As we ring in the New Year and prepare to dive into Trinity League play for the winter sports, now’s a good time to hand out some awards from the fall.
Senior class MVP: Meghan McClure, Santa Margarita – No player has been a bigger fixture in Trinity League girls’ volleyball the last four years than McClure, who capped off her high school career by leading the Eagles to league and CIF-SS Division I titles. The Stanford-bound McClure was recognized as the Division I player of the year after totaling 483 kills, 233 digs, 61 blocks and 24 service aces.
Junior class MVP: Ash Molthen, Orange Lutheran – The big left-hander delivered 74 goals and 72 assists in leading the boys’ water polo team to its first Southern Section title, a 9-7 win against Huntington Beach in which Molthen had a goal and three assists. Molthen was recognized for his achievements by earning Division I player of the year and capped off his fall by committing to UCLA in mid-December.
Sophomore class MVP: J.T. Daniels, Mater Dei – In his second year as the starting quarterback for one of the most visible football programs in California, Daniels improved by leaps and bounds. He threw for a state-leading 67 touchdown passes and was No. 2 in passing yards with 4,849, all while getting intercepted just six times in 423 passing attempts. Daniels led the Monarchs over St. John Bosco in their first meeting to dethrone the four-time defending league champions.
Freshman class MVP: Anthony Grover, JSerra – The Lions were in need of someone to replace Andrew Burkhardt, the 2015 Division 4 state champion who graduated and now runs for California, and that turned out to be Grover, who didn’t win a state title this season but did finish fifth in Division 4 to lead JSerra to a third-place finish in the team competition. Grover also finished fourth in the sweepstakes race at the Orange County Championships with the top freshman time.
Consistency award: Jadie Acidera, JSerra – Commuting from Anaheim to San Juan Capistrano never got in the way of Acidera’s goals, and the senior tennis player captured her third consecutive Trinity League girls’ singles title. She also advanced to the round of 16 at the CIF-SS Individual championships and posted an overall record of 67-1 for her senior season. She’ll look to continue her success at Cal State Fullerton next season.
Most improved: Chayse Gomez, Rosary – After finishing fourth in the Trinity League individual girls’ golf finals as a freshman in 2015, Gomez figured to have a tough time improving on that result with the three girls who finished ahead of her also returning. Gomez wasn’t thinking that way, however, and she went out and took the lead after the first round at Los Serranos Country Club in Chino Hills and maintained it through the second round at Dad Miller golf course in Anaheim to claim the individual title by three strokes.
Patience award: Richard Wagner, Santa Margarita – After serving as a backup to K.J. Costello the last two seasons, Wagner finally got his chance to be featured as the team’s starting quarterback his senior year. He didn’t disappoint, showing as much improvement as any player in the Trinity League this season before 2,147 yards passing and 13 touchdowns while completing 63.9 percent of his passes.