To the victors go the spoils.
Several local high school sports teams enjoyed postseason success this winter, and some of their standout players were recognized by the CIF Southern Section this month.
The Daily Press takes a look at the honorees:
Jonah Mathews didn’t just make a name for himself this year. He made several: McDonald’s All American Games nominee, most valuable player in the Ocean League and CIF-SS player of the year in Division 1A, among other accolades.
The USC-bound senior guard carried Santa Monica to a section championship and a stupendous 29-3 campaign that included a 24-game winning streak.
Mathews was one of several members of the Samohi squad to be honored this year.
Senior forward Mikhail Brown earned first-team all-1A and first-team all-league recognition, junior forward Daniel Schreier made the all-section 1A second team and the all-conference first team, and sophomore wing Rip Economou was a second-team honoree in 1A and the Ocean League.
Longtime coach James Hecht, who guided the Vikings to their second section title in four seasons, was named the 1A coach of the year and the conference coach of the year.
Girls water polo
On its way to capturing its first section championship in school history, the Samohi girls water polo team gave up just 11 goals combined in four playoff games.
The Vikings’ stout defense was due in part to the efforts of junior goalkeeper Amalie Luneng-Solli, who was named co-player of the year in Division 6 alongside Pasadena-Westridge star Georgia Bogle.
Four of the 14 players recognized in the division represent Samohi. Luneng-Solli was joined on the list by senior Olivia Allen, junior Shanna Stevenson and freshman Lauren Gaudry, the only ninth-grade honoree.
In addition, Vikings coach Matt Flanders was honored as coach of the year.
Molly Tomlin’s 25-point outing against Lawndale-Leuzinger in early December was perhaps a sign of a remarkable season ahead.
St. Monica Catholic girls basketball coach Don Burke had called the senior a “great leader,” praising her for her basketball knowledge and defensive intensity.
And Tomlin, who ended up leading the Mariners to the Division 4AA quarterfinals, was honored with a spot on this year’s all-section team.
Santa Fe Springs-St. Paul junior Na’lon Smith was named the 4AA player of the year and St. Paul’s Robert Miller was chosen as coach of the year.
Tomlin guided St. Monica to second place in the Camino Real League. She then helped the team defeat Walnut-Southlands Christian and Sherman Oaks-Notre Dame by a combined 89 points in the first two rounds of the playoffs to set up the quarterfinal meeting with Smith and St. Paul.
Four local players earned all-section recognition in boys soccer this winter.
Although Samohi didn’t make the playoffs, sophomore defender Diego Villagran and freshman midfielder Oscar Benavidez each earned spots on the CIF-SS Division 3 boys soccer team.
Benavidez was one of two freshmen on the elite roster, joining Santa Maria forward Gabino Mantano.
Redlands East Valley’s Jonathan Garcia and Ted Small were named player of the year and coach of the year, respectively.
Crossroads also had two all-CIF selections, with senior goalkeeper Jackson Schierbeek and freshman midfielder Dante Perez-Mendoza making the Division 5 team. Perez-Mendoza and Granite Hills forward Gabby Hernandez were the only first-year honorees.
Garden Grove’s Derek Ayala and Matt Grenert were selected as player of the year and coach of the year, respectively.
The Roadrunners went 17-3-3 this season, reaching the section semifinals before falling to Garden Grove-Santiago.
Chloe Kleinman has been here before.
A year after receiving all-section recognition, the senior Samohi forward was again honored for her contributions in Division 4 this season.
Kleinman led the Vikings to a third consecutive Ocean League title and guided them in the playoffs, where they defeated Thousand Oaks-La Reina and Phelan-Serrano in the first two rounds before falling 2-1 to eventual champion La Mirada in the quarterfinals.
La Mirada’s Maddie Bennett earned player of the year honors. La Mirada’s Dave Christensen was named coach of the year.