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Year of firsts for Brent Danna, CIF championship Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo team

In just his first year, coach navigates Crescenta Valley girls' water polo to Division V championship for program's first crown.

August 17, 2013|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com
  • ARCHIVE PHOTO: First-year Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo Coach Brent Danna, left, high fives Caitlin Connell after the Falcons won the CIF Southern Section Division V championship. Danna has been voted the Glendale News-Press top coach of the 2012-13 seasons.
ARCHIVE PHOTO: First-year Crescenta Valley High girls'… (Scott Smeltzer/Staff…)

The top five high school coaches from the 2012-13 season were voted on by the Glendale News-Press sports department.

1 Brent Danna, Crescenta Valley girls’ water polo and swimming — Shortly after he arrived to take over the budding Crescenta Valley High girls’ water polo team, Brent Danna believed the Falcons had the talent to reach and possibly win the CIF Southern Section Division V championship.

Crescenta Valley had advanced to the semifinals in each of the previous two seasons under coach Pete Loporchio, who resigned his post to take over the coaching reins at L.A. Valley College. When Danna arrived at Crescenta Valley, he outlined a set of season goals with the incoming group that they never strayed from throughout the season.

“The players gained a lot of invaluable experience having made the semifinals the prior two seasons,” said Danna, who was selected the All-Area Girls’ Water Polo Coach of the Year and is now the News-Press Coach of the Year. “They had a wealth of playoff experience, so they knew what to expect.”

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The Falcons (32-2) spent the bulk of the season ranked No. 1 in the division poll and easily won the Pacific League championship without a blemish.

They then marched through the playoffs with a fabulous run, capped by a 10-5 victory against Riverside Poly in the championship match.

“It’s hard to explain still when you look at the program’s history and all the league titles,” Danna said. “It’s just a special feeling to have won it all.”

The Falcons were led by goalkeeper Gabriel Isacson, who was named the All-Area Girls’ Water Polo Player of the Year. Among those who also made valuable contributions were Elissa Arnold, Katie Benson, Shannon Hovanesian, Ashley Taylor and Breana Lawton, all of whom earned All-Area accolades.

In swimming, Crescenta Valley made some strides with a nucleus of talent that featured Heather MacDougall, Iva Icheva, Jesse Gabor and Tiare Coker. The Falcons won the Pacific League championship for the sixth season in a row before finishing fifth in the CIF Southern Section Division II final.

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