By Ben Ramirez
The 2016-2017 sports year has been a success for Granada Hills Charter High School, considering that they will end the year with four California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Los Angeles City Section city championships and six LA City Section runner ups.
“We have top notch students here, both academically and athletically. We did well, and we won some championships, and it was just fun for me to experience it,” first year Athletic Director Cristina Scotti said, summing up the year.
From the gridiron to the courts to the diamond to the pool, the sports program has been on the grind since before the school year began.
Starting in the fiery month of August, football was among the handful of sports that opened the the fall season. After dropping the first five games of the season, the football team improved during the back half of the schedule, going 3-2 with signature wins over West Valley League opponents Chatsworth Charter High School, Taft High School, and Cleveland High School. Their season came to a close after a loss to Westchester High School in the first round of CIF city playoffs.
On the hardwood, girls volleyball picked up where they left off in 2015, playing strong through both non-league and league games. The team had an impressive 24-7 record overall, and 9-1 in West Valley League. They finished the season hoisting up the city championship trophy at Edward Roybal Learning Center after defeating Palisades Charter High School. They will go into the 2017 season as defending city champions.
As expected, girls golf won its sixth consecutive city championship. They went a sparkling 10-0 in head to head matches and outscored Cleveland in the city championship by 34 strokes.
Boys water polo was runner up for the city championship, losing to Palisades in the finals. More importantly, the team put up a 16-4 record overall and 7-1 in West Valley League. Significant matchups included beating Cleveland two out of three to clinch a championship berth.
In cross country, at the CIF State Finals in Fresno, the boys team came in 17 out of 23, with senior Jose Gonzalez ranked highest amongst the school’s competitors.the girls team came in 21 out of 23. The team’s fastest runner was junior Tanya Larbaoui.
Girls tennis also had a fantastic season going undefeated, in West Valley League play. They finished runner up for the city championship after losing to Palisades.
Moving into winter sports, both girls and boys basketball teams had successful seasons. Despite finishing the season 13-17, the boys team went on a Cinderella run through the playoffs, eventually losing to Crenshaw High School in the Division 1 City Finals at Cal State Dominguez Hills. They then went on to play in the state playoffs, where they lost to Helix High School in the first round. Meanwhile, the girls team went 26-4 on the season and fell to Fairfax in the open division semi-finals. After winning the consolation game against Narbonne and qualifying for the CIF state playoffs, the team lost to Sierra Canyon High School in the first round.
As for soccer, both the girls and boys teams won city championships against El Camino Real Charter High School and Fremont High School, respectively. The boys team, ranked 40th nationally, finished with just five losses, and came one game short of going to the state championship, losing to Paramount High School in penalty kicks. Girls soccer finished with a record of 16-9-2, splitting the series with rival El Camino Real as well as one tie. Their season came to an end in the second round of the state playoffs, losing to JSerra Catholic High School, from San Juan Capistrano.
In wrestling, the girls team came in fourth place, while the boys team came in eighth place in the City Finals.
Coming into spring, the boys tennis team finished the season with a runner up finish at the city championships against Palisades. They had a spotless record of 10-0 in West Valley League play.
Baseball ended their season after losing 3-1 at home against University High School. The team went 15-16 overall and 3-7 in West Valley League. Their season was highlighted by a five-inning perfect game thrown by junior Matthew Diaz in mercy ruled 18-0 win over Van Nuys High School, as well as a number of thrilling one run games.
Softball went an impressive 20-13 overall. The team won at Cleveland 18-2 to win the West Valley League with a 9-1 record. Their season came to a close after a 1-0 extra inning loss at Banning High School in the quarterfinals of the LA City Section playoffs. Freshman Ava Justman led the league in both earned run average (1.11) and strikeouts (101).
After winning West Valley League, both boys and girls swim and dive teams sent swimmers to the City Finals at East Los Angeles College. The boys team finished second in the city to Palisades. In CIF state finals, the team finished 59th.The girls team finished fourth in the city.
Boys golf finished second in West Valley League. At the City Finals at the Riviera Golf Course, the team came in second.
Track and Field won the West Valley League. Notable finishes included juniors Victoria Vally and Josiah Kim both placing first in the high jump. City Finals will be held on May 27.
With the 2016-2017 sports year now in the books, it is time to turn the page toward next year. While high school careers have ended, the new year will bring to light hopeful young athletes ready to leave their mark at Granada Hills Charter.