I just spoke with the new Aquinas girls volleyball coach, Victoria Cachapero. I didn’t know until recently that former coaches Sara Rice and Jessica Granados left the school to coach at Beaumont. Cachapero is a Redlands High grad who in recent years coached at Eisenhower and Grand Terrace.
She told me that the team is currently displaced as the gym undergoes renovations. The team plays on the road to start the season and won’t be back in the until “early October” according to athletic director Chris Ybarra. The Falcons have been having to practice at other gyms, including Loma Linda Academy, to prepare for the season.
“It’s going to be much more modern with team rooms,: Ybarra said. Ybarra said there will be an expansion of the gym later this year.
They won’t be at home until October, so the volleyball team’s Ambassador League schedule will be backloaded with home games. It will be interesting to see how that affects Aquinas in the playoff race. Last year, Aquinas finished second behind Woodcrest Christian, and just ahead of Loma Linda Academy. LLA is No. 6 in my preseason poll, while Aquinas is unranked. Aquinas could find its way into the top 10, led by sejnior MBs Indira Page and Michaella Elad and senior OH Kristen Goggin as well as promising freshman OH Eliana Chavira.
Chino Hills High School shortstop Tannon Snow admits keeping the secret wasn’t easy. And this was a really big secret.
The Washington-bound standout has been named MaxPreps National Player of the Year, meaning she’s the best player in the entire country.
A representative called her a month or so ago to do the interview but the announcement didn’t come until last night. So word is out now, finally!
“I kept wondering when it was going to come out so I could tell people,” she said. “It’s truly an honor with all the great players that had great years. It’s awesome. I don’t even know what to say.”
Snow, an all-Sun selection put up just insane offensive numbers. In 32 games she hit a state-record 28 home runs and drove in a state-record 89 runs. She added 13 doubles and three triples so 44 of her 62 hits were for extra bases. She batted .573 and walked 16 times, with a slugging percentage of 1.513 and an unheard-of OPS of 2.129.
Snow’s numbers made her a strong candidate but some of the other top honors from other outlets went to other players, mainly due to the Huskies only getting to the CIF-SS quarterfinals.
“Our team didn’t go as far so I thought maybe those other players had the edge,” she said.
There are still more impressive numbers for Snow: in 21 games, she had two or more base hits. She drove in a teammate in 27 of Chino Hills 32 games and in 22 of the games she drove home more than two.
Snow homered in 19 games and had eight multi-homer games. Twice during the season, she homered in five or more games in a row. She hit three home runs and drove in seven runs in one game.
But the most amazing statistic is that in her final seven games, she homered 11 times
In addition to new state single-season records for homers and RBI, Snow set state career records with 60 home runs and 212 RBIs and set a CIF-SS record for 21 doubles in a season.
The other locals also earned first-team honors with strong seasons.
Among the other players who landed on first team, earning All-American honors were pitcher Brooke Bolinger of Yucaipa, The Sun’s Player of the Year, and Taylor McQuillan of Mission Viejo, whose teams met in the CIF Division 2 title game.
Bolinger led Yucaipa to a 31-3 record and the Southern Section Division 2 title, beating undefeated and then-No. 1 Mission Viejo, 1-0. She had 306 strikeouts with a 0.26 ERA and limited opponents to a .088 batting average. She will attend University of Nevada.
Paige Halstead of Los Osos was named first team All-American at catcher. The USA Junior National Team member batted .568, scored 38 times and had 36 RBIs. She has signed with UCLA.
Zoe Casas of Aquinas is the fourth San Bernardino County player making the first-team. The Florida State-committed senior batted .736 with 64 hits, giving her a state record 251 base hits. In 105 games, she scored 193 runs and struck out just three times. For her four seasons at Aquinas, she batted .681.
–Written mostly by Michelle Gardner. Tweaked and edited by Pete Marshall
Zoe Casas, above, talks about tying the state career hits mark, which she eventually broke
Zoe Casas’ hit that tied the state record for career hits
Zoe Casas has had a storied career at Aquinas, and now she’s winning awards she’s won before. Casas, the 2013 California State Small Schools Player of the Year, has been awarded the honor again, by CalHiSports.com.
