Many playoff runs in the CIF-Los Angeles City and Southern Sections were realized, former doormat programs finally found success, league titles were seized, CIF champions were crowned, winning streaks were made, long-suffering losing streaks were finally broken, and yes, there were some milestones to be achieved.
Let's just review some of the most memorable moments in the San Pedro prep sports world shall we...
1. POLA High Softball's Marvelous Repeat Of History
Coach Melissa Bugarin-Espinoza knew what she had with the Polar Bears and would stop at nothing to make sure of utilizing their full potential. Boy did it ever pay dividends. Putting them through a rigorous schedule of three demanding tournaments, including the Torrance TNT Tournament, POLA would take on all comers, and succeeded with a 7-6 record in the TNT, Redondo and El Segundo Tournaments, even posting some quality wins over Piedra Vista of New Mexico, Salpointe Catholic of Arizona, Redondo Union and yes... even a legendary come-from-behind victory over in-city neighbor San Pedro. Behind stellar pitcher Nicolle Miranda and six other All-City Section Small Schools selections, POLA would steamroll through the Crosstown League and repeat as CIF-LACS Small Schools champions with a 21-7 record, capped off by a 6-0 win over rival Harbor Teacher Prep at UCLA. Soon-to-be senior Brianna Grayson would flourish going 3-for-4 with a killer RBI-triple in the fifth inning, and Miranda nearly threw a no-hitter, surrendering one hit while striking out 13 Monarchs. I wonder what the Polar Bears will do for another encore...
2. Double Take Of Glory For SP & POLA Girls Cross-Country
Saturday, November 17 was a banner day for both San Pedro and POLA girls cross-country. The Pirates and coach Bruce Thomson are used to the success of championship greatness, and they would add to it by winning their ninth City Section title since 1999, and their second in a row at Birmingham High of Lake Balboa. The Polar Bears would also follow suit by winning their first City title in the Small Schools Division, also POLA's first City crown outside of softball (third overall). San Pedro's recent crown is also their 54th team sports City title in school history.
3. The Streak Is Over For Mary Star Football
No program ever wants to go through a long streak of losing, and that was brought upon Mary Star's football program and it all started with a CIF-Southern Section playoff loss that ended their 2010 campaign, it continued with a dismal 0-10 mark in 2011, and then their first four games of the 2012 season, one of which was when St. Anthony of Long Beach snatched a sure victory from the Stars in the final 30 seconds. Friday, September 28 would finally be the day that streak would end, as Mary Star would rally from a late deficit to defeat Verbum Dei of Los Angeles, 20-19 at Los Angeles Southwest College. Jake Tedesco's 44-yard touchdown catch with under two minutes left would allow Mary Star football to finally relish a moment of victory at the end when they perform their Alma Mater with Cheer and Song with a big smile on their faces.
4. The Streak That Was Almost Impossible For San Pedro Baseball
When the 2012 season began, San Pedro baseball started slow out of the gate, but they sure picked up steam and as a result, a tidal wave of winning began to capture their hearts, and it nearly ended with another appearance at Dodger Stadium. Starting the year 4-8, the Pirates would find their nitch with an 8-6 win over Desert Christian Academy of Bermuda Dunes, and it went on from there to the tune of 19 straight victories, eight of which led to their 10-0 Marine League championship, and seven of those 19 wins were decided by one run, including a 1-0 win over Kennedy of Granada Hills in the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division I quarterfinals. Coach Bobby Ramirez did an excellent coaching job in getting the players to believe in themselves after that slow start. The run finally ended in the semifinals with a 2-1 loss to eventual City champion El Camino Real of Woodland Hills at USC, ironically occurring the same day POLA softball repeated as City Section Small Schools champions.
