More Girls State Athletes of the Year

State Junior Athlete of the Year Sarah Baxter is flanked by Anna Maxwell and Sydney Segal after she won third straight CIF 3200-meter state title. Photo: John Wareham (L.A. Daily News).

State Junior Athlete of the Year Sarah Baxter of Simi Valley is flanked by San Lorenzo Valley’s Anna Maxwell and Beverly Hills’ Sydney Segal after she won third straight CIF 3200-meter state title. Photo: John Wareham (L.A. Daily News).

Sarah Baxter of Simi Valley continues phenomenal career as a distance runner and tops the state’s list for juniors. We also have honorees for sophs, frosh and for each of the five CIF enrollment divisions.

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Congratulations to the following girls for being selected as a 2012-13 Cal-Hi Sports State Athlete of the Year:

Chelsea Chenault (Carondelet, Concord)

In addition to being the second State Girls Athlete of the Year from Carondelet in eight years, Chenault also is the third winner in the last four years from the East Bay region of the CIF North Coast Section. Her younger sister, Courtney, was one of those considered among sophomores. She played on Carondelet’s state-ranked basketball team and later finished fifth in the triple jump at the CIF state track championships.
Note: For additional seniors who have been singled out, look for lists under each CIF division.

Sarah Baxter (Simi Valley) Cross Country, Track

This category was perhaps the hardest to choose and came down to the track and field tandem of Baxter and sprinter Ariana Washington of Long Beach Poly. Washington led the Jackrabbits to the CIF team title by repeating in the 100 and 200, running a leg on the victorious 4×100 relay unit and then just a few weeks ago picking up medals in both sprint events at the World Youth Championships. Baxter, however, was judged just a bit higher. She was the Gatorade National Cross Country Athlete of the Year after she repeated as the Nike Cross Nationals champion (becoming the first girl to do so) and set the course record at the legendary Mt. SAC Invitational. Baxter also won her third straight CIF Division I state title in one of the best times ever run. Then during the track season, Baxter not only won a third straight 3200-meter run crown at the CIF state meet, but she was unbeaten in the event and posted the second-best time in the nation.

Simi Valley's Sarah Baxter is far ahead of the pack during CIFSS 3200-meter race. Photo: Michael Owen Baker (L.A. Daily News).

Simi Valley’s Sarah Baxter is far ahead of the pack during CIFSS 3200-meter race. Photo: Michael Owen Baker (L.A. Daily News).

More Junior Girls Athletes of the Year
Jordin Canada (Windward, Los Angeles) Basketball
Mandy Coleman (McNair, Stockton) Basketball, Track
Marina Doi (Kingsburg) Wrestling
Lindsey Engel (Crean Lutheran, Irvine) Swimming
Johanna Grauer (Amador Valley, Pleasanton) Softball
Anna Maxwell (San Lorenzo Valley, Felton) Cross Country, Track
Kyla Ross (Aliso Niguel, Aliso Viejo) Gymnastics
Stamatia Scarvelis (Dos Pueblos, Goleta) Track
Ariana Washington (Poly, Long Beach) Track

Katie Lou Samuelson (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) Basketball

When it comes to girls basketball, the last name of Samuelson has been a well known one for many years as her two sisters, Karlie and Bonnie, will both be at Stanford and she could eventually end up there as well. Katie Lou averaged 20.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists last season. Last month, she was selected for the 2013 USA Women’s U16 National Team that went on to win the gold medal at the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship. Katie Lou made 8-for-8 shooting 3-pointers to lead the U.S. team in the final. Transferring to Mater Dei before this season from Edison of Huntington Beach, she was a big reason the Monarchs were at the top of the state and national rankings for most of the season before losing in the CIF Southern Section Division IAA semifinals and the CIF Southern California Open Division Regional Finals. Comparisons of her game to current WNBA sensation Elena Della Donne are beginning to come in as well.

More Sophomore Girls Athletes of the Year
Ella Eastin (Crean Lutheran, Irvine) Swimming
Hayley Hodson (Corona del Mar, Newport Beach) Volleyball
Kat Klass (San Ramon Valley, Danville) Water Polo
Alyssa LaFrancis (West Covina) Wrestling
Cana Manzella (Foothill, Tustin) Water Polo
Kaitlyn Merritt (Santa Margarita, Rancho SM) Track
Alyssa Palomino (Mission Viejo) Softball
Abbey Weitzell (Saugus) Swimming

Courtney Corrin (Harvard-Westlake, North Hollywood) Track, Soccer

Corrin was soaring at the CIF state track meet in the long jump, winning the event with a mark of 20 feet, 6 inches. Earlier, she set a state record for a freshman at 20-9.25. Less then a week ago, she was in Donetsk, Ukraine competing in the World Youth Championships and she finsished fifth in the women’s long jump after leading during qualifying. Not only is Corrin elite in one sport, but she is in soccer as well. She is in the national team mix as she played for the USA U17 Women’s National Team back in January and during the high school season starred as a freshman for Harvard-Westlake’s varsity team.

