San Dimas’ Ariel Shore and South El Monte’s Manny Acosta named Athletes of the Year

South El Monte High School’s Manny Acosta and San Dimas’ Ariel Shore bucked the trend of specialization in high school sports and once again showed the multiple-sport athlete is alive and well. After earning several accolades during their senior years in multiple sports, Acosta and Shore can add the 2008-09 San Gabriel Valley Tribune Athlete of the Year award to their collection as well. To continue reading, click thread

“It’s an honor,” Acosta said. “When you think of all the athletes in the San Gabriel Valley, it’s a privilege to earn this. I have played three sports since I was a kid, and to have the success I had in high school, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Acosta earned the area award for his accomplishments in football, basketball and baseball.

Acosta, one of the Valley’s best wide receivers, earned first-team All-Mission Valley League and second-team Tribune honors after 63 receptions for 1,138 yards and 24 touchdowns.

It was his second first-team All-League honor in football after helping the Eagles win the league title and reach the Mid-Valley Division quarterfinals his junior season.

Acosta turned to basketball in the winter, where he earned his third consecutive league MVP award after helping the Eagles win three consecutive league titles.

Acosta also was selected to the Tribune second team in basketball and played in the Tribune/Star-News All-Star game after averaging a team-best 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Acosta is undecided about his college plans, but he admitted his best sport arguably is baseball, where the shortstop finished his fourth year on varsity and earned his second consecutive first-team All-League honor.

“I had an amazing time at South El Monte,” Acosta said. “All the coaches encouraged me to play multiple sports. I never thought I would have as much success as I did in all three, but I worked hard and learned how to balance my school work.

“Once I decide where I will go to school, I will probably focus on baseball. A lot of people told me I should have just focused on baseball in high school, but I have no regrets. I have a lot of great memories.”

Shore, who will play softball at UC Riverside in the fall, was dominating in softball and soccer her senior year.

Shore was named the Valle Vista League’s Most Valuable Player in soccer and earned Tribune first-team honors after scoring 18 goals with 14 assists to lead the Saints to their second consecutive league title. The Saints also advanced to the CIF-Southern Section Division V quarterfinals.

The centerfielder had a season to remember in softball, in which she was named the league’s most valuable player and the CIF-SS Division V Player of the Year after helping the Saints reach the Division V championship game.

In the Saints’ 3-2 loss to Whittier Christian in the finals, Shore set a CIF single-season stolen-base record with three steals to give her 78. She broke the single-season record of 75 set by Faith Baptist’s Cherith Simons in 2008.

Shore, who batted .500, also earned Tribune first-team honors in softball and helped the Saints win league.

“It’s all so overwhelming,” Shore said. “I wish we could have won the championship (in softball), but we took it as far as we could.

“I really didn’t expect to win an award like this (athlete of the year), but I am grateful and very fortunate to have great teammates around me.”

Shore, like Acosta, has no regrets about playing multiple sports and advises other athletes not to listen to coaches who try and discourage it.

“It’s a lot of juggling,” Shore said. “I played club soccer and softball, so there was a lot of back and forth. But don’t buy into the pressure of coaches. For a while my softball coaches weren’t big on me playing club soccer, but I loved it and I knew I would make it work one way or another.”

And did it ever work for both.

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