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San Diego Union-Tribune

Notebook: Poway ace Mya McGowan named state's top sophomore; 10 San Diego teams named academic champs

By John Maffei,

Poway's Mya McGowan pitches against Torrance during the CIF-Southern California regionals. (Meg McLaughlin/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Winners on the field, the Poway High School softball team is now reaping the rewards of a Southern California Division 1 Championship.

Mya McGowan was named the Sophomore of the Year by Cal-Hi Sports, while Jim Bennet was named the State Coach of the Year.

Poway beat archrival Rancho Bernardo to win the San Diego Section Open Division title, then beat Torrance 10-2 and Westlake Village Oaks Christian 1-0 to capture the Southern California Division 1 title.

The Titans finished the season 29-3.

The CIF-San Diego Section Pitcher of the Year, McGowan finished the season 19-1 with a 1.01 ERA.

Using a fastball that hits 67-68 mph (equivalent to 94-96 mph in baseball) with spin, McGowan struck out 125 batters in 131 1/3 innings. She had seven shutouts, including Oaks Christian, which set a state record with 68 home runs.

In addition, McGowan hit .310 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs.

A starter on the Poway girls basketball team that was 24-5, the 5-foot-10 McGowan missed the first 3 ½ weeks of the softball season after averaging 9.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game on the hardwood.

“Mya had an incredible season,” Bennet said. “She’s very talented and competitive, but also very humble.”

McGowan is the third player from San Diego since 2000 to be named Sophomore of the Year. The others are Donna Kerr of Patrick Henry in 2005 and Lisa Dodd of Mira Mesa in 2001.

Bennet is the eighth San Diego Section coach since 1974 to be named State Coach of the Year.

Previous San Diego Section winners include Mike Centrullo (2022, Mater Dei Catholic), Margaret Mauro (2014, Cathedral Catholic), Brad Griffin (2002, Mira Mesa), Nancy Acerrio (1996, Hilltop), Jeff Carlovsky (1996, Escondido), Carol Hamilton (1983, Madison) and Janet Balsley (1976, Hilltop).

This was Bennet’s second San Diego Section title since taking over the Poway program in 2003 and his first Southern California championship.

Bennet’s overall record at Poway is 405-212-8, placing him sixth all-time in the San Diego Section behind Mauro (University/Cathedral Catholic, 777-334-13), Accerio (Hilltop, 568-254-0), Jon Moore (Torrey Pines, 511-277-14), Jerry Lerud (Grossmont, 418-317-10) and Cary Weiler (Escondido, 408-298-9). Moore, Lerud and Weiler are still active.

Academic honors

The CIF State Office announced 34 State Academic Team Champions for the 2022-23 school year. The San Diego Section took home 10 of those awards — six in girls sports, three in boys and one co-ed.

The 10 team honorees tied the North Coast Section for most in the state.

All Academic Champions will receive a banner suitable for display in the gym.

The Our Lady of Peace girls basketball team posted a 4.0 grade-point average to lead the state.

The Mater Dei Catholic girls tennis team led the state with a 4.0 GPA.

The Canyon Crest Academy gymnastics team led the state with a 3.98 GPA.

In girls swim and dive, Del Norte led the state with a 3.98 GPA.

The Rancho Bernardo field hockey team posted a 3.89 GPA, best in the state.

The Borrego Springs girls cross country led the state with a 4.00 GPA.

Santa Fe Christian’s football team finished with a 3.72 GPA to lead the state.

The Poway boys basketball team had a 3.93 GPA, best in the state.

The Mater Dei Catholic boys cross country team posted a 4.00 GPA to lead the state.

Kearny’s co-ed badminton team led the state with a 3.96 GPA.

The Academic Team Champions program was initiated in 1996 and is based on an unweighted 4.0 scale.

Final rankings

• Poway (29-3), the Southern California Division 1 softball champions, finished No. 7 in the state in the final rankings. Hollister (30-3), the Northern California Division 1 champion, was No. 1. Norco (28-4) was No. 2, followed by Mountain View St. Francis (28-4), Los Alamitos (24-4), Orange Lutheran (22-6) and Murrieta Mesa (24-4-1). Rancho Bernardo (26-6) finished No. 16 and El Capitan (26-6) was No. 50.

• La Costa Canyon (26-7), which lost 3-2 to Santa Margarita in the Southern California Division 1 title game, was ranked No. 5 in the state in the final MaxPreps baseball rankings. Santa Margarita (29-7) was No. 1, followed by San Juan Capistrano JSerra (24-9), Notre Dame Sherman Oaks (28-4), which lost to LCC in the playoffs, at No. 3 and Dublin Valley Christian (31-4). Eastlake (29-8) finished No. 13, Rancho Bernardo (22-10) was No. 15, Torrey Pines (19-9) was No. 26, Carlsbad (21-12) was No. 30 and Cathedral Catholic (22-9) was No. 39.

• Cathedral Catholic (10-0) was ranked No. 4 in the state and No. 13 in the nation on the final MaxPreps beach volleyball rankings. Manhattan Beach Mira Costa (15-0) was No. 1 in the nation. Redondo Union (12-3) was No. 2 in the state and JSerra (13-3) No. 4. La Jolla (13-2) finished No. 22 in the nation and No. 7 in the state.

• In boys volleyball, Torrey Pines (35-8) finished No. 17 in the nation and No. 11 in the state in the final MaxPreps rankings. Newport Harbor (36-3) was No. 1 in the nation, followed by Los Angeles Loyola (29-2) and Clovis East (41-3). Cathedral Catholic (23-4) was No. 21 in the nation and No. 14 in the state. Scripps Ranch (34-7) was No. 19 in the state.

• Cathedral Catholic (10-3) was No. 3 in the state in the final MaxPreps boys lacrosse state rankings. San Francisco St. Ignatius (19-3) was No. 1 and Santa Ana Mater Dei (18-3) was No. 3. Torrey Pines (15-4) finished No. 9 and La Costa Canyon (6-3) was No. 11.

• Torrey Pines (16-6) was the highest-ranked girls lacrosse team, finishing No. 7 in the state in the final MaxPreps rankings. Cathedral Catholic (19-5) was No. 8, La Costa Canyon (11-7) was No. 19 and San Marcos (12-8) finished No. 25. Florida Delray Beach American Heritage (22-1) was No. 1 in the nation while St. Ignatius (18-3) was No. 1 in California.

This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune .

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