Laguna Beach water polo standout and USA gold medalist from London Aria Fischer earns top honor for her school’s division and can be considered a close runner up to State Athlete of the Year Tara Davis. Others gaining top recognition include Megan Faraimo of San Diego Cathedral Catholic (juniors) and rising USA soccer phenom Kennedy Wesley of Cerritos Valley Christian (sophomores).
For announcement of the Cal-Hi Sports Girls State Athlete of the Year for 2016-17, CLICK HERE.
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Congratulations to the following girls for being selected as a 2016-17 Cal-Hi Sports State Athlete of the Year (thanks to Stockton office assistant editor Paul Muyskens for contributing writeups):
Tara Davis (Agoura, Agoura Hills) Track
In last year’s athlete of the year honors, Davis was the State Junior of the Year and also was tops in the sophomore category two years ago. This also was the second straight year in which Agoura, with just Davis scoring points, finished second in CIF state track team scoring. Carson was the school to win it when Davis was a junior.
Note: For other seniors who would be Athletes of Honor, please check below underneath each CIF division.
Megan Faraimo (Cathedral Catholic, San Diego) Volleyball, Softball
Whether she was swinging her arm to get kills in volleyball or wind-milling it to get strikeouts in softball, Faraimo had a sensational junior year at Cathedral Catholic and helped the Dons earn State School of the Year recognition. Not only did she win a section championships this school year but she won a state championship as well. In the championship game of the CIF San Diego Section Open Division for softball, Faraimo pitched a complete game shutout with 17 strikeouts in a 3-0 win over Ramona to finish 27-1 in the circle with a 0.60 ERA. Also hitting .402 with 26 runs batted in, this UCLA commit was our State Junior of the Year and first team all-state. On the volleyball court, Faraimo had a team-best 199 kills as the Dons went 29-10 and won the CIF Division II state championship. They beat Valley Christian of San Jose in the state final.
More Junior Athletes of Honor:
Ariyanna Augustine (Long Beach Poly) Track
Devon Chang (Santa Margarita, Rancho SM) Volleyball
Aquira DeCosta (St. Mary’s, Stockton) Basketball
Gracie Figeuroa (Selma) Wrestling
Eva Merrell (Crean Lutheran, Irvine) Swimming
Charlie Rudy (Novato) Lacrosse
Samantha Shelton (Santa Margarita, Rancho SM) Swimming
Sirena Tuiteli (Pleasant Valley, Chico) Volleyball, Basketball
Danielle Willson (Corona del Mar, Newport Beach) Tennis
Kennedy Wesley (Valley Christian, Cerritos) Soccer
Named by Gatorade and USA Today as the National Girls Soccer Player of the Year, Wesley is a soccer star that has future U.S. National Team success apparently etched in her future. Wesley scored 22 goals and had nine assists during her sophomore season with the Crusaders. Her team went 25-3-3 on the year with a CIF Southern Section Division VI and a Southern California Division V regional championship. Also named by the CIFSS as its Division VI Player of the Year, Wesley is considered the top recruit in the Class of 2019 by TopDrawerSoccer.com and was also a member of U.S. Soccer Under-17 Women’s National Team. Committed to Stanford, she played a total of 13 games with the U.S. Under 17 team during 2016 with nine starts.
More Sophomore Athletes of Honor:
Angelina Anderson (Carondelet, Concord) Soccer
Chloe Clark (Granite Bay) Swimming
Alexandra Crisera (Mira Costa, Manhattan Beach) Swimming
Kinzie Hanson (Norco) Softball
Miranda Heckman (Livermore) Swimming
Haley Jones (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) Basketball
Claudia Lane (Malibu) Cross Country, Track
Charisma Osborne (Windward, Los Angeles) Basketball
Brooke Seay (Francis Parker, San Diego) Golf
Ella Ristic (Santa Margarita, Rancho SM) Swimming
She may be just a freshman but Ristic played a big part in the Eagles once again capturing the CIF Southern Section Division I championship with several big performances. In the championship of the 200-yard freestyle, she tied with teammate Samantha Shelton for first place with a time of 1:45.76. She earlier was in the 200 yard medley relay on a team with her sister freshman Mia Ristic. She swam the opening leg for a team that finished third. Finally getting first-place all to herself, Ristic won the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:48.26 to win by less than half of a second. In her final event, she was part of Santa Margarita’s 400-yard freestyle relay team that finished in first place. Next month, Ristic will be participating in the 2017 FINA World Junior Championship in Indianapolis.
