Runner of the Year: Samantha Ortega, Saugus Junior
Oh, what a year! Saugus’ Ortega enjoyed one of the most magical seasons in SCV prep sports history this cross country season, setting many historic records in the process. The junior went undefeated up to the CIF Southern Section Prelims in mid-November and set course records at Castaic Lake (16:42), Central Park (17:17), College of the Canyons (17:20) and Shorline Park (17:44) , SCV records at Mt. SAC (16:47) and Woodward Park (17:26), and a school record at Balboa Park (17:54). Her third-place finishes at CIF Finals and the state meet earned her all-section and all-state honors for a second consecutive year, while her 16:47 win on the historic Mt. SAC layout ranks #9 in course history. The last two weeks of her season were impressive, as she finished fourth at the Footlocker West Regionals, qualifying for the famous nationals cross country championship event, where she capped off her season with a 15th-place finish, the last All-American award.
Foothill League Champion
3rd @ CIF SS Finals (All-Section first Team)
3rd @ CA State Finals (All-State first team)
4th @ Footlocker West Regionals (All-Region first team)
15th @ Footlocker Nationals (All-American first team)
16:47 @ Mt. SAC (#9 in course history)
Ashley Heys, Saugus, Sophomore: After battling anemia early in the season, Heys finished seventh at Foothill League Meet #2. Three weeks later, the sophomore enjoyed a break-out race at the Foothill League Finals, earning a bronze medal. In the process, she tied the sophomore course record at Central Park, held by Great Oak standout and state division 1 runner-up Destiny Collins. Heys also finished 40th and 42nd at the section and state finals, won the sophomore race at the Dos Pueblos and was second at Mt. SAC.
Kyla Danforth, Canyon, Junior: Danforth was instrumental in Canyon’s success this fall. The soccer player enjoyed her best performance at the Foothill League Finals, where she earned All-Foothill League first team honors with her 4th-place finish. She also contributed towards the Cowboys’ win at Foothill League Meet #1, the CV Mid-Week Dual and the Kenny Staub Invite.
Mackinzie Moncibais, Saugus, Junior: With senior captain and two-time state champion Abigail Frankian out for the season with a torn plantar fascia, the Saugus girls needed someone to step up big time. Enter Mackinzie Moncibais. The Foothill League long jump runner-up was money this fall, finishing 10th at league finals, 38th at the section finals and an impressive 22nd at the state meet. Her 18:28 5K mark at Woodward Park is now #26 in SCV history.
Kaylee Thompson, Valencia, Freshman: Perhaps the future of Foothill League distance running, Thompson raced like a veteran this year. Not afraid to go out with Samantha Ortega’s blistering pace, the freshman talent held on, twice, finishing third and sixth at the last two league meets. Her 18:32 at Mt. SAC ranks #9 on the SCV freshman list, while her 18:46 at Woodward Park is #7 all-time.
Natalie Rodriguez, Canyon, Senior: In one of the most inspirational stories of the year, Rodriguez is arguably the second greatest cross country runner in Canyon history, only trailing the legendary Lauren Fleshman. She broke 18 minutes, joining 15 other Foothill League runners to accomplish the feat. She was the Foothill League runner-up, becoming just the third, following All-American Samantha Ortega and former Centurions’ runner Karis Frankian, to break 18 minutes on Central Park’s three-hill course. Rodriguez also won the Cresenta Valley Mid-Week Dual and the Kenny Staub Invitational, her best time at CV Park now ranks #7 in SCV history.
Sabrina Janes, Saugus, Junior: Janes showed she has great range this cross country season, running some impressive marks, including a mind-boggling 18:05 5,000-meter personal best that netted her 13th-place at the CIF State Championships. That mark now ranks 13th in SCV history, and seventh on the all-time junior list, only trailing the Murakami sisters, Samantha Ortega, Kaylin Mahoney, Karis Frankian and Lauren Fleshman. After a calf injury kept her out of Foothill League Meet #1, Janes finished fifth at the finals as well. Fun Fact: Only Sarah Baxter ran faster than Janes’ 5:25 final mile at this year’s state cross country finals (all divisions combined).
Abigail Frankian, Saugus, Senior
— 3rd @ Foothill League Meet #1
— 19:11 @ Saugus September Showdown (15th fastest in Foothill Lg.)
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).