2016-12-30 / Sports

The quest for glory

YEAR IN REVIEW /// The Acorn’s Top Five Local athletes, teams capture imaginations, titles
By Jonathan Andrade


UNLEASHED—Luke Dominick and the Royal boys’ water polo team won the Division 4 title this fall. 
MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers UNLEASHED—Luke Dominick and the Royal boys’ water polo team won the Division 4 title this fall. MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers A round of applause is in order for teams and athletes who hail from Simi Valley.

Royal High’s boys’ soccer team continued to dominate on the pitch by capturing its fifth straight league title.

The Highlander girls’ cross country team came out of nowhere to reach the state meet this fall.

In the NFL, Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Cassius Marsh, a Simi Valley native, is enjoying an impressive season with three sacks, 18 tackles and one forced fumble.

While those are honorable feats, they narrowly missed making our annual list.

Here’s our list of the top five sports moments of 2016:

GRACEFUL FINISHES

Grace Brethren celebrated two CIF-Southern Section titles in girls’ sports.


THE DISTANCE—Simi Valley High baseball player William Parker hits the ball against Royal. The Pioneers won a Coastal Canyon League title this year. The Pioneer softball squad also won a league crown. 
JOAN PAHOYO/Acorn Newspapers THE DISTANCE—Simi Valley High baseball player William Parker hits the ball against Royal. The Pioneers won a Coastal Canyon League title this year. The Pioneer softball squad also won a league crown. JOAN PAHOYO/Acorn Newspapers The soccer team, led by Sammi Fisher, Joana Schimmel and Emma Hopkins, captured its second straight Division 7 title in March with a 4-1 win over Webb.

In November, the school’s girls’ volleyball team, led by thirdyear head coach Victoria Yonkers, made quick work of Katella in a straight-set victory for the Division 8 crown. Seniors Jessica Press, Autumn Pifer, Nicole Martin, Casey Checketts and Emily Seeba contributed for the Lancers.

KINGS OF THE MAT

The Pioneers have emerged as the top wrestlers in Simi Valley.

Simi Valley pushed past tough foes at Royal and Camarillo to claim the Coastal Canyon League title in February. The league crown was the program’s first since 2012 and its second since 2001.


HAMMER TIME—Grace Brethren’s Calista Wright spikes the ball during the Division 8 title match. 
MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers HAMMER TIME—Grace Brethren’s Calista Wright spikes the ball during the Division 8 title match. MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers Jesus Coronado, Tanner Lloyd, Jacob Dunn and Jackson Brazeal powered Simi Valley on the mat.

UNFAMILIAR FEELING

Royal’s girls’ golf team celebrated its first league title in program history in October.

It was a feat that seemed impossible just a couple of years ago for the Highlanders, who forfeited every match in 2013.

Stephanie Russo, Natalie Salas, Kylie Johnson, Alex Thompson, Jenna Stuck and Tara Scribner played crucial roles during Royal’s miraculous season.

DIAMOND THIEVES

No one could slow Simi Valley bats in softball or baseball.

The Pioneer softball team claimed its second straight Coastal Canyon title in the spring behind a talented senior class.

Graduated seniors Veronica Lynch, Taylor Ginther, Vanessa Almaraz, Patricia Tripp, Caitlin Berreitter, Autumn Cauthron, Alyssa Van Scoy, Danielle Chatman, Haley Park and Jessica Rodriguez all moved on to play college softball.

Simi Valley’s baseball team, which was 11-1 in league play, also snagged a league crown.

HIGHLANDERS REACH THE TOP

Something’s in the water at the Rancho Simi Community Park pool.

Royal’s girls’ and boys’ water polo teams snagged CIF-Southern Section titles in 2016.

The girls’ team cemented its status as one of the best lineups in Ventura County history by claiming its second straight Division 4 crown in March.

Matt Frazier, the boys’ water polo team’s second-year head coach, led the Highlanders to a Division 4 title in November.

The boys’ program, built up by legendary former coach Steve Snyder, celebrated its first section crown since 1995.

With two section titles in the same sport, Royal aquatics has reached the mountain top.

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