Recognize Greater LA

Updated: January 14, 2009, 2:24 PM ET
ESPNRISE.com

Girls' Golf - Los Altos



From the start, Torrance was the target. Los Altos knew it had a good team, but it couldn't be a great team until it knocked off the state's premier program. Torrance had won two state titles in the past three seasons heading into 2008 and was loaded again. "That was their goal all year," Los Altos sixth-year coach Neal Shapiro says. "All I could hear was about Torrance. 'Can we beat Torrance,' they'd ask." At the SoCal regional championships, that question was answered. The Conquerors defeated the Tartars, 378-383. "That was an amazing thing," Shapiro says. UCLA-bound senior Tiffany Lua was the only player to crack 70 on the day, shooting a 69 to lead the way. Sophomore Mayko Wang shot a 76, sophomore Mason Chen finished with a 77, and juniors Allie Weng and Connie Chen (no relation to Mason) each shot 78. It was a total team effort, but as was always the case, it started with Lua. "She is the leader and all the girls look up to her," Shapiro says. "They strive to emulate her." At press time, Lua was ranked fifth nationally by the American Junior Golf Association. She finished 13th at the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship this past summer. A day after Los Altos' triumph at the SoCal regionals, Torrance rebounded to claim the state title, while the Conquerors finished second. It did nothing to put a damper on the fantastic season Shapiro's squad enjoyed.



Boys' Water Polo - Foothill



Four years in a row, Foothill got to the Southern Section Division I title game. And four years in a row, the Knights came up short. This time was different. Coach Jim Brumm's squad defeated El Toro, 8-6, in the title game on Nov. 22 to claim its first Southern Section crown since 1995. Senior goalie Jay Lovero was a rock in net for Foothill, setting the tone for the entire squad.



Girls' Volleyball - Santa Margarita



With one epic performance, the Eagles ended a dynasty. In an instant classic, Santa Margarita dethroned national power Mira Costa in the Southern Section Division I finals, 3-2, on Nov. 22. Fifth games are played to 15, but one team must win by 2. Santa Margarita eventually prevailed, 23-21, in the decisive contest. Junior Kylie Hargreaves had a team-high 21 kills as her squad rallied back from a 10-5 deficit in the fifth game. Santa Margarita then advanced to the SoCal regional finals.



Boys' Cross Country - Woodcrest Christian



The Royals rolled to the Division V state title on Nov. 29, placing three runners in the top five to finish with 66 points, while runner-up Flintridge Prep had 82. Senior Jake Jeanson won the individual crown for Woodcrest, finishing in 15:46. Sophomore Myles Scarano and junior Jesse Brooks weren't far behind, placing fourth (16:02) and fifth (16:05), respectively. Rounding out the lineup for the Royals were freshman Zac Bianco, senior Jordan Branch, junior Joel Henry and senior Wiley Snedeker.



BREAK OUT TEAMS



GIRLS' CROSS COUNTRY  ESPERANZA
The Aztecs placed fourth at DI state meet and will return top four runners next year.

FOOTBALL  TESORO
New Orange County power upended Mater Dei and Orange Lutheran en route to Pac-5 finals.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL  MISSION VIEJO
Senior guard Kaitlyn Peterson is an ESPN RISE All-Area pick.

BOYS' BASKETBALL  LOS OSOS
UCLA-bound junior point guard Kendall Williams is a dynamic playmaker.