Top 10 Sports Stories Of 2009!

December 30, 2009 by  

Throughout the past year, the local community experienced its share of important, interesting and tragic sports stories. Some of the stories touched us, some informed us and others just entertained us.

Although many of the stories deserve recognition, a select few stood out among the others.

Chosen by the Leader, here is a list of the top 10 stories of 2009.

1. Bell-Jeff girls’ basketball team wins stats, CIF titles Bell-Jeff girls’ basketball team wins stats, CIF titles: In March, Bellarmine-Jefferson High defeated Pinewood, 55-47, in the CIF State Basketball Division V Championships at Arco Arena in Sacramento.

It was the first state title by any team — in any sport — in city history.

The win gave Bell-Jeff a 34-1 record, which set a new school record. In addition, the team ended the season on a 20-game winning streak.

The Guards, led my senior Shelley Gupilan and under the direction of Coach Bryan Camacho, also won the CIF Southern Section Division V-A championship against Santa Clara, 61-31. It was the program’s first crown in 12 years.

2. Britton is first local to be taken in NFL DraftBritton is first local to be taken in NFL Draft: The former Burroughs High and University of Arizona offensive lineman was the 39th overall pick in April’s 2009 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, as he was selected in the second round.

He became the only local athlete to be drafted by the NFL.

The 6-foot-6, 310-pound tackle signed a four-year contract with Jacksonville in August and has been starting for the team this season.

Britton, a 2005 Burroughs graduate, was named the Leader Male Athlete of the Year the same year he graduated.

3. Nelson advances to state competition in trackNelson advances to state competition in track: After advancing to the state meet in cross-country, Nelson continued his success during the track and field season.

He advanced to the CIF-State Track and Field Championships in the boys’ 3,200 meters, finishing 16th in 9:06.68. He also set the school record in the event (9:04.19).

Nelson, who helped the team to a second-place league finish, is the first Burroughs male athlete to qualify for state competition in both cross-country and track and field.

4. Tubert wins CIF golf championshipTubert wins CIF golf championship: Playing against some of the toughest female high school golfers in the country, Tubert fired a five-under-par 67 last month to capture the championship at the CIF Individual Final and Women’s Southern California Golf Assn. Qualifying at Talega Golf Course in San Clemente.

She advanced to the Women’s Southern California Golf Assn. Tournament at the SCGA Golf Course in Murrieta.

She is the first area golfer to win a Southern Section title. In addition, Tubert is the first female athlete from Burroughs to win an individual championship in any sport.

Tubert is headed to the University of Arkansas.

5. Burbank, Burroughs share league crownBurbank, Burroughs share league crown: It was a good year for the Burbank and Burroughs high football teams.

When it came down to the final game of the regular season, the Bulldogs defeated the Indians, 28-21. That result enabled the local teams to share the Pacific League championship.

It was Burbank’s first title in 37 years and Burroughs’ second in four years.

The Indians (7-4, 7-1 in league) fell in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Southeast playoffs to Diamond Ranch — which advanced to the finals — 41-18.

For the second year in a row, the Bulldogs (9-2, 7-1) advanced to the second round of the playoffs. After defeating Alhambra, 21-14, in the first round, Burbank fell to California, 24-21.

6. Burbank High gets new football fieldBurbank High gets new football field: The school finally had its synthetic football field and running track completed in late August.

The improvement project was part of an $18-million joint venture to improve facilities at Burbank, Burroughs and Jordan Middle School. The Burbank field and all-weather track installation, which began in the spring, is estimated to have cost $4 million.

7. Bell-Jeff volleyball team makes it to CIF title contestBell-Jeff volleyball team makes it to CIF title contest: Led by sophomore outside hitter Jocelyn Cervantes, the Bellarmine-Jefferson girls’ volleyball squad made history.

The Guards (19-9) advanced to the program’s first-ever CIF Southern Section championship. Unfortunately, they fell in the Division IVA title match to No. 1-seeded Upland Christian Academy, 25-22, 25-23, 25-23.

Prior to the final, the Guards breezed through the postseason, surrendering just one game. Along with early sweeps against Duarte and Santa Clara, they only had to go to four games to beat Twentynine Palms in the quarterfinals and earned a sweep against Desert Hot Springs in the semifinals.

Bell-Jeff came into the playoffs after winning its fourth straight Santa Cruz League championship.

8. Major Softball team has fine playoff runMajor Softball team has fine playoff run: Playing against some of the finest teams in the nation, the Burbank Major Softball Little League All-Star team more than held it own in the Western Regional Tournament.

Behind solid pitching and timely hitting — with a few comebacks thrown in — the team of 11- and 12-year-olds went 4-2 in the event in Vancouver, Wash. and advanced to the event semifinals in August.

Burbank fell one run short of making it to the title game, and a chance to advance to the Little League Softball World Series. The team, however, did capture the consolation championship.

Burbank finished a historic season with a 39-2 record. The Major Softball team went farther than any squad — baseball or softball — in the eight-year history of the Burbank Little League.

Before taking part in the Western Regional Tournament, Burbank won District 16, Section 2 and Division 3 championships.

9. Burbank water polo team captures league crownBurbank water polo team captures league crown: Under the direction of Coach Carlos Pelayo, the polo group was the lone Bulldogs squad to win a league championship at the school during the winter. It was also the first title in program history.

In addition, the team went undefeated in Pacific League play, notched 20 wins, advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division IV quarterfinals and four Bulldogs players earned All-CIF honors.

10. Sanchez makes All-Star team and is tradedSanchez makes All-Star team and is traded: It was an eventful 2009 season for former Burbank High baseball standout Freddy Sanchez.

Sanchez, 32, a second baseman who participated in the All-Star Game in 2006 and 2007, was chosen to take part in his third Midsummer Classic in early July.

In late July, he was acquired by the San Francisco Giants from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for minor league pitcher Tim Alderson. Things did not go as planned, though, as the Giants failed to make the postseason with Sanchez sidelined for much of the remainder of the season due to injury.

In late September, Sanchez signed a two-year extension with the Giants.

Jeff Tully

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