PASADENA - With two decades now in the books, the South Coast Conference looks back at some of its finest teams in various sports between 2000-2001 and 2019-2020. While not every great team from each year is mentioned and a number of SCC teams that went on to win state titles in similar years also were not profiled, we think the teams mentioned had memorable storylines to take their specific spots in conference history.
2000--Mt. San Antonio College women's cross country: After watching Orange Coast College capture the 1997, 1998, and 1999 state team titles, the conference champion Mounties were determined to end that streak at the 2000 state meet. While OCC's top runner Heather Shurtleff won the individual race at Fresno's Woodward Park in a time of 18:04, Mt. SAC placed three harriers in the top 10 including second-place finisher Jennifer Bell (18:28), Cici Ramirez (fifth), and Orelia Gonzalez (eighth). With Heather Lozano placing 15th, the Mounties had four racers out perform the next fastest OCC runner. Mt. San Antonio took the state title with 69 team points, far ahead of the Pirates in second place with 116. The Mounties were coached by Doug Todd. (technically the 21st century started in 2001, but will include this as part of the 2000s).
2000-2001--Los Angeles Southwest men's basketball: Great individual talents can often lift a team to great heights and that was the case in the 2000-2001 season for Curtis Millage and the Cougars basketball team. Millage, who had committed to Arizona State as one of the country's top guards, was a showstopper and he helped LASW in an improbable run for the state title. LASW tied Long Beach for its first-ever SCC title as they shared the South Division crown at 7-1 each. The Cougars were seeded #5 in the SoCal Playoffs and opened with a 97-88 win over #28 LA Trade Tech. LASW continued its high-scoring ways in Round 2 with a 98-80 triumph over #12 Allan Hancock. In the regional finals, the Cougars hit the century mark in a 100-76 rout over #13 Bakersfield. That sent the squad to the state championship tournament at the University of Pacific in Stockton. In the quarterfinals, LA Southwest got by American River, 98-89, sending it into a semifinal against the South's original #2 seed and tourney #1 Saddleback. The Gauchos came in with a 28-game winning streak, but Millage scored 20 points and a swarming Southwest defense upset Saddleback, 70-66. LA Southwest finished a fairytale 30-7 season by defeating the North's original #2 seed and the tourney's other #1 team in San Jose City, 75-66, to capture the school's first and only state title to date. Millage was named the state SoCal Player of the Year under head coach Reggie Morris.
2002--tie--East Los Angeles men's cross country and Mt. San Antonio men's track and field--
ELAC: If ever there was a South Coast Conference feel or impact on a state meet with great individual racers it was the '02 cross country championships. It started with the SCC Finals when Mt. San Antonio edged out East Los Angeles for the conference team title, 39-45. The individual conference champ was Pasadena City's Moses Iniquez who ran a 20:35 at the Walnut-hosted event. At the state meet, one of the greatest finishes in state history took place as the 4-mile course turned into a 100-yard sprint to the finish between Iniquez and Mt. SAC's Ozzie Pina. It was Pina winning the race with perfect vision (20:20) by an official one second ahead of Iniquez. Meanwhile, ELAC was strategically getting the low points needed. Led by Bobby Valadez in fourth place, Humberto Vargas (14th), Jose Garduno (16th), Oscar Campos (25th) and Gerardo Rabelo (28th), the Huskies captured the '02 state team title, it's only state champion in the sport. ELAC was coached by the duo of Louis Ramirez and Dimitri Lagos. In all, the SCC represented 14 runners in the top 50 and five in the top 10 alone.
Mt. SAC: When you're hot, you're hot, and that was the amazing run of team state championships turned in by the Mounties in men's track and field. Mt. SAC captured six straight state titles culminating with this '02 crown. Prior to the state meet, Mt. San Antonio won its sixth of what would be a streak of 12 consecutive South Coast Conference team championships. At the state finals, Mountie Tony Almond broke a 23-year-old meet record to win the long jump in 26-feet, 5.25 inches. Sprinter Carlos Moore scored victories in both the 100 meters (10.24 seconds) and 200 meters (22.21) while cross country hero Ozzie Pina won the 1,500 in 3:53.29. Dustin Morrison became a 2-time winner in the pole vault (16-6) to cap off the Mt. SAC state team first-place trophy run (coached by Doug Todd). Also remarkable about the 2002 state meet was that the SCC was well-represented in individual state titles with wins by El Camino's Tim Rozborski in the javelin, Cerritos in the 4x100 relay, Long Beach's Matt Mason in the 110 hurdles, Long Beach's Blaine Bussey in the 800 meters, El Camino's Keith Davis in the 400 hurdles, and Long Beach in the 4x400 relay.
2003--tie--Long Beach City College women's soccer and 2002-2003 Los Angeles City College men's basketball--
LBCC: The Vikings were at their very best in the '03 season as they went on a perfect run of 22 victories to accomplish the program's fourth straight state championship. LBCC was a juggernaut having won its fourth of six straight South Coast titles that year at 12-0. Long Beach opened the SoCal Regionals as the overwhelming #1 seed and didn't waste any time in displaying their dominating play with a 6-0 win over #16 MiraCosta in Round 1. In the next round, the Vikings wiped out #8 Palomar, 10-0 before getting slowed up a bit in a regional final, 2-0 victory over #12 Cuyamaca. The state championships were played on fields next to the cow pastures of Lemoore. In the state semifinals, LBCC was in a tight match v. Sierra, but took a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute when Desi Guenther stole a ball in the box for a goal. Three minutes into the second half, Jennifer Anderson drove in a shot from 18 yards and Ashley DeAlejandro went on to record five saves as Long Beach hung on for a 2-1 win. That set up two teams with perfect records on the line in the state final as LBCC faced undefeated at 23-0 Lassen. In the finale, Joy Grey blasted a 45-yard drive for the game's first goal just a minute before halftime. The Vikings poured it on with three goals in a 15-minute span in the second half to close out a 4-0 trophy-clinching victory. Grey was named tourney MVP as the Vikings and head coach Mauricio Ingrassia completed their perfect season and later were crowned national community college champions. From 2000-2003, Long Beach women's soccer was a powerhouse that won at an astounding rate at 95-3-1.
LACC: From 1996-2007, LA City's men's basketball program won 12 straight South Coast Conference North Division titles under head coach Mike Miller. But it was 2002-2003 that his Cubs powerhouse reached the ultimate goal--winning the state championship. Going 36-2 overall, LACC was a perfect 8-0 in division play, then went to the SoCal Regionals as the overwhelming #1 seed to record victories over #32 Santa Ana, 87-55, #17 Cuesta, 106-74, and #9 Mt. San Jacinto, 118-74. In the state tourney played at San Diego's Jenny Craig Pavilion, LA City downed North #4 Hartnell, 82-60, in the quarterfinals, then beat South #7 Saddleback in the semifinals, 69-53. That set up a top seed final and the Cubs didn't disappoint as they were led by SoCal State Player of the Year Tyrone Riley and All-Tournament 6-foot-9 forward Julian Sensley to defeat Fresno City, 90-82. Fresno had averaged a state-high 105 points per game but the Cubs athletic lineup sent the Rams to only its second loss of the season (38-2).
2003-2004--Compton men's basketball: A third-place finisher in the tough SCC North Division, the Tartars didn't figure to be a part of the contenders as the SoCal Regionals began. As the #12 seed and sporting the least victories of any seed with 12, Compton upset #5 Southwestern in Round 1, then downed an equally strong #4 Pasadena City team in Round 2. Facing the South #1 seed and the defending state champion at Los Angeles City College, the Tartars scored the ultimate upset in a hard-fought 64-63 victory. Because of budget cuts, the state tourney was a Final Four. In the semifinals played at San Diego's Jenny Craig Pavilion, Compton kept the underdog theme going as it upset the North #1 College of the Sequoias, 76-69, behind 27 points from Kevin Lewis. Compton nearly went perfect from the free throw line, making 20 of 21 attempts. In the championship final, American River ran off a 15-0 run during the first half and led 38-33 by halftime. The Tartars rallied in the second half and finished their Cinderella run to the title, winning 82-77. Lewis, the tourney MVP, and Kevin Essengue each scored 18 points. Compton was directed by head coach Damaine Powell. It is to date the last state title by a Compton sports team.
2005--Long Beach City men's water polo: As programs go, few in the state have been as consistent a winner than the Vikings men's water polo program. Under head coach Chris Oeding, the 2005 team started a streak of seven straight South Coast titles and 10 of 11. Winning the conference tournament, LBCC entered the SoCal Championship Tournament as the #1 seed. However, long-time nemesis Golden West College won the '05 regional title by defeating the Vikings in overtime of the final, 11-10. Both teams advanced to the state tournament in Fresno. Long Beach beat 2-time defending state champ West Valley in the semifinals, 9-8, thanks to a goal with three seconds left by conference MVP Miljan Colovic. In the final, it was a rematch of the SoCal finale as Golden West controlled things early on with a 3-0 lead by halftime. LBCC (33-5 overall) battled back in a tough, physical effort with Jake Kinne scoring twice as the Vikings prevailed, 5-3, for the state title. Tourney MVP and Vikings goalie Kevin Kinnear made 10 saves. Long Beach went on to win the state championship again in 2006, 2013 and 2015. Oeding's LBCC women's water polo team also had a great run with state titles in 2003, 2004 and 2006 and 12 conference titles in the 2000s.
(All-American Jake Kinne helped LBCC win the 2005 state title.)
2006--Long Beach City baseball: Not only was this the only state champion in this century, but the Vikings of '06 are the only South Coast member to win a state baseball title in the last 30 years. LBCC went 21-3 to win the conference title by a whopping five games over both LA Harbor and Cerritos, who shared second place. In the SoCal playoffs, the Vikings were seeded #4 and swept #14 Oxnard in a best-of-3, first-round series before notching three wins in Round 2, including two over #9 Rio Hondo. At the Fresno-hosted state championship tournament, Long Beach opened with a 7-3 win over Sierra, then upset South #1 Cypress, 12-7. On the final day, Sacramento City snapped a 13-game win streak by LBCC, 12-4, to force a winner take all championship final against the Panthers. But Long Beach (41-10 overall) would not be denied the state title with a resounding 8-1 win over Sacramento that was highlighted by tourney MVP and Vikings shortstop Jovanny Bramasco putting on a hitting clinic with a home run, two doubles, 4 RBI in a 4-for-5 performance. Coach Casey Crook's Vikings were paced during the season by a stellar pitching staff that included All-American pitcher and SCC MVP Tommy Peale, who went a remarkable 16-0 for the season (batted .341), and All-American closer Shane Minor, who had 19 saves and capped the state clincher with four shutout innings of relief.
(LBCC 2006 state champion baseball team)
2007--El Camino women's volleyball: In 1983, Le Valley Pattison was awarded tourney MVP in leading El Camino to the state championship. Twenty-four years later, Pattison found herself trying to accomplish a rare feat in community college sports as the head coach of the Warriors. ECC had picked up its seventh straight SCC title with a perfect 14-0 conference mark. Seeded #2 in the SoCal Regionals, El Camino swept #15 Moorpark, then advanced to the state tourney with a 4-set victory over #7 Cuesta. The Warriors were on a roll as they opened the 8-team, double-elimination state tourney at Fresno Pacific University by sweeping both Cabrillo then Sacramento City. Things got dicey for the Warriors when Golden West ended ECC's then 28-match winning streak in four sets. The next morning, El Camino found itself playing the only team that it had lost to all regular season in Fullerton, but this time the Warriors swept the Hornets to set up a rematch v. Golden West. In an amazing match, El Camino rallied from a 2-1 sets deficit as they won in five sets including a wild 18-16 win in the fifth. That set up a winner-take-all one set to 30 points for the state title. The tired Warriors (31-2 overall) working on fumes and heart won the finale, 30-26, giving Coach Pattison the distinction of being the only person to ever win a state title as a player and a coach in the sport. Setter Sam Taylor, who dished out 108 assists in the final nine sets, was named MVP of the tourney while outside hitter/conference MVP Lauren Simmons and middle blocker Marcella Hernandez each were named All-State Tournament. El Camino would win the state title again the following season.
(Coach Le Valley Pattison (above) directed
back-to-back El Camino women's volleyball
state champions in 2007-2008.)
2008--Cerritos softball: The very first sanctioned state tournament for women's fastpitch softball was won by Cerritos College back in 1978. But since that year, the Falcons had come up empty in their efforts to bring a title back to Norwalk. In 2008, Cerritos was determined to get back to the winner's circle. The Falcons started the year with a 14-game winning streak as they were led by workhorse pitcher and slugger Jessica Navarro, who was named both SCC MVP and SoCal Player of the Year. Two conference losses to Long Beach, featuring tough pitcher Sadie Barton, put the Falcons conference title hopes in doubt. But Cerritos routed LBCC, 9-0, in their third and final meeting in the final week of the regular season. The celebration of a conference title was then tempered when rival Mt. San Antonio won their conference finale, 3-0, as both teams settled for a share of the South Coast crown with 12-3 league records. Carrying a 35-5 regular season record, Cerritos then went on a mighty postseason run. The Falcons were seeded #2 and outscored Chaffey, 23-6, in two first-round wins before Navarro pitched back-to-back shutouts as Cerritos swept Fullerton to reach the state tournament. On day 1 at the Riverside-hosted tourney, The Falcons routed both San Jose City, 9-1, then College of the Siskiyous, 8-0. A rematch v. Mt. SAC in the winner's bracket resulted in a 5-2 triumph spurred by a home run from shortstop Jenel Guadagno that placed Cerritos just one win away from the big prize. On the final day, Cerritos again took on Mt. SAC in the championship game. A year earlier, Cerritos lost the championship final to the Mounties, 4-0, something that stuck with the Falcons sophomores as they prepared for the finale. With former head coach Nancy Kelly, who directed the '78 title, attending, Cerritos completed a perfect run in the playoffs in a 5-1 victory over Mt. SAC. Head Coach Kodee Murray directed this state title squad (42-5) 30 years after Kelly's champion team. Navarro finished the year a remarkable 27-5 in the circle, throwing 203 innings while as a hitter driving in 71 RBI with 11 home runs and a .424 batting average. Centerfielder Capree Williams added a team-best .469 average and 48 stolen bases.
