By Nicholas Orozco, Sports Editor
As Valley College sends its 2023 graduates on their way, this column aims to honor the men and women who dominated in their respective sports.
In water polo, the men notched a 19-9 record and were led by sophomores Hakop Ansuryan, Sako Kaputikyan and freshman Johnny Agazarayan. Each was named All-American to conclude the 2022 season.
Kaputikyan collected 94 goals with 125 steals and 43 assists. Ansuryan scored 56 goals, made 34 steals and dished out 63 assists. Agazarayan chalked up 64 goals, 21 steals and 27 assists. The trio combined for 214 of the 377 goals that the team threw into the back of the net.
Coach Jim McMillan led his team to the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season.
Switching to the hardwood, the Lady Monarchs were led by sophomores Jordyn Jiron, Jaqueline Privado, Leena Vo and Dyani Del Castillo.
Jiron averaged 14.7 points a game while also averaging 35.3 minutes a game. Her teammates Privado, Vo and Del Castillo averaged 10, 9 and 8 points per game respectively.
The Lady Monarchs are sending three sophomores to the next level. Jiron heads to Park University in Parkville, Missouri, Privado is headed to San Francisco State and Del Castillo to Simpson University in Redding.
Defeating Imperial Valley 74-44, the Monarchs moved onto the second round of playoffs to face Moorpark College. The playoff run was cut short by Moorpark.
Sophomores Bobby Velasco, Tyler Olivas, Brandon Cuervo and freshmen Sean David and Max Aude made it happen on the diamond. The Monarch five all slashed over a .300 batting average.
In the 2023 campaign both freshman Royce Clayton Jr. and Velasco hit three homeruns with David, Aude, Olivas and sophomore Elvis Park all smashing two and Cuervo collected one.
Over the seven game playoff appearance, Aude, and Cuervo stood out. Aude recorded a .375 batting average with 10 RBIs and a homerun, and Cuervo averaged .354 and collected six RBIs.
Danny Veloz’s pitching earned him a trip to Hawaii University, where he will pitch for the Rainbow Warriors. In this past year for the Monarchs, the right-hander put up some impressive numbers. Overall, he produced a stingy 1.46 ERA in 80 innings. Veloz was even more dominant in conference play with an ERA of 0.29 over 31 innings making him the number starter in the state.
Valley baseball reached the second round of playoffs after eliminating Cuesta College and East LA College but were ultimately eliminated by Fullerton College in a three-game series.
The biggest name for the Monarchs this season was Lilliana Noriega. The 19-year-old swimmer first broke a 48-year-old school record in the 50-yard freestyle event. After performing well in the conference meets, she punched her ticket into the state finals.
Noriega competed in the 50-yard, 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke. She reached top 16 in the state for the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle. In an event that was not her strong suit, Noriega finished fifth in state for the 100-yard backstroke.
Valley witnessed great team performances individually and as a team. With that, this sports editor signs off on his final column hoping that the Monarchs continue to knock it out of the park.