5. San Pedro Girls Basketball's Restoration Of Belief
Mary Star football may have lost 15 games in a row at one point, but that was over the course of three years. The San Pedro girls basketball team did not have a promising 2011 year as they lost 20 games in three months, only winning once, but their program would no longer suffer as much when Gary Herrera took over the coaching position. The second he got to work, one of the first things he instilled in the team was to simply 'Just Believe'. It would turn into one of the most promising seasons ever in recent history. San Pedro would win the consolation championship of the Gahr Tournament, strolled to a runner-up finish in the Downey Calvary Chapel Tournament and even turned heads in the Marine League, beating Washington Prep of Los Angeles for the first time in 20 years, while also ending a five-game losing skid to Gardena. Budding freshman Rita Fiorenza (now a sophomore) and a strong group of seniors including Taylor Rae Rogosic and Esmeralda Silva was key in the resurgence of the Lady Pirates, who went 10-13 overall and made the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division I playoffs.
6. POLAHS Girls Soccer: Champions In Training
It was a moniker bestowed upon them by coach Jennifer Kelly, and the Polar Bears girls soccer team ran with it... all the way to a near perfect season and a CIF-Los Angeles City Section Small Schools title. Nearly unstoppable, POLA ran through the entire Crosstown League competition with ease, posting a 17-1 overall record. That one loss unfortunately, was in the Small Schools Division championship to LACES. POLA girls soccer truly were champions in training, maybe in 2013 they will remove the 'in training' moniker and simply be known as champions.
7. The Shining Stars Of Mary Star Softball
They may not be a team full of superstars such as most high school softball programs are, but Mary Star softball truly had 'shining' Stars. Still suffering the after-effects of their unfortunate football season, coach Gregg Aguilar and a softball team featuring a veteran cast of eight hard-working seniors, two All-Camino Real League junior infielders (Rikki Legaspi-Valdez & Cassie Demers), and a dynamite freshman pitcher in Marina Vitalich, the Stars would open eyes around all of San Pedro, and capture the hearts of their entire school by posting their best season to date, 21-7-1 overall, a second straight Camino Real League championship, a spot in the CIF-Southern Section Division V quarterfinals and a two-game sweep of both POLA and San Pedro to be the deserving queen of softball.
8. 200 Wins For San Pedro Football Coach Mike Walsh
Going into the 2012 season, San Pedro football only needed seven wins to get their longtime head coach Mike Walsh his 200th career victory in his 22nd year as coach, and as fate would have it, Walsh would get it in the regular season finale against Washington Prep, at the Pirates' Homecoming of all settings. San Pedro started slow, but eventually torched Washington for 28 points in the fourth quarter to win 45-7, and as Walsh would get that 200th win, he was honored and recognized by Los Angeles Councilman of the 15th District Joe Buscaino with his players and former players surrounding him in front of 4,000 Pirate faithful cheering and applauding.
9. Volleyball Is Good To All Of San Pedro
Volleyball has always been a strong sport in San Pedro, and 2012 was no exception. Behind All-City selection and Marine League MVP Kenny Potter, Sean Zuvich, Michael Whitt, Austin Freitas and Kosta Tzavaras, San Pedro boys volleyball would not only claim a share of their first league title since 2004, they would also make a strong run to the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division I quarterfinals. Mary Star boys volleyball also found success in 2012, as they won the Camino Real League championship. League MVP Jacob Branch, Neven Skoblar, Drew Mendez and others were crucial to the Stars' magical run. Also, POLA girls volleyball would go on to win the Ocean League championship, and in their first CIF-Los Angeles City Section playoff appearance, they would end up as the runner-up with a narrow five-set loss to Elizabeth Learning Center. Angela Wade, Allison Bayer (a member of the City champion softball team) and Cynthia Vargas would be the catalysts of the Polar Bears' historic season.
10. New Sports Breaking Ground At San Pedro High School
With the new John M. & Muriel Olguin Campus, an extension of San Pedro High School's growing student body, officially opening its doors in August, that wouldn't be the only thing that would break ground... doors would be opened for new sports that many other schools have thanks to the new pool on campus. Sports such as boys and girls water polo. The new field with artificial turf will also open the door for lacrosse in the future, and before the new campus was built, wrestling was re-introduced to San Pedro High with their first boys wresting team in 30 years.
Look for the new year of 2013 to be just as good, and likely better to the Pirates, Stars and Polar Bears.