HomeSportsThe Tribune’s Top 18 of ’18 Sports Edition

The Tribune’s Top 18 of ’18 Sports Edition

CROWNING MOMENT: Left to right, San Marino’s Maddie Kaufman (white jersey), Erin Hill (16), Keila Barra (2), Leela Anvekar (9), Hanna Wang (hidden) and Caitlin Nguyen (3) celebrate a point during San Marino’s Rio Hondo League title-clinching match over La Cañada on Tuesday, October 9.

1 Lady Titan Spikers End 28-Year Title Drought 

The 28-year wait ended on Tuesday, October 9 at 4:42 p.m., the celebration of the moment rather underwhelming, especially when compared to the magnitude of the accomplishment. For it was then that San Marino High School’s girls’ varsity volleyball team swept La Cañada by scores of 25-22, 25-21 and 25-12 before a raucous crowd in Dingus Memorial Fieldhouse to secure the school’s first Rio Hondo League championship in that sport since 1990.

Jenna Dizon and Erin Loyd captained that 1990 squad, but it was their long-ago coach who just might have provided a little incentive for the 2018 team to clinch the title. Cynthia Chubbuck, still a respected science teacher at San Marino High School, decided to drop by a practice to teach a little history lesson.

“I had been plowing through the yearbooks to figure out when the last championship was,” Chubbuck said the day after the game. “I decided to write a letter to [head Coach] Joe [Rios] and then thought I should go talk to Joe. Then I decided I would go talk to the girls.”

Although it was in Chubbuck’s words “one of the last 100º days of the year,” the former coach—whose career spanned the years of 1987-96 and included Rio Hondo League titles in 1988, 1989 and 1990—donned her SMHS letter jacket while explaining the importance of the moment.

It worked.

La Cañada was never really in the match as the Lady Titans improved to 9-0, 16-4 overall.

“It feels great to see San Marino volleyball back,” said Chubbuck, who watched Tuesday’s game from her typical vantage point on the upper east landing. “We have had promising teams in the past, but they have just never put it together like this group has. This team is fun to watch.”

Senior Keila Barra led the team with 13 kills, followed by sophomore Erin Hill, who added a dozen. Sophomore Leela Anvekar added four blocks and was a difference maker at the net.

Rios also praised his senior setter for her performance and leadership during the big game.

“Hanna Wang had an excellent game on her senior night,” said Rios. Senior outside hitter Morgan Wong put together yet another consistent performance and middle blocker Lauren Eriksen occupied the Spartans all afternoon. Defensive specialists Conner Sund and Caitlyn Nguyen were on point and libero Madison Kaufman provided solid passing and timely second setting to pace the Lady Titans.

Two days later, the Lady Titans received a scare at South Pasadena, but emerged with their undefeated Rio Hondo League campaign safe at 10-0.

2 BeauHobbie Sets Career Rushing Record

Beau Hobbie had to wait for Michael Chan to graduate, sat out a couple games this year with a hamstring injury, and yet still ran around, over and through would-be tacklers from La Cañada on Friday, October 5 on his way to an even 300 yards. More importantly,

Hobbie—the grandson of Titan head football Coach Mike Hobbie—also eclipsed San Marino High School’s career rushing total, taking the mark from…Michael Chan.

“I am really excited about it,” Hobbie said shortly after the contest, which San Marino won by a score of 49-0. “That was my goal this year, to beat the record. I knew it was going to take a lot to beat Michael Chan, who was a great running back.”

Hobbie said he “had no idea. Zero idea” that he was within striking distance entering Friday’s contest.

“Someone had told me I was close but I didn’t know if they meant a game or a couple games ahead,” Hobbie told The Tribune. “I had no idea.”

Hobbie called Chan “an inspiration” when the two were on the same team in the fall of 2016 and Chan was the typical starter.

“Michael showed me what it was like to be a captain and a team leader,” Hobbie said. “I really looked up to him.”

In 2016, Chan broke what was at the time a 38-year-old record that had been set by Bert McKee, who later played at Cal. Chan finished his career with 3,088 yards, topping McKee’s 2,349 in a game at Temple City. Hobbie ended the season and his career with a total of 3,710 yards. For his senior year, Hobbie rushed 185 times for 1,714 yards, a remarkable average of 9.3 yards per carry.

“I honestly wouldn’t have anything if it weren’t for the linemen and wide receivers who give me the time and space,” Hobbie said. “Also, my grandfather has such a good offensive scheme. He uses everybody and that allows me to have my space. And our line does such a great job and our receivers keep their man controlled for a long time. I really appreciate them all.”

Further testimony could come from El Monte High School’s defensive eleven, who spent a painful August night chasing Hobbie, who compiled 257 rushing yards and six touchdowns in the first half of San Marino’s 76-36 drubbing of the Lions.

“That was one of the best running back performances I have ever seen,” said Grandpa Hobbie, who has seen a lot of great running back performances in his lifelong coaching career and typically downplays the exploits of his kin.

