The Valencia football team celebrates its 10th consecutive Foothill League title. Cory Rubin/The Signal

2018-19 Signal Sports Awards: Program of the Year

By Dan Lovi and Diego Marquez

Signal Staff Writers

When it came to athletic prowess in 2018-19, Valencia High School was the cream of the crop. A three-year stint as Program of the Year was interrupted by West Ranch last year, but Valencia once again took its place at the top, winning The Signal Sports Award for Program of the Year.

The Vikings were boosted by eight league titles, giving them 50 bonus points to propel them to the top of the standings. Valencia won league championships in: boys and girls basketball, baseball, football, boys soccer, boys tennis, girls swim and girls golf. 

A whopping 15 teams made the playoffs including boys basketball, boys tennis and boys soccer, who all made the deepest runs of the Foothill League teams in their respective sports.

The boys basketball team set numerous records this year including an undefeated league record (10-0), undefeated home record (9-0) and most wins in program history with 26. The girls basketball team also went undefeated in league (10-0).

Valencia senior point guard Richard Kawakami drives to the hoop in a State Championships matchup with Cathedral Catholic at Valencia High School Thursday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal

After earning a bye in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs, the boys basketball team won two games to advance to the semifinals, before falling to Rancho Cucamonga 62-59. Their semifinal finish earned them a spot in the state tournament.

The football team continued its dominance, winning a 10th consecutive league crown after finishing 5-0 in league play.

Valencia senior Jayvaun Wilson stiff-arms a defender in a league matchup with Golden Valley at Canyon High School on Friday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal

The boys soccer team and boys tennis team were the only Foothill League squads to win a playoff game, with both advancing to the second round.

Valencia senior Luke Fowble battles Saugus senior Nathan St. Amand for the ball in a Foothill League matchup against Saugus at Saugus High School Friday afternoon. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Boys tennis players Ian Cho, Stephen Thay and Eduardo Cedeno advanced to the CIF-SS Individual Championships, with the doubles team of Thay and Cedeno advancing to the third round. 

The duo of Amanda Tabanera and Brenna Whelan advanced to the round of 16 in the Individual Championships on the girls tennis side and the team of Taylor Cohen and Ashley Villarta also reached the tournament.

Izabella Adame won two Foothill League individual titles in the pool and was part of two title-winning teams, reaching the CIF State Meet, where she finished in third place in the 100-yard breaststroke.  

Valencia sophomore Izabella Adame swims the butterfly portion of the girls 200-yard medley relay at the Foothill League finals at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center in Canyon Country on April 25, 2019. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Track and field was well-represented by middle-distance runner Kai Wingo, who excelled at the 800-meter race all season long. The Signal Sports Male Athlete of the Year took first place in 10 meets including the Foothill League Finals, the CIF-SS Division 1 Finals and the CIF-SS Masters Meet.

Capping off a phenomenal senior year, Wingo won the state title with a personal record of 1 minute and 51.71 seconds, becoming the first Santa Clarita Valley high school athlete to win a state track and field championship since Valencia’s Aly Drake won the girls 800-meter in 2009.

Kai Wingo (Valencia) comes in first place running the Boys 800 Saturday, May 18, at the 2019 CIF Southern Section-Ford Track Masters Meet. Eddy Martinez/The Signal.

2018-19 standings

1) Valencia, 230

2) West Ranch, 169

3) Hart, 110

4) Saugus, 81 

5) Canyon 26

6) Golden Valley, 23

Point system

Most league titles bonus: 50 League title: 10 Second place in league: 3 Playoff appearance: 3 Playoff win: 2Foothill’s last team standing: 3 CIF divisional final: 10 CIF division/section title: 20 CIF regional title: 25State title: 30 Individual CIF division title: 10 Individual state title: 20

Past Programs of the Year

2017-18 — West Ranch, 2016-17 — Valencia, 2015-16 — Valencia, 2014-15 — Valencia, 2013-14 — Hart, 2012-13 — Saugus, 2011-12 — Saugus, 2010-11 — Saugus, 2009-10 — Saugus, 2008-09 —Saugus, 2007-08 — No award given, 2006-07 — Valencia, 2005-06 — Hart

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