2018-19 Signal Sports Awards: And the nominees are…

Saugus junior Adrian McIntyre goes up for a layup in a Foothill League matchup with Canyon at Canyon High School. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Newcomer of the Year

Nathan Perez – Never taking a shot he didn’t like, the freshman shooting guard was a pesky scorer that could come off screens or hit standstill jumpers around the perimeter. Shooting 37% in his first year playing for the Centurions, Perez was second on the team averaging 17.2 points per game while grabbing 3.8 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.2 steals per game.

Kylee Davis – A multi-dimensional athlete, Davis won the Foothill League crown in the long jump and third place in the 100-meter race in 12.85 seconds. An elite jumper, Davis also finished with the league crown in the high jump with a mark of 5 feet. At CIF-Southern Section Division 1 Finals the freshman made it to the podium in third place and at the Masters Meet she finished in 13th place.

Tylar Gallien – In her first year of high school, Gallien finished her freshman campaign with two Foothill League titles in the 200-meter and the 400-meter with times of 25.32 and 57.29, respectively. At the CIF-SS Division 2 Finals, she came in sixth place in both events and set a new PR in the 400-meter, coming in at 57.18 seconds and was part of the first-place 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams for Golden Valley.

Chidinma Okafor – Averaging a double-double in her first year playing varsity for the Canyon girls basketball team, Okafor finished the year with 13.1 points and 12.7 rebounds, 3.4 blocks and 1.9 steals per contest. She finished third in CIF-SS Division in both rebounds and blocks per game to help the Cowboys reach the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs.

Cheyenne Marxer – The Vikings had a lot of underclassmen on this year’s team, but Marxer stood out among all of them. She was an energetic, vocal and motivating outfielder who wasn’t afraid to dive for catches and could think quickly to execute plays. Marxer’s instincts helped her snag a diving catch in left field for an 8-3 win against Hart that moved Valencia into a tie for second place with three games remaining in Foothill League play.

Coach of the Year

Brandon Johnson – Capping his second season at the helm of the West Ranch boys volleyball team, Johnson and his Wildcats finished the season 27-8 overall going undefeated in Foothill League play, winning 41 consecutive league games on their way to a league crown. Johnson won his first-ever playoff game in a 3-0 sweep of Dos Pueblos and matched the furthest run in program history by reaching the CIF-SS Division 2 semifinals.

Guilherme Mitrovitch – He coached the Hart girls soccer team to its sixth straight Foothill League title and got the team a 10-0 record in league play for the first time since 1997. A notoriously lethal team, the Indians finished the year with 41 goals while allowing five goals in Foothill League play on their way to the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs, where they shut out El Dorado 1-0 in the first round.

Jalonick Davis – He coached the Golden Valley boys track and field team to an undefeated Foothill League season, capturing the league crown for the first time in the program’s history. All across the board — from their distance runners, to their middle distance runners, to their throwers — were all ultra-competitive. Coaching not only runners, Davis also oversaw throwers Shyann Franklin and Kienan Donovan.

Mary Irilian – Going undefeated in Foothill League play and dropping one game in league play to capture the league title, Irilian led an Indians team that broke three Hart High School single-season records (assists, kills and blocks) and featured the All-SCV girls Player of the Year, Kylie Mattson. The Indians swept St. Paul in the CIF-SS Division 3 first round and Citrus Valley 3-1 in the second round.

Daniel Hebert – The Trinity Classical Academy girls basketball coach purposely put together a brutal preleague schedule in the hopes of testing his girls to become the best version of themselves. Hebert led the Knights to an overall record of 14-9 to capture their first undefeated Heritage League crown and into the CIF-SS Division 5A playoffs. The Knights defeated Pilgrim and Nuview Bridge in the first and second rounds with their season coming to a close in the quarterfinals.

 Most Exciting Athlete of the Year

Ryan Camacho – A dual-sport athlete in football and baseball, Camacho served as the lead running back for the Wildcats, rushing 193 times for 1,919 yards, averaging 159.9 yards per game and 28 touchdowns. He also caught 21 passes for 434 yards and five receiving touchdowns. On the baseball diamond, Camacho batted .296 in 81 at-bats, recording 24 hits and 15 RBIs.

Adrian McIntyre – Contributing mightily in his junior season with the boys basketball team, McIntyre led the Centurions to a second-place Foothill League finish. He averaged 22.3 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.8 steals while shooting 49 percent from the field.

Justine Dondonay – One of the most fun tennis players to watch this season, Dondonay constantly had spectators pining for more. Behind her small frame was a powerful stroke that went unmatched in the Foothill League, and in most of Southern California for that matter. Her ability to return tough shots while also playing an aggressive style made for spectacular tennis all year. Dondonay, playing in her first year at Golden Valley, was the runner-up at the Foothill League finals and advanced to the semifinals of the CIF-SS Individual Championships.

Dylan Sullivan – Scoring 20 goals and assisting on 12 others, Sullivan paced the Foothill League in both categories averaging 2.7 points per match. Ranking fourth on the team in minutes played (1,286), the senior ended the year scoring multiple goals in four games and led the Centurions to the CIF-SS Division 4 playoffs while being selected to the All CIF-SS Division 4 list.

Willie Yomba – After taking a year off from playing basketball at Canyon, Yomba returned better than ever for his final high school season, finishing second on the team in scoring (10.8) while leading the team in rebounds (6.7), steals (1.8) and assists (2.8) per game. A constant highlight reel, Yomba made the rim and defenders quiver on fastbreaks and one-on-ones.

