Smith named State athlete of the year

Future Trojan wide receiver Steve Smith from Taft HS was named today as the California State athlete of the year by CalHiSports.com. Smith was joined by girls winner Allyson Felix who is also headed to USC. Steve was chosen for his accomplishments in football, basketball and track while graduating as the all-time state leader in career receptions.

It's a San Fernando Valley sweep of the annual CalHiSports.com State Athlete of the Year honors as seniors Steve Smith from Taft High of Woodland Hills and Allyson Felix from L.A. Baptist of North Hills have earned the nod for the 2002-03 school year.

Smith is a 6-1, 185-pounder with 4.4 speed who just graduated from Taft after spectacular success in football, basketball and track. He's preparing this summer for his freshman season of college football at USC.

In football, Smith capped his career with 271 receptions to become the all-time state leader in that category. He caught 86 of those passes for 1,362 yards and 11 touchdowns last fall. Smith also added five more interceptions as a defender to the whopping total of 12 he had as a junior. Smith was so highly thought of as a college prospect that he was the only player who received 10 votes on the prestigious Long Beach Press-Telegram Best of the West team. That means that all 10 offensive coodinators in the Pac Ten Conference voted for him. The primary disappointment for Smith is that his Taft team was a beaten favorite in the CIF L.A. City Section championship each of the last two seasons.

In basketball, Smith's scoring average as a senior dropped from what he did as a sophomore and junior due to the emergence of junior phenom Jordan Farmer. He still averaged nearly 20 points per game and was named to the All-L.A. City team, an honor he also attained as a freshman, sophomore and junior. Smith averaged 26.8 ppg as a soph and then had 25.1 ppg as a junior.

In track, Smith was quick enough to post a career-best mark of 10.8 seconds in the 100-meter dash. He ran the leadoff leg for Taft's 4x100 relay squad, which didn't come through at the end of the 2003 season but did get a season-best time of 41.44 seconds, one of the top marks in the state.

With all of that, Smith has to go down as one of the best three-sport athletes ever from the L.A. City Section. The only other three-sport athletes from an L.A. City Section school who've been State Athletes of the Year are Willie Davis of Fremont for 1957-58 and Stan Mitchell of Los Angeles High for 1907-08.

Felix, meanwhile, has to go down as one of the best girls track athletes ever from California and since the Golden State is home to so many of the best the world has ever seen, that's saying something.

At the CIF state meet in June, Felix won the 100-meter crown for the third straight year and took home gold in the 200 for a second straight time. It's what she did earlier in the season, though, that got the track world buzzing. First, at the Mt. SAC Relays, Felix blazed to a 22.51 time that broke the national prep record of 22.58 set 11 years ago by Marion Jones. Then, two weeks later, Felix destroyed that with a 22.11 mark at the Banamex Grand Prix in Mexico City. That time was No. 1 in the world well into June and gave Felix a world junior record.

While juggling graduation activities at L.A. Baptist, Felix recently competed at the U.S. Outdoor Championships at Stanford. She didn't win in the 200, but did finish third and thus will represent the U.S. in August at the world championships in Paris.

In addition to the 200, Felix also had the state's top times this season in the 100 meters (11.29) and in the 400 (52.26). When Jones was at Thousand Oaks, her top times were 11.14 in the 100, 22.58 in the 200 and 52.91 in the 400. One event Jones did, though, that Felix didn't was long jumping. Jones also played at an all-state level in basketball. Felix dropped basketball after making the varsity at L.A. Baptist as a freshman.

In the fall, after returning from the world championships, Felix is scheduled to attend USC. Her brother, Wes, already is a Trojan and already is a major performer for the men's team.

A list of recent boys and girls state athletes of the year by CalHiSports.com follows.

BOYS STATE ATHLETES

OF THE YEAR

(List of recent honorees; compiled by CalHiSports.com)

