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Compiled by Steve Breazeale
The 2016 calendar year was filled with notable San Juan Capistrano sports moments. From historic high school sports performances, to locals being crowned champion surfers, it was a year to remember.
Here is a look back at some of the defining sports moments of 2016.
Skvarna Competes in World Longboarding Championships
Kevin Skvarna, a senior at San Juan Hills High School, earned a berth in the World Surf League’s Jeep World Longboarding Championships in Hainan Island, China following a standout performance at a qualifying competition in Huntington Beach.
SJC Athletes Sign NLIs
All five high schools in San Juan Capistrano held signing day ceremonies for student-athletes that would be signing their National Letters of Intent and take their talents to the collegiate level. In all, 29 local student-athletes signed NLIs on Feb. 3.
Eagles, Warriors Hoops Teams Run Wild in Playoffs
Both the Saddleback Valley Christian and Capistrano Valley Christian boys basketball programs made deep playoff pushes in 2016. The Warriors reached the CIF-SS Division 5AA semifinals for the second time in three years and advanced to the CIF State Division 5 Championship regional semifinals. CVCS reached the semifinals of the CIF-SS Division 5A playoffs and the first round of the Division 5 State Championships.
JSerra Reaches Boras Classic Final
Host-team JSerra went on a tear during the Boras Classic baseball tournament, defeating some of the top teams in the Southland en route to appearing in the championship game. The Lions lost to Mira Costa, 2-1, in the southern championship.
Stallions Surf Team Crowned State Champs
The San Juan Hills High School surf team bested the field in Oceanside to win the Scholastic Surf Series Inland Division State Championship for a fourth consecutive year on April 17.
Tartans Magic Run Ends in OC LAX Championships
Despite a fourth-quarter scoring barrage, the St. Margaret’s boys lacrosse team was upended by Corona del Mar 11-9 in the US Lacrosse Orange County Championship game on May 11.
Warriors Volleyball Dominates in Postseason
The Saddleback Valley Christian boys volleyball team made an historic run through the 2016 postseason, capturing both the CIF-SS Division 4 Championship and the CIF State Division 3 Championship. The Warriors’ CIF-SS title was its fourth in a row, which tied a southern section record.
Cohen Slams His Way into CWS History
JSerra graduate Sam Cohen made national headlines by belting a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the University of California Santa Barbara baseball team past No. 2-seeded Louisville in the NCAA College World Series super regionals.
Trailblazer Kendall Stier Wins Seated Shot Put Title
Saddleback Valley Christian’s Kendall Stier, who has cerebral palsy, made history by winning the CIF State Championship in the seated shot put event on June 4. Stier’s throw of 10-feet-11.25-inches was a new state record.
Fowler Named MLL All-Star
JSerra boys lacrosse coach Brendan Fowler was named a Major League Lacrosse All-Star for a second consecutive season and played in the league’s All-Star game at Cal State Fullerton on July 9.
Edgerton Returns to the Field
San Juan Hills High School senior football player Noah Edgerton made his return to the field on Aug. 26 following a year-long battle with synovial cell sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that attaches to soft muscle tissue. Edgerton played a crucial role on the defensive line for the Stallions, who went 7-4 overall and reached the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs.
Henjum Erupts in Record Performance
In one of the more impressive prep football performances of the season, Saddleback Valley Christian senior quarterback Cade Henjum accounted for 618 yards of total offense and six touchdowns in a 52-40 loss to Boron on Sept. 30. Henjum went on to have a season for the ages, throwing for 3,613 yards and 41 touchdowns. He also ran for 1,267 yards and 20 touchdowns.
The Kitchen Gets Cooking
Student cheering sections became a phenomenon in the high school football world this season, and a large group of St. Margaret’s Episcopal students, known as The Kitchen, made its presence felt at Tartan home games. The Kitchen, which had weekly themes throughout the season, once sent over 100 students on rooter buses to a game in San Diego County, showing just how much spirit they have.
Stallions Water Polo Has Cinderella Season
After failing to win a Sea View League game since joining the league, the San Juan Hills High School boys volleyball team made a storybook run in 2016, finishing in a tie for first in league and charging all the way to the CIF-SS Division 5 championship game, where they lost to Burroughs 12-7.
Harlow Named Head Coach of JSerra Football
Longtime offensive line coach Pat Harlow was named the new head coach of the JSerra Catholic football team on Dec. 15, replacing longtime coach Jim Hartigan, who built the program up over the past 10 seasons. Harlow had served as the Lions’ offensive line coach for three seasons before landing the head coaching gig.