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OC VARSITY

Sunday, June 28, 2020

BRYCE YOUNG MATER DEI

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SPECIAL SECTION

ASIA AVINGER ROSARY

ATHLETES OF THE YEAR THE REGISTER WRAPS UP A YEAR OF EXCELLENCE IN ORANGE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS BY SELECTING ITS ATHLETES OF THE YEAR FOR 2019-20

LANCE KENELEY MISSION VIEJO

ELLA GARDINER SAN CLEMENTE

TOP PHOTO BY KEVIN SULLIVAN — ­ STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER; MIDDLE, BOTTOM PHOTOS BY PAUL BERSEBACH — STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

We Get You Back to You™ For a physician referral call 844-325-8666 or visit HOIExperts.com/Athlete


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THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER >> OCREGISTER.COM

SUNDAY, JUNE 28, 2020

ATHLETES OF THE YEAR SECTION

ORANGE COUNTY MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

KEVIN SULLIVAN — STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Mater Dei QB Bryce Young, the Register’s Male Athlete of the Year, took the Monarchs offense to “a whole different level,” coach Bruce Rollinson says.

BRYCE YOUNG, MATER DEI By Steve Fryer sfryer@scng.com @SteveFryer on Twitter

Bruce Rollinson has coached many outstanding quarterbacks in his 31 years running the Mater Dei football program. Asking Rollinson who was the best of them is like asking a father of five who is his favorite child. As for the Monarchs’ quarterback the past two seasons, Bryce Young … “Bryce is one of the best, if not the best we’ve had,” Rollinson said. “He took our offense to a whole different level.” The Monarchs averaged 50 points a game and were ranked No. 1 in the nation for much of the 2019 season. Every Mater Dei opponent qualified for the playoffs. It might have been the most challenging schedule any Orange County team ever has taken on.

Yet against tough competition, Young — the Register’s Male Athlete of the Year for 2019-20 — completed 72% of his passes for 4,528 yards (348 yards a game) and 58 touchdowns with only six interceptions. The senior also rushed for a team-high 10 touchdowns. He threw seven touchdown passes in a 71-21 win over Centennial of Phoenix, Ariz. Over two games against St. John Bosco, which was crowned the 2019 national champion by several groups, Young completed 44 of 74 passes for 671 yards and eight touchdowns. When Mater Dei’s season ended with a five-point loss to St. John Bosco in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship game, Young’s excellence continued. He was MVP of the All-American Bowl Game in San Antonio, Texas. Young (6-foot, 190 pounds) was recruited by every college football program that thought it had

a chance to get him. Alabama won that contest. He was the Register’s offensive player of the year, CalHiSports.com All-California first team and MaxPreps.com national co-player of the year with St. John Bosco quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei. With all of those great wins, standout performances and awards of his senior year, Young most cherished the time he spent with teammates and coaches. “The best moments were those locker room moments,” said Young, who graduated from Mater Dei after the fall semester so that he could enroll early at Alabama. “All of those friendships, and the brotherhood we had. Those walks with the teammates, from the locker room to the practice field. That’s what I already miss the most.” Young spent his first two high school seasons at Cathedral of Los Angeles — “I’ll forever have love for

Cathedral and the program there,” Young said — and transferred to Mater Dei before his junior year. “I wanted to play at the highest level and against the best competition there is,” Young said of his move to Mater Dei. “It was the right move for me at the right time. Being at Mater Dei brought out the best in me and helped me grow, on and off the field.” The list of Mater Dei quarterbacks over the past 30 years includes Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart. There’s also Matt Barkley, who, like Leinart, played at USC and in the NFL. Young’s predecessor at Mater Dei, JT Daniels, started at USC, and ex-Monarch Colt Brennan set many passing records at Hawaii. The list includes John Flynn, Scott Lukash and Nick Stremick, who were All-CIF quarterbacks at Mater Dei. The best of them? Maybe Bryce Young, the Orange County athlete of the year.

T he Orange County Register congratulates the 40-pus athletes and coaches included in the Athletes of the Year 2019-20 special section. This was a school year filled with remarkable efforts and accomplishments. But it was also a year marred by great disappointment. The COVID-19 pandemic wiped out most of the spring sports season, as well as many meaningful events and ceremonies, including the Register’s annual Athletes of the Year banquet. It was not the ending that anyone wanted, but the Register hopes all of the athletes and coaches who provided the highlights this year will look back on this as a very memorable sports year — for a lot of good reasons.

