By Barry Faulkner
2:09 AM EST, December 30, 2012
The Summer Olympics in London helped transfix the eyes of the sports world on representatives of Newport-Mesa.
No spotlight was as brilliant as that created when Misty May-Treanor and her partner met fellow Newport Harbor High alumnus April Ross and her partner in the women's beach volleyball final.
Spotlights of varying scope also brought into focus the accomplishments of a few championship teams and individuals to form the top 10 Newport-Mesa sports stories for 2012, as selected by the Daily Pilot sports staff:
1) OLYMPIC BEACH VOLLEYBALL — Newport Harbor High product Misty May-Treanor and partner Kerri Walsh Jennings topped Newport Harbor graduate April Ross and her partner, Jennifer Kessy, 21-16, 21-16, in the gold medal women's beach volleyball match in London.
The match not only highlighted the former Sailors' rise to the top of their sport, but it capped a transcendent career for May-Treanor, who retired from the sport after claiming her third straight Olympic gold medal.
May-Treanor, who was NCAA Player of the Year and won an NCAA title at Long Beach State after leading Newport Harbor to a pair of CIF State championships, finished with a women's record 112 beach tournament victories during a professional career that began in 1999. Her career winnings were listed at more than $2.1 million. She was 35 in London.
May-Treanor was named USA Volleyball's Athlete of the Year in women's beach volleyball.
May-Treanor added a bronze medal in 2000 to her three Olympic gold medals and became among the few athletes to earn a place on a Wheaties box.
The final gave May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings a 28-5 all-time record against Ross-Kessy. May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings finished 21-0 in Olympic competition, having won 42 of 43 sets.
Ross, 30 in London, and Kessy knocked off the top-seeded tandem from Brazil that had beaten them nine straight times in one semifinal.
May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings beat the No. 2-seeded duo from China to reach the final.
Dan Glenn, who coached both players at Newport Harbor, conveyed praise upon two of the Sailors' most famous athletic alumni.
"They both won state championships at Newport, both were NCAA Player of the Year and they are both winners in everything they've ever done," Glenn said.
2) CORONA DEL MAR FOOTBALL — The Sea Kings won their final 10 games to claim their second straight CIF Southern Section Southern Division championship with a 35-10 title-game triumph over Garden Grove at Angel Stadium.
Coach Scott Meyer's squad (12-2), which posted shutouts in its first three playoff games, also featured an explosive offense triggered by senior quarterback Cayman Carter, senior tailback Kai Wilson and senior receiver Troy Reese.
Carter, the Pacific Coast League MVP, threw for 2,210 yards and 17 touchdowns and rushed for 1,073 yards and 15 touchdowns, while Wilson overcame an early season injury to rush for 1,058 yards and nine touchdowns.
Reese caught 55 passes for 803 yards and nine TDs.
Junior linebacker Alex Moore led the defense with 143 tackles and shared PCL Defensive MVP laurels. Senior Alex Molinari had 81 tackles, sophomore Barrett Barbato 75, sophomore Robbie Hoffman 73 and sophomore Hoyt Crance 66.
Senior end Tim Reinhardt had nine sacks among his 47 tackles and senior kicker Griff Amies tied a state single-season record with 22 field goals, including a school-record 52-yarder.
3) UC IRVINE MEN'S VOLLEYBALL — The Anteaters defeated top-ranked and No. 2-seeded USC, 25-22, 24-32, 26-24, in front of 9,612 at the Trojans' Galen Center to claim the UCI program's third NCAA title in the last six seasons.
Senior four-time All-American Carson Clark, a 6-foot-6 opposite, had a match-high 22 kills to pad his school career kills record to 1,861 and lead No. 2-ranked and top-seeded UCI to victory, after some dramatics on their way to the final. Clark was named Most Outstanding Player of the four-team NCAA Championship.
Junior outside hitter Kevin Tillie, a native of France who transferred after two collegiate seasons in Canada, earned first-team All-American honors. He became a dynamic attacker for the 'Eaters and led the way in a five-set win over USC in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament semifinals after the Trojans won the first two games.
Senior middle blocker Dan McDonnell, a third-team All-American, served the match-clinching ace in the NCAA final, while junior setter Chris Austin, sophomore middle blocker Scott Kevorken, sophomore outside hitter Connor Hughes and freshman libero Michael Brinkley also contributed.
Sophomore outside hitter Jeremy Dejno earned first-team All-MPSF laurels, while seniors Kevin Carroll, Austin D'Amore and Will Montgomery, as well as sophomore setter Daniel Stork, were also key cogs for the 'Eaters.
The title added to NCAA crowns in 2009 and 2007 and capped the 10-year coaching tenure of John Speraw.
4) BACK BAY GIRLS' WATER POLO — High school rivals Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar battled five times, capped by the Sailors' dramatic 8-7 victory in the 2012 CIF Southern Section Division 1 title game at Irvine High.
