More Boys State Athletes of the Year

State Freshman Athlete of the Year Deshonne Redeaux from Oaks Christian of Westlake Village (left) celebrates after school won a CIF Southern Section team title in track. At right is State Sophomore Athlete of Year Alec Blair of De La Salle. Photos: & De La Salle Athletics.

For the 2022-23 school year, in addition to overall honoree Rodrick Pleasant, we have more special athletes selected among boys for juniors, sophomores, freshmen and those from divisions (D1, D2, D3, D4 and D5). The junior winner is one we could see competing in the Olympics next summer in Paris. The sophomore winner had the unique combination of starring in basketball and baseball while the freshman winner ranks as one of the top ninth grade track sprinters in state history.

For the full story on our 2022-23 Boys State Athlete of the Year,


(Erik Boal did the writeups for our freshman and D2 honorees.)

Congratulations to the following additional boys for being selected as a 2022-23 Cal-Hi Sports State Athlete of the Year:

Ryder Dodd (JSerra, San Juan Capistrano)

When the Olympic Games get going next summer in Paris, the odds are high that Ryder will be there as a member of the U.S. men’s national team. He was recently on that team at the World Aquatics Championships in Japan as the U.S. squad had a seventh-place finish. This wasn’t a junior national team that is still hard to make in many sports for anyone still in high school. Ryder still has a senior season to go at JSerra and this was a national team he was on. He was the only member of the team still in high school.

If there was a list of the state’s athletes from the 2022-23 school year who could be in the 2024 Olympics, then JSerra’s Ryder Dodd probably would be on top of it. Photo: USA Water Polo.

Before going to Japan, Dodd joined older brother Chase Dodd (he went to Huntington Beach and also was on the national team in Japan) to lead the U.S. Junior National Team to a bronze medal at the Junior World Championship tournament played in Romania. It was the first-ever medal for a U.S. team at the Junior World Championship. Ryder was the leading scorer for the U.S. team during the week, which got its bronze with an 11-6 win over Greece.

That’s all fine and great, but what did Ryder do in the most recent high school season for the Lions? Well, he had six goals to pace JSerra in a 11-8 win over Newport Harbor of Newport Beach for the CIF Southern California D1 regional championship. He was All-CIFSS and All-Orange County, but was not player of the year in favor of Newport Harbor senior Ben Leichty. Newport Harbor had earlier won the CIFSS D1 title with a win over JSerra so all of that makes sense. Ben also was on the same U.S. Junior National Team that went to Romania, but he’s a graduating senior so this statewide honor didn’t require picking Dodd over Leichty. Dodd’s summer of greatness, however, just pushed him in front of all other junior athletes in the state.

In the spring, Ryder helped himself get ready for the summer by being a member of the JSerra swimming team. He finished in second-place in the CIFSS D1 finals in the 200 free and had a time that earned him an All-America listing (1:37.23). He also qualified for the CIFSS D1 finals in the 100 fly (8th place). It’s obviously the water polo that pushed him to the top, but the swimming just added a little icing to the cake.

Dodd is the first-ever State Athlete of the Year from JSerra in any category. The last State Junior Athlete of the Year from Orange County was Domani Jackson of Mater Dei for the year (2020-21) when he also was the overall State Athlete of the Year. The last aquatics junior of the year from Orange County was Jesse Vassallo of Mission Viejo for swimming (1977-1978). All-time swimming greats Mark Spitz and Don Schollander of Santa Clara in the 1960s also are on the all-time list of winners for their junior years in high school.

More Junior Athletes of Honor (Class of 2024)

Luke Baker (San Ramon Valley, Danville) Football, Baseball
Peter Castillo (Newport Harbor, Newport Beach) Water Polo
Daniel Herrera (Palm Desert) Football, Wrestling
Logan Kilbert (Sierra, Tollhouse) Football, Basketball
Tyler Patrick (Clovis West, Fresno) Football, Baseball
Kai Preisendorf (Redwood, Visalia) Football, Wrestling
Bryce Rainer (Harvard-Westlake, Studio City) Baseball
Trevor Rogers (Acalanes, Lafayette) Football, Track
Caden Pinnick (Del Oro, Loomis) Football, Basketball, Baseball
Logan Saldate (Palma, Salinas) Football, Track
Marshel Sanders (Clovis West, Fresno) Football, Basketball
Ryon Sayeri (Chaminade, West Hills) Football, Soccer
Jordan Washington (Jordan, Long Beach) Football, Track
Tyler “TJ” Wentworth (Central Catholic, Modesto) Football, Basketball, Baseball

Note: We want to wish good luck to Daniel Herrera, two-time CIF heavyweight wrestling champion and outstanding football lineman from Palm Desert. He is moving to Iowa for his senior year of high school (he is going to the University of Iowa for college). Daniel was the 2021-22 State Sophomore Athlete of the Year and was strongly considered for the juniors.

Alec Blair (De La Salle, Concord)

It doesn’t take long to notice that Blair can be just as effective swinging a bat or playing the outfield in baseball as he is leading a basketball team. It’s for being a standout in both of those sports that has enabled him to be honored now as the State Sophomore Athlete of the Year.

Blair is shown above after De La Salle baseball won the CIF NorCal D1 championship. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Last school year as a freshman, Blair first gained notice on the Spartans’ basketball team. He was one of just 10 named to the all-state freshman team. This school year, Blair elevated himself not just to all-state sophomore but was on the 30-player overall all-state team. He helped DLS get to the CIF NorCal Open Division semifinals where it lost by just 57-56 to Modesto Christian. The Spartans also posted wins during the season over final state No. 3 St. John Bosco of Bellflower and West Linn of Oregon, which was USA Today’s No. 1 ranked team in the nation at the time. They didn’t win their league, which was won by Dougherty Valley of San Ramon. Blair led the team in scoring with 16 ppg, played lock down defense, shot 52 percent from the field and averaged five rebounds and two steals per game.

Doing what he did in baseball was a surprise to anyone only following the team from afar, but not probably to any of the coaches. Blair didn’t take long to get going after basketball season and finished with a .311 batting average, two homers, 20 runs scored and 23 RBI going against the elite competition of the East Bay Athletic League. He also only made one error playing defense.

It’s just not that normal to see 6-foot-5 to 6-foot-6 smooth swinging left-hand hitters who also have shown power potential and can roam the outfield using that tall frame to make tough catches. By the end of the season, DLS head coach David Jeans said that there have been offers from SEC schools regarding Blair for baseball. There already were plenty of D1 offers for him in basketball.

The last sophomore athlete of the year from the CIF North Coast Section was another baseball-basketball combo athlete, Joe DeMers, from College Park of Pleasant Hill for 2012-13. De La Salle has had three previous winners: Matt Gutierrez for 1999-2000, D.J. Williams for 1997-98 and Atari Callen for 1996-97.

More Sophomore Athletes of Honor (Class of 2025)
Jackson Cinfel (Clovis North, Fresno) Football, Wrestling
Isaiah Cortez (Gilroy) Wrestling
Jackson Cryst (Millikan, Long Beach) Basketball, Volleyball
Jordon Davison (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) Football
Brady Ebel (Etiwanda) Baseball
Kaleb Edwards (Oak Ridge, El Dorado Hills) Football, Basketball
Cooper Han (Menlo School, Atherton) Tennis
Joshua Kim (De La Salle, Concord) Golf
McKay Madsen (Clovis North, Fresno) Football, Track
Evan Noonan (Dana Hills, Dana Point) Cross Country, Track
Weston Port (San Juan Hills, SJ Capistrano) Football, Basketball
Nicholas Sahakian (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) Wrestling
Diego Velazquez (Crespi, Encino) Baseball
Luke Webb (JSerra, SJ Capistrano) Football, Wrestling
Tounde Yessoufou (St. Joseph, Santa Maria) Basketball

Deshonne Redeaux
(Oaks Christian, Westlake Village)

Although State Boys Athlete of the Year Rodrick Pleasant of Gardena Serra High boasts California sophomore, junior and senior class records in the 100-meter dash, the COVID-19 pandemic canceled his freshman season and didn’t allow him an opportunity to challenge the best all-time ninth-grade marks.

