By the end of this fall sports season, four out of five Santa Clarita fall sports will be represented at the state level.
Each team or athlete (current or former) fought through the noise of a crowded CIF-Southern Section field to reach a higher competitive ground.
First, Zoe Campos of West Ranch took the girls golf scene by storm as a freshman. She cruised through her first Foothill League season and was ultimately crowned the individual champion — despite being absent from one league meet.
Campos, a UCLA commit, then worked her way through the individual postseason and earned the CIF state title at Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach after carding a 2-under 69.
Santa Clarita Christian volleyball went 6-3 in league and fell to Glendale Adventist in the CIF-Southern Section finals, but still earned a berth in the state tournament.
The Cardinals swept Lone Pine in the first round, then took a match against Carnegie Schools-Riverside down to the wire in a 3-2 loss.
SCV cross country saw four teams rank in the top seven at the CIF State meet. The Saugus girls team came in second in Division 2, while the boys team came in third. The West Ranch boys came in sixth in Division 2 and the Canyon boys in seventh.
Furthermore, Saugus runner Mariah Castillo competed — and captured third place — at the national level at the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon.
Lastly, the SCV will be represented in the Division 1-A CIF Regional Football Championship Bowl Game this Friday. Former Hart quarterback and football coach Dean Herrington will be leading Paraclete against Narbonne.
I’ve heard the argument that earning a CIF-SS regional spot has become too easy. That the emphasis isn’t on achieving an impressive record, but rather just getting a record that’ll get the team to playoffs.
For example, how does a football team like Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach make it into the Division 6 playoffs with a 4-6 overall record?
There’s a difference between “good” and “good enough.”
However, a scenario like that doesn’t describe any of the SCV teams or athletes who became state title contenders this season. They’re really just that good and have an intense desire to be good from the start of the season to the end.
Campos will likely turn pro in the near future, thanks to competing in amateur tournaments around the country and still making time for Foothill League golf.
SCCS and Saugus cross country are both perennial state contenders with dedicated coaching staffs and athletes.
Herrington captured a state title with the Spirits last year and had plenty of success between his coaching stints at Hart, Occidental College and College of the Canyons.
Santa Clarita Valley teams are hard-working across the board. Earning the chance to see that hard work pay off in the form of a state appearance — that’s something easier said than done. And definitely something that doesn’t happen in an instant.