To go with overall honoree Juju Watkins, we have others selected as the best among girls athletes for juniors, sophomores, freshmen and those from divisions (D1, D2, D3, D4 and D5) for the 2022-23 school year. We have seen the father of one of them win a CIF state title in basketball. We also had to choose between two of them for one of our divisions.
For the full story on our 2022-23 Girls State Athlete of the Year,
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(Erik Boal of DyeStat.com provided the writeups on Sadie Englehardt & Tamara Aimufua. We’re honored he helps us with these athlete of year selections each year.)
Congratulations to the following additional girls for being selected as a 2022-23 Cal-Hi Sports State Athlete of the Year:
JUNIOR OF THE YEAR (Class of 2024)
Charlie Fuerbringer (Mira Costa, Manhattan Beach)
One year after Mira Costa had the overall State Girls Athlete of the Year with Dalia Frias from track and cross country, the Mustangs strike again this year for the juniors with Fuerbringer, who has benefitted with the addition of beach volleyball as an interscholastic sport to go along with what she did for indoor volleyball.
This also is the third time a Costa girl has gotten a state athlete of the year selection in the last four years. In 2020, Mustang soccer star Grace Watkins was the choice for Division 2. This is the first time someone from Mira Costa has been honored among juniors, but the school also had the overall State Girls Athlete of the Year in 2007 with Alix Klineman, a volleyball player like Fuerbringer but not a setter.
The setter from Mira Costa that Fuerbringer is on pace to be compared to Holly McPeak, who won 72 tour titles on the beach plus one Olympic bronze medal and was inducted into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2009.
Most top teams in the state have already begun the 2023 fall high school season, including Mira Costa, which has won the Ann Kang tournament in Hawaii (not in Maui where the devastating fires took place). Fuerbringer was not there because she was on the way back home as a member of the USA U19 national team that on Friday won the FIVB Girls U19 World Championship in Croatia. The US squad needed five games to get past Turkey, 3-2, in the gold medal match. Fuerbringer wasn’t a starter during earlier games, but in the final match she came in and in the USA Volleyball writeup “helped spark the US offense.” She started the final four games of the match and had three kills and two blocks to go with her many sets for her teammates.
In the 2022 high school season, Fuerbringer was the L.A. Times Player of the Year as a junior and led the Mustangs to the CIF SoCal Open Division championship where they lost to unbeaten, national champ Cathedral Catholic of San Diego. The University of Wisconsin commit was the South Bay Daily Breeze Player of the Year for the second straight season.
The sport of beach volleyball was added as a CIF sport two years ago and during the 2022-23 school year the first CIF Southern Section championships were held. Fuerbringer and her partner, Erin Inskeep, were the first CIFSS pairs champions and Mira Costa as a team won the first CIFSS title. For athlete of the year consideration, it’s similar to cross country and track athletes competing in technically different sports but utilizing the same athletic traits.
“She sees the game better than anyone I’ve ever coached,” said Mira Costa head coach Cam Green in an article in the Daily Breeze about Charlie being its Girls Athlete of the Year. “Her volleyball IQ and knowledge of the game got stronger this season. The biggest thing is her knowledge of the game is so high. Her personality and demeanor is always calm and relaxed and the team knows if Charlie feels good, then we all feel good and they trust we can make plays.”
Charlie also is one of those athletes who we have seen her father playing high school sports. Her dad, Matt, was a key player in basketball for Estancia of Costa Mesq in 1991 which won the CIF D3 state title. He also played volleyball, of course, went to Stanford for volleyball and is currently on the staff of the U.S. National Team as it gets ready for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
More Junior Athletes of Honor (Class of 2024)
Niya Clayton (Oaks Christian, Westlake Village) Track & Field
Anne Davis (Steele Canyon, Spring Valley) Golf
Anaya Falcon (Walnut) Wrestling
Miali Guachino (Great Oak, Temecula) Softball
Bailey Hartman (Carondelet, Concord) Swimming
Leslie Iorio (San Ramon Valley, Danville) Lacrosse
Miye Kodama (Louisville, Woodland Hills) Basketball, Soccer
Charlotte Kohler (St. Francis, Mountain View) Soccer
Claire Little (Vista Murrieta, Murrieta) Volleyball
Kennedy Smith (Etiwanda) Basketball
Amia Witt (Chaminade, West Hills) Basketball, Track
SOPHOMORE OF THE YEAR (CLASS of 2025)
Sadie Englehardt (Ventura)
The encore performance for Engelhardt after achieving Cal-Hi Sports State Girls Freshman of the Year honors included the remarkable feat of becoming the first female competitor in Cqlifornia prep history to win both the 800-meter and 1,600-meter state titles in the same year.