Online: To see more photos and videos of the Orange County Athletes of the Year and Outstanding Competitors of the Year, go to the OCVarsity pages of OCREGISTER.COM

CONGRATULATIONS ELLA RISTIC, OC Varsity

Girls Swimming Outstanding Senior

CONGRATULATIONS TO 2020 TRINITY LEAGUE ATHLETES AND COACHES

MATER DEI HIGH SCHOOL Devin Askew Jake Huarte Mia Tuaniga Bryce Young

JSERRA CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL Anthony Grover Samantha Williams

ROSARY ACADEMY Asia Avinger Rory Bevins

SANTA MARGARITA

CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL

SERVITE HIGH SCHOOL Uriel Sanchez Jon Spencer

Our Champions.

SANTA MARGARITA ORANGE CATHOLIC HIGH LUTHERAN HIGH SCHOOL SCHOOL

ASIA AVINGER

Rosary Academy High School

Nobody Beats Our Coverage. ocregister.com/subscribe

Ella Ristic

Sophia Hartwell

BRYCE YOUNG Mater Dei High School

OC Varsity Girls Basketball Athlete of the Year

OC Varsity Football Offensive Athlete of the Year

OC Varsity Girls Athlete of the Year

OC Varsity Boys Athlete of the Year

Trinity League Athlete of the Year Award Winner

SPECIAL CONGRATULATIONS TO TRINITY LEAGUE AWARD WINNER ASIA AVINGER AND ALL OUR ATHLETES AND COACHES!


SUNDAY, JUNE 28, 2020

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER >> OCREGISTER.COM

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ASIA AVINGER, ROSARY By Dan Albano dalbano@scng.com @ocvarsityguy on Twitter

Asia Avinger didn’t need to search long to find a competitive game while growing up. The Rosary senior just needed to join twin brother Noah or older brother Lucky at the basketball hoop in front of their house or at the grass fields at nearby Gridley Park in Cerritos. The three waged fierce basketball games that often led to fights in the driveway. They also played football and tag in the park. “It was always a competition,” Avinger recalled. “It definitely made me a lot tougher and it always gave me the mentality of just being the best no matter who is out there on the floor. … They just pushed me to work even harder. “I don’t like to lose and they don’t, so we just get better.” Avinger carried those feisty traits into high school basketball and used them to her benefit. She grew from a promising freshman to a state champion as a junior to the Orange County player of the year as a senior. And now she is the Register’s Female Athlete of the Year for 201920 after an impressive senior season. “Asia is one of those players who you love to watch but hate to play against,” said Santa Margarita girls basketball coach Christina Wear.

ORANGE COUNTY FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

“She already has the strength and speed of some (NCAA) Division I athletes and was difficult for us guard this year. She’s athletic, has a great basketball IQ, will lock you down on defense, is an offensive threat from all spots on the floor and has great vision, which enables her to make those around her better.” The 5-foot-7 Avinger showcased her all-around skills while leading the Royals (23-12) to a second consecutive CIF State Southern California Division I regional title and a trip to the state championship game in Sacramento. The state finale was canceled because of the coronavirus crisis, but Avinger’s legacy was already set before the heartbreaking ending. In the Southern California championship, the San Diego State-bound point guard scored 11 of her game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter to help coach Rich Yoon and Rosary defeat host Cathedral Catholic of San Diego 55-48. She also helped the Royals earn a share of the Trinity League championship with Mater Dei. She teamed with Nicole Rodriguez, Kaylee Byon, Caylee Santos and Bryn Boznanski to snap the Monarchs’ 90-game league winning streak. For the season, Avinger averaged 13.8 points and led the team in rebounding (6.3) and assists (4.0). “She’s special,” Monarchs

PAUL BERSEBACH — STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Rosary’s Asia Avinger is the Register’s Female Athlete of the Year. The senior led the Royals to a second consecutive CIF State Southern California Division I regional title and a trip to the state championship. coach Kevin Kiernan said of the All-CIF selection who was also named the Trinity League athlete of the year, an honor sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. Avinger directs heavy credit back to where her journey began, playing sports with her brothers and growing up with her parents, Skinner and Nicole. Her brothers might have been childhood rivals but they became sources of inspiration. “My brothers, they’re my best friends,” Avinger said. “I wouldn’t want to do anything without them.” When it came to athletic train-

ing, Avinger and her brothers developed under the tutelage of Skinner. A former multi-sport athlete at Pius X in Downey, he is an experienced personal trainer and football coach. He was a standout safety at Cerritos College. “He’s the one who trained me and my brothers,” said Avinger, who played in a flag football tournament with Noah during middle school. “He’s the one who is pushing me to be on the right path of being great.” Avinger is not alone on the path. Lucky, 22, played running back the past two seasons at Fullerton College and hopes to play at a four-

year school. Noah is a junior wide receiver/ defensive back at Servite and holds several Division I scholarship offers, including San Diego State. Skinner is now one of his defensive back coaches with the Friars. In another year, the three siblings who grew up playing sports together could all be college athletes. But for now, the basketball court at home is ruled by just one person. “Now,” Skinner said, “Asia is giving (her brothers) the business out there. They really made her a force to be reckoned with playing with the girls.”

FALL SPORTS | ATHLETES & COACHES OF THE YEAR FOOTBALL

Offensive Player of the Year: Bryce Young, Mater Dei Defensive Player of the Year: Clark Phillips III, La Habra Football Coach of the Year: Nick Karavedas, Sunny Hills

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

BOYS CROSS COUNTY

Player of the Year: Mia Tuaniga, Mater Dei Coach of the Year: Isaac Owens, Esperanza

Runner of the Year: Anthony Grover, JSerra Coach of the Year: Craig Dunn, Dana Hills

GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY

Runner of the Year: Carly Corsinita, Capistrano Valley Coach of the Year: Ken Chai, El Toro

GIRLS GOLF

Golfer of the Year: Sherilyn Villaneuva, Troy Coach of the Year: Bruce Loman, Sage Hill

GIRLS TENNIS

Player of the Year: Kaytlin Taylor, Huntington Beach Coach of the Year: Natasha Schottland, Portola

ROYALS R EI G N !

BOYS WATER POLO

Player of the Year: Tanner Pulice, Corona del Mar Coach of the Year: Logan Powell, San Clemente

MATER DEI HIGH SCHOOL

Congratulations to these outstanding Royal athletes!

A Tradition of Excellence in Catholic Education

Congratulations to our Student tudent Athletes! Athlet

ASIA AVINGER

OC Register Athlete of the Year OC Register Basketball Player of the Year Trinity League MVP All-CIF All-State 2x State Champion BASKETBALL TEAM CIF DIVISION I SOUTHERN REGIONAL STATE CHAMPIONS

RORY BEVINS

OC Register Water Polo Coach of the Year CIF Southern Section Division III Water Polo Coach of the Year

Bryce Young The University of Alabama

WATER POLO TEAM CIF SOUTHERN SECTION DIVISION III CHAMPIONS All starting players were named All-CIF @RosaryRoyals @RosarySports

Devin Askew University of Kentucky entucky Learn more about Rosary at www.rosaryacademy.org

@MaterDeiMonarchs @MDHSmonarchs

Jake Huarte United States Military Academy West Point @MDHSmonarchs @MaterDei


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THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER >> OCREGISTER.COM

SUNDAY, JUNE 28, 2020

LANCE KENELEY, MISSION VIEJO

ORANGE COUNTY MALE OUTSTANDING COMPETITOR

Mission Viejo’s Lance Keneley is one of the Orange County Register’s 2020 Athletes of the Year. The senior has committed to play football at Stanford.

By Steve Fryer sfryer@scng.com @SteveFryer on Twitter

PAUL BERSEBACH STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Being a three-sport athlete is tough enough. Being a three-sport athlete who excels at three sports is tougher still. Mission Viejo senior Lance Keneley was that three-sport athlete who excelled at three sports, and for doing so is the Register’s Male Outstanding Competitor for 2019-20. Keneley (6-foot-5, 240 pounds) was an All-Orange County defensive end. He was selected to the All-CIF Division 1 team and CalHiSports.com placed Keneley on its All-California defensive first team. He totaled 108 tackles, 23 sacks and 3 fumble recoveries. He also was CIF-SS Coastal Division wrestling champion at 220 pounds. Keneley finished fourth at the CIF-SS Masters Meet to qualify for the CIF State meet. And he appeared to be on his way to qualifying for CIF sectional and state competition in track and field, in the shot put. Keneley is a pretty good competitor in the classroom, too. He has a 4.63 grade-point average and will play football at Stanford, where he plans to major in mechanical engineering. At the National Football Foundation Orange County Chapter’s annual scholar-athlete banquet, Keneley was selected to deliver

the thank you message on behalf of the honorees, which Keneley delivered smoothly without notes — a “wow” moment for the attendees but more of a “that’s typical Lance Keneley” moment for his Mission Viejo coaches. “He’s a ‘yes, sir, no, sir’ kid, which is hard to come by these days,” said Mission Viejo football head coach Chad Johnson. “You tell him something once and he’ll get it done. He was raised correctly.” Keneley’s father, Matt, was an All-County lineman at Mission Viejo in the 1990s and went on to play at USC. His mother, Antoinette, played volleyball at USC. He was unable to wrestle his

sophomore and junior years because of shoulder surgeries. His senior wrestling season got off to a late start because of football and the college recruiting process. “I wasn’t able to wrestle in league finals,” Keneley said, “because that was the only week Stanford has official recruiting visits. And then I had to go straight from there to CIF Finals.” He went straight to the CIF-SS Coastal Division finals with pins in each round, and scored another pin in the final to take the title. He qualified for the state meet and by one match just missed placing there. Then came the track and field season, with the shot put and dis-

cus. “I was really looking forward to throwing this year,” Keneley said. He won the shot put at a quad meet at San Clemente with a throw of 48 feet, 1 inch. “Lance was throwing 53 feet in practice,” said Mission Viejo track and field throws coach Brett Paton. “Fifty-five feet is the threshold for qualifying for state and I think he would have made that.” The spread of coronavirus ended the track season, and the spring sports season, in early April. So not all of Keneley’s goals were reached. But it was quite a senior year for him.

The Diablos football team was South Coast League champion, as usual, and advanced to the CIF-SS Division 1 semifinals. Making that more special were the additions of receiver Chase Nenad and Logan Schwenke, transfers from Santa Margarita, whom Keneley played with in his first year of Pop Warner football. “One thing I’m always going to remember is the camaraderie we had on our whole football team,” he said. “It was a culmination of four years of work, and I got to play with my buddies for one last ride.” What a senior year ride it was for Lance Keneley.

WINTER SPORTS | ATHLETES & COACHES OF THE YEAR BOYS BASKETBALL

Player of the Year: Devin Askew, Mater Dei Coach of the Year: D’Cean Bryant, Fountain Valley

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Player of the Year: Asia Avinger, Rosary Coach of the Year: Jimmy Valverde, Esperanza

BOYS SOCCER

Player of the Year: Uriel Sanchez, Servite Coach of the Year: Jon Spencer, Servite

GIRLS SOCCER

Player of the Year: Samantha Williams, JSerra Coach of the Year: Pat Rossi, Los Alamitos

GIRLS WATER POLO

Player of the Year: Emma Lineback, Laguna Beach Coach of the Year: Rory Bevins, Rosary

BOYS WRESTLING

Wrestler of the Year: Aaron Nagao, Esperanza Coach of the Year: Dane Valdez, Calvary Chapel

GIRLS WRESTLING

Wrestler of the Year: Aine Drury, Westminster

CONGRATULATIONS

LIONS!

S IE OV M

ANTHONY GROVER

OC VARSITY BOYS CROSS COUNTRY RUNNER OF THE YEAR Wake Forest Commit

SAMANTHA WILLIAMS

OC VARSITY GIRLS SOCCER ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Stanford Commit

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SUNDAY, JUNE 28, 2020

| OC VARSITY   | 5

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER >> OCREGISTER.COM

ELLA GARDINER, SAN CLEMENTE By Dan Albano dalbano@scng.com @ocvarsityguy on Twitter

All the jumping in volleyball gave her an explosive lift in basketball. All the post moves and defensive slides in basketball gave her quickness around the net in volleyball. Ella Gardiner balanced volleyball and basketball for four years at San Clemente, but says the sports actually stabilized her as an athlete. “Cross-training,” she explained. “It’s so helpful to have different skills.” Gardiner displayed all her tools in 2019-20. The senior helped the Tritons’ girls volleyball team earn a share of the Sea View League championship and led the girls basketball squad to an outright South Coast League title and a historic run to the CIF Southern Section final and state playoffs. For her efforts, Gardiner is the Register’s Female Outstanding Competitor, which honors multisport athletes who also excel in academics and leadership, for 2019-20. “Ella is an extremely gifted multi-sport athlete,” said San Clemente girls basketball coach Kerri Husbands. Gardiner is a scholar-athlete award winner who carries a 4.2 grade-point average. “She has been a powerhouse player throughout her entire career.” In volleyball. the 6-foot-1 Gardiner earned first-team all-league

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ORANGE COUNTY FEMALE OUTSTANDING COMPETITOR

honors as a middle blocker for the second consecutive fall. She used her impressive 28-inch vertical jump to finish second on the team with 174 kills and led the Tritons with 49 blocks. San Clemente (22-7) tied Tesoro for the league title and lost in the second round of the CIFSS Division 2 playoffs to rival and No. 2-seeded San Juan Hills. As a co-captain with Esther Mafouta in basketball, Gardiner averaged 16.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists as a versatile forward who often dribbled on the fastbreak or against a pressing defense. The South Coast League MVP and first-team All-County selection helped San Clemente (29-5) reach its first section final since 2007. The top-seeded Tritons lost to Bishop Amat 48-43 in the final at Azusa Pacific University but rallied the following week to reach the semifinals of the CIF State Southern California Division II regionals as the No. 8 seed. “One of the few multi-sport athletes left,” San Clemente girls volleyball coach Casey Swenson said of Gardiner, who set single-season (408) and single-game (27) records for rebounds in basketball. “She never made it seem like one sport was a priority. She gave 100% focus to what she was doing every day in the gym. Her footwork is so good.” Gardiner, a native of New Zealand, grew up playing basketball. Her parents, Amy and Andrew, played basketball at San Jose State, where they met.

PAUL BERSEBACH — STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

San Clemente’s Ella Gardiner is Orange County Register’s 2020 Female Outstanding Competitor. The senior excelled in basketball and volleyball and committed to play volleyball at Fairfield University in Connecticut. Amy, a standout athlete at Morro Bay High under her maiden name Amy Smith, and her husband played and coached basketball professionally in New Zealand. Gardiner started playing volleyball when her family moved to San Clemente just before the start of high school. She aspired as a sophomore and junior to play basketball in college until deciding near the end of her junior year to pursue volleyball. After her strong senior sea-

son with the Tritons, Gardiner joined Prime Volleyball Club under Olympic gold-medal coach Ron Larsen. Just about a month and a half later, she committed to Fairfield University in Connecticut, the reigning Atlantic Athletic Conference champion and an NCAA tournament qualifier. “It was kind of shocking,” Gardiner said of her late recruitment. “It was a lot of just changing my mind and figuring out what I really wanted (to play in college). … When I’m playing volleyball, no

matter what is happening, I’m always enjoying it. I love every minute of the game. In basketball, I love it but I love it afterward. It’s tough, all the time.” While the “cross training” certainly helped her excel in both sports, Gardiner also credits her coaches and parents for supporting her desire to be a multi-sport athlete. “Sometimes, it gets tough when I’m playing a lot,” she said. “My parents were always there for me.”

SPRING SPORTS | OUTSTANDING SENIORS BASEBALL

BOYS SWIMMING

BOYS TRACK & FIELD Isaac Korn, Trabuco Hills

Niko Colburn, Huntington Beach

SOFTBALL

GIRLS SWIMMING

GIRLS TRACK & FIELD

BOYS TENNIS

Jonny Long, Orange Madi Simon, Beckman

Ryan Abdollahi, Dana Hills

Ella Ristic, Santa Margarita

Sophia Hartwell, Orange Lutheran

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

BOYS GOLF

Taehoon Song, Anaheim Discovery Christian

BOYS LACROSSE

Andrew Cumming, Foothill

GIRLS LACROSSE

Jake Huarte, Mater Dei

Ashley Stokes, Foothill

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2020 ATHLETE AND COACH OF THE YEAR HONOREES! You represent the best competitors in Orange County high school athletics and we at The Orange County Register and OCVarsity.com are privileged to celebrate your accomplishments.

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Athlete of the Year Partners

View a special digital OC Varsity Athlete of the Year section at ocregister.com/aoty


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THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER >> OCREGISTER.COM

SUNDAY, JUNE 28, 2020

While the game plan may have changed, our goal remains the same: to safely get you back to you.

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OC Varsity Athletes of the Year 2020  

The Register wraps up a year of excellence in Orange County high school sports by selecting its Athletes of the Year for 2019-2020.

OC Varsity Athletes of the Year 2020  

The Register wraps up a year of excellence in Orange County high school sports by selecting its Athletes of the Year for 2019-2020.

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