By Zach Cavanagh
From the professional levels to the youth leagues, from the largest of international stages to the smallest of local fields, San Clemente’s embarrassment of riches was showcased again this year.
Here is a look back at some of the best San Clemente sports moments of 2018:
San Clemente Football Shines in All-Star Classic
San Clemente’s Jaime Ortiz was the head coach for the South County All-Stars in a 30-27 win over the North at the Orange County All-Star Classic on Jan. 27. San Clemente linebacker Aaron Frohner and defensive tackle Louis Harden contributed to the South’s victory.
Hailey Langland Snowboards in Winter Olympics
San Clemente native Hailey Langland, 17, competed for the United States women’s snowboarding team at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Langland finished sixth in women’s slopestyle and also competed in the Olympic debut of women’s big air.
Local Golf Pro Vinnie Poncino Competes at LA Open
San Clemente Municipal Golf Course head pro Vinnie Poncino qualified for and competed in the Genesis Open, also known as the Los Angeles Open, on Feb. 15-16 at Riviera Country Club. Poncino didn’t make the cut but outshot Tiger Woods in the second round, 75-76.
San Clemente Boys Soccer Advances to Regional Final
The San Clemente boys soccer team, coming off its sixth league title in eight seasons, advanced to the CIF-SS Division 1 semifinals and CIF Southern California Regional Division 1 final. The Tritons experienced late tough luck in each loss, on penalty kicks and in overtime.
Sam Darnold Selected No. 3 Overall in NFL Draft
Sam Darnold became the highest-drafted and fourth San Clemente High School alum selected in the NFL Draft when the New York Jets took the USC quarterback with the third overall pick on April 26. It was the third consecutive year a Triton was drafted.
Dante Pettis Selected in Second Round of NFL Draft
San Clemente native and JSerra alum Dante Pettis was selected No. 44 overall by the San Francisco 49ers on April 27. Pettis, a wide receiver from the University of Washington, was the first JSerra graduate to be selected in the NFL Draft.
Brad Parks, Brian de la Puente Inducted to Wall of Fame
Wheelchair tennis pioneer Brad Parks and former NFL lineman Brian de la Puente were chosen as the 21st and 22nd inductees to the San Clemente Sports Wall of Fame on May 19. Parks helped create the wheelchair sport in 1976, and de la Puente enjoyed a nine-year NFL career.
Tritons Complete First Aquatics Sweep in School History
The Tritons boys and girls swim teams each won Sea View League titles, and paired with league titles in boys and girls water polo in the fall and winter seasons, San Clemente completed its first-ever aquatics league sweep.
Tristan Weber Named State Player of the Year
San Clemente senior Tristan Weber was selected as the Gatorade California Boys Soccer Player of the Year on June 6. Weber scored 15 goals with 22 assists and was named South Coast League MVP.
Will Tribucher, Tanner Brubaker selected in MLB Draft
Two SCHS alums were selected in the 2018 MLB Draft on June 6. Will Tribucher, a 2015 graduate, was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 14th round. Tanner Brubaker, a 2016 graduate, was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 28th round.
Kolby Allard Wins MLB Debut
Kolby Allard, a 2015 SCHS graduate, picked up his first major league win and first big-league hit in his MLB debut for the Atlanta Braves on July 31. Allard battled a 90-minute rain delay to earn the win.
Cody Schrier Earns MVP at 15U Baseball World Cup
San Clemente native and JSerra sophomore Cody Schrier was named tournament MVP and earned awards for most runs scored and highest batting average for Team USA at the 15U WBSC World Cup on Aug. 20.
Sam Darnold Wins NFL Debut
Sam Darnold was named the youngest opening-game quarterback in NFL post-merger history and, after throwing a pick-six on his first play, battled back to beat the Detroit Lions, 48-17, on Monday Night Football.
SCHS Football Beats Mission Viejo
With their backup quarterback and a two-point conversion stop, San Clemente beat Mission Viejo, 21-20, for the Tritons’ first win over the Diablos since 1999. San Clemente also clinched its first South Coast League title since 1999.
Mary Mulligan-Crapo Inducted to CIF-SS Hall of Fame
Former San Clemente girls basketball coach Mary Mulligan-Crapo, the winningest female girls basketball coach in Orange County history, was put into the CIF-SS Hall of Fame on Oct. 17.
Cameron Steele Wins Baja 1000
After 47 years of family racing in Baja California, Cameron Steele won his and his family’s first Baja 1000. Steele captured the prestigious desert off-road race in 16 hours, 24 minutes and 2 seconds.
Flag Football Teams Win City’s First Regional Titles
The Division B (ages 10-11) San Clemente Cyclones and Division C (ages 8-9) San Clemente Wolfpack each won San Clemente’s first Southern California Regional flag football titles on Dec. 9.