2008-2009--Pasadena City College women's basketball: The Lancers under head coach Joe Peron were a powerful program in the first decade of the 2000s, including twice making it to the state final only to lose to Mt. San Antonio in 2004, then Cypress in 2005. In 2006, PCC fell in the state quarterfinals, in 2007 as the tourney favorite the Lancers were upset by Sierra in the state semifinals, and in 2008 it was one more bitter pill to swallow with a state semifinals defeat v. Foothill. In 2008-2009, the Lancers, South Coast champions in six of the previous 10 seasons, ran into regular season adversity. After winning 16 in a row and sporting a 23-2 overall record, PCC lost two straight home games in SCC North Division play to first Mt. San Antonio and then Los Angeles City. While PCC avenged both losses with second-round victories over the two teams, Mt. SAC grabbed the conference title at 7-1 with Pasadena settling for second place. Seeded No. 4 in the regional playoffs, PCC beat Chaffey in Round 1 behind a school postseason record 35 points from point guard Kinyada Johnson. The program then punched its sixth straight ticket to the state tournament with an 85-68 win over San Bernardino Valley. Playing at Fresno's Selland Arena, PCC faced City College of San Francisco in a memorable state quarterfinal. Despite 26 lead changes, the teams were knotted at 82-82 at the end of regulation. With three seconds left in OT, forward Allegra Kohley made her only basket of the game on an offensive rebound for a 95-93 Lancers win. In the state semifinals, PCC came in as the underdog instead of a favorite as it took on undefeated at 34-0 #1 seed Ventura. Both teams traded baskets like it was a WNBA game as Ventura would pull ahead 53-45 in the second half. The Lancers answered with a 17-4 scoring spurt to take the lead for good in a shocking, 106-93 victory. Freshman guard Kim Smith tied Johnson's school playoff record with 35 points, including making a state tourney record 23 of 29 free throws. Melia Basavand was the mad bomber with eight 3-point baskets (25 points) while rebounding forward Easter Faafiti, a hearing-impaired student, added 21 points. The third time in a state finals game was the charm for Pasadena (33-4) as it downed San Joaquin Delta, 74-64, for the first state championship in PCC women's sports history. Johnson scored 26 points and was named tourney MVP.
(Pasadena City College 2009 women's basketball state champions)
2010--Mt. San Antonio men's soccer: Mounties head coach Juan Sanchez established a state power during a stretch where his program won four straight state titles between 2009-2012. This second state title team was a defensive dynamo. Mt. SAC won its sixth of 13 South Coast titles in the century with a 9-1-4 conference mark. Earning the #1 seed, Mt. SAC bolted through the regional playoffs, shutting out both #9 Oxnard (4-0) and #4 San Diego City, a team that had allowed only 14 goals all season (3-0), to reach the state tourney. North #2 West Valley battled the Mounties in the semifinals, but Mt. SAC won 2-1. In the finals, tourney host College of the Canyons, the original #6 seed, could not stop tournament MVP Luis Fuentes, who scored three goals as the Mounties capped the state title with a 4-0 victory. SCC Defender of the Year Eric Flores was a big part of a defense that allowed only 18 goals in a 19-1-4 season.