Engelhardt ran 2:07.22 and 4:33.45 on May 27 at Veterans Memorial Stadium at Buchanan High in Clovis for one of the most impressive one-day distance doubles in U.S. prep history, defending her state championship in the 1,600 and moving up one spot on the podium in the 800 following a runner-up finish last season.
She also finished as the national high school leader in the 1,500, following a 4:13.04 effort June 4 at the Portland Track Festival, in addition to the 1,600 with her state championship performance.
In gaining the top sophomore honor, Englehardt joins a star-studded group from the Ventura County area to have done it before, beginning with sprinter-long jumper Marion Jones from Rio Mesa of Oxnard in 1991. Tara Davis of Agoura (2015) and Sarah Baxter of Simi Valley (2012) are the others.
Engelhardt also ranked No. 3 nationally among prep athletes in the mile with her repeat victory April 8 in 4:36.26 at the Arcadia Invitational, along with No. 4 in the country in the 3,200 after a 9:51.49 effort March 4 at the Don Green Memorial Invitational in Moorpark. She was also top 15 nationally in the 800 with a 2:06.71 performance April 1 at West Coast Relays, also at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Engelhardt also excelled in cross country, despite being sidelined for an extended stretch during the regular season with bronchitis. She won the Division 2 state title by clocking 16:57.9 on the 5-kilometer course at Woodward Park in Fresno, the fastest time among all female athletes from the five combined divisions.
Engelhardt also triumphed at the CIF Southern Section Division 2 final at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, then returned to the same venue two weeks later to secure victory on the 5-kilometer layout in 17:43.0 at the CHAMPS Sports West Regional.
Engelhardt capped her cross country season by earning All-America honors with a 10th-place finish in 17:41.4 at the CHAMPS Sports National Championships at Balboa Park’s Morley Field in San Diego, improving from a 15th-place result as a freshman.
More Sophomore Athletes of Honor
Kaia Diederichs (Colfax) Soccer, Basketball
Kayla Giddings (San Marino) Cross Country, Softball, Track
Aya Johnson (Notre Dame, Sherman Oaks) Track & Field
Mya McGowan (Poway) Softball
Kai Minor (Lutheran, Orange) Softball
Aliyahna “Puff” Morris (Etiwanda) Basketball
Teagan O’Dell (Santa Margarita, Rancho SM) Swimming
Nicole Steiner (Los Gatos) Basketball, Track
Hanne Thompson (Montgomery, Santa Rosa) Cross Country, Track
Joelle Trepagnier (Culver City) Track
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR (CLASS of 2026)
McKenna Woliczko (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose)
You know you are doing some great things when historians like us have to dig deep for comparisons and that’s what it may be like in the next three years with McKenna, the Monarchs’ girls basketball phenom who also was one of the state’s best freshmen in softball for the 2022-23 school year.
Woliczko is actually the first-ever State Freshman Athlete of the Year from Mitty, which has perhaps had the greatest girls’ sports program ever for California and has had its share of super-successful athletes. Yes, we did check the great Kerri Walsh for basketball and volleyball and she wasn’t State Athlete of the Year until her sophomore year of 1993-94. The last State Freshman Athlete of the Year from the CIF Central Coast Section was golfer Sabrina Iqbal from Pioneer of San Jose, who won the CIF state golf title as a freshman in the 2014-15 school year. The all-time list only has a few others from CCS schools, but includes swimmer Sylvia Von Ruuska of Los Gatos in 1956-57, who at age 14 was one of the best swimmers in the world.
Woliczko was recently ranked No. 1 on a list of the top 75 athletes of the year (including boys) in the Bay Area 75 Athlete Rankings by our friends from SportStars Magazine.
