A Tornado with plenty of punch

Hoover High's Hakop Kaplanyan proved to be a force in the pool during a magnificent sophomore campaign.

August 12, 2010|By Charles Rich,

The top-10 male high school athletes of the year were voted on by the Glendale News-Press sports department. These are selections 2-10. See Thursday's edition for the Male Athlete of the Year.

2 Hakop Kaplanyan, Hoover water polo and swimming, sophomore — The question surrounding Kaplanyan was what couldn't he do? He proved to be a magician in the pool for the Tornadoes. He scored a state-record 229 goals, eclipsing the previous record of 226 in Hoover's final playoff match.

Kaplanyan, a utility player and the All-Area Boys' Water Polo Player of the Year, guided the Tornadoes to a third-place finish in the Pacific League behind Crescenta Valley and Glendale. Hoover then advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division VI quarterfinals for the first time in the program's history.


"Hakop made a huge contribution to our team offensively and defensively and, especially this year, he had to take the leadership role as one of the two captains," Hoover Coach Ara Oganesyan said. "It was a lot of fun having him on the pool deck and guiding the players and helping them out and at the same time being a ferocious player during our games.

"He's someone who really tries to do as much as possible to win every game."

Kaplanyan led the Tornadoes with 77 steals and was named to the All-CIF team for the first time in his burgeoning career. He found himself on the All-Pacific League first team for the second consecutive season.

In the postseason, he averaged seven goals per match. He had a match-best 11 goals in Hoover's 23-21 victory against Pacifica in the second round.

Kaplanyan broke the CIF record — set by Bell Gardens' Alexander Hernandez, who tallied 226 in 2006 — in the second quarter of Hoover's 18-10 loss to top-seeded Webb, which would go on to win the CIF title.

3 Young Tae Seo, Crescenta Valley swimming, freshman — Making a historic splash and a name for himself during the spring, Seo was selected the All-Area Boys' Swimmer of the Year after already garnering a reputation as a top-notch club swimmer.

"He's definitely one of the most talented freshmen that we had and to have that much of an impact at such a young age is very amazing," Crescenta Valley Coach Jan Sakonju said. "To do as well as he did at CIF, again as a ninth-grader, really shows his potential as a competitive high school swimmer."

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