More Frosh Athletes of Honor:
Anieka Delgado (Santa Margarita, Rancho SM) Swimming
Breanne Ha (Los Osos, Rancho Cucamonga) Basketball
Nicole May (Foothill, Pleasanton) Softball
DIVISION I SCHOOLS:
Taylor Dockins (Norco) Softball
It isn’t just Dockins being the consensus national player of the year in softball that enticed us to write her up for this additional honor to already being the Ms. Softball State Player of the Year. It’s how she’s been dealing with a second cancer diagnosis this summer in addition to how she battled the first one last summer. Dockins was a two-way threat for the Cougars who went 33-1 on the year and ended No. 2 in the nation behind Los Alamitos (Calif.). Going 33-1 on the season herself, Dockins had a 0.95 ERA to finish her high school career with 108 wins in the circle. The 108 wins for her career set a CIF Southern Section record while her total was good for fourth best all time in state history. At the plate, Taylor also hit .454 with two home runs and 27 runs batted in and will be headed to play in college at Cal State Fullerton. Interestingly, one of only others we could have chosen for D1 Girls AOY was Norco classmate Shea Anderson. She became the first female in California state history to win the 400 meters and 300-meter hurdles in the same state final. Anderson also ranks No. 6 in state history in the 400 at 51.99 and No. 5 in state history in the 300 hurdles in 40.31.
More Division I Athletes of Honor:
Shea Anderson (Norco) Track
Candice Denny (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) Volleyball
Delanie Shelton (Liberty, Brentwood) Soccer
Emma Vanderhyden (Vista Murrieta, Murrieta) Tennis, Soccer
DIVISION II SCHOOLS:
Tara Davis (Agoura, Agoura Hills) Track
Agoura is one of those schools, based on where it competes in various CIF Southern Section playoffs and its enrollment, that can be D1 or D2 for these athlete of the year categories. We basically went for D2 because of who we wanted to pick for D1.
More Division II Athletes of Honor:
Rachel Baxter (Canyon, Anaheim) Track
Aubrey Knight (Ventura) Volleyball, Basketball
Beth Lillie (Troy, Fullerton) Golf
DIVISION III SCHOOLS:
Aria Fischer (Laguna Beach) Water Polo
She can be considered the runner-up to Tara Davis for overall Girls State Athlete of the Year. Then once we decided that Laguna Beach could be D3, she became an easy choice in this category. The Aria Fischer vs. Tara Davis debate is the classic success in team sport vs. individual success debate. Fischer was the youngest athlete on the U.S. water polo roster at age 17 at the Olympics — track star Sydney McLaughlin competed for the U.S. in Rio at age 16 — but there have been other high school athletes selected to play on the U.S. national team in that sport before. Fischer scored 11 goals during the Olympic qualifying schedule, but didn’t score in the Olympics. Fischer didn’t play at Laguna Beach as a junior, but even with that Olympic experience she came back to compete with her friends as a senior. The results were what you’d expect. Even though Laguna Beach was moved up to Division I in the CIF Southern Section, Fischer led the Breakers to a 31-0 record and CIFSS D1 title. She racked up 103 goals and 58 assists and was the Orange County and CIFSS player of the year. Fischer will now join older sister, Makenzie, at Stanford.
More Division III Athletes of Honor:
Alyaa Abdulghany (Corona del Mar, Newport Beach) Golf
Julia Blackshell-Fair (Vanden, Fairfield) Basketball
Aubrie Businger (Mills, Millbrae) Basketball, Softball
Brooke Panfili (Acalanes, Lafayette) Basketball, Softball, Track
Nicole Warwick (Modesto Christian) Basketball, Track
Brooke Yanez (Buena, Ventura) Softball
DIVISION IV SCHOOLS:
Destiny Littleton (Bishop’s, La Jolla) Basketball
She was the State D5 Athlete of the Year as a sophomore and last year was the choice for D4. Setting all sorts of scoring records during her high school career, this University of Texas-bound standout was our Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year. Becoming the first girl to ever average over 40 points per game in state history, Littleton averaged 42.7 points per game and finished the season with 1,366 points, which broke the previous record of 1,300 points by Danielle Viglione of Fair Oaks Del Campo in 1992. Among her other numbers that will get her listed in our state record book are the 4,300 career points, which is also a state record, and a 33.3 points per game career scoring average, which is second all time behind Cheryl Miller of Riverside Poly.
More Division IV Athletes of Honor:
Jennifer Kerr (San Dieguito Academy, Encinitas) Tennis
Tesa Oaks (Woodcrest Christian, Riverside) Volleyball, Swimming
Lexi Sun (Santa Fe Christian, Solana Beach) Volleyball
DIVISION V SCHOOLS:
Emma Baker (Rancho Christian, Temecula) Football, Volleyball, Soccer
She’s not listed among the juniors only because we have selected her as the top pick in the Division V category. Baker became the first female ever to be named to an all-CIFSS football team after she scored 99 points as the primary PAT and field goal kicker for a Rancho Christian team that went 14-2 and won the CIF Division 6AA state title. To be exact, Baker went 75 of 78 on PATs and 8 of 10 on field goals with a long of 40 yards. She’s been kicking on the Rancho Christian varsity since she was a freshman and could actually break the state record for most career kicking points during the upcoming season. While Baker’s kicking exploits have gained her much notoriety, she also had 236 kills for Rancho Christian in volleyball. The 5-foot-11 senior-to-be also played for the school’s soccer squad.
More Division V Athletes of Honor:
Kiana Rivera (University Prep, Victorville) Volleyball, Basketball
Makenna Schoenhofer (St. Bernard’s, Eureka) Soccer, Basketball, Softball