In basketball, McKenna had to step up for the Monarchs when leading returnee and Class of 2024 nationally ranked Morgan Cheli went down with an injury for a good chunk of the season. She did just that. In helping Mitty go 28-3, win the CIF NorCal Open Division title and get within a buzzer-beating tip in of winning the CIF Open state title, Woliczko averaged 20.2 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. She was the West Catholic Athletic League Player of the Year and was first team (top 10) all-state, which something that Juju Watkins didn’t do in her freshman season at Windward (Los Angeles).
After the final basketball game, it was a matter of days before McKenna was on the field for Mitty’s softball team. She was the starting shortstop and quickly became one of the top players in the Bay Area. She wound up batting .429 with 30 hits and team-topping 23 RBI and 22 runs scored. She was named to all-state underclass second team for softball and would have been first team if it was just sophomores and freshmen.
With Woliczko missing, Mitty lost twice in the CCS Open Division playoffs after splitting with league rival and nationally ranked St. Francis of Mountain View in two league games. The Monarchs didn’t have McKenna because she had earned a spot on the 16U national team for the FIBA Americas Championships in Mexico. The U.S. won gold and Woliczko did well in her international debut. She hit for 11.8 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.
More Frosh Athletes of Honor
Taylor Faga (Hollister) Softball
Iva Jovic (Peninsula, Rolling Hills Estates) Tennis
Leilani Lemus (Clovis) Wrestling
Ellie McCuskey (St. Ignatius, San Francisco) Track & Field
Charlotte Raisin (San Marcos, Santa Barbara) Water Polo
Peyton Trayer (Santa Margarita, Rancho SM) Soccer
Juju Watkins (Sierra Canyon, Chatsworth) Sr.
For purposes of these honors, Sierra Canyon for basketball is considered D1 and since Watkins is the overall honoree she also would be tops for D1.
More D1 Senior Athletes of Honor
Emily Ausmus (M.L. King, Riverside) Water Polo
Julia Blyasov (Cathedral Catholic, San Diego) Volleyball
Kapi Coleman (Cathedral Catholic, San Diego) Volleyball, Track
Breya Cunningham (La Jolla Country Day) Basketball
Angela Liu (Santa Margarita, Rancho SM) Golf
Aujane Luckey (Wilson, Long Beach) Track & Field
Amanda Muse (Heritage, Brentwood) Water Polo, Basketball
Kiara Romero (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) Golf
Kiely Tabaldo (Menlo-Atherton, Atherton) Wrestling
Sydnie Vanek (Clovis) Volleyball, Track & Field
Sadie Englehardt (Ventura) Soph.
Ventura was D2 for the CIF cross country state finals so we have placed Sadie for D2 as well. She was considered for the overall winner despite being a sophomore (only Juju Watkins was placed higher). State Junior of the Year Charlie Fuerbringer of Mira Costa also would be D2 so it became a matter of which one for D2 over the other one.
More D2 Senior Athletes of Honor
Soo-Jin Berry (Clayton Valley, Concord) Basketball, Softball
Kori Fields (St. Mary’s, Stockton) Rugby, Track
Daeja Hollands (North Salinas, Salinas) Football, Basketball
Amber Nowaczek (Harvard-Westlake, Studio City) Water Polo
Morgan Trigueiro (Caruthers) Sr.
Known as Mo, the final honor for Trigueiro’s prep career is a statewide one. And three is a magic number for her since it’s also the number of sports she excelled at during her four years at Caruthers.
Already selected as the SBLive Central Section Athlete of the Year, Trigueiro’s lead sport would have to be basketball. She was selected as the D3 State Player of the Year for averaging 25.2 ppg for a team that lost to Colfax in the NorCal D3 final. According to Central Section historian Bob Barnett, Mo also set 17 new school records. Her other per game averages were 4.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.4 steals.
It was a quick turnaround for Trigueiro heading into softball, but it was seamless for her. In leading the Blue Raiders to the CIF Central Section D4 semifinals, Mo had a career high in batting average at .620. She also knocked in 42 runs, hit two homers and scored 28 runs with 11 steals. As a pitcher, she gladly took the ball and went 12-5 with a 2.25 ERA.
The third sport for Mo was volleyball. Caruthers won a section title in that sport as well. Trigueiro was the team’s offensive player of the year and she gained a spot on the all-league first team.
In addition to all that, Trigueiro was the Central Section’s Scholar Athlete of the Year (4.09 GPA) and was instrumental in her school’s Future Farmers of America program. She is currently attending Butte College in Chico due to its strong agriculture program and will be looking for a four-year college with similar credentials after that.