Newport Harbor, seeded No. 2 in the playoffs, won its last 16 contests to finish 27-4.
CdM (28-3), earned the No. 1 playoff seeding by winning the first three meetings with the Tars.
Newport Harbor senior Maddy McLaren earned Newport-Mesa Dream Team Player of the Year recognition, and was also Sunset League Co-Player of the Year and a first-team All-CIF honoree.
Senior Carly Christian and junior Elissia Schilling were also first-team All-CIF and Dream Team performers for Coach Bill Barnett's Sailors, who earned the program's fifth section championship.
Senior Presley Pender, junior Avery Peterson and sophomore goalie Cleo Harrington were all second-team All-CIF and represented the Sailors on the Dream Team.
For CdM, senior goalie Alex Musselman was first-team All-CIF, Pacific Coast League MVP and a member of the Dream Team. Her 891 career saves set an Orange County record.
Senior Diana Murphy was also a first-team All-CIF choice, who was joined on the Dream Team by second-team All-CIF honorees and CdM teammates Cassidy Papa and Ally McCormick, both juniors, as well as senior Pippa Saunders.
5) LOCALS IN LONDON — Esther Lofgren (women's rowing) and Tumua Anae (women's water polo) joined Misty May-Treanor as locals to earn Olympic gold medals in a Summer Games stocked with athletes and coaches with local ties.
Lofgren, a Newport Harbor High graduate, competed with the victorious U.S. women's eight boat. It was her first Olympics after being the final cut from the 2008 squad that won gold in Beijing.
Anae, a Corona del Mar High product, was a backup goalie for Team USA, which finished 5-0-1 in the tournament and topped Spain in the final.
Dan Klatt, the UC Irvine women's coach, was an assistant for the victorious American women's water polo squad.
April Ross teamed with partner Jennifer Kessy to claim silver medals in women's beach volleyball, while UCI women's volleyball head coach Paula Weishoff and UCI women's assistant Jamie Morrison were both assistants on the U.S. women's indoor volleyball team that won a silver medal.
Olympic coaches do not receive medals.
Kyla Ross, a member of the gold-medal-winning U.S. women's gymnastics unit, trained in Costa Mesa.
Sam Mikulak, a CdM High graduate, was fifth in the vault in men's gymnastics. He also competed in four events in the team final, in which Team USA finished fifth.
Costa Mesa resident Jake Gibb and his partner, Corona del Mar resident Sean Rosenthal, lost in the men's beach volleyball quarterfinals.
The U.S. men's indoor volleyball team that included UCI products David Smith and Brian Thornton and was coached by former Orange Coast College player Alan Knipe, also lost in the quarterfinals. The team benefited from then-UCI men's coach John Speraw, who was an assistant coach.
The American men's water polo team that lost in the quarterfinals included CdM High graduate John Mann and former UCI All-Americans Ryan Bailey, Jeff Powers and Tim Hutten. Newport Harbor boys' coach Robert Lynn was an assistant coach for the team.
Sharon Day, a Costa Mesa High graduate, finished 16th in the women's heptathlon.
Tony Ciarelli, who coaches track and field and football at Newport Harbor, coached a women's discus thrower from India in London, while Newport Harbor graduate Charlie Buckingham coached an athlete in the lasers individual sailing competition.
Maryn Ciarelli, who coaches track and field, as well as strength and conditioning at Newport Harbor, was May-Treanor's strength and conditioning coach.
Newport Beach athletes have represented the United States on the medal stand in every Olympics since 1996, and seven of the last eight Summer Games since the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
6) TOSHIBA CLASSIC — Loren Roberts won by two shots to pocket the $262,500 winner's check at the 18th edition of the Champions Tour event at Newport Beach Country Club.
Roberts, 56, made the last of his 15 birdies over the 54-hole event on his final hole. He entered the final day two shots behind Mark Calcavecchia, who missed a 10-foot eagle put on the final hole and finished tied for second with Bernhard Langer and Tom Kite.
It was the 13th Champions Tour triumph for Roberts, but his first in his last 33 starts, spanning nearly two years.
Roberts, who made a slight adjustment in his putting technique before the tournament, made birdie on three of his first four holes to turn a two-shot deficit into a two-shot lead. He then upped the lead to four shots with a birdie on the par-five No. 13. Bogeys on three of the next four holes trimmed his lead to one shot, but he capped the win with a final-round of two-under par. He shot eight-under (205) for the tournament.
The event also raised another $1 million for Hoag Hospital.
7) SPERAW LEAVES UCI — John Speraw, who in 10 seasons coached the UC Irvine men's volleyball team to three NCAA titles and four Final Four appearances, accepted an offer to replace legendary coach Al Scates, who had retired, at UCLA.
