The SCCS boys basketball team celebrates Caden Starr's game-winning 3-pointer, which advanced the Cardinals to the CIF-SS Division 3AA finals. Photo courtesy of Darcy Brown

2018-19 Small School Year in Review

Santa Clarita Christian School, Santa Clarita Valley International and Trinity Classical Academy have each sent a powerful message with the way its sports teams performed.

The Knights boys and girls cross-country teams swept Heritage League finals with senior boys runner Shane Linteruer and senior girls runner Keili Butler both finishing in first place at the meet.

With both teams advancing to the CIF-SS Division 5 prelims, Lintereur was the only Knight to advance to the finals finishing seventh out of the 174 runner field to qualify for the CIF State Cross-Country Championships. At the State Meet, Lintereur climbed a couple of spots and finished fifth in the 5,000-meter race with a personal record of 16 minutes, 8.0 seconds.

“I feel great about PR-ing, especially on this course,” Lintereur said after the State Meet. “I’ve never really done well on hilly courses and this course has a lot of them so I’m really pumped about that. I didn’t really register how well I did until I was done, I just noticed that there weren’t very many people in front of me when I finished.”

Trinity’s girls volleyball team finished with a .500 winning percentage squeaking into a CIF-SS Division 8 wildcard game against Bishop Diego. Down 2-1 in games, the Knights fought back to win the final two games to advance. The Knights beat Calvary Murrieta in four games to reach the quarterfinals, falling to the eventual Division 8 runner-up Rancho Christian.

Losing their first Heritage League game of the season to Faith Baptist in four games, the SCCS girls volleyball team used the loss as motivation and won the last nine league games going 14-of-17 regular season games, including a 3-2 win at Faith Baptist to avenge the early season loss to finish atop the league standings.

The Cardinals swept each of their first three opponents, defeating Littlerock in a wild-card game and Eastside Christian and Pacifica Christian in the first and second rounds, but fell in the quarterfinals to Villanova Prep.

Dealing with some adversity throughout the season, the SCCS boys basketball team forfeited 13 regular-season games due to an ineligible player but rebounded in a big way. Finishing fourth in the final Heritage League standings, the Cardinals led by seniors Justin Collins and Kevin Stone, along with juniors Caden Starr and Kaleb Lowery fought their way to the CIF-SS Division 3AA title game falling to Rolling Hills Prep.

“I’m going to be with them 24/7, you know, even through the ups and downs with injuries and everything,” Lowery said before the CIF-SS Division 3AA semifinal game against Highland. “We’ll stick together as a team and fight through everything that’s been going on and we’ll stay together because we’re all brothers and we all love each other.”

With their runner-up finish in the CIF-SS title game, the Cardinals earned a ticket to the CIF Division 2 State playoffs knocking off Poway in the first round and falling to Rancho Cucamonga in the second round.

Capping off an undefeated Heritage League season with a win against SCCS, the Trinity girls hoops team set a new precedent losing seven of it’s first eight games to rebound winning 11 of the final 12 regular-season games including an eight-game winning streak heading into playoffs.

“We locked up league a week ago, but this was so special not just because we’re undefeated but the way they fought and played,” Trinity head coach Daniel Hebert said after the regular-season finale win over SCCS. “They fought through a lot of adversity, that’s hard on 16, 17-year-old girls. It was really special to see how they did it, more than them doing it.”

In the CIF-SS Division 5A playoffs, the defeated Pilgrim and Nuview Bridge in the first and second rounds, falling to Western Christian in the quarterfinals.

With a loaded 2018-19 roster, the Knights baseball team, similar to the 2017-18 season finished Heritage League play in second place behind Faith Baptist with one major difference, they handed Faith Baptist it’s only league loss of the season in the season finale, winning 2-1.

Down 5-3 in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 6 first round against Gladstone the Knights battled their way back earning a 6-5 win to advance to the second round where El Monte awaited. The Knights fought tooth and nail, leaving everything out on the field, but succumb to the Lions 6-5 to end the season.

