90’s, retired abruptly to take the Athletic Director’s job at COC, the Cougars were left with a ton of questions. Insert Garett Tujague, Chuck’s assistant head coach, and COC’s athletic counselor. In Tujague’s first year at the helm, the Cougars rebounded from a dismal year in 2006 to finish second in their division at 8-2. The Cougars were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs against Bakersfield in double-overtime. Tujague was named Western State Conference Co-Coach of the Year, and it doesn’t hurt that he is one of the most humble people you will ever meet. Tujague often jokes that he is the only starting offensive lineman not to play in the NFL from his BYU squad. If Tujague keeps coaching like this, he may one day roam the sidelines of an NFL stadium. And that’s no joke.
3. Cowboy’s Coach Welch Rides into the Sunset
Canyon High School named their football stadium after Coach Harry Welch earlier this year. And deservedly so, as Welch was a mainstay at Canyon in the ’80s, returning a few years ago, leading the team to a State Championship. So how did Harry show his gratitude? In typical Welch fashion, by resigning. But the most shocking part of the story is Welch didn’t just resign and retire, he moved to San Juan Capistrano and took the job with St. Margaret’s.
2. Centurions Cross the State Again
It’s an amazing feat winning a State Championship as a public school one time. Try doing it back-to-back. Now try doing it back-to-back in Cross Country. That’s exactly what the Saugus Centurions girls did this year. For the second straight year, the Centurions are State Champions. Led by senior Katie Dunn, Saugus actually performed better the second year around. The Centurions took second place nationally at the Nike Team Trials. And if you think losing the valley’s top runner will hurt the Centurions shot at a three-peat, think again. Freshman Amber Murakami is the second-rated freshman in the country. There’s only one real question for the Centurions heading into 2008: Will the Championship rings slow the runners down? Probably not.
1. Vikings Reign Supreme
Year after year, Valencia softball coach Donna Lee had to wonder. Wonder if this would finally be the year. After dominating the Foothill League for so long, winning six straight titles, could the Vikings finally get the monkey off their back and take home a CIF Championship? Ha, please. The Vikings not only took home CIF honors, they were also State Champions, and, wait for it…National Champions as well.
Every starting senior received a scholarship to a Division I school, as the Vikings went 32-1 on the season. The lone loss was a 4-3 defeat in the second game of a double-header against perennial state power Camarillo. The Vikings dominated all three tournaments they played in, and surrendered just three runs in their final 13 games. Jordan Taylor shut down everyone in the playoffs, literally, as the Vikings outscored their four opponents 8-0. The season culminated in a 1-0 victory over Hart in the CIF Championship game.
The Vikings lost starting seniors Kristen Aidem (Michigan State), Jordan Taylor (Michigan), Nicole Matson (Pacific), Torrie Anderson (CSU Fullerton), and Alyssa Ishibashi (North Carolina State), but don’t expect a poor season. Valencia has several more college bound stars coming back; Tennessee commits Jessica Spigner (senior) and Madison Shipman (sophomore), Alyssa Garza (Sacred Heart), Paige Smith (Saint Francis), and Lani Bernardino (Memphis). And that doesn’t even include players like junior Amy Moore, who hasn’t committed yet, or sophomore Megan Foglesong, who contributed as a freshman last season. What does this all add up to? The Vikings are primed and pumped to bring home their eighth straight Foothill League Championship in 2008.