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Fryer: Century's Tam earns special honor

STAFF COLUMNIST

Sofia Tam was a bit late for softball practice at Century. When she got to the field, she found the school’s principal and vice-principal waiting for her.

“I thought, ‘Uh-oh,’” Tam said. “‘What did I do now?’”

What Tam did was win a great award.

Tam was the CIF-Southern Section’s girls winner of the CIF/Subway Spirit of Sport award announced this week.

Tam was one of 20 honorees, 10 girls and 10 boys, from the more than 760,000 student-athletes who play sports at the 1,554 schools that are members of the CIF’s statewide organization. CIF has 10 sections, of which the Southern Section is by far the largest.

Tam arrived late for softball practice at the Santa Ana school because she was with her counselor completing paperwork for her acceptance to Humboldt State.

When told of the award, “I was shocked,” she said.

Century athletic director Matt Cavanaugh was not.

“It was an obvious choice for us to nominate her,” Cavanaugh said. “She is such a great leader on campus.”

Tam has played varsity tennis at Century for four years. She also is the center fielder on the softball team. Tam is ASB president and carries a 3.7 GPA.

Among her many school projects is the organization of Halloween and Christmas carnivals for kids from the neighborhoods near the school’s campus.

“Sofia is called ‘Mama Bear’ around here,” Cavanaugh said. “That’s because she takes care of everyone.”

Tam has lifelong plans to do so. She plans to major in social work and minor in child development at Humboldt.

Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:

• The CIF State and Southern Section offices cannot and will not deliver water-saving edicts or suggestions to member schools. Like with almost everything else, such decisions are left to the schools and their districts.

• Mission Viejo is among the county high schools that use reclaimed water for its athletic fields. Still, Mission Viejo baseball coach Chris Ashbach said, “If someone out there wants to come over and put in a $1 million artificial-turf field … ”

• That is a challenging football project Mitch Olson is taking on at Loara. Olson, who coached at Kennedy for 21 seasons, is returning to the county from Georgia to become the Saxons head coach. Since going 10-2 in the 2010 season, Loara has a record of 13-29. In 2014, it was 1-9 overall.

• Mater Dei boys basketball coach Gary McKnight was among 31 feted at Cal State Fullerton’s Honor An Educator event Saturday. McKnight graduated from CSF in 1976.

• Newport Harbor senior Reese Stalder is among the favorites in the boys tennis singles at The Ojai Tournament this week. Stalder’s top competition is expected to come from Harvard-Westlake of Studio City’s Michael Genender and from Newbury Park’s Ryan Shen. Stalder, who signed with Texas Christian, advanced to the round of 16 at The Ojai last year.

• University’s doubles team of Arash Hafezi and Konrad Kozlowski are Ojai favorites.

• St. Margaret’s lacrosse player Nick Shanks scored 10 goals last week and scored the game’s first goal Wednesday in the Tartans’ 7-5 loss to Corona del Mar.

• The top three teams in the Southern California boys lacrosse rankings, compiled by maxlaxoc.com, are county teams: No. 1 Corona del Mar; No. 2 Foothill; and No. 3 St. Margaret’s. Also in the top 10 are Trabuco Hills (No. 6), JSerra (No. 8) and Santa Margarita (No. 10).

• Brea Olinda middle-distance ace Austin Tamagno has been ill this week so he might not compete Saturday in the Orange County Championships at Mission Viejo High. Tamagno leads the county in the 800 meters (1:53.85) and is the state leader in the 1,600 (4:04.59).

• The county record for the 800 is 1:48.20, set by Valencia’s Sean Krinik in 2010.

• Woodbridge’s Gabe Warner is the county leader in the 400 and not by much. His best is 48.24. Andrew Carty of Los Alamitos is right there at 48.25. The county 400 record is one of the older ones in the books – Chip Rish, Marina, 45.7 in 1985.

• When we start talking about Orange County male athlete of the year, Quinten Pounds of Cypress will be prominent in the discussion. Pounds was All-County first-team in football, averaged 11 points a game for the basketball team and is the county co-leader, with Trabuco Hills’ Sean Lee, in the high jump at 6-9. Pounds cleared 6-8 at the Orange County Championships last year to win the event.

• Santa Margarita senior Kaitlyn Merritt, state leader in the pole vault at 13 feet, 7 inches, won that event in the county championships as a freshman, sophomore and junior.

• Admission to the Orange County Championships on Saturday at Mission Viejo is $8 for adults, $5 for students without a valid ASB card, $3 for students with a valid ASB card and $2 for children 9 and younger. Gates open at 7 a.m.

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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