It began with Peyton Hatten rushing for a school-record five touchdowns for Rancho San Juan in August, ending with Logan Saldate finishing second in the state in the long jump for Palma in June.
During this 10-month long high school sports season there were numerous milestones, historic runs and countless memories that will be brought up years later at reunions.
Football season set the tone as Hatten went on a record-setting pace, finishing with over 1,800 rushing yards in just 10 games, scoring 35 touchdowns for the Trailblazers.
Less than 18 months removed from being unable to muster a first down in a spring-shortened three-game pandemic season in 2021, Rancho San Juan went 8-2 in 2022.
Behind quarterback Adam Shaffer and his 43 rushing and passing touchdowns, Salinas won one for the thumb, capturing its fifth straight Pacific Coast Athletic League Gabilan Division title.
Shaffer, a two-time Herald Offensive Player of the Year, threw for over 2,800 yards and 28 touchdowns in just 10 games, while rushing for 698 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Cowboys.
No one was more feared in the open field than teammate and Cal-bound Nyziah Hunter, who caught 54 passes for over 1,000 yards and 16 touchdowns.
After opening the season with a loss, Soledad put together a school-record nine-game winning streak in capturing the Cypress Division title.
The Aztecs engaged in arguably the game of the year with St. Francis in the final week of the regular season, rallying for 14 points in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
After trading touchdowns in the first overtime, Francisco Ballesteros scored and the Aztecs defense made a stop in a 34-28 title-clinching win.
New Monterey coach Alex Besaw promised discipline. He also brought up four sophomores to ignite his offense in quarterback Preston White, receiver Kavon Collins, and running backs Soakai Funaki and Enobong Wirth.
The foursome combined for over 3,000 multi-purpose yards. A new culture saw the program reach the Central Coast Section Division V finals before falling to Palo Alto.
After knocking on the door the past two falls, Stevenson ended a 22-year league title drought with an undefeated season in the Santa Lucia Division.
Salinas ran off with another Gabilan Division girls’ volleyball title behind The Herald’s Player of the Year Libby Pozas. The senior setter compiled 888 assists for a program that stretched its league winning streak to 30.
Gonzales jumped a division this past fall and went out and won the Cypress Division volleyball title.
Stevenson took us on a magical ride in girls’ water polo by capturing the program’s and county’s first Central Coast Section Division II title.
Behind snipers Sofia Bozzo and Emmerson Ferriera’s 200 plus goals between them, the Pirates set a school record for wins, reaching the Northern California Division III finals.
Stevenson also won the boys Gabilan Division water polo title, as 6-foot-8, 270-pound Wiley Dale is headed to UC Irvine on a scholarship.
Champions of the Mission Division in girls’ cross-country in 2021, Carmel captured the Gabilan Division title this past fall, with Ava Ghio evolving as one of the top runners in the section.
For the second straight year, sophomore Nikki Iniakov was a rock star on the golf links, earning medalist honors for Gabilan Division team champion Stevenson.
Iniakov helped the Pirates to a third-place finish at the section finals and a spot in the Northern California tournament, reaching the state meet as an individual.
Monterey peaked for the postseason, capturing its third Central Coast Section Division III boys basketball title in the past six years under Greg Daniels.
Matthew Gallagher lit up opponents for the Toreadores, averaging over 19 points and five assists in earning The Herald’s Player of the Year award.
Salinas won its first Gabilan Division boys’ basketball title in 12 years in what turned out to be head coach Jerod Stewart’s final season.
There was no changing of the guard in girls’ basketball as North Salinas has won or shared nine of the last 10 Gabilan Division titles under Darren Jackson, who is chasing 500 wins.
Four-year starting guard Daeja Hollands won her third Herald Player of the Year honor for the Vikings, averaging over 23 points and five steals a game.
The tandem of Ava Marshall and Melanie Martinez helped Pacific Grove to its first girls’ basketball title in nine years.
Promoted to the Cypress Division after winning the Santa Lucia Division, Greenfield duplicated the feat with its second straight girls’ basketball title.
Jayna Schalesky was a double-double machine as Rancho San Juan went undefeated in the Santa Lucia Division, while York won the Arroyo Division, with San Jose State-bound swimmer Quincy Key averaging 28 points a night.
North Salinas took us on a ride in boys’ soccer, capturing its first CCS Division IV title in 37 years with a win over Seaside, reaching the Northern California DIV finals.
