The CIF-Southern Section released the winners of the 33rd annual Ford Academic Awards, and three Santa Clarita Valley sports teams received the top honor.
The awards are based on a cumulative grade point average, and to be considered, teams must have at least five student-athletes with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA in the first semester of the 2018-19 school year.
The Hart girls soccer team (3.84 GPA) along with the boys tennis team (3.91 GPA), plus the West Ranch boys golf team (3.87 GPA) all finished first in the “1500 and Above” category.
“The first thing you have to realize is it takes a village. It’s the parents, it’s the teachers, the coaches putting an emphasis on it,” said Linda Peckham, Hart High athletic director. “It’s a pretty special deal and we’re very proud to be honored.”
Hart tennis coach Allan Harbarger echoed Peckham’s sentiment about the importance of having a great support system at home and in the community.
When he told his players about the award, they didn’t quite understand the magnitude of the honor. It was only when he mentioned they would be presented with a banner in a ceremony at Angel Stadium before a Los Angeles Angels game on May 20, that it really sank in.
“These kids, they’ve been excellent students all their lives, so when they heard they won an academic award, they didn’t really the understand the scope of it,” Hardbarger said. “I started explaining, ‘Look guys, here’s the list of schools, there’s over 350 schools, your name is on the top of this list. You have done something that 349 other schools were not able to do.’
“Then of course I mentioned that we’ve been invited to Angel Stadium for a team photo and a banner presentation and they started getting excited about meeting Mike Trout.”
The last time a Hart sports program received the honor was during the 2007-08 season, when the baseball team won it.
It’s the second time the Indians girls soccer team has been recognized as a top academic program, with the first award coming back in 2006-07.
The Hart girls soccer team, tennis team and the West Ranch boys golf team will all be honored in a pre-game ceremony at the Angels game on May 20.
Several SCV teams received honorable mentions
Canyon: baseball, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls golf, boys and girls soccer, softball, boys and girls swim, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls track and field, boys and girls volleyball.
Hart: baseball, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls cross country, football, boys golf (second place), girls golf, boys soccer, softball, boys and girls swim, girls tennis, boys and girls track and field, boys volleyball, girls volleyball (second place).
Santa Clarita Valley International: boys basketball, boys soccer.
Santa Clarita Christian School: baseball, boys and girls basketball, football, boys and girls soccer.
Trinity Classical Academy: baseball, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls soccer, softball, boys and girls swim, boys track and field (fifth place), girls track and field, girls volleyball.
West Ranch: baseball (second place), boys basketball (fifth place), girls basketball, boys cross country, girls cross country (second place), football, girls golf (fifth place), boys and girls soccer, softball, boys swim, girls swim (second place), boys tennis, girls tennis (fifth place), boys and girls track and field, boys and girls volleyball.