Considered the underdog for most sports in the Foothill League, Golden Valley High School has embraced the role and ran with it since the schools’ inception in 2004.
“You get kids from all walks of life at GV,” said Golden Valley softball head coach Daniel Soto. “The kids have this air about them that they are different than the rest of the league and they take a lot of pride in that. Being the underdog and being different.”
Accepting the role, Soto’s softball team surpassed all expectations by finishing the year second in the Foothill League behind undefeated Valencia with an overall record of 18-5.
“I think we already see it with the girls coming in,” Soto said. “They have these expectations to be good. They have this idea about GV football, but now this is a good place to play softball. The first year, I didn’t see the same perspective from girls coming in and now, they do.”
Having already established a reputable team after winning eight games a year ago, Golden Valley’s football team made history in the 2017-2018 season by making it all the way to the CIF-Southern Section Division 6 title game for the first time in program history.
“We knew we had a talented football team,” Grizzlies football head coach Dan Kelley. “It was kind of an up-and-down start for us but once we got situated to where we could be consistent, that’s when we were able to make the run we did.”
Jumping out to a 4-1 record to begin the season, the Grizzlies’ baseball team struggled under first-year head coach Matt Sorensen, but managed to show some flashes of skill and vast signs of improvement as they return some key players.
Golden Valley’s track and field stars Jalen Davis (100-meter race), Yleana Lopez (400-meter race) and Joshua Ballard (long jump) headlined the Grizzlies team and were named to the All-League team. Shyann Franklin (shot put and discus) made it through to CIF state finals taking second place in the shot put.
Finishing the season 13-14, the Golden Valley girls basketball team finished the Foothill League season strong with a 73-59 win against West Ranch to earn their first league win and push them into the CIF Southern Section Division 3A playoffs where they fell to eventual champions, Beverly Hills.
In a building season, the boys basketball team showed up to every game with the same fight and will that they started the season with. Finishing Foothill League play with three wins, the Grizzlies beat a second-place Saugus team in January and pushed Valencia to the brink in a thrilling overtime game.
After an exciting year in various sports, the Grizzlies will look to improve on the goals and standards that they have set throughout the season, knowing that they can only grow and improve from here on out.
“The Foothill League is like the Pac-12,” Kelley said. “If you look around the San Fernando Valley and even Ventura County, it’s one of the toughest leagues and we take a lot of pride in that. Everyone is proud of their school and the accomplishments.
“I don’t want to say that (Golden Valley) works harder, but we try. That’s the goal, to stay ahead of them. But that’s the sense of pride and what we try to instill in our student-athletes, that we need to outwork everyone.”
Female Athlete of the Year (As selected by the school)
Golden Valley’s ace pitcher, Cangemi led the Grizzlies softball team to the program’s best record with an 18-5 season. The Boise State commit helped the Grizzlies earn the No. 4 seed in Division 3 heading into playoffs. Losing to Alemany in the first round, Cangemi managed to rack up 15 strikeouts in the 2-1 loss. Cangemi finished the year with 1.41 ERA in 133.2 innings of work while striking out 223 and walking 17.
Male Athlete of the Year (As selected by the school)
Lewis did not disappoint this year as he was one of the key leaders on an 8-6 Golden Valley football team. Leading the team in all-purpose yards (1651) Lewis was first in receptions (58) and yards per game (63.3) while finishing second in touchdowns with 10 overall touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, Lewis finished the year with four interceptions, 11 pass deflections and 55 total tackles.
Five most memorable teams
Golden Valley boys basketball finished its season with an 8-10 overall record and 3-7 record in league play. Finishing fifth in the Foothill League, the squad totaled 516 points scored in the 2017-18 season.
Boys cross country
At the Foothill League Cross Country Championships, Golden Valley finished in fifth place. Daniel Rush and Alexis Romero posted 11th and 17th place finishes, respectively.
With an 8-6 overall record and 2-3 record in the Foothill League, Golden Valley Football earned three wins in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 playoffs and found themselves in the finals. The program’s first-ever CIF title game ended with a loss to the Division 6 Champions, Bishop Diego.
