Former standout players and coaches, all of whom helped play major roles in shaping and solidifying the school’s steep athletic tradition, reunite and share their most cherished moments from wearing the Falcon uniform. It’s then capped off by them being given a medal, the final signal over their excellence on the athletic stage.
Eight more individuals were ushered into the school’s hall of fame Saturday night at Chevy Chase Country Club, bringing the total to 55 since the first ceremony in 2008.
Those induced Saturday evening were Trevor Bell, Wendy Cohen, Lisa Erickson-Tibbets, Hudson Gossard, Jeff Holyfield, Brock Jacobsen, John Jenkins and Pete Loporchio. In addition, the 1998 baseball team, which captured a CIF Southern Section Division I title at Dodger Stadium, was recognized.
Jenkins, a standout swimmer, knows a thing or two about the hall of fame. His younger brother, James, was inducted in the hall’s first class after being an elite swimmer and basketball player. His sister, Mary Ellen, stood out in swimming and was enshrined into the hall of fame last year.
On Saturday, it was John Jenkins’ turn to be honored.
“[The Crescenta Valley High community] is my family,” said Jenkins, who helped the boys’ swimming team capture a CIF Southern Section Division II championship in 1993 and won the 50-yard freestyle event in 20.53 seconds. “When I come back, I feel safe and loved.”
Many shared Jenkins’ viewpoint when they took their turn at the podium in front of a packed house.
The event began with former baseball great Bell, a former All-Area Player of the Year and a 2005 first-round draft pick (37th overall) of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, being honored. It ended with the 1998 baseball squad earning its recognition.
Bell, who excelled in center field and on the mound for the Falcons and was selected the Freshman of the Year by Cal-Hi Sports in 2002, helped the Falcons to four Pacific League championships. Bell, who is now with the Cincinnati Reds, couldn’t attend the function. However, Crescenta Valley baseball Coach Phil Torres and Bell’s father, Craig, spoke on behalf of Trevor.
“He always carried himself well,” Torres said. “He’s a great teammate, loyal and trustworthy.
“He was never afraid or overmatched. He owned every situation.”
Cohen, who couldn’t attend the ceremony, excelled for four years in gymnastics with the Falcons. She won multiple CIF Southern Section titles in the all-around event, which includes performances in all four events — the balance beam, uneven bars, vault and floor exercise.
“It was an exciting time for her at CV,” said Day Martin, Cohen’s coach. “She was among the best in the state to ever perform.
“She had the power and passion to succeed. She could intimidate her adversaries and inspire her teammates.”
Erickson-Tibbets was a prolific softball player, helping the Falcons win a CIF championship in 1986 before becoming an integral part of a NCAA Division II championship at Cal State Northridge in 1987.
Crescenta Valley’s 1986 softball team was inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame in 2012. Coach Dan Berry, who passed away in 2011, piloted the Falcons to the Division III-A championship against top-seeded Woodbridge.
“We just played and we loved playing,” said Erickson-Tibbets, a third baseman. “We were like pioneers in softball.
“Softball gave me an opportunity to find out who I was. Coach Berry was a coach and a mentor. He gave me an opportunity. I loved being a Falcon. I’d go back and do it again.”
Gossard enjoyed a stellar career at quarterback for several seasons. Gossard helped the Falcons win Pacific League championships in 2000 and 2001 and currently serves an assistant coach on the football team.
Gossard’s best season came in 2001, when he passed for 3,542 yards and tossed 32 touchdowns en route to securing All-Area Player of the Year and All-CIF accolades. His father, Dennis, coached football at Crescenta Valley and his uncle, Tom, was the school’s girls’ tennis coach for more than a decade.
During his senior campaign, Gossard completed 68.4% of his pass attempts and guided the Falcons to the most wins (21) over a two-year stretch.
“I was literally born and raised with CV athletics,” Gossard said. “That’s especially meaningful to me.
“My father taught me a lot, starting with attitude is everything. I’m now in my seventh year as a coach at CV and I’ve seen some of the most exciting football in school history.”
Holyfield helped put the school’s boys’ cross-country team on the map. Led by Holyfield, Crescenta Valley captured a CIF Southern Section Division IV-A championship in 1981.
Holyfield also was selected as an All-American and won a CIF individual title in 1981.
“I’m honored and humbled to be in the hall of fame,” Holyfield said. “The Falcon tradition carried me throughout.
“It’s an honor of a lifetime.”
Jacobsen was another in a long list of elite players to be a part of the boys’ basketball team.
Jacobsen, a two-time All-CIF honoree, averaged an area-leading 27 points per game during the 1994-95 season and was named All-Area Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year that season. His brother, Adam, starred at Crescenta Valley as a player and coached the program for several seasons.
“It was amazing to share the floor with Adam,” Jacobsen said. “He’s my hero and I learned what it meant to be a leader.
“Playing for coach [John] Goffredo, I learned that he loved his players and cared for them. I appreciate my time here and it’s something being a part of the family.”
After coming to Crescenta Valley from rival Glendale in 1992, Loporchio promptly led the school’s boys swimming team to four CIF Southern Section Division II championships between 1993-2000. In addition, he coached the school’s boys’ water polo team and helped begin the school’s girls’ water polo team in 1996 with Peter Kim.
Loporchio is now the women’s water polo and swimming coach at L.A. Valley College.
“I just tried to go out there and instill life lessons,” Loporchio said. “I was like a hub in the wheel and the athletes were the spokes.”
The 1998 baseball team posted a 7-1 victory against Esperanza to win the CIF title for the first time in program history. The Falcons went 25-3-1 under Torres and won the Pacific League crown.
Ten players from the title-winning team were on hand to receive recognition.
“We knew we had a good team and they were a close team,” Torres said. “They would get on each other, but nobody from the outside could.
“It was a great team. They joked around and hustled.”
The 1998 team paid tribute to third baseman John Barbaro, who died in a train accident in 2001.
After Torres presented the medals to the players in attendance, Torres’ son, Joe, the current third baseman on the baseball team, accepted Barbaro’s medal. Torres will present the medal to the Barbaro family this week.
Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich.