More State Girls Athletes of Year

Two of this year's top athletes in the state were Tara Davis of Agoura (juniors) and Andrea Lee of Manhattan Beach Mira Costa (D2). Photos: dyestatcal.com & golfweek.com.

Two of this year’s top athletes in the state were Tara Davis of Agoura (juniors) and Andrea Lee of Manhattan Beach Mira Costa (D2). Photos: dyestatcal.com & golfweek.com.


Among others earning top state honors are Tara Davis of Agoura (juniors), Gracie Figueroa of Selma (sophomores), Fiona O’Keeffe of Davis (Division I) and Andrea Lee of Manhattan Beach Mira Costa (Division II). Solin Pearcy of Cupertino also is third-ever State Three-Sport Athlete of the Year.

For announcement of the Cal-Hi Sports Girls State Athlete of the Year for 2015-16, CLICK HERE.

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Congratulations to the following girls for being selected as a 2015-16 Cal-Hi Sports State Athlete of the Year (thanks to Stockton office assistant editor Paul Muyskens for contributing writeups):

SENIORS
Elena Bruckner (Valley Christian, San Jose) Volleyball, Track

At the U.S. Olympic trials, Bruckner was one of just 16 high school athletes who qualified and was the only one to qualify in the throwing events. She was there primarily to gain experience, but moved up from 24th to 16th in the discus with her final mark of 179-3.
Note: For other seniors who would be Athletes of Honor, please check below underneath each CIF division.

JUNIORS
Tara Davis (Agoura, Agoura Hills) Track

We were thinking about Laguna Beach water polo player Aria Fischer for this category, but the U.S. Olympic team member was home schooled this year so that became not possible. But Davis is an equally strong pick, moving up from being last year’s best among sophomores. Following up that sophomore season that saw her medal in three events but not win a CIF state title, she took home two state championships and a second place finish and was named by the L.A. Daily News as s Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Undefeated in all three events during the season, she went to the state meet and captured the state title in the 100-meter hurdles and the triple jump before finishing second in the long jump. With just herself scoring points, Agoura also finished in second-place in team scoring behind champion Carson.
More Junior Athletes of Honor:
Holly Azevedo (Pioneer, San Jose) Softball
Rachel Baxter (Canyon, Anaheim) Track (PV)
Lexi Liebowitz (San Ramon Valley, Danville) Water Polo
Destiny Littleton (Bishop’s, La Jolla) Basketball
Lexi Sun (Santa Fe Christian, Solana Beach) Volleyball
Lauren Rain Williams (Oaks Christian, Westlake Village) Track (100)
Jurnee Woodward (Vacaville) Track (Hurdles)
Camryn Ybarra (Mission Viejo) Softball
Angel Yin (Arcadia) Golf

Gracie Figueroa of Selma was one of the most impressive wrestlers in the state as a sophomore. Photo: vidaenelvalle.com.

Gracie Figueroa of Selma was one of the most impressive wrestlers in the state as a sophomore. Photo: vidaenelvalle.com.


SOPHOMORES
Gracie Figueroa (Selma) Wrestling

Make it a perfect two-for-two for this sophomore in capturing CIF state wrestling titles as she finished the season a perfect 34-0 by defeating West Covina senior Jennifer Lopez (who entered the state finals with a 49-0 record) by an 8-0 score. While Figueroa captured the state title in the 116-pound weight class, two other teammates captured state titles as the Bears won the CIF State Girls Team Wrestling championship as well. She will represent Team U.S. at the Cadet World Championship in Tbilisi, Georgia next month and is also already a two-time Cadet All-American. In addition, she’s one of the highest ranked Californians (boys or girls) on a list of those wrestlers with the highest Olympic potential. That list includes juniors and seniors. Gracie is actually the second Selma girl to get a State Athlete of the Year honor in the last eight years. For 2008-09, Anna Jelmini, who starred in track and other sports, was the choice for Division III schools.
More Sophomore Athletes of Honor:
Rylee Bowen (Sonoma Academy, Santa Rosa) Cross Country, Track
Sara Choy (Sacred Heart Prep, Atherton) Tennis
Aquira DeCosta (St. Mary’s, Stockton) Basketball
Sabrina Iqbal (Pioneer, San Jose) Golf
Abby Marjama (Rocklin) Volleyball
Alleida Martinez (Selma) Wrestling
Vanessa Strong (Freedom, Oakley) Softball
Danielle Williams (Amador Valley, Pleasanton) Softball

FRESHMEN
Miranda Heckman (Granada, Livermore) Swimming

This one is always a choice among our two State Frosh POYs from basketball and softball compared to someone else who’s primarily a single-sport sensation. Multi-sport athletes tend to emerge later in their high school years. Heckman was a winner at the CIF state swimming championships in the 500-yard freestyle. She also won twice in the CIF North Coast Section finals. What caught our attention even more was the coverage she received for winning seven events – some at longer distances than 500 – at the Far Western club championships in April. She broke five meet records, including one that had been held in the 1650 for many years by Concord Carondelet and multiple Olympic medal winner Natalie Coughlin.
More Frosh Athletes of Honor:
Jerzie Estrada (Selma) Wrestling
Kinzie Hansen (Norco) Softball
Charisma Osborne (Windward, Los Angeles) Basketball

O'Keeffe led Davis running/cross country program that is one of the most impressive we've ever seen in any sport. Photo: SportStarsOnline.com.

O’Keeffe led Davis running/cross country program that is one of the most impressive we’ve ever seen in any sport. Photo: SportStarsOnline.com.


DIVISION I SCHOOLS:
Fiona O’Keeffe (Davis) Cross Country, Track

We could have considered Agoura and Tara Davis as D1, but Agoura also can be D2 so we did that, picked Davis as the Junior Athlete of the Year and decided to write up a senior for D1 and D2. O’Keeffe is one of the top distance runners in recent NorCal history even though she had an injury and could not win a third CIF state title in D1 cross country, still running for the team and getting a 16th-place finish. O’Keeffe was at full strength on the track, however, and won the 3200-meter state title by outrunning defending champ and Riverside County Girls Athlete of the Year Destiny Collins of Temecula Great Oak. Her great potential, however, is at even longer distances, which she showed by blowing away the meet record in the 5000 meters by nearly 15 seconds at the USATF Junior Nationals. O’Keefe will run next for Stanford, but will remain very interested in Davis High since her younger sister, Olivia, will still be there. The last CIF Sac-Joaquin Section recipient of a state athlete of the year honor was overall winner Suzy Powell of Modesto Downey for 1993-94. There has never been a Davis High winner, but we didn’t have the D1-D2-D3-D4-D5 format in the 1970s when basketball legend Denise Curry was playing for the Blue Devils.
More Division I Athletes of Honor:
(Seniors Only)
Destiny Collins (Great Oak, Temecula) Cross Country, Track
Amanda Gehrich (Tesoro, Las Flores) Cross Country, Track
Jasmine Pharms (Stagg, Stockton) Basketball, Track
Ena Shibahara (Peninsula, RH Estates) Tennis
Lauren Speckman (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) Volleyball
Hannah Waller (Buchanan, Clovis) Track
Taylor Ziemer (Montgomery, Santa Rosa) Soccer

DIVISION II SCHOOLS:
Andrea Lee (Mira Costa, Manhattan Beach) Golf

After taking her junior year off from high school golf, she returned for her senior year and helped lead the way for the Mustangs to capture the CIF state title while she finished in sixth place at the state finals. Named as the 2014 Rolex Junior Player of the Year and 2015 Daily Breeze Player of the Year, she will now head to play at Stanford. Ranked No. 2 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking, her lengthy list of success in golf includes making an LPGA event, playing on the 2016 U.S. Curtis Cup Team and winning a silver medal at the 2015 Pan American Games. She is not the first girls golfer from the South Bay to be chosen D2 State Athlete of the Year. For 2009-2010, Jenny Shin of Torrance did the same thing.
More Division II Athletes of Honor:
(Seniors Only)
Gabrielle Garcia (Valencia, Placentia) Wrestling
Norene Iosia (Redondo Union, Redondo Beach) Volleyball

