The top-10 male high school athletes from the 2011-12 season were voted on by the Glendale News-Press sports department. These are selections 2-10. See the Aug. 23 edition for the Male Athlete of the Year.
2 Pavle Atanackovic, Crescenta Valley High soccer, senior — The UC Irvine bound striker's right foot wasn't just dangerous, it was versatile.
Already a soccer prodigy well before arriving at CV as a sophomore, Atanackovic developed into an All-CIF placekicker for the Falcons football team and enjoyed excellent seasons in both sports during his senior year.
Of course, the crowning achievement of his prep career came on the soccer pitch in the winter, as he was the driving force behind the program's first-ever CIF Southern Section Division IV title.
With Atanackovic providing scoring punch to the tune of a an area and school-record 39 goals, the Falcons didn't suffer a loss until their final game of the season, going 23-1-6 and even reaching the finals of the CIF Southern California Regional Championships after claiming the divisional crown with a 3-0 win over El Rancho at Warren High on March 2.
"He could score just about any way," CV Coach Grant Clark said. "He's that rare kind of player who is big, strong and quick all at the same time. He could dish out and take a lot while playing physical and that also took him to the next level."
Following the season, Atanackovic was named to the All-Pacific League and All-CIF Division IV first teams, to go along with mirror honors he earned in football after converting eight field goals, including kicks of 52 and 49 yards, and making all 35 of his point-after attempts.
Atanackovic was also named All-Area Boys' Soccer Player of the Year.
3 Harrison Thai, Crescenta Valley swimming, junior — Having either teammate Young Teo Seo or Thai on its roster would have made Crescenta Valley an instant CIF contender. Having both made the Falcons a champion.
Already a multiple CIF and Pacific League titlist and record holder from his first two years of high school swimming, Thai solidified his status as one of the top athletes in the Southern Section by winning two CIF individual titles on May 12 in furthering the Falcons' Division II title win.
Thai took first in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100 backstroke, while also swimming on the winning 200-medley relay squad and the 400-freestyle relay team whose win clinched the team title over Damien.
"It's a pretty sweet win for me because I've been in it for the last two years and I've been out-touched every time," Thai said of his first CIF win in the backstroke. "It's nice to finally win this one, especially."
At the league finals, Thai won a title and tied the league record in the 100 backstroke, while also winning titles in the 200-individual medley and the 200-medley relay and 400-freestyle relay.
4 Hakop Kaplanyan, Hoover water polo, senior — In order to make a historic playoff run, the Tornadoes needed a player for the ages.
Kaplanyan certainly fit that bill, as the 2012 All-Area Boys' Water Polo Player of the Year proved to be the driving force in propelling Hoover to the semifinals of the CIF Division IV playoffs for the first time in program history.
Kaplanyan's unmatched scoring ability and rare combination of hulking physical presence mixed with grace and agility was never so magnificently on display as in the Tornadoes playoff run, which came on the heels of a second-place finish in the Pacific League.
Kaplanyan got Hoover's postseason off to a winning start by hitting a buzzer-beater to seal a 14-13 win over Walnut in the opener. Then in a quarterfinal match against Palm Desert, Kaplanyan scored a goal to force overtime, where he would bury the game-winning goal minutes later to send the Tornadoes forward in the postseason with a 16-15 victory.
On the season, Kaplanyan, who was voted to the All-CIF first team as well as being named the Pacific League Player of the Year for the second year in a row, finished with 139 goals, recorded 47 assists and notched 103 steals.
"There's no doubt I'm happy with how my team did this year and the accomplishments we had," Kaplanyan said. "We made Hoover history and that's all we needed. I'm happy for the effort my team put in and I know everybody played their hearts out every single game."
5 Michael Davis, Glendale football, track and field, junior — With his sure hands and fleet feet, Davis set himself apart in the fall and the spring.