“I’ve been a part of a lot of ball clubs, but this club is senior heavy and they are all special individuals,” said Trinity head coach Mike Franchimone after the loss to El Monte. “I’m just honored to be a part of their lives and their futures and I know that they will all come back and visit and tell me about their lives. You can’t put a price tag on the relationships after the game. That’s what I’m about.”

SCCS female athlete of the year (as selected by school)

Megan Dombrowski – The Southern Connecticut State University signee was a crucial member of the Cardinals volleyball team, helping lead them to a Heritage League co-championship this season. Dombrowski, who was the team’s engine as the starting setter, was named to the All CIF-SS Division 8 Team for the second straight year.

SCCS male athlete of the year (as selected by the school)

Ethan Schwesinger – Two ACL tears in two years couldn’t keep Schwesinger off the football field. The senior wideout led the Cardinals in receptions (48), receiving yards (818) and touchdowns (15) this past season. He was also featured on the defense, where he recorded 37 tackles and two fumble recoveries. If that wasn’t enough, Schwesinger also played on the basketball team, where he was utilized down low as a rebounding machine and defensive anchor. He will continue to play football next year at California Lutheran University.

Trinity female athlete of the year (as selected by school)

Hannah Caddow – Caddow was not just the leader on the Trinity basketball team, but on the volleyball team as well. On the basketball court, Caddow nearly averaged a double-double with 8.6 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. She had six double-doubles in 20 games and was the focal point of the Knights’ offense and defense. In volleyball, she led her team with 260 kills and a 52.7 kill percentage. She also led the Knights with 49 aces and 186 digs and was third in total blocks with 37. Caddow will continue her volleyball career at the next level at Life Pacific College.

Trinity male athlete of the year (as selected by school)

Andrew Pfeiffer – There was nothing Pfeiffer couldn’t do on the baseball field. As a pitcher for the Knights,on-baset 6-2 in 10 starts with an ERA of 0.73. He pitched three complete games and logged a team-high 73 strikeouts without allowing a home run all season. At the plate, he batted .406 with 18 runs scored, 26 hits, 20 RBIs and two home runs. Additionally, Pfeiffer excelled in cross-country, finishing in first place at the third Heritage League meet.

SCVi female athlete of the year (as selected by school)

Kylie Martinez – At first glance, the numbers put up by the senior softball player for the Santa Clarita Valley International Stallions is jaw-dropping. Martinez went 16-for-18 from the plate, an .889 average, and had 18 RBIs, scored 14 runs and stole 14 bases. She was the only pitcher on the team as well, going 5-2 in seven starts with 37 strikeouts, allowing only 14 earned runs. Martinez was awarded the Omega League MVP for the second straight year. She also played volleyball, where she was named to the All-Omega League Second Team.

SCVi male athlete of the year (as selected by school)

Oscar Alcala  – When it came to the sports of cross-country, baseball and soccer, Alcala did it all. A talented distance runner, he also contributed to the Stallions baseball team with three hits, two RBIs and seven runs scored. He had a .467 on base percentage and also stole seven bases.

Five most memorable teams

Trinity girls basketball – The Knights made history this year by completing their first ever undefeated league season. Trinity started off the year slow, losing seven of its first eight games, then rattled off 11 wins in its next 12 games to cap off a 12-8 regular season. The Knights won their first two games in the Division 5A playoffs but fell to Western Christian 62-59 in a hard-fought quarterfinal matchup. The team will truck ahead next year without a solid core of seniors that graduated, but return a group of underclassmen ready to complete another undefeated league season.

Trinity baseball – The second-place finishers in the Heritage League, the Knights had a remarkable year that started with a five-game winning streak to start the season. Trinity finished with a 15-5 overall record and 10-2 league record, and handed Heritage League champion Faith Baptist its only league loss of the season. The Knights won their first Division 6 playoff game against Gladstone before losing in the second round to El Monte.

