The 2020-21 school year was definitely a wild and turbulent experience for local high school athletes.
Because of the coronavirus crisis, there was no athletic competition at all until March, when seasons for several sports were crammed into just a few months -- and some teams did not get a chance to play at all.
Despite the obstacles, however, Summit High School had many reasons to celebrate. The SkyHawks achieved high marks on the field, in the classroom, and even in the construction department, because the school's new turf field has almost been completed.
"In this very unusual year, Summit athletes and coaches overcame an incredible level of adversity and not only survived but excelled," said Rob Peterson, the SkyHawks' athletic director.
All of the Summit teams which competed during the spring qualified for the CIF playoffs, and several of them took top honors in their league seasons.
"Not bad for kids who were 'sitting on the couch' for nearly a year!" Peterson said.
----- ONE OF THE biggest success stories was the softball squad, which finished with a 12-2 record and gained the No. 1 spot in the league.
In the playoffs, the SkyHawks advanced to the third round before losing to eventual CIF finalist Hemet. In the second round, Summit pulled off a 6-2 conquest of Notre Dame, which was the top seed in the tournament.
The SkyHawks had several young players this year and are looking forward to many accomplishments in the future.
Plus, the 2021 team had a rather unique situation on its roster: three sets of sisters. They were Cristina and Adriana Lopez, Bianca and Jennifer Diamond, and Sofia and Analisa Gonzalez.
----- OTHER HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDED:
• The girls' soccer team won the league championship and reached the CIF quarterfinals.
• The boys' basketball team capture the league title before losing to eventual CIF semifinalist Citrus Valley in the playoffs.
• The girls' basketball squad missed the league championship only by a loss to Eisenhower, the eventual CIF champion, and advanced to the second round of the playoffs before bowing to eventual semifinalist Westlake.
• The girls' tennis group obtained the league crown and the boys' tennis and baseball teams made the playoffs.
• A member of the swim team, Chelsea Fascio, earned the school's first CIF individual championship by winning the 100 meter backstroke.
• The varsity cheerleaders won their second straight national championship, despite being only able to work together for four weeks.
Meanwhile, the football team was limited to four games and won two of those. The volleyball, track, and boys' soccer teams did not compete.
----- ACADEMICALLY, many of the Summit students (not just athletes) struggled due to online learning this year, Peterson acknowledged.
"That being said, we gave just as many Scholar Athlete patches (3.5 GPA or better) as we ever have," he added. "Our coaches still stressed academics, and offered the same amount of support to our athletes for classroom endeavors, and as a result, all team GPAs still hovered right around 3.0."
Near the end of the school year, Summit received a very high honor by being named a California Distinguished School.
----- INDIVIDUAL award winners for Summit's Class of 2021 were:
Ken Hubbs Award: Faith Evaro, Miguel Robles
Citrus Belt Area Athletic Directors Association: Jennifer Diamond, Isaias Espiritu
Summit High School AOY: Bianca Carreon, Samuel Armenta.