2011--El Camino and Mt. San Antonio women's track and field: Few years could match 2011 for the South Coast Conference's team dominance in women's track and field. At the SCC Finals, Mt. San Antonio continued its reign of titles with its eighth of nine conference championships in the 2000s. Things got interesting at the SoCal Finals as the conference did a 1-2-3 finish with Mt. SAC scoring the regional title (143 points), El Camino (94) in second and Cerritos (73) in third. The CCCAA state meet was hosted at Mt. SAC and naturally the South Coast made its mark. El Camino used state individual gold medals from Shale' Garland in the 200 and 400 meters, Myshaunda Alexander in the javelin, and Rukayah Bent-Mikail in the triple jump to score 81 points while Mt. SAC, without a single individual champ, also tallied 81 points as the SCC pair shared the 2011 state team title. It was the first tie for a championship in 30 years. El Camino trailed by eight points going into the final event--the 4x400 relay. Garland ran a spectacular 53.4 second anchor to give El Camino second place just behind West Los Angeles (won by 0.5 of a second) and propel the Warriors to the state first-place trophy share. Cerritos, led by triple conference throwing champion Priscilla Gardner, scored 50 points and placed fourth in the standings overall. The conference had a number of strong performers including Pasadena's Tracee van der Wyk, who won the 1,500 meters (ECC's Garland and her were named conference Athletes of the Year) and LA Trade Tech's Danielle Low winning the 800 meters. Mt. SAC, coached by Mike Goff, was led by distance runner Jaasmin Pina and sprinter Uchechi Anunkor, who were conference champs. Coach Dean Lofgren directed ECC's season and both Lofgren and Goff were named the SCC Coaches of the Year for all sports for 2010-2011.
2012--Cerritos women's soccer: The Falcons began a glorious run of state titles in this sport--five in a row from 2012-2016--with this '12 championship under head coach Ruben Gonzalez. The South Coast was loaded that season as five teams would qualify for the SoCal Regional Playoffs with two handing Cerritos defeats in conference play in Long Beach and Pasadena. The harder conference schedule paid off for Cerritos in the postseason. Seeded #3, the Falcons blanked #14 Santa Barbara CC, 6-0, then beat #6 Cypress, 2-0. In the regional finals, Ventura let 1-0 but Cerritos forced it into overtime and responded with extra-session goals by Jazmin Aguas and Lauren Nanez for a 3-1 victory. At the state tournament played at Mt. SAC, Claudia Ibarra scored twice in the first half and Cerritos held on for a 2-1 semifinals win over original North #4 Sierra. That set up a championship final against the South's #1 seed and undefeated Santiago Canyon. Cerritos delivered the Hawks first loss of the year and captured the state title in a 2-0 clinching triumph. Gaby Zamarippa broke a 0-0 tie with a goal in the 70th minute and added another on a pass by tourney MVP Nanez with four minutes left. The Falcons finished the year at 21-2-2 as Nanez was the conference's leading scorer for the second straight season while the team defense recorded 10 shutouts in 25 contests.
2012-2013--Mt. San Antonio women's and men's basketball: Rarely does a college pull off a gender double in a sport, but that's exactly what happened for Mt. San Antonio College in the 2012-2013 season as the Mounties collected all the hardware at the state tournament--a first double champion ever in basketball. Women: In the 21st century, Mt. SAC has won a remarkable eight state titles in this sport with the common denominator being Coach Brian Crichlow, a head coach for the '12, '13, '16 and '17 champions after being an assistant for the previous four. In 2012-13, the Mounties were far and away the best team in the state. Mt. SAC went an undefeated 16-0 in the 9-team South Coast and then embarked into the postseason. The #1 seed routed #17 LA Pierce, 77-49, beat #8 Long Beach, 74-59, and punched its ticket to state with a 59-53 victory over #5 San Bernardino Valley. At the state tournament held at Cosumnes River College, Mt. SAC downed North #2 Fresno City, 69-57, behind Ashley Burchfield, who scored 17 points and added 16 rebounds. That set up the finale as Mt. SAC completed a perfect 34-0 season by defeating original #3 South seed Mt. San Jacinto, 54-41. MSJC led briefly at 40-38, but the Mounties went on a 16-0 run to the put the game away. Tourney MVP Ashley Carter tallied 16 points. Men: The Mounties won the SCC North Division title at 11-2 and entered the postseason as the #3 seed. Mt. SAC beat #14 Antelope Valley, 80-68, outlasted #6 Canyons, 93-84, and got by #10 San Bernardino Valley in the regional finals, 60-53. In the state semifinals, Mt. SAC faced the North's Cinderalla story Merritt, a #15 seed, and avoided an upset with an 84-75 win. Garrett Nevels scored 24 points and Corey Allen added 22 for the Mounties. In the state final, Mt. SAC played against a South #4 Chaffey team, fresh off of ruining a perfect season by City College of San Francisco, 87-85, ending the Rams' 31-game win streak. Nevels, who shared the tourney MVP with teammate Allen, scored a season-high 32 points as the Mounties (29-3) captured what remains their only state title in the sport, downing Chaffey, 102-88. It also was the South Coast's only state men's title between 2005 to present.
