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Compiled by Steve Breazeale
The 2017 calendar year was filled with memorable San Juan Capistrano sports moments, from the thrills of high school sports to locals shining on the national stage, it all made for a memorable year.
Here is a look back at some of the defining San Juan Capistrano sports moments of 2017.
SJC Hoops Takes Center Stage
The quality of high school basketball on display in town during the month of January was something special. The JSerra boys team, in coach Zach Brogdon’s inaugural season, was making a charge up the Trinity League standings and Saddleback Valley Christian’s Trey Smith was leading the county in scoring, averaging 28 points per game.
Athletes Sign National Letters of Intent
Dozens of student-athletes representing different high schools throughout town signed their National Letter of Intent during signing day ceremonies on campus, indicating their college of choice. San Juan Hills High School led the way with 15 student-athletes signing to play at the collegiate level.
Hendricks Honored by Alma Mater
After helping pitch the Chicago Cubs to its first World Series title in 108 years, San Juan native Kyle Hendricks was honored by his alma mater, Capistrano Valley High School, during a basketball game on campus. Hendricks, who won the ERA title and started Game 7 of the Series, was given the school’s Spirit of the Cougar award.
Lions Soccer Rules the Southland
The JSerra girls soccer team finished the season as the top program in Southern California. The Lions captured the Trinity League title, the CIF-SS Division 1 Championship and the CIF SoCal Regional title, compiling an outstanding 23-1-3 overall record.
Golfers Win South County Cup
Playing on home soil, members of the San Juan Hills Golf Club’s men’s club won the South County Cup tournament. The event features men’s club teams from San Clemente and San Juan playing a two-day tournament for local bragging rights.
Stallions Surf Team Shines at State
The San Juan Hills High School girls surf team had a successful run at the Scholastic Surf Series State Championships in Oceanside. The program’s shortboard team won the state title and the longboard team finished second.
Rhyan Throws His Way to League Title
San Juan Hills High School sophomore Sean Rhyan won the Sea View League shotput title and advanced to the CIF-SS Division 2 Track and Field Prelims. Rhyan, who is a standout offensive lineman on the football team, was the first Stallion thrower to win a league title since 2008.
Lewis Picked No. 1 Overall in MLB Draft
JSerra Catholic phenom Royce Lewis was selected as the No. 1 overall pick by the Minnesota Twins in the 2017 MLB Draft. Lewis, a shortstop, was also named Gatorade’s Player of the Year in California and finished his brilliant high school career as a three-time Trinity League player of the year.
Skvarna Wins Collegiate Longboard Title
San Juan’s Kevin Skvarna, competing for Saddleback College, won the National Scholastic Surfing Association’s Interscholastic National Championship’s longboard title at Salt Creek.
949 Volleyball Cleans Up at National Tourney
Local program 949 Volleyball Club won four medals at the USA Volleyball Junior National Championship tournament. Two of the program’s teams won gold medals.
West Coast FC Qualifies for National Championship
The West Coast Futbol Club sent three youth club soccer teams to the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships in Frisco, Texas following outstanding performances at the Far West Regional qualifying tournament.
Lions Play First-Ever Home Football Game
For the first time in school history, the JSerra football team got to play under its own lights and in its own stadium on campus. Renovations at Saddleback College prompted the Lions to go before City Council to seek approval to play at home. JSerra won its first-ever “home” game, 48-27, over Alemany.
Childress Named Coach at CVCS
Chris Childress was named head coach of the Capistrano Valley Christian boys basketball team, marking the third coach in four years for the Eagles.
Pettis Breaks NCAA Punt Return Record
Former JSerra Catholic standout football player Dante Pettis, now with the University of Washington, set an NCAA career record by returning his ninth punt for a touchdown against Oregon on Nov. 4.
Lions Soccer Begins Season as No. 1 in Nation
The JSerra girls soccer team debuted as the No. 1 team in the nation on www.topdrawersoccer.com’s winter FAB 50 rankings. The Lions began their season with a perfect 5-0 start.