Losing only five games in the 2018 season, Golden Valley softball secured a second-place finish in the Foothill League with an 18-5 overall record and a 7-3 league record. In competition with Valencia, Golden Valley held the League Champions to a two-run deficit in their first matchup and then a one-run deficit in their second. In the first round of the CIF-SS Softball Championships, the team hosted Alemany at home and dropped the elimination contest 2-1.
Boys track and field
In the CIF-SS finals meet, the Golden Valley Boys 4×400 Meter Relay qualified for the CIF-SS Masters Meet by almost a whole second, with a 3:18.73 seed time. The 4×400 Relay team then took eighth place at the Masters Meet. Antonio Abrego competed in the Boys 800 Meter Run in the CIF-SS Masters Track and Field meet to represent Golden Valley.
Five most memorable male athletes
The Transylvania baseball commit was the only Golden Valley player to make the All-Foothill League list. In five games, Broadwater recorded a batting average of .500 and logged nine hits and four RBIs, according to MaxPreps.
Cangemi led the Grizzlies in scoring with 17 points per game in addition to pulling down four rebounds per game. In track, he competed in the high jump, long jump and triple jump.
The freshman left a mark during his first high school season with a PR in the 100-meter dash and the 200. He took first in the boys 100 at the Foothill League finals and ran alongside Brandon Sabelis, Kory Bacon and Deven Mendez for the league title in the 4×100 relay.
The senior flourished at defensive end, recording 48 solo tackles and 13 sacks in 14 games for the Grizzlies. He recovered three fumbles, caused three fumbles and blocked two field goals.
Leading the team in rushing yards, Turner racked up 829 yards on 152 carries and averaged 63.8 yards per game. Turner finished the year with six rushing touchdowns and was third on the team with 955 all-purpose yards. Playing both sides of the ball, Turner was able to finish the year with one interception and two fumbles recoveries and was able to accumulate 60 total tackles on the year.
Five most memorable female athletes
A dual-sport athlete, Franklin not only led the Grizzlies girls basketball team in points per game (12.1) and rebounds per game (11.2) but she excelled in the track and field events. Franklin finished second at CIF state finals in the shot put.
Improving with every meet, Gudino was the fastest female Golden Valley cross country runner finishing 17th at Foothill League finals in the three-mile run with a time of 19:46.45.
Making the 2018 All-Foothill League Track and Field team, Lopez took first in the 400-meter run with a time of 57.46 at league finals. Lopez also competed in the 200-meter run at the CIF Southern Section track and field finals, placing eighth in Division 2.
The top hitter in the Foothill League with a batting average of .536, Medellin finished the season with eight home runs and 38 RBIs in Golden Valley softball’s historic run.
Nunez led the girls volleyball team in kills (164), aces (40) and was second in assists (170), digs (127) and total blocks (14).
Girls Basketball – Earning a postseason berth in the 2018 season, Golden Valley girls basketball went 13-14 overall and 1-9 in league play. The squad was eliminated in the first round of CIF SS Ford Girls Basketball Playoffs by Beverly Hills, 75-55.
Boys cross country – At the Foothill League Cross Country Championships. Golden Valley’s Daniel Rush posted an 11th place finish in the Boys Varsity 3 mile run. Alexis Romero followed closely behind with a 17th place finish. The team fell short in the meet at Central Park and West Ranch boys claimed the title.
Football – Putting Golden Valley football on the map, the 2017-2018 team finished the season with an overall record of 8-6. Making the CIF Southern Section Division 6 playoffs as an “at-large” team, the Grizzlies rattled off three straight wins to make it to their first-ever CIF title game, where they fell to the Division 6 champion, Bishop Diego.
Softball – Golden Valley Softball rounded out its 2018 season with a strong overall record of 18-5 and 7-3 Foothill League record, earning the second place title. The team hosted its first round of the CIF Southern Section Softball Championships, but fell in a close 2-1 contest against Alemany.