(2013 Mt. SAC women's basketball state champs)
2014--Cerritos men's soccer: The South Coast Conference has its fair share of extremely difficult divisions in several sports and none with more physically punishing matchups game-to-game than in men's soccer. In the '14 season, El Camino used six ties and avoided defeat in a surprising win of the conference title (7-1-6) over usual powers Mt. SAC and Cerritos, who tied for second place. The conference produced an incredible six playoff teams out of the 14 regional seeds. Despite its SCC title, El Camino earned the #3 seed behind #1 Mt. SAC and #2 Cerritos. The Warriors were upset in the opening round by #14 Southwestern, 2-1, while Mt. SAC and Cerritos took care of business with Round 2 victories over #8 Fullerton and #7 Santiago Canyon, respectively. Mt. SAC advanced to the state tourney with a 3-2 overtime win over #4 Golden West. The Falcons season hung in the balance after they played Oxnard, 1-1, after 120 minutes of as the Round 3 game came down to penalty kicks. An Oxnard shot missed wide in the early rounds and Cerritos' Ricardo Covarrubias converted for the game-winning score allowing Cerritos to advance state, 5-4, on kicks. With the state final 4 at Mt. SAC, Cerritos took on North #1 Taft and ended the Cougars' then undefeated run at 23 matches, 1-0. Jose Ochoa scored the game's lone goal in the 73rd minute. Meanwhile, Mt. SAC set up an all-SCC final by slipping past De Anza in penalty kicks after tying 1-1 in regulation/OT. The host Mounties had gotten the best of Cerritos in their conference meetings, a 3-0 win and a 3-3 tie. However in the finale, Cerritos flipped the switch as tourney MVP Connor Johnson scored the hat trick in a stunning 3-1 state-title win over the Mounties. Cerritos (14-3-8) was directed by head coach Benny Artiaga.
(Connor Johnson(white jersey) kicks in a goal in Cerritos 2014 state title victory.)
2014-2015--East Los Angeles men's basketball: The ELAC men's basketball program has seen recent success since John Mosley became head coach before the 2012-13 season. In the 13-14 season, Mosley coached the Huskies to their first-ever South Coast title. In '14-15, ELAC had some ups and downs, including a 5-game losing that trickled from the end of tournament and opening of conference play. ELAC started to get hot, going 5-1 in its last six SCC North games. Seeded #13 for the SoCal Regionals, the Huskies downed pesky #20 Victor Valley, 96-91. The Huskies then stunned #4 Antelope Valley, 111-106, with Je'Ron Primus leading seven different players in double digit scoring with 19 points. In the regional finals, Primus sank 10-for-10 from the free throw line and teammate Marcus Romain converted 12 charity shots as each scored 20 points in downing #8 Long Beach, 92-73. The Huskies then beat North #1 Merritt in the state semifinals, 94-83, as Primitivo Gomez scored 23 points and added 12 boards. ELAC was 33-for-39 from the line. The run was unfortunately ended by Saddleback College as the Gauchos squeezed out a 50-47 win, leaving ELAC as state runner-up. Marquis Salmon and Gomez were named All-State Tournament.
2015-2016--Mt. San Antonio and East Los Angeles women's basketball: The '15-16 season in women's basketball was an example of the strength developed in the all-powerful SCC North Division. While Mt. SAC was continuing as the team to beat (8-0 as conference champions in '16), three teams tied for second place including East Los Angeles. The Huskies entered the postseason as the South #6 seed while the Mounties stood at #1. ELAC advanced with a 101-94 win over #11 Santa Ana while Mt. SAC routed #16 Orange Coast, 78-49. In the next round, Mt. SAC disposed of #8 Palomar, 74-56, while ELAC got by #14 Pasadena, 72-65. In the regional finals, Mt. San Antonio edged #5 Irvine Valley, 56-51, while ELAC advanced to state as well with a 76-65 upset of #2 Mt. San Jacinto. At the state tourney held at Las Positas College, East LA kept its improbable playoff run alive as Alissa Gomez scored 20 points to lead a 51-47 upset over North #1 San Francisco. Mt. SAC upended North #2 Fresno, 75-66, behind the duo of Jonnae Vermillion and Caira Benton combining for 35 points and 22 rebounds. That set up an All-South Coast championship game. ELAC jumped out to a commanding 34-17 halftime lead only to see Mt. SAC cut it to 43-39 after three quarters. A Gina Henderson jumper gave the Mounties the lead at 52-50 but East LA regained the advantage, 55-54, on two free throws by Brianne Cheatum with 26 seconds left. Mt. SAC would not be denied when Tahniya Sweatt drained a short jumper with 16 seconds left for the winning basket in a 57-55 state title victory. The Mounties (34-1) finished the year under Coach Crichlow on a 25-game win streak while the Huskies had a tremendous season under Coach Bruce Turner at 24-10. Vermillion was tourney MVP and Gomez earned a spot on the All-State Tournament Team.
