By Jason KUROSU
Crescenta Valley High School’s Athletic Hall of Fame, dedicated to exceptional athlete alumni, welcomed a few more inductees into the fold Saturday night. Eight individuals were honored, along with the entire 1998 Division I CIF championship baseball team.
The Chevy Chase Country Club hosted the event, a dinner followed by the induction ceremony, in which the newest members of the Hall of Fame received their medals and the praise that went with them. Saturday marked the sixth such induction ceremony for CV’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
This year’s inductees took part in a wide variety of sports and received numerous honors during their athletic careers in addition to Hall of Fame recognition. The inductees had a chance to thank their family, friends and coaches, as well as speak on how it felt to be recognized as one of CV’s elite athletes.
Lisa Erickson took part in four sports while in school, but her specialty was softball, both at Crescenta Valley High and Cal State Northridge where she was on four CCAA conference championship teams and set numerous school records. Erickson was also on the U.S. National team that won gold in Beijing in 1992.
Hudson Gossard was the quarterback for two CV Pacific League championship teams in 2000 and 2001, as well as league MVP. His coach, Alan Eberhart, spoke about the tremendous success Gossard achieved, despite some occasionally unorthodox techniques when passing the ball.
“He always had a knack for doing something special at the right moment,” said Eberhart.
Gossard now teaches at Crescenta Valley High.
Jeff Holyfield was the CIF champion on CV’s 1981 CIF championship cross-country team.
Though Holyfield called cross-country “brutal, self-inflicted savagery,” he was also “over the moon” and “well beyond words” at his induction into the Hall of Fame.
Brock Jacobsen was a two-time all CIF player on CV’s basketball team. Current CV teacher and then assistant coach Jim Smiley spoke proudly of Jacobsen’s abilities.
“When reflecting on Brock Jacobsen’s career, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s a deserving Hall of Famer. That’s what my memory tells me, but sometimes our mind tells us that the past was more glorious than it really was.”
So Smiley decided to recite some of Jacobsen’s fantastic statistics to assure that he had not fallen prey to mistaken nostalgia, including Jacobsen’s 27.2 points per game and 54% field goal percentage, an exceptionally high mark for a guard.
“As much as he could boast if he wanted,” said Smiley, “he remains one of the most generous and humble people I’ve known.”
Two members involved in aquatic sports were also inducted: CIF swim champion John Jenkins and Coach Pete Loporchio. Jenkins, whose siblings James and Ellen were previously inducted in the Hall of Fame, took ample time to praise his fellow inductees and recommend future induction for his brother Jason.
Loporchio coached eight league championship water polo teams, eight league championship swim teams and four CIF championship swim teams. Loporchio fashioned his coaching philosophy after legendary basketball coach John Wooden and Loporchio recited some of the lessons he’d engineered after the creator of the “Pyramid of Success,” including, “There’s no coach or athlete bigger than the program itself,” “Success is about the little things,” and “Focus on the process and not the outcome.”
Trevor Bell was among the inductees who did not attend, but his coach, Phil Torres, sung Bell’s praises.
“Over the past 18 years, we’ve been very fortunate to have some very good players, some special players. But then, every once in a while, there’s a once in a lifetime kid,” said Torres, who described his first encounter with Bell, a sixth-grader who was outslugging high schoolers at baseball camp.
Torres went on to laud Bell’s poise, signs of a young player’s confidence that eventually led to a career in the major leagues.
“The bigger the stage, the bigger the game, the better he played,” said Torres. “Trevor was never afraid and never overmatched.”
Bell was an all CIF and was the MVP of the Pacific League. He pitched for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for three years and last played with the Cincinnati Reds.
Torres also made the introductions for the ’98 championship baseball team, reminiscing on player shenanigans and the big rivalry with Arcadia High. About half the team was in attendance to accept their medals to raucous applause.
Wendy Cohen also did not attend, but her coaches accepted the award for her. Cohen was a two-time CIF champion in gymnastics in the all-around event and was in Portland, Oregon at the time of the event, performing with the Echo Theater Company.