SCCS boys basketball – Amidst a whirlwind season that included the forfeiture of wins and injuries to key players, the Cardinals were able to push through the roadblocks and fight their way to an appearance in the Division 3AA championship game after winning their first four playoff games by a combined 80 points. SCCS fell in the final against Rolling Hills Prep, but then rebounded against Poway in the first round of the CIF State Tournament. The Cardinals lost in the second round to Rancho Cucamonga.

SCVi softball – The Stallions completed their second straight undefeated Omega League season, going 5-0 in league play and 6-2 overall. They had six players log a batting average over .500, including back-to-back Omega League MVP Kylie Martinez, who had an astounding .889 batting average. Another staggering statistic, every player on the roster was named to either the All-Omega First or Second Team.

SCCS girls volleyball – The Cardinals went 18-5-1 this season and 9-1 in the Heritage League, finishing as the co-league champions. They were also the only team to beat Faith Baptist, the other co-league champion, in league play. SCCS lost just two sets total in its nine league wins, both coming in the win against Faith Baptist. The Cardinals swept their Division 8 wildcard opponent Littlerock and then swept their next two playoff opponents. SCCS fell to Villanova Prep in the quarterfinals.

Five most memorable male athletes

Carson Campuzano – Campuzano pulled off the rare achievement of playing three sports at the varsity level for Trinity: football, baseball and basketball. On the gridiron, he led his team on the ground and through the air. He carried the ball 30 times for 189 rushing yards and four touchdowns and caught 49 passes for 733 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. On defense, he led the team with two interceptions and was also second on the team with 74 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss. In baseball, he batted .354 and logged 17 hits, 20 RBIs and 14 runs. On the hardwood, he played 11.9 minutes per game and put up averages of 2.2 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.


Kyle Fields – A dual-sport athlete, Fields led the charge for the Knights’ basketball team and was a key contributor on the football team. He led Trinity in points and assists, averaging 17.6 points and 3.2 assists per game, and was third on the team averaging 4.4 rebounds per game. He shot 42% from the field and 39% from distance, hitting a team-high 65 3-pointers. In football, he logged 26 carries for 183 yards and two touchdowns and had 28 receptions for 324 yards and six scores. On defense, he ranked fifth on the team with 40 tackles.

Blake Kirshner – The senior signal-caller for the Cardinals’ football team, Kirshner put up incredible numbers this season. He completed 175-of-276 passes for 2,925 yards and 39 touchdowns to only five interceptions. He also ran the ball for 95 yards and eight touchdowns on 56 carries. The 6-foot-5 quarterback will continue his academic and athletic career at UCLA.

Nolan Kulp – Kulp concluded his four-year varsity soccer career in style, leading the Knights in every offensive category. He finished his senior campaign with 17 goals, seven assists for 41 total points and took every corner kick for his team. Kulp made both penalty kicks he attempted and totaled 56 shots on goal, an average of four shots on goal per game.

Caden Starr – The 6-foot-7 junior did everything on the court for the Cardinals, from scoring to passing to rebounding and playing hard-nosed defense. Starr stuffed the stat sheet with averages of 10 points, six rebounds, five assists and two blocks per game. Starr, who was named to the All CIF-SS Division 3 First Team, hit a 40-footer with 0.9 seconds left in the semifinal playoff game against Highland to get his team to the championship round.

Five most memorable female athletes

Sydney Boswell – Despite being limited by injury toward the end of the season, Boswell still led the Cardinals soccer team in goals with 17, assists with nine and 43 total points in only 11 games. The sophomore showcased her skills on a regular basis, including her impeccable touch, accurate passing, speed up top and on the wings and her lethal goal-scoring ability.

Kelly Lotz – After a one-year absence from the playoffs, Lotz helped lead the Cardinals basketball team back to the postseason with her stellar play. The freshman was a scoring and rebounding machine with the ability to hit tough shots and crash the offensive and defensive glass.

