Runner of the Year: Brian Zabilski, Saugus, Junior
Zabilski of Saugus enjoyed the greatest junior campaign in SCV history, earning all-section and all-state honors. He won his first Foothill League cross country title in 15:13, smashing the three-hill course record by 14 seconds in early-November. His 14:58 at the CIF Southern Section Finals at Mt. SAC was a junior record and #6 all-time in Santa Clarita. A week later, Zabilski finished fourth at the state finals at Woodward Park, clocking 15:21, which tied Kristian Martinez’s SCV junior record and #5 in valley history. His performance led Saugus to its seventh Foothill League championship in eight years, as well as a Southern Section championship and the school’s first state title of any kind. He also set a school record at Shoreline Park and won all three Foothill League meets this fall. Zabilski will return as the fastest Div. 2 performer in California in 2014!
15:21 @ Woodward Park (#5 in SCV history, SCV junior record)
15:13 @ Central Park (“three-hill” course record)
Alex Pearson, Saugus, Senior: This season, Pearson’s experience was vital in Saugus’ bid for the school’s first state championship. His first major performance occurred at the Clovis Invite, where he clocked 15:49, #31 in SCV history. During Foothill League action, he finished second at the first two meets and third at the finals. He, then, went onto the post-season, where he finished 24th at the section finals and 37th at the state championships.
Caleb McClain, Canyon, Junior: The 2013 season was a great one for McClain. In Foothill League competition, he was sixth and third at the first two meets. At the finals, McClain was involved in a thrilling dual. Saugus’ Zabilski pulled away with 600 meters remaining and won by 14 seconds, while McClain held on to the silver. At the Mt. SAC Invite, the junior clocked 15:29, the sixth fastest in league, trailing four Saugus guys and WR’s Welker.
Ethan Walker, Saugus, Senior: In perhaps the biggest comeback of the year, Walker didn’t make his 2013 racing debut until Foothill League meet #2 in October. In that race, he won convincingly. The quick improvements made was one of the biggest reasons Saugus won its first state championship, as Walker clocked a stunning 15:43 three weeks into his comeback, finished fourth at league finals and clocked 15:36 and 15:27 at the section prelims and finals. He ended his prep cross country career by taking 34th at state in 15:54, a week following his 20th-place finish at section finals.
Jordan Serrano, Saugus, Junior: The 2011 Foothill League frosh/soph champion wasted no time joining the league’s best this season, finishing seventh and eighth at the first two meets, and a respectable 10th at the league finals. The highlight of his junior season came at the CIF Southern Section Prelims at Mt. SAC, where the junior blazed a 15:33 clocking, the 16th fastest junior mark in SCV history. He also anchored Saugus’ state and section title wins this year, finishing 36th and 48th (16:02) in the two championship races.
Ryan Tate, Saugus, Sophomore: Tate is without a doubt the most-improved runner in the Foothill League this fall. The sophomore standout turned heads at the Clovis Invite, where he ran 16:06 for 5,000 meters. A month later, he won the frosh/soph league title in the 10th fastest time of the day. Tate had a huge impact in Saugus’ section and state title wins, finishing 21st and 45th in the two races. His 15:28 Mt. SAC and 16:00 Woodward Park marks now rank #2 and #6 among sophomores in SCV history as well.
Tucker Welker, West Ranch, Sophomore: Welker once again proved he’s one of the greatest in his grade, clocking 15:28 at Mt. SAC and 16:02 at Woodward Park this season. Those marks rank #2 and #8 on the SCV all-time sophomore list. The Wildcat also became the third sibling to earn All-Foothill League first team accolades with his 5th-place finish, making the Welkers the second family in valley history to have three in the same household earn 1st-team honors.
— All-Foothill League second team (14th at the finals)
TEAM OF THE YEAR: Saugus Boys Cross Country
Alex Pearson was watching from the sidelines as a freshman when the 2010 Saugus boys team lost at the state championships by a heart-breaking 13 points to Loyola. Two years later, the program suffered another 13-point loss, to Westlake, at division two finals. Only this time, Pearson was involved. This fall, the senior and his teammates were determined to finally get it right. After solid performances throughout the regular season, Saugus put three – Pearson, Brian Zabilski and Ethan Walker – in the top four at the Foothill League Finals. A week later, the trio teamed up with teammates Ryan Tate and Jordan Serrano to clock 77:11 and 77:13 at the CIF Southern Section Prelims and Finals at Mt. SAC. Those two team times rank #5 and #6 in SCV history. Following a 35-point triumph at the section finals, the school’s second boys title in four years, the Centurions rallied in the final mile to capture the school’s first boys state championship of any kind by 29 points in Fresno. Their team time of 79:12, along with their 80:16 run at the Clovis Invite, rank #3 and #7 in valley history. Only the 2010 Saugus team and 2011 Golden Valley squad are better. The team’s success this fall didn’t just happen with five guys. Seniors Anthony Rosales, Billy Anthony, Devin Penick and Townsend Kaneversky, juniors Chris Ochoa and Jonathan Summer, and sophomore Drake Hougo all broke into Saugus’ top seven throughout the 2013 season. The varsity team also won its seventh Foothill League title in eight years, while the junior varsity and frosh/soph teams claimed their sixth consecutive championships. The defending state champions bring back Hougo, Ochoa, Serrano, Summer, Tate, and Zabilski next year!
2013 Season Highlights:
CIF State Division 2 Champions
CIF Southern Section Division 2 Champions
Foothill League Champions (seventh title in eight years)
College of the Canyons athletic programs returned to campus this week to begin outdoor team strength and conditioning activities, guided by a stringent return-to-campus procedural plan designed to ensure the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and support staff.
After a roller coaster of a year, the Santa Clarita Valley’s skating community once again took to the ice to celebrate the grand opening of The Cube, the city of Santa Clarita’s newly rebranded ice rink.
The William S. Hart Union High School District was named one of 19 school districts and one county office of education for school attendance review board as a model program for its attendance strategies during distance learning.
The Children’s Bureau is seeking foster families during National Foster Parent Appreciation Month and is now offering two virtual ways for individuals and couples to learn how to help children in foster care while reunifying with birth families or how to provide legal permanency by adoption.
To provide a framework to guide the future of residential development locally, the city of Santa Clarita is embarking on a public process to update the Housing Element of the Santa Clarita General Plan.
California Senate Bill 545, a measure to provide additional resources to struggling students, has received unanimous support from the Senate Education Committee, announced Sen. Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita).