Santa Clarita’s Allyson Felix ended a eight-year quest for Olympic gold in the Summer Games in London. She won three gold medals in track and field. After winning silver medals in the 200 in the 2004 Summer Games in Athens and 2008 in Beijing, Felix finally broke through with her first gold medal in the 200 in London.
She went on to win gold medals as part of the 4×400 and 4×100 relay teams. The United States women’s 4×100 relay team broke the world record en route to winning the gold medal.
The United States track and field team won nine gold medals in the London Summer Olympics. Felix won three of them.
The Santa Clarita Valley was well-represented on Team USA for the Summer Olympics. A Saugus High graduate was on the men’s volleyball team and a Hart High graduate was on the men’s swim team. A Canyon High graduate and a track coach at College of the Canyons competed on the women’s track and field team.
Away from the Olympics, runners dominated the sports scene in the Santa Clarita Valley. Area high schools and colleges produced CIF Southern Section, state and national champions.
Here is a look at the top sports stories from the Santa Clarita Valley in 2012:
- Santa Clarita’s Allyson Felix wins three gold medals at the Sumner Olympics in London. She won gold in the 200 and was on the gold-medal winning 4×400 and 4×100 relay teams. The 4×100 broke the world record in London winning the race in 40.82 seconds.
- The Saugus girls cross country team wins its seventh CIF state championship in a row and competes in Nike Cross Nationals meet for seventh year in a row.
- College of the Canyons track coach Lashinda Demus wins the silver medal in the 400 meter hurdles at the Summer Olympics in London.
- Hart High’s Tim White wins two CIF Southern Section track and field championships. He won the high jump and the triple jump in the Division III meet and became the first athlete from Hart to win two CIF Southern Section titles.
- Saugus freshman swimmer Abbey Weitzel wins two titles at the CIF Southern Section Division I meet at Riverside City College. She won the 50 and 100 freestyle races and became the first swimmer from Saugus to win a Southern Section championship since 1997.
- Hart High’s Austin O’Neil wins the CIF Southern Section Division III title in the 1,600.
- College of the Canyons runner Chris Low wins the California Community College Athletic Association state championship in the 800. He won the race in 1 minute, 49.16 seconds at the state meet at Cerritos College, repeated as the state champion in the 800 and was one of six athletes from COC to earn All-America recognition.
- Canyon High receiver Drew Wolitarsky sets two CIF state football records. He broke Steve Smith’s records for receptions and receiving yards. Smith, a receiver with the St. Louis Rams, played at Woodland Hills Taft in high school. Wolitarsky caught 277 passes in his high school career to break Smith’s record of 271. Wolitarsky also had 5,148 receiving yards in his career, breaking Smith’s record of 4,486 yards.
- Trinity’s Dakota Prochnow is selected as CIF Southern Section Division II 8-man football offensive player of the year.
- The Master’s College women’s volleyball team qualifies for NAIA national tournament for first time in school history.
- The West Ranch baseball team reaches the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs. The Wildcats beat top-seeded Orange Lutheran, 5-4, in the quarterfinals, but lost to Corona, 2-1, in the semis.
- Canyon High graduate Alysia Montano finishes fifth in the 800 meters at the Summer Olympics in London.
- Johnny Ahten, the captain at Fire Station 76 in Valencia, wins the IHRA drag racing event in the Pro Fuel Dragster division at the Nitro Jam at Southwestern International Raceway in Arizona in March.
- Valencia High senior Alison Lee finishes in a tie for 60th place at the US Women’s Open at the Blackwolf Run golf course in Kohler, Wis. She was one of three amateurs to make the cut. Lee was making her third appearance in the US Women’s Open golf tournament.
- The Master’s College’s John Gilbertson wins the NAIA national championship in cross country in Vancouver, Wash., in November. He won the race in 23 minutes, 56 seconds and earned NAIA All-American honors. Teammate Anthony Pizzo, a Canyon High graduate, also earned a spot on the All-American team with a 15th-place finish at the NAIA national championship meet. The Master’s College men’s cross country was ranked No. 8 in the final NAIA national poll.
- Saugus High graduate David Smith earns a spot on the United States men’s volleyball team for the Summer Olympics in London. Team USA reached the quarterfinals of the Olympic Games tournament and lost to Italy in three games. Team USA was ranked fifth in the world entering the Summer Olympics.
- Hart High graduate Anthony Ervin, making his return to Olympic competition for the first time in 12 years, finishes fifth in the 50 freestyle at the London Summer Games. He won gold in the 50 freestyle at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. He also won a gold medal as part of the 400 meter medley relay team and a silver medal on the 400 meter relay team in 2000. He retired from swimming after the 2000 Sydney Games but returned for the 2012 Summer Games in London.
- Canyon High graduate Chuck Osborne, who played football in the NFL and in college at the University of Arizona, died at his home in La Jolla in October. He was 38. Osborne was a seventh-round draft pick of the St. Louis Rams in 1996 and played for the Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots.
Follow Tim Haddock on Twitter @thaddock.