Male Athlete of the Year

Kai Wingo – The All-SCV Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year, Wingo was crowned the state champion in the 800-meter race at the CIF State Track and Field Championships, setting a new PR of 1:51.71. The Vikings runner also capped his senior campaign with the Foothill League, the CIF-SS Division 1 and the CIF-SS Masters Meet titles in the 800-meter.

Kevin Childs – Defending his Foothill League titles in the 100-yard butterfly and the 100-yard backstroke, Childs ends his Canyon career as the repeat title holder in both events and was named the Foothill League Boys Swimmer of the Year at league finals. Qualifying for the CIF-SS Division 1 Finals, Childs placed fourth in the 100-yard butterfly and won the 100-yard backstroke in 47.88 seconds. At the CIF State Meet, Childs came in 10th in the 100-yard butterfly and second in the 100-yard backstroke. 

Richard Kawakami – Being named to the All CIF-SS Division 2AA list, Kawakami served as the primary ball handler for the undefeated Foothill League champion Valencia boys basketball team. Averaging 14.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game, Kawakami shot 55% from the field to close out his Vikings career.

Davis Cop – Excelling in both football and baseball, Cop had an outstanding year and was named the Foothill League Baseball Player of the Year. He finished with a batting average of .376, 41 hits, 29 RBIs and five home runs in 109 at-bats. In between the hash marks, serving as the Vikings’ quarterback, Cop threw for 15 touchdowns and 1,800 yards while rushing for another 133 yards and four touchdowns on 60 rushes.

Andrew Pfeiffer – A top Trinity Classical Academy boys cross-country runner, Pfeiffer didn’t limit his talents to just one sport. Serving as the Knights “ace” pitcher, the dual-sport athlete finished his senior season with a ridiculous 0.73 ERA, striking out 73 batters in 57.2 innings of work going 6-2 in 11 appearances. The senior also put together an impressive hitting resume batting .409 for 27 hits, 20 RBIs, four home runs and 27 runs scored.

Female Athlete of the Year

Jordyn McBride – The back-to-back Foothill League Girls Tennis Singles Player of the Year dominated again during the 2018 season, not losing a single set during league play. At the Foothill League prelims and finals, she didn’t drop a single game until the final match. Under McBride’s leadership and strong work ethic, the Wildcats have won three straight Foothill League titles and are poised to make it four consecutive as she returns for her senior year.

Alyssa Irwin – The junior was the most lethal weapon in the Foothill League, capable of scoring goals in multiple ways. Irwin often beat defenders with her blazing speed streaking down the sidelines, timing her attacks just right so as not to be called offsides. She was adept at using her leaping ability and timing to find the ball with her head off set pieces. Irwin logged 22 goals, 12 of which came in league play, and also tacked on six assists, helping lead Hart to an undefeated league season. 

Shyann Franklin – The All-SCV Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year saved her best for last, hitting a personal record of 48-3/4 in shot put at the CIF State Track and Field Championships, finishing second in the state. Franklin’s throw ranked as the ninth best throw in the entire country this year. She also led the Grizzlies’ basketball team in points and rebounds, averaging a double-double with 14.5 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. 

Gracie Keene – The sophomore first baseman was a catalyst for the Saugus softball team, leading the Foothill League champs with 35 RBIs, 27 runs scored and eight home runs. She went 34-for-82, equating to a .415 batting average and had a .756 slugging percentage. Additionally, Keene had 171 putouts and logged a .994 fielding percentage. 

Jenna Rorick – There was nothing Rorick couldn’t do for the West Ranch softball team this season. As the only pitcher on the roster, she pitched 169 out of 171 innings, logging a 2.90 ERA with 95 strikeouts. She also was clutch at the plate, recording 19 RBIs and going 31-for-88, a .352 batting average. Her play in the circle and at the plate helped the Wildcats reach the Division 3 championship game.

Team of the Year

West Ranch boys volleyball – Beginning the season on a four-match winning streak, the Wildcats dropped one game in the four wins to set the tone for the rest of the season. Winning its fourth straight Foothill League title, the Wildcats pushed their league win streak to 41 games. Sweeping Dos Pueblos in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs, West Ranch went on to avenge back-to-back season losses to Thousand Oaks and Bishop Alemany in the second round and quarterfinals, matching the deepest playoff run in program history, falling in the semifinals.

West Ranch cross-country – The Wildcats boys and girls cross-country team made history at CIF-SS Division 1 finals, finishing in third and fifth place to qualify for the CIF State Meet. At the state meet, the Wildcats boys team runner-up while the girls team placed ninth. The boys team qualified for Nike Cross Nationals and came away with an eighth-place finish capping a historic season.

Hart girls volleyball – The Indians went undefeated in Foothill League play to complete their first undefeated Foothill League season and only lost matches throughout the season. Setting three new schools records, the Hart girls team dropped on game in Foothill League play in a 3-1 win against Saugus. Reaching the CIF-SS Division 3 quarterfinals, the Indians defeated St. Paul and Citrus Valley in the first and second rounds.

Golden Valley boys track and field – The Grizzlies went undefeated in Foothill League play with an overall record of 5-0. The 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams came way with league titles in both races and sent eight boys athletes to the CIF-SS Division 2 Finals. Golden Valley boys thrower Kienan Donovan was the lone representative for the Grizzlies at the CIF State Track and Field Championships participating in discus and shot put.

Valencia boys basketball – Finishing the 2018-19 season with a record of 26-8, the Valencia boys hoops team didn’t just rely on one player, but complete their first undefeated Foothill League season as a team. Winning nine games at home, the Vikings were stout at home and proved it winning two state tournament games. The Vikings reached the CIF-SS Division 2AA semifinals and the CIF State Division 2 regional semifinals, falling to Rancho Cucamonga both times.

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