Beatriz Panduro – Panduro was clutch for the Santa Clarita Valley International softball team. She was third on the Stallions with a .652 batting average and second in hits with 15. She led the team with 16 runs scored and 33 RBIs and added five home runs, including a grand slam. She also led the team with two triples and 17 stolen bases.

Ashley Rens – Rens was the ultimate do-it-all player on the Cardinals soccer team. She anchored the defense and always marked the opposing team’s biggest scoring threat. Rens also contributed mightily on offense, scoring 11 goals and adding eight assists equaling 30 total points. She was utilized frequently on set pieces and throw-ins, as her powerful throws got the ball into the middle of the opposing team’s box. She played goalkeeper for a half. Rens was also a key contributor on the volleyball team.  

Trinity Towns – Towns helped lead the Knights to their first-ever undefeated league season by averaging a team-high 9.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. The junior guard could shoot from the perimeter and also drive the lane to find an easy bucket for herself or one of her teammates.

Playoff Teams

SCCS

Boys basketball

Facing some unexpected turbulence during the season the Cardinals overcame multiple obstacles to finish third in Heritage League. In the CIF-SS Division 3AA playoffs, SCCS defeated their first three opponents: Millikan, Citrus Hill and Warren by an average of 26 points. In the semifinals against Highland, Caden Starr hit a buzzer-beater to advance to the championship game where they fell to Rolling Hills Prep. Advancing to the CIF Division 2 State playoffs, SCCS defeated Poway in the first round, but fell to Rancho Cucamonga in the second round.

Girls basketball

Finishing the year in third place in the final Heritage League standings, the SCCS girls hoops team qualified for the CIF-SS Division 5A playoffs and fell to Milken in the first round.

Girls volleyball

Dropping two of the first three games they played to begin the season suffering their only Heritage League loss to Faith Baptist, SCCS girls volleyball team came back with a fury, winning 14 of the following 17 games to finish atop the league standings. Drawing Littlerock High School in a CIF-SS Division 8 wild-card game the Cardinals swept the Lobos and swept their next two opponents Eastside Christian and Pacifica Christian in the first and second rounds, respectively. SCCS fell in the quarterfinals to the eventual runner up Rancho Christian.

Trinity

Baseball

Finishing second in the Heritage League, the Knights closed out the regular season winning nine out of the final 10 games. In the CIF-SS Division 6 first round, the Knights were down 2-0 in the first inning then came back to beat Gladstone 6-5. In the second round, they fell to El Monte by the same score.

Boys basketball

The Knights came away with a third-place finish in Heritage League to advance to the CIF-SS 5AA and put up a fight against the eventual champions and second-ranked team in the Southern Section Division 5AA standing, according to MaxPreps.com

Girls basketball

Never backing down from a challenge, the Knights purposely scheduled tough opponents through the regular season to prepare them for a postseason run. Going undefeated in Heritage League play, the Knights entered the CIF-SS Division 5A playoffs on an eight-game winning streak. Trinity made quick work of Pilgrim High School in the first round and defeated Nuview Bridge in the second round by nine before their season came to a close in the quarterfinals to Western Christian.

Boys cross-country

Clinching the Heritage League title, the Knights boys cross-country team finished ninth at the CIF-SS Division 5 prelims led by senior first-place finisher Shane Lintereur.

Girls cross-country

The 2018-19 Heritage League Champions, the Knights girls cross-country team came in 14th-place at the CIF-SS Division 5 prelims as Eva Lintereur and Keili Butler paced the team finishing 38th and 50th, respectively.

Girls volleyball

Heading out on the road for a CIF-SS Division 8 first round match against Dunn High School, the Knights proved how lethal they were sweeping the Earwigs and took down Calvary Murrieta in four games. Winning the first of four games, the Knights fell in the quarterfinals to runner-up Rancho Christian.

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