COURIER high school athletes of the season, fall 2022
by Andrew Alonzo | firstname.lastname@example.org
The COURIER has selected four local high school competitors as its outstanding athletes of the season for fall 2022. Students from both Webb and Claremont High School were named to the inaugural cohort.
Honors go to CHS senior football captain Caden Campuzano, CHS junior girls’ cross-country captain Denise Jie Yi Chen, Webb sophomore water polo player Scott Wishek, and Webb freshman cross-country runner Nicole Samson.
CHS boys: Caden Campuzano
Football, especially at CHS, is a team game. And with many seniors on the squad this year, including running back and safety Caden Campuzano, the team was focused on having one last hoorah together.
“We had a lot of seniors who were really committed, and we all wanted to win,” he said. “And we did, so it was nice.”
The Wolfpack gave each other and fans a 2022 season to remember. They secured the San Antonio League title after going 3-0 in league, 8-3 overall. Although their CIF hopes came to an end in the second round of the Division VII tournament against Mayfair, Campuzano noted it was the first time the team had faced Division VII opposition.
Throughout the season, Campuzano was the team’s usual first string running back and safety. His defensive game was solid and ended the season with one interception. Offensively however, he shone like no other.
Campuzano averaged about 12 rushes and 105 yards per game. He finished the season with 18 touchdowns, scoring 108 of Claremont’s 290 points on the year, about 37% of CHS’s total, and about 1,100 cumulative yards.
Campuzano, a 17-year-old Claremont native, plans on attending Citrus College in the fall.
CHS girls: Denise Jie Yi Chen
The CHS girls cross country team was led this year by junior captain Denise Jie Yi Chen. Denise, 16, finished her third and perhaps most dominant year with the team in 2022.
The girls team earned its ninth consecutive Palomares League title in 2022 and qualified for various California Interscholastic Federation competitions, including the Division II Southern Section prelims, finals, and state championships.
Denise had a season for the books. She placed eighth at the CIF-Southern Section finals last month; set a new girls course record of 17:00.2 at Palomares League finals at Ayala High School; was named league MVP for the third year in a row; and never finished a race outside of the top 25.
She won four of the 10 races she ran this year and was within the top five in seven.
Denise will be returning to CHS next year, likely as captain once again, where she hopes to build on this season’s success.
“Next year we’ll be even better,” she said. “I think our team is a very young and exciting team and I think we can really grow next year. We’re really excited to see what we can do.”
Webb boys: Scott Wishek
Ahead of Webb’s 2022 water polo season, 15-year-old sophomore Scott Wishek knew there was going to be a learning curve.
“A lot of our kids were new so it was kind of like a building season,” he said. Little did he know, it would be one to remember.
The boys brought home the Mountain View League title for the first time since 2016, going 10-1 in league play, 16-6 overall, and punching their ticket to the Division V CIF-Southern Section tournament, where they were eliminated in the first round by eventual champions Muir.
A solid center set and end-to-end player, Scott finished the season with 41 steals, 40 goals (out of 86 shots) and 19 assists. He contributed to 59 of Webbs 201 total goals, about 29.4%, and only freshman attacker Albert Taylor, who netted 44 times, outscored Scott.
Scott said he was sometimes chided by head coach Sawyer Belville for being too much of a team player. She encouraged him to take more shots in games, but he kept to his team first instincts and no one was able to out assist him.
Scott said the reason for his and the team’s success was head coach Belville, who was “kind of new too, but helped put us all together.”
Next season, Scott said he hopes to make amends and win the CIF-SS tournament.
Webb girls: Nicole Samson
Although 2022 was not the best year for the Webb girls cross country team, it did have a bright spot in the form of rising star Nicole Samson. In her first year in high school athletics, the 14-year-old freshman made herself known, reaching the Division V 2022 CIF State Cross Country Championships, and earning the San Joaquin League MVP title after placing first in the league finals with a time of 19:26.2.
Her race record is also worth noting since out of the eight races Nicole participated in, she took first place in four of them, in the top 10 in six, and finished outside the top 25 just twice.
At the Division V CIF-Southern Section Prelims she placed first in with a time of 19:53.1. She also held her own at the Division V CIF-SS Finals and at the state competition.
Even with all her success, cross-country is not Nicole’s go-to sport. Her heart belongs with track and field, where she normally competes in medium distance events such as the mile and 800-meter races.
In the offseason, the Rancho Cucamonga native will gear up for spring track. Next year she hopes to build on her cross-country success.