2017--tie-Pasadena City women's badminton and Mt. San Antonio men's/women's cross country--
PCC: When badminton became an official state intercollegiate sport in 2000, the South Coast Conference figured to have a say in state titles, but after Pasadena lost to Fresno City, 11-10, at home in the 2016 state team final, it marked 17 consecutive years the conference was kept out of team winner's circle. In '17, the Lancers and Coach Jen Ho made it a mission to end that streak. The Lancers started by winning their 13th of 15 South Coast titles in the century. PCC took an 11-match win streak into the SoCal Championship against Grossmont. Pasadena took advantage of the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference champ Griffins having just five players available. Despite the advantage, PCC needed a late doubles win by its #2 duo of Natalie Ong and Amy Huang to secure an 11-10 team victory and the region title. The mission continued at where else--Mission College in Santa Clara--in a rematch of the '16 final against Fresno. This time, Pasadena led 8-4 after the first two rounds and when #1 player Sarah Thaw downed FCC's #1 Panhia Vang, 21-14, 21-15, the squad scored clinching team 11th point for the state title (11-10 final score). PCC's perfect season was the first CCCAA state team crown by a South Coast representative and the Lancers would do it again in 2018.
(Individual winner Manuel Fernandez led Mt. SAC men's cross
country to the 2017 state title.)
Mt. SAC-Men: It was a daily double at the 2017 state cross country championships for the Mounties two cross country teams. The men's squad won with 60 points to edge out Riverside CC (65) and were paced by state individual champ Manuel Fernandez, who won the 4-mile race by 15 seconds (20:06.9) over the next finisher. Anthony Alfaro placed third. Fernandez and Alfaro were 1-2 finishers at both the SCC Finals and SoCal Regional Championships. Women: The Mounties didn't have the top individual runners but truly showed a team effort in earning enough high-enough placing times to edge out Cuyamaca by just two team points (93 to 95). The top Mt. SAC racer was Maria Castello in 15th, followed by #16 Teresa Castillo, #18 Olivia Valderrama, and #20 Rebecca Ruiz. Mt. SAC distance coach Daniel Ozan guided the Mounties to the double state titles.
(Kseniia Prokopchuk, 2018 Cerritos College women's
tennis Triple Crown state champion.)
2018--tie--Cerritos women's tennis and Los Angeles Harbor women's cross country--
Cerritos: The Falcons put together an an ecletic, international student-athlete ladder for the 2018 season and the results were impressive. Cerritos won 17 of its matches without giving up a team point. The Falcons then needed only the first five matches (best-of-nine) to wipe out SoCal Regional playoff opponents San Diego City, Irvine Valley and Glendale for the region title. In the state championship final, Cerritos completed its second state team title in three years with a 5-0 win ove De Anza. Kseniia Prokopchuk (from the Ukraine) then picked up the Triple Crown of tennis by winning the individual state singles and doubles crowns (partnering with Japan-born Lisa Suzuki). Prokopchuk's accomplishment earned her CCCSIA State Women's Athlete of the Year for 2017-18. The Falcons, coached by Quinn Caldaron, finished 25-1 overall in dual matches.
Harbor: LA Harbor has had but a few big moments in their SCC sports history, including the women's basketball team winning back-to-back state titles in 1994-1995. In 2018, the Seahawks had something to cheer about again in the women's cross country team. Led by another eventual State Women's Athlete of the Year in Brenda Rosales-Coria, Harbor won first the South Coast title (second of three straight crowns) with Rosales-Coria racing to individual conference champ for the second straight season in a time of 17:44.1. Harbor carried the momentum to win the SoCal title at Cerritos, beating out fellow SCC foe Mt. San Antonio for the team trophy. Rosales-Coria won the individual race and two other Harbor runners placed in the top 10. At the state meet at Woodward Park in Fresno, Rosales-Coria broke the 18-minute mark (17:59.5) for the individual state title and with the help of ninth place Olivia Quezada, and Cynthia Melendez (14th), Harbor completed the state team championship. The Seahawks were coached by Geoff Skarr.
(Brenda Rosales-Coria leads Harbor to 2018
state cross country title.)
