Since its establishment in 2004, West Ranch High School has continued to develop its athletics program into one of the powerhouses in the Santa Clarita Valley.
This past year was no different, as several teams claimed Foothill League championships and made deep playoff runs, and several teams made program history.
The boys volleyball team secured its fourth straight league title and haven’t lost a single league match in that time frame. To top it off, they lost just four sets total in 10 league matches.
In the playoffs, the Wildcats only lost two sets in three victories, reaching the Division 2 semifinals before falling to the eventual champions Saddleback Valley Christian. Reaching the semis matched the best finish in program history.
The boys lacrosse team made history by winning the first-ever Foothill League lacrosse championship. The Wildcats finished 15-3 overall and an undefeated 6-0 in league play.
“Definitely we want to repeat the title, remain dominant,” said All-Foothill League Offensive Player of the Year Zach Van Bennekum. “We’re already putting work in the offseason. It’s already the offseason, it’s time to get better, prepare for next year’s title.”
The boys cross-country team won its fourth straight league title with the help of a strong core of runners including Isaiah Seidman, Evan Bates, Hunter Romine, Dylan Gatua and Alexis Romero.
For the first time in program history, the girls cross-country team and boys team both qualified for state in the same year.
The girls tennis team added to its trophy collection, winning its third straight league title. Led by No. 1 singles player Jordyn McBride, the Wildcats haven’t lost a league match in a three-year span.
“This is the best team I’ve ever had in terms of synergy, supporting one another, family,” said West Ranch tennis head coach Dina McBride after the Cats won the league title. “Everything external, that resonated on the court. Because of the outside friendships, that’s why we’re able to clinch big matches.”
The boys golf team captured its second straight Foothill League crown and finished in third place at the CIF-Southern Section Team Championships.
Ashton Lee was the only Foothill League golfer to advance to the CIF-SS Individual Finals.
“In the offseason for next year … me and the team hopefully are going to try to play well at CIF and advance as far as we can and me and my team are going to practice so much and a lot just like we always do in the offseason to really try to strive to get there,” Lee said after being eliminated from the Individual Championships.
The football team capped off the best season in its history, winning a program-high eight games in the regular season and then winning its first ever playoff game to conclude a 9-3 campaign.
Male Athletes of the Year (as selected by the school)
Evan Bates & Isaiah Seidman
Bates and Seidman excelled on both the cross-country team and track and field team. Bates finished in seventh place in the 3-mile race at the CIF-SS Cross-Country Finals with a time of 14:47.1. Seidman finished in fourth in the same race with a time of 14:44.6. The pair finished in first and second in the 3,200-meter at the Foothill League Finals with Seidman winning (9:15.76) and Bates coming in right behind him (9:19.60). Bates advanced all the way to the CIF State Track and Field Championships, earning a trip to the podium with a PR of 9:02.03 (sixth place).
Female Athlete of the Year (as selected by the school)
Ramirez capped off an incredible high school career with a trip to the CIF State Track and Field Championships, where she participated in both the shot put and discus events. She reached the podium in both, finishing in third place in discus with a mark of 159 and fourth place in shot put with a throw of 44-1/2. The UCLA commit also won the Foothill League crown in discus and finished in second place in shot put. She set a shot put PR of 47-9 3/4 at the CIF-SS Division 1 Finals.
Five most memorable teams
The Wildcats had a record start to the season, winning an unprecedented eight games in a row. They finished with a 9-3 overall record and a 3-2 league record, which put them in fourth place in the final Foothill League standings. The Cats earned a bid to the CIF-Southern Section Division 6 playoffs, where they won their first-ever playoff game in program history by beating Silverado 35-31.
West Ranch thrived on the big stage. The Wildcats made history with one of the best finishes a Foothill League team has had at the Nike Cross Nationals, claiming eighth place in the event. Prior to that, the Foothill League champions came in third at the CIF-Southern Section finals and second at the CIF State Cross-Country Championships.
Continuing the tradition of success, West Ranch won its fourth straight Foothill League title and extended its league win streak to 41 games. Despite having a few key players battling injury at the end of the season, the Wildcats managed to match the longest playoff run in program history, making it to the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 semifinals.
With a league season that featured wins over Foothill League greats like Valencia and Saugus, the Wildcats utilized the hitting power of multiple batters to have the longest playoff run of any league team. West Ranch made it all the way to the Division 3 championship game, but lost 3-0 to Crescenta Valley.
The Cats have never lost a game against a Santa Clarita Valley team since its inaugural season seven years ago and this season, they were recognized for it. West Ranch beat Hart 20-3 in the league finale to earn the first-ever Foothill League title. Zach Van Bennekum led the team as an offensive mid with 34 goals and 40 assists.
Five most memorable male athletes
Buchanan was a force on the volleyball team, helping lead the Wildcats to an undefeated league season and their fourth consecutive Foothill League championship. As the starting setter, he paced the defense with 51 blocks and 136 digs but also did work on offense by logging 86 kills and a team-high 56 aces.
Camacho excelled in football and baseball in his senior year at West Ranch. He racked up 1,344 yards and 13 touchdowns on 63 catches and had 45 tackles on defense on the gridiron. In baseball, he finished the season with a .256 batting average with 17 RBIs and one home run and was valuable as an outfielder, with 46 putouts.
Like his brother, Camacho was an integral part of both the football team and baseball team. On the gridiron, he amassed a whopping 2,740 all-purpose yards with the majority coming on the ground (1,919). He added 434 receiving yards, 276 return yards and 111 interception return yards. Camacho put up 35 total touchdowns, 28 of which were rushing scores. On the baseball field, he batted .296, logged 24 hits and 15 RBIs while scoring 27 runs.