Another freshman football and track standout emerged this year to challenge Pleasant, with Deshonne Redeaux running a wind-aided 10.42 seconds in the 100 at the CIF Southern Section Division 4 finals at Moorpark High, the No. 2 all-conditions performance by a ninth-grader in state history.

Redeaux trailed only the 2022 wind-aided mark of 10.35 run by Los Alamitos’ Devin Bragg at the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship at Moorpark.

Redeaux placed second in the same May 13 race when Pleasant achieved the fastest all-conditions 100-meter performance in state history with his wind-aided 10.09 effort. He was also runner-up to Pleasant in the 200-meter championship race at the CIF Southern Section Division 4 final, clocking a wind-legal 21.32 to elevate among the top five all-conditions freshman athletes all-time in California.

Although he was 16th overall in the state 100-meter semifinals in a wind-legal 10.68, Redeaux did contribute to Oaks Christian taking third in the 4×100-meter relay final, anchoring the Lions to a 41.02 performance.

Redeaux also helped Oaks Christian win the 800-meter sprint medley relay April 8 at the 55th Arcadia Invitational in a state-leading 1:31.19.

During his debut football season with the Lions (7-4), the 6-foot, 180-pound running back gained 500 yards and scored three touchdowns. Senior Johnny Thompson was the team’s primary ball carrier, but Deshonne came on strong at the end of the season. With his speed and known qualities for what he can do with ball in hand, Redeaux has collected nearly 20 D1 college offers for football already, including those from USC, Alabama, Oregon, Louisville and more.

Redeaux is just the third State Freshman Athlete of the Year from Oaks Christian. The other two were Aaron Ware for 2001-02 and Malcolm Jones for 2006-07.

Pleasant ran 10.32 in the 100 and 20.59 in the 200 as a sophomore, performances well within reach for Redeaux during the upcoming school year.

More Frosh Athletes of Honor (Class of 2026)

Jason Crowe Jr. (Lynwood) Basketball
Giancula D’Amato (El Toro, Lake Forest) Soccer
Anthony Murphy (Corona) Baseball
Brady Smigiel (Newbury Park) Football, Basketball
Joseph Toscano (Buchanan, Clovis) Wrestling
Songrui Wu (Dougherty Valley, San Ramon) Swimming
Rocklin Zinkin (Buchanan, Clovis) Wrestling

Rodrick Pleasant (Serra, Gardena) Sr.

Rodrick’s school could be D2 or D3, which it is in some sports, but for track and field and football the Cavaliers are D1 all the way. He had already put his name among the school’s other all-time great athletes before his senior year even began.

More D1 Senior Athletes of Honor
Trent Carraway (JSerra, SJ Capistrano) Baseball
Imari Conley (Central, Fresno) Football, Track
Conner Dasmann (Oak Ridge, El Dorado Hills) Football, Wrestling
Hilton Green (Buchanan, Clovis) Football, Track
Ethan Harrington (Palo Alto) Swimmimng
Reagan Heslin (JSerra, SJ Capistrano) Soccer
Ben Liechty (Newport Harbor, Newport Beach) Water Polo
Rex Maurer (Loyola, Los Angeles) Swimming
Roderick Robinson (Lincoln, San Diego) Football
Jared McCain (Centennial, Corona) Basketball
Danny Scudero (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) Football, Baseball
Brendon See (JSerra, SJ Capistrano) Track
Dijon Stanley (Granada Hills Charter) Football, Track
Simon Vaca-Lorenzi (Davis) Soccer

Newbury Park’s Lex Young is shown after he set new national record in the 5,000 meter run. He and twin brother Leo will be running next at Stanford. Photo:

Lex Young (Newbury Park) Sr.

Despite his decision not to compete for Newbury Park High during the spring track season, the Stanford-bound Young still added to his impressive resume by running a national high school record in the 5,000 meters. Plus, for these honors, accomplishments outside of interscholastic competition have always counted.

Competing against a professional field May 26 at the USATF Los Angeles Grand Prix at UCLA’s Drake Stadium, Young ran 13:34.96 to eclipse the May 6 performance of 13:37.30 achieved by Connor Burns of Southern Boone High in Missouri at the On Running Track Fest at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.

