It’s hard to believe that 2016 has officially arrived and that the winter sports season is now in full gear. This being the case, let’s take a moment to review the 2015 Fall Falcons’ sports season as it was certainly one to remember. Beginning in no particular order, here we go!
The Lady Falcons tennis team did what no other team has done in school history, going undefeated in Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League play (12-0) and finished the 2015 campaign 13-3 overall!
Senior Desi Rakela, who played number one singles on the varsity team all four years, teamed with Junior Elena Weingord to win the league doubles title. They, along with the entire team, advanced to the Central Coast Section tennis championships where they were defeated in the second and first rounds respectively. Rakela, the team’s Most Valued Player (MVP) all four years and co-captain this season with fellow seniors Grace Giguiere and Bella Dych-O’Neal, finishes her tennis career at ScottsValley as the most successful player in Falcon history, according to Head Coach Judy Newman.
While it will be difficult to replace the senior trio of Rakela, Giguiere and Dych-O’Neal, Newman notes that with “freshman sensations” Julia Dych-O’Neal and Phoebe Codiga, along with Weingord returning, the future appears bright for the Lady Falcons.
With Seniors Natalia Locatelli, Iliana Hayes and twin sisters Megan and Mary Claire Longhart leading the way, the Lady Falcons finished the 2015 season with a 9-15 overall record and 6-8 in SCCAL play. The pre-season featured a challenging test of “over the hill” teams in which the team impressed First Year Head Coach Shane Yablonka to the point that he raised expectations heading into the league season. The only issue was that in this “volleyball rich” county, the SCCAL was strong and balanced, making each match a battle.
One note: ScottsValley was the only team to win a set against league champion Aptos during the regular season.
The Falcons just missed qualifying for the CCS playoffs but the co-captain trio of Locatelli and the Lonharts, along with Hayes, completed their stellar careers by establishing a strong foundation for Falcons volleyball on which future teams can build.
Megan Lonhart, a four year varsity starter, was named first team All-SCCAL, while Hayes and junior Serena Garcia received honorable mention recognition.
Boys’ & Girls’ Cross Country
When it comes to ScottsValleyHigh School and Cross Country running, one word comes to mind; success. Over the past years, the Falcons, led by Head Coach Doug Chase, have found consistent and impressive success, featuring league, CCS and state recognition. In 2015 it proved to be no different in terms of success and recognition.
The Lady Falcons finished fourth as a team in the very competitive SCCAL, third in CCS and qualified for their sixth consecutive state meet (Division IV) where SVHS finished 18th. Individually, the Falcons were led by freshman Jessica Kain who earned All-SCCAL recognition, finished 5th in CCS and 20th in the state meet. Other key Falcon runners included senior co-captains Melissa Clark and Mikaela Inman, seniors Annika Osterkamp and Maddy Barton, junior Kaylee Craft, sophomore Olivia Ross and freshmen Kelly McEntee and Sophia Davis.
Since five of the top eight Falcons are returning in 2016, look for the Falcons’ run of success to continue.
On the boys’ side, the success was just as impressive as the team finished second in the SCCAL, tied for third in CCS and just missed qualifying for the state meet by two seconds.
The Falcons were led by two All-SCCAL performers in seniors and co-captains Luke McCartney (league champion) and John Ross (second place). Ross returned to the state meet in 2015 where he finished ninth last year and finished 20th this year. Other top performers for ScottsValley included Steven Ignatowicz, Nathan Kvamme, Noah Bassi, Travis Lane and Davis Ross.
While McCartney and Ross will continue their respective running careers at the collegiate level, the next generation of Falcon runners is ready to continue the tradition which means one thing, more success in 2016.
Having lost its first two games and one of its top senior leaders, Tanner Spence, to a season-ending injury, the Falcons were looking adversity squarely in the face. But SVHS didn’t blink, took a “one game at a time” approach and then the magic began.
Who can forget the spectacular “Friday Night Light’s” game at Levi’s Stadium? Not only did the Falcons notch their first win, a hard fought, 7-0, defensive battle over Watsonville, but the team and the community came together in a stadium soon to play host to this year’s Super Bowl.
The Falcons built on this momentum and rattled off another six straight wins which included a 46-0 homecoming victory over Eureka, a thrilling 52-51 five overtime win over rival San Lorenzo Valley High School, and a 40-0 thrashing of Soquel High School. Along the way, Head Coach Louie Walters picked up his 100th career win at ScottsValley. The Falcons finished second in the SCCAL with a 4-1 record with their only loss coming to league and CCS champion AptosHigh School. After a one year absence, SVHS returned to the CCS playoffs where the Falcons beat MenloHigh School 28-14 in the first round and lost a heart breaker to Pacific GroveHigh School 37-35, ending the season with an 8-4 overall record.
SVHS players were recognized for their outstanding play with numerous post season honors. Senior linebacker Tristan Leonetti, who led the Falcons’ rugged defense, was named SCCAL Defensive player-of-the-Year. Senior Quarterback Nick Reyes, who guided the SVHS offense with his steady play, was named first team All-SCCAL quarterback. Senior running back Troy Menna, who gained over a thousand yards rushing with his bruising style was also named first team All-SCCAL.
Other Falcons who received First Team All-SCCAL recognition included Senior offensive lineman Patrick Conte, Senior tight end and linebacker Ethan Emanuelson, Senior wide receiver Dalton Locke, Junior defensive lineman Tyler Stone and Senior defensive backs Kyle Giguiere and Jordan Tuck. Junior running back/defensive back and returner Trevor Ponos was named SCCAL Junior of the Year.
So there you have it, a Fall Sports Season wrapped up with outstanding efforts by SVHS student-athletes, coaches, cheerleaders and fans! Now it’s on to basketball, soccer, wrestling and more thrills!