Speraw, who played and coached under Scates, was 199-106 at UCI, where he established the Anteaters as the top program in the nation.
Speraw said a considerable pay raise, a program budget that nearly doubled that of UCI, and the ability to return to his alma mater were deciding factors in leaving Irvine behind.
Speraw's legacy at UCI includes Mountain Pacific Sports Federation titles in 2012, 2009 and 2006, National Coach of the Year honors in 2006 and MPSF Coach of the Year recognition in 2012 and 2006.
The Anteaters held the top national ranking during the seasons of 2012, 2009, 2007, 2006 and 2003 and have appeared in the American Volleyball Coaches Assn. top-15 poll for the last 118 consecutive weeks.
"[Speraw] has meant everything to UCI volleyball," said four-time senior All-American Carson Clark. "The program was nonexistent on the national radar before he came here."
8) OCC BASEBALL — One of the most talented teams in the 64-season history of the program was ranked No. 1 in one national poll for most of the season, won the school's first outright Orange Empire Conference title since 1987 and advanced to the four-team state championship tournament.
Two straight losses in the state tournament brought a hasty end to a 36-7-1 campaign, after which six players were selected in the major league draft.
Freshman pitcher Brandon Brennan (fourth round by the Chicago White Sox), freshman outfielder Bijan Rademacher (13th round, Chicago Cubs), sophomore catcher Stefan Sabol (17th round, New York Mets), freshman outfielder Boog Powell (20th round, Oakland A's) and sophomore shortstop Joel Licon (25th round, Minnesota Twins) all signed professional contracts, rather than honor commitments to four-year schools.
Sophomore outfielder Chris Carlson, the state and conference player of the year, was drafted in the 33rd round by the Red Sox, but chose to go to New Mexico State.
New Mexico State also corralled sophomore Keegan Yuhl, the Orange Empire Conference Pitcher of the Year.
Brennan, Powell, Rademacher and Yuhl joined Carlson as first-team all-state performers, while Licon was a second-team honoree.
The Pirates' .830 winning percentage was the program's best since 1957 and they finished one shy of the school single-season victory record set by the 2009 state champions.
Coach John Altobelli, in his 20th season, was named OEC Coach of the Year and was the conference's Male Coach of the Year in all sports.
9) MURTHA MILESTONES — Estancia High senior tailback Robert Murtha finished a three-year varsity football career with 5,489 rushing yards, 53 rushing touchdowns and 57 touchdowns overall, all Newport-Mesa records.
The three-time Orange Coast League Offensive Player of the Year had 1,594 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns in 2012 to shatter the previous career yardage record of 4,333 set by Costa Mesa High's Binh "Runaway" Tran from 1991-93.
To put Murtha's rushing total in perspective, one would need to average a little more than 98 yards per game and play 14 varsity games per season for four years to surpass it.
10) JOCK NCAA CHAMPION —Three-time All-American Charles Jock capped his senior season at UC Irvine by winning the NCAA title in the 800 meters.
By turning in a winning time of one minute, 45.59 seconds at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa on June 8, Jock became the first Anteater in 34 years to claim an individual NCAA crown.
Both Steve Scott (1,500) and Mauricio Bardales (decathlon) won NCAA gold in 1978.
Jock, a three-time Big West Conference Track Athlete of the Year, was one of 10 semifinalists for The Bowerman, college track and field's top individual award.
Jock reached the finals of the U.S. Olympic Trials less than three weeks after his NCAA conquest, but finished eighth (1:49.02) and failed to advance to London.
*CdM boys' golf wins CIF Southern Section South Coast Team Divisional after posting a 22-0 regular season.
*CdM boys, Sage Hill girls earn CIF Southern Section runner-up finishes in respective volleyball divisions.
*Stewart Hagestad, a Newport Beach golfer, finishes second at the Southern California Golf Assn. match-play championship and later competes in the U.S. Amateur.
*UC Irvine pitcher Andrew Thurman throws a no-hitter one week after taking a no-hitter into the ninth inning on the way to first-team All-Big West Conference honors.
*Orange Coast College wins the state championship in women's cross country.
*Jake Knapp, a Costa Mesa golfer, cards a 61 at U.S. Open local qualifier at Newport Beach Country Club.
*Vanguard women's soccer reaches the NAIA quarterfinals after winning the program's first Golden State Athletic Conference crown.
*UCI men's basketball's potential breakout recruiting class includes a 7-5 Mamadou Ndiaye, a 7-footer from Greece and a point guard from Great Britain.
*The Daily Pilot Cup's 13th edition continues to bring hundreds of kids together in a competitive community soccer sprawl.
*UCI women's water polo reaches the NCAA Final Four.
*Several locals lead Mater Dei High boys' water polo to the CIF Southern Section Division 1 title and a 31-0 record that extends a Southern Section-record 79-game winning streak.