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Falcons flock together

Strong sense of community ties together gala for second CV hall induction.

May 10, 2010|By Gabriel Rizk

SUNLAND — Nine unforgettable figures in the athletic lore of Crescenta Valley High joined an exclusive club on Saturday night when the CV Athletic Hall of Fame Committee inducted its 2010 class at the Angeles National Golf Club.

But as each inductee delivered their heartfelt and at times emotional acceptance speeches, it became clear that each and all already felt they had been a part of something special.

“This doesn’t happen at normal high schools,” said Outstanding Athlete inductee Harvey Mason, Jr., while looking out at the festively decorated banquet hall packed with Falcons alumni and past and present coaches and administrators. “I’m so proud to be a Falcon and so proud to be here.”

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Mason, a basketball standout, was one of seven alumni to be inducted as Outstanding Athletes on Saturday, a group that also included aquatics standout Fred Axelgard, football and basketball star Mike McCall, soccer sensation Stephanie Rigamat, basketball standout Gordon Tope and multi-sport athletes Tam Breckenridge and Judy Thomsen, who challenged gender barriers during the formative period of high school girls’ athletics.

Keith Gilliland and Gordon Warnock were inducted as Outstanding Coaches for their combined 92 years of dedicated service at the school in track and field and football, respectively.

“This invitation to the hall of fame has produced a lot of quiet thinking on my part,” said Axelgard, an All-American water polo player in 1971, whose polo and swimming exploits were followed later in life by a career in international diplomacy. “I look back on my four years in La Crescenta and realize what the environment CV presented has meant to me in my life.

“Sports can be the defining experience for high school students and can make the difference in whether those years are a stumbling block or a path to future growth.”

The latter was the case for Mason, who by all accounts, including his own, was not a good basketball player when he entered high school.

Through the tutelage of former Falcons Coach John Goffredo and the encouragement and support from his family, Mason, now a songwriter and music producer, blossomed into an All-American in 1986 before going on to a successful college basketball career at the University of Arizona.

Other inductees also expressed thanks to the CV community for their success later down the road in life.

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