DIVISION III SCHOOLS:
Elena Bruckner (Valley Christian, San Jose) Volleyball, Track

Since Valley Christian lands as a D3 school under our divisional guidelines used for these honors, Bruckner also has to be the top choice for this division. That’s kind of too bad because there wasn’t another way to write up Harvard-Westlake’s Courtney Corrin, the SoCal Prep Legends Girls Athlete of the Year, since Harvard-Westlake also is D3.
More Division III Athletes of Honor:
(Seniors Only)
Jillienne Aguleira (Woodside) Soccer
Nicole Bates (Ceres) Softball
Courtney Corrin (Harvard-Westlake, North Hollywood) Soccer, Track
Maddie Musselman (Corona del Mar, Newport Beach) Water Polo
Ronika Stone (Valley Christian, San Jose) Volleyball

Destiny Littleton averaged 35.7 points per game last season . Photo: Harold Abend.

Destiny Littleton averaged 35.7 points per game last season . Photo: Harold Abend.


DIVISION IV SCHOOLS:
Destiny Littleton (Bishop’s, La Jolla) Basketball

Named as a finalist for our Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year award, she also was the State Junior of the Year during the girls basketball season after she averaged 35.6 points, 9.8 rebounds and four steals per game. One of the top Class of 2017 recruits in the nation, she has scored 2,934 points and has her with a chance to break the state record for career points next season. She is the second D4 athlete honoree from La Jolla in five years following Maya Hood of La Jolla Country Day for 2011-2012. Hood played volleyball as well as basketball.
More Division IV Athletes of Honor:
(Seniors Only)
Maddy Johnston (Sacred Heart Prep, Atherton) Water Polo
Zoe March (Immanuel, Reedley) Basketball, Track
Kailla Searcy (Paraclete, Lancaster) Softball
Nicole Warwick (Modesto Christian) Basketball, Track

DIVISION V SCHOOLS:
Rebecca Gallis (Kern Valley, Lake Isabella) Volleyball, Basketball, Softball

Sure, it would have been better if Rebecca had won four varsity letters in all three sports she played during her years at Kern Valley, but 11 will have to do. The two main reasons she has been given this honor is because she received all-state recognition in both basketball and softball (the two sports she was a four-year starter). She also played volleyball for the Broncs as a freshman, sophomore and junior and was co-MVP of the team at least once. On the court, Gallis averaged 26.4 ppg as a junior with 11.1 rebounds and then had totals of 24.2 ppg and 8.8 rebounds as a senior (with her assists up to 4.4 per game). She had a high game of 45 points vs. Bakersfield Christian. In softball, Gallis had a career batting average of .561 with 47 doubles and 160 hits. She batted .610 as a junior and this season hit .574 with three homers and 24 RBI.
More Division V Athletes of Honor:
(Seniors Only)
DiJonai Carrington (Horizon Christian, San Diego) Basketball
Elizabeth Shelton (Desert, Edwards) Volleyball
Sara Wagenveld (Calvary Christian, Escondido) Volleyball, Track
Note: Junior Emily Eastin (Crean Lutheran, Irvine) Swimming also considered.

THREE-SPORT ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:
Solin Piearcy (Cupertino) Field Hockey, Wrestling, Track

Piearcy isn’t quite like the first two three-sport athletes of the year we chose – Sarah Robinson from Gunn (Palo Alto) for two years ago and Rebekah Cervantes from Redwood (Visalia) for last year – in that she was dominant in one sport while just being one of the best at her school in the other two. Her dominant sport is wrestling. Piearcy won the 143-pound title at the CIF state meet and did so with a 33-0 record, including 32 pins. She later won a national title at the Girls National Folkstyle Championships in Oklahoma City. Piearcy was a key member of the Pioneers’ field hockey team in the fall and in the spring competed in multiple track events. Her best was the high jump in which she was second-place in her league.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports


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