SPHS Athletes Recognized by League Coaches

First published in the Dec. 3 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

While some high school athletic programs are working their way back after a year in which many prep sports teams were sidelined due to the coronavirus pandemic, South Pasadena High School hit the ground running and had a fall season to remember.
Each of the Tigers teams qualified for the CIF Southern Section playoffs and 25 athletes from the football, girls’ volleyball and boys’ water polo programs were recognized by Rio Hondo League coaches.

“It’s quite the feat for our athletics program and demonstrates the dedication of our student-athletes, coaches, parents and community,” SPHS Athletic Director Anthony Chan said in an email. “There was also plenty of support for all of our teams, especially from the students and student-athletes. It’s been quite a season and Tiger athletics is still rolling strong into the winter.”

Photo by Raymond Quan / The Review
Seniors Ivan Becerra (72) and Noah Aragon (3) were among the 13 South Pasadena High School football players to earn All-Rio Hondo League accolades.

One of the most impressive fall campaigns came from the varsity football team, which finished third in the Rio Hondo League and reached the CIF-SS Division 13 semifinals for the first time in nearly 50 years. The Tigers (7-6 overall), guided by head coach Jeff Chi, won their first playoff game in more than 40 years before falling to Montclair, 28-21.
Thirteen football players earned All-Rio Hondo League recognition with offensive lineman Ivan Becerra and running back Jack Riffle taking the top honors by being selected to the first team. Andrew Buenrostro, Isaiah Cooper, Alex Gonzalez, Jaden Castelion, Jason Hong, Aidan Kinney, Luke Riffle, Sawyer Fox and Grant Huntley made the second team, and teammates Noah Aragon and Sage Wayans each earned an honorable mention.

Photo by Eric Danielson / The Review
Senior Alyssa Sokolow was named the league’s most valuable libero after recording an impressive 529 digs in the fall season.

The SPHS girls’ volleyball team also had a successful season, finishing with a 33-8 overall record and placing second in league with a 6-2 mark. The Tigers, guided by head coach Ivy Chew, qualified for the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs but fell to Temecula Oak in the opening round.
Senior Alyssa Sokolow received one of the highest honors in being named the league’s most valuable libero, and teammates Abigail Garner and Jenna Garner made the first team. Ingrid Zahn earned a spot on the second team and Kendall Taylor received an honorable mention.
Head coach Lindsey Garcia led the Tigers boys’ water polo program to a Rio Hondo League championship and finished the year with an overall record of 13-6.
The team had four players make the All-Rio Hondo League first team — more than any other squad — with Kaden Ho, Egan Hadsell-Florin, Owen Imasaki and Lucas Abrahamian earning the high honors. Caleb Hunt and Blix Hadsell-Florin were second-team selections and William Michels received an honorable mention.