3 Titans Tame ‘Cats to Take RHL Grid Crown

In the past seven years, San Marino High School’s varsity football team has huffed…and puffed…but only once before Friday, October 26 have the Titans been able to blow Monrovia’s house down.

Make that twice.

With an outright Rio Hondo League championship riding on the outcome, San Marino defeated the host Wildcats by a final score of 34-21 to close Rio Hondo League play with a 4-0 record while claiming only its second title since 1995. The most recent was 2015, when the Titans also won a CIF crown before advancing to the state championship game in Sacramento.

“We didn’t back down,” said San Marino head Coach Mike Hobbie, who got an impromptu on-field Gatorade bath shortly after the game, courtesy of his zealous, white-clad charges. “We took it to them. Our kids really wanted this game.”

And they got it.

Senior tailback Beau Hobbie scored on San Marino’s second and third possessions of the contest with runs of one and 68 yards to give the Titans a 14-7 lead over the Wildcats, who also entered the final week of league play with a 3-0 record.

The Titans took a 21-14 lead into the fourth quarter, but Monrovia tied the game at 21-21.

San Marino steeled itself for its ensuing possession. On third and long from its own 42-yard line, senior quarterback Kade Wentz, returning from a shoulder injury, broke containment for a 34-yard run. A facemask penalty added another 15 yards and two plays later, Wentz did the honors himself with a two-yard scoring run.

But the ‘Cats blocked the extra point attempt and the Titans lead was only six at 27-21 with a little over two minutes remaining in the contest.

On Monrovia’s next play from scrimmage, quarterback Nick Hernandez couldn’t handle a low snap from center. San Marino senior Jackson Wendling was more than happy to fall on the loose ball deep in Wildcat territory. Beau Hobbie traversed the final 13 yards and the successful extra point gave the Titans a 34-21 lead with 1:13 left.

A donnybrook resulted on the ensuing kickoff and players had to be restrained by coaches and officials.

Titan defensive back Neven Yarahmadi intercepted a desperation pass and Wentz was able to take a knee from the victory formation to end the game.

“It’s hard to single anybody out,” Mike Hobbie said after the game. “Everybody did a good job. This was clearly one of the better games we have played all season. It was one of our most physical games of the year and our kids really stepped up.”

Beau Hobbie finished the game with 183 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries. Wentz carried 21 times for 151 yards and two scores.

Hobbie credited his offensive line with a standout performance.

But it might have been the Titan defense that saved San Marino’s bacon. Junior defensive tackle Kourosh Hassibi occupied several Monrovia blockers and hurried Hernandez on multiple pass attempts.

“Charlie [Daves], Wicke [Chris], Ethan [Lainez], Beau [Perez], Neven [Yarahmadi]. It’s like everyone had a good game.”

Wendling’s fumble recovery was huge, but certainly no more important than his ten tackles.

The Titans and Wildcats tussled for the Rio Hondo League title in each of Hobbie’s eight seasons at the helm. Friday’s win improved his record to 2-6 against Monrovia. He is 29-1 against the other four league opponents, combined.

Which explains why Hobbie called the victory “one of the biggest in my career.”

4 Anessa Lee Is Runner-Up at USTA National Indoor Tourney 

Anessa Lee, a junior at San Marino High School, advanced to the finals of the USTA National Indoor Championships, which were held in Memphis over the Thanksgiving weekend. Lee finished second to Valencia Xu of New Jersey in a third set tiebreaker for the championship.

The National Indoor is one of the five majors for the junior tennis circuit, which include the National Hard Court Championships, National Clay Court Championships, Winter National Championships and the Easter Bowl.

Lee, the reigning Rio Hondo League singles champion, won five straight matches against top ranked national players to reach the finals.

Although she did not prevail in the finals, Lee still claimed a coveted silver ball, to augment the gold ball she receiving for winning the 2018 Easter Bowl championship.

“This is an awesome achievement,” said Melwin Pereira, head tennis coach at San Marino High School.

Lee is currently ranked #9 among all high school juniors in the nation.

Aside from winning the prestigious Easter Bowl title, Lee as a freshman won both the singles and doubles championships at the 2016 USTA Girls’ 14 National Selection tennis tournament. She also earned the Sportsmanship Award at that tournament.

Anessa is the daughter of Albert and Pearl Lee. Her older brother, Connor, is a sophomore at Georgetown University and plays for the Hoyas. Another older brother, Ryan, was an accomplished tennis player at San Marino High School and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley.

5 Surprising Lady Titans Bow Out In Elite Eight

The streak put together by San Marino High School’s girls’ varsity basketball team that landed the Lady Titans in the CIF Division 4A quarterfinals was as impressive as it was unexpected, but head Coach Annie Yee cared about neither.

“I thought we played very well,” said Yee after San Marino was defeated by Cathedral City, a solid, balanced team that later advanced to the CIF Championship game and later to the state tournament.

Cathedral won the game by a final score of 65-55, but at one point during the third quarter the Lady Titans had trimmed the lead to eight points, greatly delighting the fans in Dingus Memorial Fieldhouse.

