Now that the dust has settled and everyone can look back at the 2010-11 sports year, there's no doubt the campaign goes down as one of the best for La Cañada Flintridge athletes and their respective teams.
Flintridge Prep, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and La Cañada High athletes garnered a wide range of individual accolades and succeeded at a number of different levels. Outstanding individual performances led to playoff appearances and two CIF Southern Section girls' championships — a Division I title for Sacred Heart's soccer team and a Division V crown for La Cañada's softball team.
Both squads boasted rosters stacked with talented athletes who ensured their teams wouldn't be stopped. There were plenty of other squads and individuals that embarked on deep playoff runs. La Cañada's finest players hauled in all-state, All-Area and all-league honors along the way, establishing themselves as some of the best athletes to ever come through their respective schools.
Here is the list of La Cañada's top-10 female athletes in 2010-11:
1 — Katy Campbell, La Cañada swimming, junior
Campbell was nervous coming into this season. Both of La Cañada's boys' and girls' swimming teams had been bumped up from CIF Southern Section Division II to Division I and she didn't quite know what to expect from the Division I finals.
"Division I is definitely going to be challenge," Campbell said a week before the Division I finals at the Rio Hondo League finals, where she set three new league records. "I do have some confidence [after today], but I am going in a little uneasy."
Campbell broke two individual records, one in the 200-yard freestyle (1 minute 50.99 seconds) and another in the 500 freestyle (4:53.10) and also was a part of the 200-freestyle relay team with Mackenzie Heaton, Sarah Olson and Samantha Campbell that set a new record with a time of 1:42.50 at league finals.
"She's got power in her kick and that upper body strength," said La Cañada Coach Tiffany Quash, explaining Campbell's dominance. "She's built like a swimmer. Katy is muscle."
There was no slowing down for Campbell when CIF rolled around.
The junior took first in the 500 freestyle at CIF Southern Section Division I finals at the Belmont Plaza Pool in Long Beach in 4:43.04, which was more than two seconds faster than the second-place finisher. She also took third in the 200 freestyle in 1:49.07. Whatever nerves Campbell had seemed to be gone, as she dominated even more so at the CIF Masters Meet, where she won the 200- (1:48.66) and 500 freestyle (4:46.05).
Quash was floored by Campbell's ability to excel in two markedly different events.
"For someone to go out and sprint the 200 and come back and win the 500, an endurance event, is not common," Quash said. "The only thing they have in common is they're both freestyles."
2 — Natalie Zeenni, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy soccer, senior
Zeenni, the 2010 and 2011 All-Area Girls' Soccer Player of the Year, helped anchor a Sacred Heart squad, specifically its defense, that was already filled with plenty of talent. The Tologs put their skill to work and won the CIF Southern Section Division I championship.
With Zeenni on the backline, Sacred Heart allowed 18 goals in 26 matches and posted 14 shutouts. As a result, the Tologs went 23-2-1 and won the Mission League title and their first-ever Division I title.
"For the most part, you know what you're gonna get with Natalie," Tologs co-Coach Frank Pace said. "The knowledge that Natalie has on the field always gave us a leg up on the competition."
It seemed like Zeenni received nearly every award she was eligible for. She was named Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy's Jessica Hanson Most Valuable Player, to ESPN Rise's All-State second team, the Mission League's co-Defensive Player of the Year and was a first-team All-CIF Southern Section Division I pick.
Zeenni is going on to play for the University of New Mexico in 2012. The Lobos hope the former Tolog will flash her knack for keeping balls from crossing the goal line, like she did three times this postseason — once in the semifinal and twice in the championship game.
"I would call it instincts," Pace said. "She combines great skill with a very good knowledge of the game and extraordinary instincts. Sometimes you just know where the ball's going. That's what she has the ability to do."