More Freshman Girls Athletes of the Year
McKenzie Bacich (Bear Creek, Stockton) Wrestling
Maggie Bell (Granite Bay) Cross Country
DiJonae Carrington (Horizon Christian, San Diego) Basketball
Kylie Miller (Rancho Cucamonga) Volleyball
Courtney Mykkanen (Foothill, Tustin) Swimming

Sasha Wallace (Castro Valley) Track

For the second year in a row, Wallace was named the Bay Area News Group East Bay Female Athlete of the Year as she not only won the 100-meter hurdles state championship for the second year in a row but she also defended her state championship in the triple jump. Undefeated in both events all season, her mark of 42-4 was the best wind-legal jump in the nation during the California high school season. Also taking up the long jump just this season, she ended up placing sixth in that event at the state championship. Wallace, who attended Holy Names of Oakland earlier in her prep career, also has been named the State Girls Track Athlete of the Year by Gatorade. She will be headed to Oregon in the fall. We could have put Sarah Baxter of Simi Valley into this category as well, but since she already is listed for juniors we decided to go with Wallace.

More D1 Senior Girls Athletes of the Year
Celina Li (Foothill, Pleasanton) Swimming
Rachel McCoy (A.B. Miller, Fontana) Track
Amber Monerlin (Santiago, Corona) Soccer
Kylie Reed (Norco) Softball

Division II:
Chelsea Chenault (Carondelet, Concord) Swimming

In addition to topping the seniors, Chenault also has to be on top of Division II, which is what Carondelet’s CIF state division is considered to be. As her swimming career continues, the comparisons to Carondelet alum and U.S. Olympic legend Natalie Coughlin will only get more frequent. Maybe that’s why it’s a good thing Chelsea picked USC for college instead of Cal (where Coughlin starred).

More D2 Senior Athletes of the Year
Tylinn Carter (Serra, San Diego) Volleyball, Basketball
Skyler Dykstra (Redondo, Redondo Beach) Volleyball
Claire Klausner (Gunn, Palo Alto) Basketball, Softball
Sydney Segal (Beverly Hills) Cross Country, Track
Rachol West (Garces, Bakersfield) Volleyball, Basketball

Kendall “K.C.” Waters (Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland) Basketball, Softball

This may be the first time people around the state are made aware that this first team All-State Girls Basketball Elite Squad honoree is a two-sport athlete, and she isn’t bad at all in her second sport of softball. The previous State Freshman of the Year and the 2012 Division III Player of the Year, Waters showed in her rugged play this season just why Cal wants her to be the same kind of force in the paint beginning this fall. Waters has averaged a double-double all four years of varsity play and had averages of 13 points and 11 rebounds this season. She went out in style with 20 rebounds in the Open Division title game victory over Windward. Waters joined the softball team late because of basketball but she was still a contributor at first base and as a designated hitter. She hit .417 with a home run, two triples, one double, 10 RBIs and seven runs scored.

More D3 Senior Athletes of the Year
Kristen Berlo (San Marcos, Santa Barbara) Volleyball, Softball
Ryan Walker-Hartshorn (Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland) Soccer
Abbi Williams (Chaminade, West Hills) Soccer

Erika Linch (Sutter) Football, Soccer

This two-sport athlete has one of the most unique combinations of any honoree ever. The Minot State (North Dakota) bound soccer star and two-time MVP of the CIF Northern Section will etch her name in the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book in soccer for most goals scored in a career after scoring 188 in a career that saw her lead the section in goals for four straight years – and with 50 this past season. For her senior year, Linch also was the placekicker for a Sutter football team that went all the way to the CIF Division III regional title game. Her extra point in the 23-7 loss to Marin Catholic in that game made her the first girl to ever take the field, let alone the first to score in CIF bowl game competition. She finished the season with 62 PATs and four field goals, including a 31-yarder, and a 28-yarder, and she booted five PATs in the CIF Northern Section Division II championship victory over Cottonwood West Valley. Linch was doing double duty at the time since the soccer and football seasons in that section overlap.

More D4 Senior Athletes of the Year
Zoe Katz (Campbell Hall, North Hollywood) Tennis
Kelsey Plum (La Jolla Country Day, La Jolla) Basketball

Ella Eastin (Crean Lutheran, Irvine) Swimming

Small school Crean Lutheran is becoming a major power in swimming, which is bad news for girls’ athletes in this division because Crean Lutheran falls into Division V. Two Crean Lutheran swimmers were considered for this honor, but Eastin’s accomplishments in the 200-yard IM beats out Lindsey Engel, who is more of a freestyle sprinter. Both will be back next season since Eastin was a sophomore while Engel was a junior. Eastin’s 200-yard IM time of 1:55.15 is not only the state record in the event and national independent/private school record, but it’s also the No. 2 time ever produced by a female swimmer in high school competition. Eastin also has already been named the Female Swimmer of the Year by the Orange County Register.

More D5 Senior Athletes of the Year
Kiana Herold (Sonoma Academy, Sonoma) Cross Country, Basketball, Track
Julia Maxwell (Branson, Ross) Cross Country, Track
Mar-Jana Phillips (Rolling Hills Prep, San Pedro) Volleyball, Basketball

Harold Abend and Paul Muyskens contributed to this post.
Special thanks also to Erik Boal of the Los Angeles Daily News for contributions and arranging to have photos sent.

Note: For a list of the top 75 athletes (boys and girls combined) in the Bay Area, we recommend the package put together by SportStars Magazine. To see the final installment of the magazine’s three-part series, CLICK HERE.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @CalHiSports

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