It was San Marino’s first foray into the Elite Eight since February, 2001 when the Lady Titans met up with—and went down to defeat to—Bishop Montgomery, which featured no less a threat than Noelle Quinn, who later accepted a basketball and volleyball scholarship to UCLA. In fact, Quinn is still playing in the WNBA.

If there’s anyone who might join her some day, it’s Cathedral City’s Tatiana Witherspoon, who demonstrated equal aplomb at all distances from the basket. Witherspoon ended the night with 25 points and gave Lady Titan defenders fits with her cheeky tactics under the basket.

San Marino senior Joyce Liang provided her extensive fan base with one final thrill, scoring 18 points that included four three-pointers. Sophomore Audrey Lin continued her scorching postseason pace with 16 points and senior Sabella Singh checked out with class and eight points. Senior Tina McDaniel added five points while Cheyenne Trac and Kyli Bonavich capped the scoring with three apiece for the Lady Titans, who wrapped up the season with an impressive 19-10 record after going 5-5 in Rio Hondo League play, which was good enough for third place.

But sports can sometimes be all about getting hot at the right time, and Yee’s squad clearly caught fire at the right time.

Three months later, the girls’ basketball program was depleted at graduation, as San Marino bid adieu to Liang, Singh, Trac, Tina McDaniel, Audrey Bain, Sevyana Nikoui-Smith, Cathy Chen, Macy Mena and Zoee Li.

6 Titans Return to Baseball Relevance

Though known in these parts as an accomplished football coach, several eyebrows were still raised when Mike Hobbie was named to take over for Mack Paciorek and head up the Titans’ baseball program.

In retrospect, it might have been a significant “win-win” as Hobbie took the Titans back to the playoffs and within a game of the Rio Hondo League title while Paciorek guided the Poly Panthers to the CIF Division 6 championship.

The schedule worked to perfection as the final regular season game on May 10 between the Titans and Monrovia Wildcats was for, as they say, all the marbles at McNamee Field. A standing-room-only crowd thrilled to the Titans’ return to relevance, but the Wildcats prevailed by a final score of 2-0 to take the crown.

San Marino settled for second, finishing 12-8-1 overall with a 9-3 record in conference play. “Our hitting wasn’t real timely,” Hobbie said after the contest. “Some days things go in your favor and other days they don’t.”

Two days earlier, the Titans defeated the Wildcats 4-0, in Monrovia to set up the de facto championship game. But San Marino had to use senior ace Blake Cabot to have a shot at the title. The reliable lefty tossed a complete game shutout, striking out seven while allowing just three hits as San Marino prevailed by a final score of 4-0.

For the finale, Hobbie handed the ball to junior Zach Balbin, who pitched well and gave San Marino a chance to win. Hobbie praised the starter for a solid effort. Sophomore Noah Herrera relieved Balbin and also acquitted himself with aplomb.

Before the game, the ten Titan seniors were honored for their time at San Marino.

After the contest, coach Hobbie remarked on the seniors’ efforts as Cabot, Harrison Dunkel, Matt Gulick, Austin Urbach, Alejandro Juarez, Ryan Sabin, Ian Pearson, Greyson Garcia, Will Steele and Lachlan Streeter played their final home games as Titans.

7 San Marino’s Jaime Jarrin Inducted Into L.A. Dodgers’ “Ring of Honor”

On Friday, September 21, San Marino resident Jaime Jarrin became just the twelfth person inducted into the Los Angeles Dodger’s Ring of Honor, a significant honor accomplished by a local man who has starred for a global brand.

Throughout the rich history of the Dodgers, only eleven individuals have been placed in the Ring of Honor. Jarrín joins Pee Wee Reese, Tommy Lasorda, Duke Snider, Jim Gilliam, Don Sutton, Walter Alston, Sandy Koufax, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson, Don Drysdale and Vin Scully in having his name permanently affixed inside Dodger Stadium.

“I was 22 years old when I started with the Dodgers,” said Jarrin, the Dodgers’ Spanish-language radio announcer. Jarrin has been the lead play-by-play man for the team’s Spanish flagship station KWKW. “How many people get to work in the profession that they love! It’s been 60 years!”

Jarrin has been a San Marino resident since 1965, where along with his wife, Blanca, the Jarrins raised their three sons, Jorge, Jimmy and Mauricio. Jorge works the Dodger broadcasts his father.

“San Marino is a great community, we love it very much,” Jaime Jarrin said. “All of our children went to Stoneman Elementary School, Huntington Middle School and then San Marino High School. It’s where my friends and family are. It’s where my favorite restaurants are. San Marino is my home.”

In 2008, Jarrin received the Ford Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame. Jarrin, who turned 83 this month, recently received a two-year contract extension.

“I am overwhelmed!” Jarrin said of the honor. “In my wildest of dreams I never thought this would happen, and to be in between two of my cherished dear friends, Don Drysdale and Vin Scully, it is just too much.”

Read all 18 of The Tribune’s Top 18 0f 18 Sports Edition in this week’s print edition of the San Marino Tribune, 12.28.18.

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