Trigueiro is the first-ever girls state athlete of the year in any category from Caruthers. The last Central Section winner for D3 was overall winner Grace Figueroa of Selma in 2018 (wrestling). Shafter’s Anna Jelmini (basketball, track) was a double winner for 2008 and 2009 and then you have to go back to 1986 for small schools honoree Carie Dever of Woodlake. The first time that five divisions were done instead of just medium and small was in 1997.
More D3 Senior Athletes of Honor
Gayathri Krishnan (Cupertino) Tennis
Gracyn Lovette (Marin Catholic, Kentfield) Basketball, Softball
Megan McAninch (Miramonte, Orinda) Water Polo
Randi Roelling (Central Catholic, Modesto) Softball
Hannah Slover (Los Gatos) Volleyball, Track
Ashley Yun (Walnut) Golf
Chloe Briggs (Ontario Christian) Sr.
It was a historically great career for Chloe at Ontario Christian and while her team and school got leaped way up to much higher divisions for the CIF Southern Section playoffs due to competitive equity, for this selection and for almost all sports Ontario Christian is small school (therefore D4).
After moving into the state prior to starting high school, Briggs exploded onto the statewide scene as a freshman. She led the state in scoring in her first season, in fact, with 33.8 ppg and scored 1,216 points. That is still the fourth most in state history as well, according to our own Cal-Hi Sports state records.
Briggs looked to develop more aspects of her game as a point guard over the next three seasons, but continued to score at a high average. The big moment of her career came in the final regular season game of her senior season when scored a basket that moved her past the legendary Cheryl Miller (Riverside Poly) to become the leading career scorer in CIF Southern Section history.
Once the playoffs were over, Chloe has put her career scoring total at 3,474 points (which is third on the all-time state list). The first team all-state pick also ended her four years with averages of 28.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 3.3 steals.
The career state record holder with 4,300 points scored, Destiny Littleton from Bishop’s of La Jolla, also was the last basketball player to be named D4 state athlete of the year. That was for both the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Briggs is the first ever girls athlete of the year for the state from Ontario Christian. The last D4 winner from the Inland Empire (and the only other one) was prolific football kicker Emma Baker from Rancho Christian of Temecula for 2018.
More D4 Senior Athletes of Honor
Bailie Clark (Calaveras, San Andreas) Cross Country, Basketball, Softball
(all others for D4 on our list were underclass)
Tamara Aimufua (United Christian Academy, Rancho Cucamonga) Sr.
Following an eight-year gymnastics career, Aimufia made the transition to excel in volleyball as well as track and field, and capped an impressive prep career in memorable fashion in both sports. She had previously received an overall girls athlete of the year selection from the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
Aimufia helped the Eagles (24-5) capture their third CIF Southern Section volleyball championship in program history, including their first as United Christian Academy after previously winning titles in 2009 and 2015 when the school was recognized as Upland Christian Academy.
The 5-foot-8 outside hitter, who led the team in kills, was selected CIF Southern Section Division 8 player of the year following the Eagles’ 25-13, 25-13, 25-16 sweep against Twentynine Palms. The victory was even more significant for Aimufia and her teammates following a heartbreaking 16-25, 25-19, 25-22, 17-25, 15-13 setback in the Division 9 final last year against Tarbut V’Torah of Irvine.
Aimufia used her success in the fall as a catalyst for an outstanding spring season, making the transition from competing in sprints, hurdles and relays in previous seasons to developing into one of the most well-rounded horizontal jumpers in the state.
Aimufia benefited from being mentored by Klyvens Delaunay, the 2012 boys state triple jump champion at Claremont High and brother of Jessica Floyd, her hurdling coach. She won CIF Southern Section Division 4 titles in both the long jump and triple jump, then advanced to the state finals in both events.
Aimufia was fourth in the triple jump and seventh in the long jump May 27 at the state championship meet. She achieved personal-best efforts of 19-3.50 in the long jump and 39-11.75 in the triple jump during the postseason.
More D5 Senior Athletes of Honor
Treasure Brown (Archer School, Los Angeles) Track
Giselle Rodriguez (Fall River, McArthur) Volleyball, Basketball, Track
Kamryn Walker (Holtville) Volleyball, Basketball, Softball
(all others for D5 on our list were underclass)