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By Zach Cavanagh

The year began with returns to the field and was highlighted by plenty of regular success as San Clemente athletes and teams adapted to the new normal of 2021.

Here is a look back at some of the memorable San Clemente sports moments of 2021:

January

#LetThemPlay

Ten months after high school sports were shut down in California due to the pandemic, student-athletes, parents and coaches held rallies statewide on Jan. 15, including at San Clemente High School, to support a return to play. Cross country was the first sport to return on Feb. 6, and the rest of the outdoor sports were eventually given the OK to return on Feb. 26 and indoor sports on March 5.

San Clemente High student-athletes celebrated Signing Day in a masked, on-campus ceremony. Photo: Zach Cavanagh

February

21 Honored on Signing Day

With a masked-up, family-only ceremony on the field at Thalassa Stadium, San Clemente High School honored its college-bound student-athletes. Seven volleyball players and six football players were among the signees.

March

Delayed Football Seasons Begin

More than 16 months after the last San Clemente football game had been played, the Tritons took to the field to open their 2020 football season in the spring of 2021. San Clemente would go 5-0, including a dramatic win over Mission Viejo to claim the South Coast League Championship.

April

Capistrano Coyotes Compete in First USA Hockey National Title Game

The Capistrano Unified School District’s combined high school hockey team, the Capistrano Coyotes, advanced to the USA Hockey Division II national championship in Omaha, Nebraska on April 19. The Coyotes qualified for the tournament by winning the CAHA Division 2 state title.

May

Five Triton Teams Win League Titles

San Clemente High School’s boys volleyball, boys tennis, boys basketball, girls lacrosse and girls track and field teams all won their respective league championships in their augmented seasons. Boys tennis won its 10th consecutive South Coast League title and has won 80 consecutive league matches.

Hawkes Flies at County Track Championships

San Clemente’s Caroline Hawkes won the 200- and 400-meter sprints at the Orange County Championships to be named the sprinter of the meet. Hawkes ran the 200 in 25.38 seconds and the 400 in 57.36 seconds.

San Clemente boys wrestling won its second consecutive CIF-SS dual meet championship. Photo: Zach Cavanagh

June

SCHS Boys Wrestling Wins Second Straight CIF-SS Title

The top-seeded Tritons secured eight pins to roundly defeat No. 2 seed Royal of Simi Valley, 52-21, to win their second consecutive CIF-SS dual meet championship. San Clemente had to start its season wrestling outdoors due to pandemic restrictions.

Life Time Rancho San Clemente Hosts Pro Pickleball Event

The Orange County Cup of the Professional Pickleball Association went off in front of more than 3,000 spectators at the weekend event. Nearly 1,000 athletes competed for more than 300 medals in 136 events in varying skill levels and demographics.

July

McGreevy Selected in First Round of MLB Draft

UC Santa Barbara right-handed pitcher Michael McGreevy was selected 18th overall by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the MLB Draft. The 2018 SCHS graduate was the highest-selected former Triton since 2015.

San Clemente resident Annie Kunz finished sixth in the Olympic heptathlon. Photo Courtesy of Tyler Mahon

August

Kunz Competes in Olympic Heptathlon

San Clemente resident Annie Kunz finished sixth in the Olympic heptathlon in Tokyo. Kunz won the US. Olympic Trials heptathlon to qualify. The heptathlon consists of 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter sprint, long jump, javelin and 800-meter run.

Goldstone Retires After 22 Seasons

Ken Goldstone stepped down as San Clemente High School’s boys volleyball coach after 22 years in the position and 42 years in public education. Goldstone’s teams won 13 league titles and never finished lower than second place.

September

Pronier Steps Down After 33 Years

Mike Pronier stepped down as San Clemente High School’s boys soccer coach after 33 years and an incredible amount of success. Pronier’s teams won three CIF-SS titles, two CIF State Regional titles and a total of 446 games.

San Clemente boys cross country won the Orange County Championships and qualified for the CIF state meet for the first time in 32 years. Photo Courtesy of SCHS Athletics

October

SCHS Boys Cross Country Wins County Title

San Clemente boys cross country placed four runners in the top 12 and all five scoring runners in the top 20 to handily win the Orange County Cross Country Championship. It was only the beginning of a successful run for the Tritons

November

SCHS Boys Cross Country Ends 32-Year State Wait

After winning the South Coast League and finishing fifth in CIF-SS Division 1, the Triton boys cross country team qualified for the CIF State Championships for the first time in 32 years. San Clemente finished fourth in Division I at the state meet.

SCYF Tritons Win Two Pop Warner Regional Titles

The South Coast Youth Football Tritons won Wescon Division 2 Regional Championships in the Mighty Mite and Pee Wee Divisions. The Mighty Mite Tritons beat the Charter Oak Chargers, 28-0, and the Pee Wee Tritons won on a Charter Oak forfeit.

South Coast Youth Football Tritons won Pop Warner regional titles at the Mighty Mite and Pee Wee levels. Photo: Alan Gibby/Zone57

December

Weatherholt Selected in NWSL Expansion Draft

Dani Weatherholt was the first overall pick in the 2022 NWSL Expansion draft by Los Angeles’ new women’s professional soccer team, Angel City FC. Weatherholt, a 2012 SCHS graduate, was picked from Seattle’s OL Reign and previously played with the Orlando Pride.

Zach Cavanagh

Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is multiple California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports. Email at zcavanagh@picketfencemedia.com.

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