Star-News Athletes of the Year: Yortsos, McCutchan personify the true meaning of sportsmanship, class.

ABOVE: Pasadena Star-News Athletes of the Year Stevie Yortsos (San Marino) and Courtney McCutchan (La Canada) pose at San Marino High School. (SGVN/Staff Photo by Keith Birmingham)

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

Perhaps for the first time ever, San Marino High School’s Stevie Yortsos and La Caada’s Courtney McCutchan find themselves with too much free time on their hands.

Yortsos and McCutchan long for the days filled with busy itineraries when the only free time available was during timeouts and water breaks.

It’s how life has been for the standout athletes, who personify the true meaning of sportsmanship. For their academic and athletic accomplishments, Yortsos and McCutchan are the 2009-2010 Star-News Athletes of the Year.

Yortsos was a three-sport athlete all four years at San Marino. He earned the captaincy in football, soccer and baseball because he knew how to lead by example. And it’s not like Yortsos just played those sports, he excelled in every facet of the game, quickly becoming the go-to guy as a wide receiver and defensive back, lightning-quick midfielder and clutch-hitting second baseman.

Yortsos earned Star-News All-Area first-team honors in football. He was limited to five games during soccer season because he had to undergo surgery on his right wrist after breaking his scaphoid bone while landing awkwardly during a football game. He continued to play, leading San Marino to a 9-3 season and an exciting second-place finish in league after beating a pesky Temple City team and reaching the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division playoffs.

Yortsos required a bone graph from his hip to fix his wrist, but in five games with the Titans’ soccer team he still managed to score four goals and had three assists.

He didn’t join his teammates on the baseball team until a week into Rio Hondo League competition. Still, he managed to earn first-team all-league honors after batting .448 with five doubles, two triples and a home run in 10 games.

Yortsos arguably was at his best his junior year, when he earned Star-News All-Area first-team honors in all three sports.

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Baseball: Covey earns Cal-Hi, MaxPreps All-State honors

The accolades just keep coming. Just a week after being named to the Pasadena Star-News’ Baseball Player of the Year, Maranatha’s Dylan Covey was named to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Baseball First Team. Glendora’s Adam Plutko and Bisohp Amat’s Rio Ruiz also were chosen from the San Gabriel Valley. It should be noted that every player is a senior except Ruiz.

UPDATE: Covey still is in negotiations with the Milwaukee Brewers. It’s not uncommon for negotiations to last until August. Covey feels confident he’ll sign and forgo his playing for the University of San Diego. Also, Covey was named to the Max Preps All-State Baseball Team and first-team all-America by USA Today.

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Then & Now: Amazing alumni at Alhambra High School


It all started with Red Worthington.

Bob “Red” Worthington, born in 1906 in Alhambra, graduated from Alhambra High School in 1924. By 1931, he was a starting outfielder for the Boston Braves, the first but certainly not the last Alhambra High athlete to make the big time.

Worthington played four years with the Braves. He then played in the Pacific Coast League from 1935-37 before ending his pro career.

“Oh yeah, Red making the big leagues was a big deal in Alhambra,” Max West said in a 2001 interview. “He lived right down the street from my family. So it told me that I had a chance, too.”

Indeed West did. Max, a 1934 graduate of Alhambra High, made the majors in 1938. He played seven years in the big leagues, part of a 15-year career in pro ball.

West’s accomplishment’s in turn inspired a youngster named Ralph Kiner, who graduated from Alhambra High in 1940 and made the majors by 1946 en route to a Hall of Fame career.

Worthington, West and Kiner made history playing baseball. Alhambra High, however, was better known during the first half of the 20th century for producing football and basketball players.

“Growing up in Alhambra, football was actually king of the hill,” West said. “It was a great sports town, but people really lived and died with the high school football team. If we didn’t win league it was a major disappointment. And the basketball team wasn’t far behind. Baseball was kind of an afterthought.”

Starting with the likes of Johnny Seixas and Orv Mohler in the late 1920s and continuing to Dick Wallen, Bill Leeka and Duane Allen in the 1950s, the Moors’ football program consistently produced winning teams and outstanding players.

One of the first San Gabriel Valley players to make it big in the NFL was Vic Carroll. The 1931 graduate of Alhambra High played his college ball at Nevada-Reno and then played from 1936-47 as an offensive lineman in the NFL, most notably for the Washington Redskins.

Another outstanding AHS football product of the 1930s was Vard Stockton, Jr. He went on to be a three-year starter at guard for Cal, earned all-conference honors in 1937 and is in Cal’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

High achievement ran in the Stockton family. Vard Sr. was a notable photographer in Southern California, a friend of Norman Rockwell and a big influence on Rockwell’s work.

Basketball at Alhambra High came on strong after World War II. Bob Boyd, later coach at USC, was a 1948 Alhambra grad.

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