Young also finished third in the 5,000 in 14:00.64 at New Balance Nationals Indoor in March in Boston, ascending to the No. 4 indoor competitor in U.S. prep history. He was already the No. 2 all-time indoor high school competitor in the 3,000 with a 7:57.06 effort as a junior at the Dr. Sander Invitational Columbia Challenge in New York.

Young’s final prep race came June 18 at Nike Outdoor Nationals at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., placing fifth in the mile in 4:04.60.

Four athletes from the Newbury Park cross country dynasty that produced 2021 and 2022 national high school championships – the 2021-22 State Boys Athlete of the Year Colin Sahlman, Aaron Sahlman, Leo Young and Lex Young – rank among the top seven competitors in California history in the 1,600 or mile.

Lex Young won the Division 2 state individual cross country championship in 14:27.9 in November at Woodward Park in Fresno, elevating him to the No. 4 all-time prep competitor on the 5-kilometer course. Young helped the Panthers follow their 2021 Division 1 team title with a dominant 24-99 victory against Livermore Granada, earning their fourth consecutive state championship overall. He also emerged victorious at the CIF Southern Section Division 2 final at Mt. San Antonio College, covering the 2.93-mile course in 14:38.1.

Although both Young brothers weren’t the top finishers for Newbury Park in December at Nike Outdoor Nationals at Glendoveer Golf Course in Oregon – with Leo placing 11th and Lex finishing 35th – their performances, combined with Aaron Sahlman winning the individual title in 14:44.5, helped the team triumph by a 66-152 margin against Jesuit High of Portland.

It marked the second Nike Cross Nationals title for Newbury Park, along with 2019, in addition to the program’s victory at the 2021 RunningLane Championships in Alabama.

More D2 Senior Athletes of Honor

Kainoa Acia (Del Oro, Loomis) Football, Wrestling
Jaelin Barbarin (Simi Valley) Football, Track
Jake Jackson (Madison, San Diego) Football, Basketball, Baseball*
Matt Morrell (Cypress) Football, Baseball
Kollen Murphy (Rancho Christian, Temecula) Football, Basketball
JeyQuan Smith (Cajon, San Bernardino) Football, Track
Leo Young (Newbury Park) Cross Country, Track

*The San Diego Section Athlete of the Year for the past two years also would be our selection as the State Three-Sport Athlete of the Year. Jake will play baseball for college at San Diego State.

Jerry Mixon, who also was second leading scorer for a CCS Open Division championship team in basketball, is the cousin of NFL running back Joe Mixon. Photo:

Jerry Mixon Jr. (Sacred Heart Cathedral, San Francisco) Sr.

This is the second major honor for Mixon within three weeks from us as he previously was selected as the State Grid-Hoop Player of the Year for the 2022-23 school year. We usually try to look for someone other than a grid-hooper, but SHC would be D3 for these honors and Mixon just did too much.

In football, Mixon gained first team all-state honors at linebacker. He piled up 79 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, four sacks, two forced fumbles and and a blocked field goal in 10 games during the 2022 season. He also caught 24 passes for 323 yards and one TD on offense, plus he threw for a pair of touchdowns, blocked a field goal, rushed for five scores and he had a 99-yard kickoff return. The cousin of top-notch NFL running back Joe Mixon of the Cincinnati Bengals then went on to basketball where he was the second-leading scorer for a team that won the CIF Central Coast Section Open Division championship. He was second team All-WCAL in basketball, which happens to be one of the toughest leagues in the state.

Mixon, who will play next in football at the University of Washington, has become the first CCS D3 state athlete of the year since three-sport athlete Drew Shiller of Burlingame repeated as the honoree for the 2004-05 school year. Sacred Heart Cathedral of course also is a school that has roots back to the 1890s. We list Harry Heilman, the MLB Hall of Famer who was from Sacred Heart (before the Cathedral part was added on), as the 1911-1912 State Athlete of the Year.