2019--tie--Mt. San Antonio softball and El Camino baseball--
Mt. SAC: The Mounties have been a model for others as a state softball power. In 2019, Mt. SAC became the first South Coast member to win back-to-back state titles. Coach Ruby Rojas' squad put together a perfect 22-0 record to win the SCC title. In the regional playoffs, the Mounties were a dominating 8-1 in the postseason. Led by pitching ace Brianna Wheeler, the tourney MVP in both 2018 and '19, pitched the state clincher in a 7-4 win over Palomar in the tourney played at Bakersfield College. Ciara Granado and Vicky Gutierrez each slugged home runs as Mt. SAC finished the year 44-5. Wheeler was 28-1 in the circle with a microscopic 0.99 ERA. SCC centerfielder Ally Longtree was the SCC North Player of the Year and batted .426 for the season. The Mounties recorded 12 conference championships and six state crowns in the century's first two decades.
El Camino: The Warriors reached great heights and dealt with adversity in a wild ride that culminated with ECC reaching the state championship game. Twenty-nine games into the season, starting catcher Sladen Mohl was tragically killed in a car accident. The team mourned the loss and played with a heavy heart the rest of the season. El Camino swept LA Harbor in its final conference series as Long Beach got upset by Compton in their conference finale to allow the Warriors to tie LBCC for the SCC title (both 17-5). Maybe the highlight of the '19 postseason for ECC was Spencer Long crushing a 2-run, walk-off homer in the ninth to erase a Cypress rally of four runs in the top of the inning as the Warriors won 8-7 to advance from the Super Regionals, 2 games-to-1. El Camino swept Glendale in two games in the Sectionals to reach the state tourney in Fresno. The Warriors won the first two games at state and faced Orange Coast College on the final day, needing to win more game. The Pirates wouldn't let that happen, beating ECC, 7-5, and then 8-7 in the finale as El Camino's amazing season ended as state runner-up with a state-leading 40 wins (against just nine losses). In the finale, El Camino rallied from down 4-0 to take a 6-5 lead as the two teams battled back and forth. El Camino was guided by head coach Nate Fernley and led by pitching aces Jimmy Galicia (13-3, 1.92 ERA) and Aaron Orozco (12-1, 2.10 ERA). OCC's state title run was directed by Coach John Altobelli, who in another terrible tragedy lost his life in the Calabasas helicopter crash that also killed Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and seven others on Jan. 26, 2020.
(El Camino pitcher Aaron Orozco fires a pitch at 2019 state tournament.)
2018-2019--Honorable Mentions--Los Angeles Trade Tech women's basketball: Trade Tech won back-to-back SCC North Division titles with impressive 9-1 marks in 2017-18 and 2018-19 under head coach Sherwyn Morgan, who directed his high-octane women's basketball teams to consecutive trips to the CCCAA State Tournament. LATT lost in the quarterfinals both years but put together a brilliant 58-12 record during that run...South Coast Conference Swimming and Diving: A sport where SCC teams haven't been able to attain much team hardware has seen a recent surge of great individual performances, especially in 2018 and 2019. In 2018, Mt. SAC's Ashley Tse was named the State Women's Swimmer of the Year after winning three gold medals (set three conference records) and setting a state meet record in the 200-yard breaststroke. In 2019, El Camino's Ida Due set a state meet record in the 400 individual medley and won State Women's Performance of the Meet while Mt. SAC's Jason Harary also won State Men's Performance of the Meet in winning that same event in a dominating time. Rio Hondo's Aaron Augustine was the State Men's Co-Diver of the Year after winning the 1-meter board title and taking a silver in the 3-meter board event. Mt. SAC's men placed third as the highest-scoring SoCal team at the '19 meet.
2019-2020--East Los Angeles men's basketball: The Huskies were the state's #2 ranked team at 29-1 entering the 2020 CCCAA state basketball tournament. Unfortunately for all of athletics including the SCC North champion team, the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything canceling first the basketball state tourney, then putting an end to all Spring sports midway through their seasons. ELAC went 8-0 to win the conference title and was on a 25-game winning streak. East LA beat #15 Saddleback, 69-53, and rallied to beat #10 Allan Hancock, 68-65, in the SoCal Regionals. Kealen Allen scored 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in what would be the SCC MVP and the Huskies' season-shortened finale. Coach Mosley's squad was mostly a high-scoring brigade in the regular season when it reached 100 points five times with a high of 126 v. El Camino
ELAC men's basketball was poised to try to
win a state title in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
(Release written and compiled by SCC SID Robert Lewis)