First published in the Jan. 1 print issue of the Glendale News Press.
Though no Glendale-area school brought home any CIF Southern Section championships during the fall, the fact that there was a season was a victory for students, coaches and administrators.
Many athletes participated in high school competition for the first time in two years and managed to remain competitive and overcome the obstacles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
One squad that surprised the local football scene was Hoover High School’s varsity football team, which went from not existing for three years to winning six of 10 games during the fall under head coach Azad Herabidian.
Though the program only played one league opponent this year, two Tornados were recently recognized by Pacific League coaches. Senior lineman Gabriel De La O made the second team defense, and sophomore teammates Ethan Davis and Isaac Perez each received an honorable mention.
The Glendale High School football program, guided by head coach Jacob Ochoa, also had some of its athletes earn all-league honors after a 2-8 season, which included a 39-8 victory over rival Hoover.
Keirson Florita, a versatile athlete who played quarterback and receiver, made the second team offense and Dino Villalobos was a second-team selection on defense. Dennis Perez and Anthony Lopez each earned an honorable mention.
Crescenta Valley High, which finished 2-7 on the season, was the lone football program from GUSD to have an athlete on the first team in standout running back Shade Schaefer. Luke Steel earned a spot on the offensive second team and Carson Center made the defensive second team. Mike Balian and Daron Mansourian each received an honorable mention.
Seven local volleyball athletes received All-Pacific League honors recently, the highest going Crescenta Valley senior captain Sofia Morris, who was a first-team selection. Fellow Falcons Ashley Lineses and McKenna Keil made the second team and junior Nyra Tatoulian earned an honorable mention.
Glendale’s Aleina Manaois was also selected to the first team and teammate Arianna Vargas received an honorable mention.
Senior Aleh Tahmasyan represented Hoover on the all-league girls’ volleyball list with a spot on the second team, and Mineh Sarokhani received an honorable mention.
Boys’ Water Polo
After helping the Nitros finish second in the Pacific League standings, junior Tigran Megroyan made the first team, and seniors Hayk Mkrtchyan and Arthur Lazaryan earned a second-team selection and an honorable mention, respectively.
The Falcons, who finished third in league, had Arthur Movsesyan and Eric Yoon on the first team, and Sebastian Rivera and Eugene Lee made the second team. Jorge Gonzalez received an honorable mention.
Branden Babaei represented the Tornados on the all-league boys’ water polo selections on the second team and teammate Rafael Gevorgyan earned an honorable mention.
Crescenta Valley dominated the Pacific League finals and won the boys’ and girls’ championships.
The boys’ squad, which went on to compete in the CIF State race, had seven runners recognized. Rowan FitzGerald, Parker Simmons, Max Ruiz, Luke Cheney and Harrison Connors made the first team, and Bryce Bitetti and Leo Bentivegna were second-team selections.
Rebecca Doherty, Annabelle Tanner, Reese Sion, Tali Sherwood-Kong and Emma Haworth received first-team honors on the girls’ squad while Ava Martin and Paloma Elfassi made the second team.
Teleya Blunt was the lone local athlete to be recognized by Pacific League coaches. The senior standout received an honorable mention.