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CV swimming heads strong list of top 10 sports teams

Falcons' boys' soccer squad and Renaissance Academy boys' basketball team also enjoyed successful seasons.

August 20, 2012|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

The area's top-10 high school teams from the 2011-12 season were selected by the Glendale News-Press sports department.

1 Crescenta Valley High boys' swimming: Before the season began, Coach Jan Sakonju had a feeling that the Falcons might be in line to challenge for a CIF Southern Section Division II championship. He also knew it wouldn't be easy. Looking at his roster, the Falcons appeared to have everything in place to win the program's first CIF crown since 2000.

With a cast that featured Young Tae Seo, Harrison Thai and Louis Wojciechowski, the Falcons were indeed ready for battle. It came down to the final race in the meet — the 400-yard freestyle relay — in Riverside for the Falcons to begin their long-awaited celebration. Thai, Wojciechowski and Edward Yi teamed with Seo, who swam the final leg and help the Falcons finish with a meet-record mark of 3 minutes 5.50 seconds.

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Crescenta Valley edged favored Damien, 301-293.

"We came in before the season and wanted to challenge Damien," said Sakonju, whose team had earlier won its 20th Pacific League championship in a row. "We got ourselves into some tough meets with great teams like Loyola and Hart, so the tough scheduling also helped us.

"Everybody on our team wanted to have that accomplishment of winning CIF, and they worked hard toward that goal. It came down to a great relay at the end and we beat a great team. This CV team will be one that I'll always remember."

2 Crescenta Valley High boys' soccer: Crescenta Valley oozed with talent, but winning a CIF championship was an tough goal to achieve. The Falcons had a new coach in Grant Clark, who was already familiar with the Falcons' personnel having coached the school's junior varsity team the previous several seasons. It didn't take long for the Falcons to take off with forward Pavle Atanackovic, midfielder Alex Berger and goalkeeper Nick Ruiz.

Crescenta Valley finished 23-1-6, 12-0-2 in the Pacific League and won the CIF Southern Section Division IV championship, the first in program history. Crescenta Valley knocked off top-seeded El Rancho, 3-0, in the championship match at Warren High. For good measure, the Falcons advanced to the title game of the CIF Southern California Regional Championships Division I final, falling to Paramount, 2-1.

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