Sophia Martel put together another monster year for CCS Division IV finalist Soledad, overcoming double teams to score 37 goals, giving her over 100 in her first three years.
Delilah Vega-Aguuilar and Kate Nunes combined for 28 goals to lead Salinas to an undefeated Gabilan Division season in girls’ soccer.
Salinas went 15-0-3 overall on the season, playing Los Gatos to a draw in the playoffs, before falling on penalty kicks.
Three girls’ wrestlers in the county podiumed at state, with Notre Dame’s Clarissa Cabrera (121 pounds) and Alisal’s Alondra Jurez (126) finishing seventh overall.
Star Vasquez-Gutierrez became the first Greenfield athlete to medal at state when she finished eighth.
One of the best dual meet matches of the year came between Alisal and Palma, with both teams sharing the Gabilan Division title.
Palma’s JC Escutia and Alisal’s Diego Chaidez went from college football hopefuls to earning scholarships in wrestling at Menlo College.
Lleyton Alonzo capped an undefeated singles career for Monterey in the Gabilan Division in tennis by going 17-0 before falling in the CCS semifinals.
Alonzo went 35-0 over three years (pandemic wiped out freshman year) and never lost a set in the Gabilan Division.
Coming out for swimming as a senior, Cameron Rodgers went out and set a school record in the 500-yard free for Carmel in reaching the state meet in swimming — and will swim for George Washington University next season.
Monterey won its second straight Gabilan Division girls swimming title with seven swimmers scoring multiple points.
Sebastian Daste earned Most Valuable Player honors in volleyball, helping Carmel win its sixth straight Gabilan Division title, reaching the CCS finals and NorCal Tournament.
Three decades of dominance in boys lacrosse continued for Stevenson, who went undefeated in winning the Gabilan Division title.
Carmel won its eighth CCS baseball title under Mike Kelly behind a pitching staff anchored by JJ Sanchez, reaching the Northern California Division III semifinals.
Stevenson’s historical season in baseball included 13 straight wins and its first CCS Division VI title, then upsetting CCS DIV champion Santa Teresa in the NorCal semifinals.
Villanova-bound Trent Toole pitched and hit the Pirates into uncharted waters. Amani Wison packed a punch at the plate.
Saldate became the highest state track and field meet finisher for Palma when he took second in the long jump with a mark of 23 feet 5 ½ inches.
The junior, who committed to Oregon State on a football scholarship two weeks ago, set the Palma school record earlier in the season in the long jump with a mark of 24-feet ½.
Juliette Kosmont reached the state meet in the 100 meters for the second straight year for Santa Catalina, clocking a season-best 11.91. The Yale-bound sprinter won Gabilan Division titles in the 100 and 200.
Jack Nolan used a 10-inch personal best in the pole vault for Salinas to qualify for the state meet at 14-6. The junior lost a jump off in the state trials for a spot in the finals.
Having reached the state meet in cross-country in the fall, Israel Limosnero of King City ran a two-second personal best in the 800 meters to qualify for state in track with a mark of 1:55.17.
Stevenson added another Gabilan Division golf banner and used a 6-under from Luke Brandler to win the CCS title. Yet, it was Curtis Da Silva reaching the state golf championships after winning a playoff hole in the Northern California finals.
De Silva was joined at the state golf championships by Cole Kroeker and Jonathan Chen of Carmel, with Chen finishing 15th overall.
What a playoff run for the Gabilan Division in softball, as Alvarez, Notre Dame, Monterey, North Salinas and Hollister all won section titles, with Salinas finishing as a runner-up.
Ella Myers’ two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh, coupled with her 13 strikeouts gave the Toreadores a 4-2 win over Salinas and their second straight CCS Division II title.
Four shutouts from sophomore Sophia Cardinale and the hitting heroics of Julie Ann Lopez took Notre Dame into the State Northern California Division II finals.
Five players for the Spirits will play college softball next spring, including University of Notre Dame-bound Addison Amaral and Central Florida’s Samantha Rey.
North Salinas put its softball team in the Northern California Division V finals behind the arm of freshman Iliana Perez.
Gaby Perez, Clarissa Corona and Kalea DeLeon pounded the ball in the postseason for the Vikings, averaged over 10 runs a game in the playoffs.
Catch your breath, exhale and recharge the batteries for the start of fall practice.