More D3 Senior Athletes of Honor

Mathias Brown (Sunny Hills, Fullerton) Football, Soccer
Shane Carr (South, Bakersfield) Football, Basketball, Track
Zane Carter (Buena, Ventura) Football, Basketball
Jaiden Haire (Hanford West, Hanford) Basketball, Track
Adam Harper (Northwood, Irvine) Football, Baseball
Jake Long (La Serna, Whittier) Football, Baseball
R.L. Miller (Sacred Heart Cathedral, S.F.) Football, Basketball
Devin Munoz (St. Paul, Santa Fe Springs) Football, Baseball
Jose Soto (Tulare Western, Tulare) Football, Track
Sai Vadrawale (Rancho Cotate, Rohnert Park) Football, Track

Jamar Howard of Mission Prep also was seriously considered for the top grid-hoop honor this year. Photo: Aaron Burgin / @FullTimeHoops1.

Jamar “JJ” Howard (Mission Prep, San Luis Obispo) Sr.

This is similar to Jerry Mixon Jr. for D3, but Jamar’s school, Mission Prep, counts as D4 for athletes and schools of the year. Instead of being runner-up to Mixon as the State Grid-Hoop Player of the Year, Howard comes in first for D4 and is getting a statewide honor after all.

Jamar is still coming back from a broken vertebrae injury he suffered in March in basketball, but he’s still heading to play in the WAC for college at UT Rio Grande Valley. He had an outstanding senior season for the Royals as he averaged 24 ppg, 8 rpg and 3 apg. In one game, Howard poured in 42 points against Righetti of Santa Maria. He also had nine other outings of 30 points or more. The football part of it for him came as a game-breaking wide receiver. Howard had 36 catches on the season last fall for 863 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Howard is the first boys state athlete of the year in any category from Mission Prep. The school has had girls win before, especially when long distance running phenom Jordan Hasay was there in the late 2000s.

More D4 Senior Athletes of Honor

Evan Burnett (Menlo School, Atherton) Tennis
Joseph Lighthall (Hughson) Track
Wyatt Smith (St. Patrick-St. Vincent, Vallejo) Football, Baseball
Trent Toole (Stevenson, Pebble Beach) Football, Basketball, Baseball
Preston Van Worth (Dos Palos) Football, Baseball

Playing for his father as head coach, Trevin Adams was the ringleader of the California School for the Deaf (Riverside) football team that became not just an unbeaten champion but an inspiration to many around the nation. Photo:

Trevin Adams (California School for the Deaf, Riverside) Sr.

There is no separate category in the annual all-state football teams for eight-man players so this became a perfect time to remind everyone what Trevin and the team at CSDR accomplished last football season. He also happened to average nearly 15 ppg later on after football for the school’s basketball team. State D5 Athlete of the Year thus became very doable.

CSDR capped an unbeaten, dominant season with an 80-26 victory over Faith Baptist of Canoga Park to win the CIF Southern Section 8-man, Division I title. Adams, the son of head coach Keith Adams, rushed for 204 yards and six touchdowns, passed for 202 yards and two TDs and he ran back a pair of interceptions for scores. It also was the first CIFSS title in any sport for the Cubs.

For the season, Adams passed for 2,279 yards and 39 touchdowns, rushed for 1,116 yards and 23 TDs and on defense he had 91 tackles, nine sacks and five interceptions.

While the numbers for Adams and the team were mind-boggling, it’s how they captured the attention of the wider sports audience that was more important. Adams and his teammates went to the Super Bowl, they got to meet celebrities like Billie Jean King and Marlee Matlin and the story of Coach Adams, his son and the team will likely be made into a Hollywood movie or Disney+ series.

Trevin is not the first deaf athlete to be the D5 State Athlete of the Year, either. The first was Michael Lizarraga for 2006-07. Michael was a high-scoring basketball player and multi-sport athlete at CSDR’s sister school up in Northern California in Fremont. The last Inland Empire D5 State Athlete of the Year was golfer William Mouw of Ontario Christian in 2019.

More D5 Senior Athletes of Honor

Gavin Farinha (Turlock Christian) Baseball
Zach Story (Orland) Basketball, Baseball
Eli Terpsma (Ripon Christian) Basketball, Baseball

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

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