Casas, an all-Sun selection, batted .736 for the season, her best batting average of her four-year career and finished with a career total of 251 hits. She is bound for Florida State and also will be on the all-time state list for career batting average (.681) and runs scored (193).
Earlier, CalHiSports named Yucaipa coach Dave Kivett, The Sun Coach of the Year, as the Large Schools State Coach of the Year for leading the Thunderbirds to the CIF-SS Division 2 title.
Above, from left Aquinas softball players Jasmin Valenzuela (Antelope Valley University), Erica Almaraz (McPherson) and Ciera Luna (Wagner) pose after a celebration for them signing their National Letters of Intent. (courtesy photo)
Valenzuela, Almaraz and Luna signed their National Letters of Intent recently, bringing the total to five senior Aquinas softball players signing to play in college. Zoe Casas (Florida State) and Allie Hotetz (Hampton) signed during the early signing period in the fall.
“Aquinas has prepared me for this University because it is a small community and everyone gets along just like at Aquinas,” said Almaraz in a press release.
Luna said, “I chose Wagner because it is a Private University and it will allow me to choose my preferred major and focus on academics as well as softball.”
Coach Chris Ybarra said, “ This is a very special group of seniors, on and off the field, and I am just blessed to have coached them during their years at Aquinas.”
The rain fell, but Aquinas senior softball player Zoe Casas did was she always does: she hit.
Casas went 3-for-3 as Aquinas downed Loma Linda Academy 8-0 in a four-inning, rain-shortened game at Aquinas High School.
Aquinas (21-3 overall, 13-1 Ambassador League) earned a share of the league title.
The hits gave Florida-State bound Casas 244 for her career, setting a new CIF-SS career mark, breaking the old mark of 242 set by Santa Ana Mater Dei’s Kelsey Kollen from 1995-98. She tied the state career record, set by Brenna Moss of Bakersfield North from 2008-11.
“It means so much to me,” she said. “It means my hard work and dedication has actually paid off, to do something for my small school.”
“You share a league title, seven in a row,” Aquinas coach Chris Ybarra said. “That’s something to be really proud of. On top of that, you want Zoe to break the record, and she gets three hits.”
Thursday’s was Aquinas’ last regular season game, so Casas will have a chance to break the state record in the first round of the playoffs next Thursday. Casas has a hit in every game this season, has at least two hits in 19 straight games and is batting an incredible .740.
Aquinas football coach Chris Ybarra has stepped down, and assistant coach Jordan Brusig has been named his successor.
“The future is bright. There’s a lot of returning players as well as good athletes who will work hard. It’s going to be just like every other year, where our players will work hard in the offseason to prepare for the upcoming season. It’s going to be positive,” said Ybarra in the press release.
Ybarra said Brusig, who graduated from Aquinas in 2005 after playing for former head coach Josh Henderson, has been his assistant head coach/defensive coordinator the three years that Ybarra was the head coach. Ybarra was 14-16-1 as Aquinas’ head coach, making one playoff appearance in 2012. He will continue as the school’s athletic director and softball coach.
“I’m glad that I was the one that they picked to take over this job,” said Brusig in the press release. “…One of my biggest hopes for next season is to restore our winning ways, as well as the tradition and pride in Aquinas as a school and in the football program.”
When Ybarra took over as football coach, he did keeping in mind that he would find a successor.
“I wanted to keep continuity in the program,” Ybarra said. “Then find someone who could take over. I feel he (Brusig) is ready.”
My take: While I don’t know Jordan Brusig, I know Chris Ybarra and he had a lot on his plate. Not only was he head football coach, head softball coach, and athletic director, but he also ran a Saturday league for the Archdiocese. And he’s got 2 daughters at the school. So having someone who can devote more of his time to the football program will be good for the Aquinas football program, and for Chris Ybarra.