The man in the middle for the Wildcats, Myers was a force in the paint all season with his scoring and rebounding ability. He led the team in scoring and rebounds with 12.8 points and 7.3 boards per game and shot a team-high 55.9% from the field. For his efforts on the hardwood, Myers was selected to the All CIF-SS First Team in Division 2A. He was also a big part of the league-winning lacrosse team, finishing the season with 15 goals and 10 assists. He also scooped up 82 ground balls and had 15 takeaways.
In his first year as a Wildcat, Strader won the 200-meter and 400-meter events at the Foothill League Finals and came in first in the 400 at the Nike Redondo Invitational. At the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 Finals, he finished first in the 400-meter race and second in the 200. He won the title in the 400 at the Masters Meet and finished in third place at the CIF State Championships.
Five most memorable female athletes
The All-SCV Girls Cross-Country Runner of the Year, Fernandez was crucial in helping the Wildcats reach the State Meet for the first time. She finished in second place at the Foothill League Finals in the 3-mile race with a time of 18:11.5. She set her PR of 16:58.8 earlier in the year at Woodbridge High School Cross-Country Classic, finishing in 24th place out of 179 runners. The freshman paced her team at the CIF-SS Division Finals with a time of 17:13.9, finishing in the No. 10 spot.
Jacobs was a do-it-all player for the volleyball team this season, leading her squad with 297 kills and a 51.2 kill percentage on offense. On defense, she was third on the team in solo blocks with 18 and assisted on 19 blocks. She logged 273 serve receptions and also led her team with 199 digs. She added 17 aces for good measure.
The No. 1 singles player for the West Ranch tennis team, McBride led her squad to its third consecutive Foothill League title. She piled on accolade after accolade including the All-SCV Girls Tennis Player of the Year, Foothill League Girls Tennis Singles Player of the Year and won the Foothill League singles title. McBride did not lose a single set in league play this year. The junior is highly-skilled in all aspects of the sports, including playing sound defense, picking the right spots to attack and limiting unforced errors. Her stamina is off the charts and her determination was evident as she never allowed her opponents to get any easy points.
Miranda was one of the most skilled center backs in the Foothill League, using her strength and speed to anchor the soccer team’s defense. One of the senior leaders, her defense helped the Wildcats win nine shutout games. While Miranda’s main focus was on defense, she also could score when given the opportunity. She was utilized frequently on set pieces, both as a free kick taker and finisher on corner kicks. Miranda scored two goals during the season including the Wildcats’ lone goal in their first-round playoff game with a header off a corner kick.
Rorick pitched all but two innings for the Wildcats softball team this year. She pitched a total of 169 innings, logging 95 strikeouts and a 2.90 ERA. She finished the season with an 18-7 record in 25 starts, four of which were shutouts, helping West Ranch reach the Division 3 championship game. Rorick was also a key contributor at the plate, too. She logged 31 hits in 88 at-bats for a .352 batting average and had 19 RBIs.
As the Foothill League’s runner-up, the Wildcats beat Foothill 3-2 on the road in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 tournament before falling to Yucaipa 1-0 in the second round.
The Wildcats made it to the CIF-Southern Section Division 2A quarterfinals this season after beating Buena 69-51 and Peninsula 64-55. West Ranch ended its run in a 64-38 loss to Colony.
West Ranch won third place at the CIF-Southern Section finals to qualify for the CIF State Cross-Country Championships, then finished second overall as a team at the state level. In December, at the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, the Cats finished eighth.
The Cats came in fifth place in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 finals, marking the first time a West Ranch girls cross-country program qualified for the state meet. At the CIF State Cross Country Championships, the Wildcats came in ninth in Division 1.
The Wildcats finished in second place in the Foothill League with a 10-4-3 overall record and 6-3-1 league record. They reached the postseason after a one-year absence and faced Downey on the road in the first round of the Division 3 playoffs, losing 2-1. A key group of seniors graduated, but West Ranch returns a bevy of young talent including six starting underclassmen from this year.
This postseason, the Wildcats achieved their first playoff win in school history, beating Silverado 35-31 in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 6 playoffs. The Cats narrowly lost in the second round, 34-31, to Oxnard.
After winning the Foothill League title, the Wildcats came in third at the CIF-Southern Section Team Championships. The run ended there, however, as only the top two teams moved on in playoffs.
The Wildcats were the runner-up in the final Foothill League standings this season and went on to finish in ninth out of 24 teams at the CIF-Southern Section Team Championships.
The Cats won the first-ever Foothill League title by going undefeated, but lost to Loyola 16-6 in the first round of CIF-Southern Section playoffs.
West Ranch beat Glendale in the first round of the U.S. Lacrosse L.A. Division playoffs 16-12. The Cats ended their season in the second round in an 18-14 loss to Crescent Valley.
This softball team was the last one standing out of all the Foothill League teams. In the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs, the Cats beat Millikan 9-5, then beat Highland in the second round 13-10 in eight innings. They went on to take down Warren 14-1 and Woodrow Wilson 9-4. West Ranch was shut out by Crescenta Valley 3-0 in the championship game.
The Wildcats matched the deepest playoff run in program history this year in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 postseason by making it to the semifinals. West Ranch swept Dos Pueblos in the first round before beating Thousand Oaks 3-1 in the second round. The team beat Alemany 3-1 in the quarterfinals before getting swept by Saddleback Valley Christian in the semis.
Earning a berth in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs by finishing third in the Foothill League, West Ranch lost to Alemany 3-1 in the first round.