SALINAS VALLEY — As we look back over the past year, it’s time to recognize some of the greatest moments in South Monterey County sports from 2022.
King City Mustangs
3) King City Mustang girls’ basketball team had a great chance to be ranked first for the 2021-22 season. After losing most of their preseason games, the Lady Mustangs were able to push for a Santa Lucia Division title with a 10-2 league record. Ultimately, King City came up short in the season finale against Greenfield (12-0), but they were able to able to earn a playoff spot.
2) King City High runner Israel Limosnero reached the state level in cross country. Out of 201 runners in Division IV, the Mustang senior placed 46th with a time of 16:27.3 on the 5,000-meter course at Woodward Park in Fresno.
1) After not winning their league title, the King City Mustang boys’ soccer team rebounded and not only won the Central Coast Section (CCS) Divison IV title, but also the Northern California Division V title. Victor Narez scored the final six goals of the season and the game-winning goal to help them win the state championship. During that stretch, the Mustangs had outscored their opponents 18 to 5.
3) When looking back at the 2021-22 baseball season, the Soledad Aztecs beat some heavy hitters over the year. They knocked off a CCS champion and a state champion. Plus, one of the great treats that the Aztecs gave fans was watching Oregon State-committed Eric Segura pitch.
2) Aztec wrestler Donn Greer was dominant during the CCS, winning his weight class and going to the state tournament. Greer made history for Soledad, becoming the first Aztec male wrestler to finish in the top eight of his weight class.
1) The winner is this past fall’s Soledad Aztecs football team, who took home the Cypress title for the first time in history. Now one can make a case for other teams this year that should be in the top spot, but what put this team in the principal place is how the city supported them. For instance, go back to the final game of the regular season — when the Aztecs scored, so much joy filled the packed stadium. To see the emotions of the student body and the crowd after the touchdown was remarkable.
3) This fall’s Gonzales Spartans football team ended a long losing streak. When looking at the history of Gonzales football, it’s probably the most historical school in Monterey County. So for them to finally break the streak on a day they broken in a new scoreboard was amazing.
2) Spartan sophomore runner Giovanni Ochoa ran his best ever time to earn 70th place, finishing in a time of 16:41.7. Ochoa was the first Gonzales cross country runner to qualify for the state meet since 1999, when Takehiro Anzai ran for the Spartans. Anzai, a three-sport athlete at Gonzales, finished in a time of 17:06 in the CIF Division IV finals.
1) Coming in first is the Gonzales Spartan girls’ volleyball program. After winning their first-ever Santa Lucia Division title last year, the Lady Spartans followed it by claiming their first Cypress Division championship.
3) Greenfield Bruins wrestling team competed at the Pacific Coast Athletic League’s Cypress Division finals and captured the team title. Winning their weight classes for the Bruins were Diego Zapien, Tomas Vargas, Aaron Garcia, Marco Silva and Jonathan Anaya.
2) The Bruins football team snapped their losing streak to the King City Mustangs. With only seven seconds on the clock, Greenfield was tied with King City at 14 apiece. Bruins kicker Jose Zavala lined up for a field goal to not only win the game, but also end the decade-long losing streak. The pure joy of the players storming the field was one of the best sights of the year.
1) For the first time in school history, the Greenfield Bruin girls’ basketball team was able to hang up a banner, as the Lady Bruins went undefeated. When league play started, Greenfield’s nine of 11 wins were by 20 points or more. Leading the way were players Jessica Rodriguez and Latai Matalu, who have been double-double machines this year, and Linda Ornelas, who took home the MVP award.