2002-03 -- Steve Smith (Taft, Woodland Hills) Football, Basketball, Track
2001-02 -- Aaron Peirsol (Newport Harbor, Newport Beach) Swimming
2000-01 -- Antwon Guidry (Leigh, San Jose) Football, Basketball, Track
1999-00 -- D.J. Williams (De La Salle, Concord) Football, Track
1998-99 -- Chris Lewis (Poly, Long Beach) Football, Volleyball
1997-98 -- C.C. Sabathia (Vallejo) Football, Basketball, Baseball
1996-97 -- Ken-Yon Rambo (Poly, Long Beach) Football, Track
1995-96 -- Chris Claiborne (J.W. North, Riverside) Football, Basketball
1994-95 -- Eric Guerrero (Independence, San Jose) Wrestling
1993-94 -- McKay Christensen (Clovis West, Fresno) Football, Baseball
1992-93 -- Calvin Harrison (North Salinas, Salinas) Basketball, Track
1991-92 -- Jason Kidd (St. Joseph, Alameda) Basketball, Baseball
1990-91 -- Rob Johnson (El Toro) Football, Basketball, Baseball
1989-90 -- Ryan Hancock (Monta Vista, Cupertino) Football, Baseball
1988-89 -- Lorenzo Neal (Lemoore) Football, Wrestling
1987-88 -- Adam Keefe (Woodbridge, Irvine) Basketball, Volleyball
1986-87 -- LeRon Ellis (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) Water Polo, Basketball, Track
1985-86 -- Brian Johnson (Skyline, Oakland) Football, Baseball
1984-85 -- George Porter (Cabrillo, Lompoc) Basketball, Track
1983-84 -- John Williams (Crenshaw, Los Angeles) Basketball
1982-83 -- Mike Smith (Los Altos, Hac. Heights) Football, Basketball, Vball
1981-82 -- Jim McCullough (Hemet) Football, Wrestling
1980-81 -- Kevin Willhite (Cordova, Rancho Cordova) Football, Track
1979-80 -- Darryl Strawberry (Crenshaw, Los Angeles) Basketball, Baseball
1978-79 -- John Elway (Granada Hills) Football, Baseball
1977-78 -- Jesse Vasallo (Mission Viejo) Swimming
1976-77 -- Brian Goodell (Mission Viejo) Swimming
1975-76 -- Greg Louganis (Valhalla, El Cajon & Santa Ana) Diving
1974-75 -- Bill Cartwright (Elk Grove) Basketball

Note: List extends back to 1890-1891 in Cal-Hi Sports Record Book & Almanac. Call 1-800-660-1334 to order copy of most recently published edition (1999).

GIRLS STATE ATHLETES

OF THE YEAR

(List of recent honorees; compiled by CalHiSports.com)

2002-03 -- Allyson Felix (L.A. Baptist, North Hills) Track
2001-02 -- Julia Pitts (North, Torrance) Volleyball, Basketball, Track
2000-01 -- Lashinda Demus (Wilson, Long Beach) Track
1999-00 -- Monique Henderson (Morse, San Diego) Track
1998-99 -- Rometra Craig (Mitty, San Jose) Basketball, Track
1997-98 -- Amanda Freed (Pacifica, Garden Grove) Volleyball, Soccer, Softball
1996-97 -- Tayyiba Haneef (Laguna Hills) Volleyball, Basketball, Track
1995-96 -- Kerri Walsh (Mitty, San Jose) Volleyball, Basketball
1994-95 -- Marcy Crouch (Marina, Huntington Beach) Soccer, Softball
1993-94 -- Suzy Powell (Downey, Modesto) Basketball, Track
1992-93 -- Marion Jones (Thousand Oaks) Basketball, Track
1991-92 -- Marion Jones (Thousand Oaks) Basketball, Track
1990-91 -- Marion Jones (Thousand Oaks) Basketball, Track
1989-90 -- Lisa Leslie (Morningside, Inglewood) Basketball, Track
1988-89 -- Janet Evans (El Dorado, Placentia) Swimming
1987-88 -- Janet Evans (El Dorado, Placentia) Swimming
1986-87 -- Michele Granger (Valencia, Placentia) Softball
1985-86 -- Terri Mann (Point Loma, San Diego) Basketball, Track
1984-85 -- Elaina Oden (Irvine) Volleyball, Track
1983-84 -- Wendy Brown (Woodside) Basketball, Track
1982-83 -- Wendy Wyland (Mission Viejo) Swimming
1981-82 -- Denean Howard (Kennedy, Granada Hills) Track
1980-81 -- Cheryl Miller (Poly, Riverside) Basketball
1979-80 -- Sherri Howard (Kennedy, Granada Hills) Track
1978-79 -- Cynthia Woodhead (Poly, Riverside) Swimming
1977-78 -- Tracy Austin (Rolling Hills) Tennis
1976-77 -- Linda Fratianne (Valley Professional, Van Nuys) Figure Skating
1975-76 -- Jill Sterkel (Wilson, Hacienda Heights) Swimming
1974-75 -- Barbara Reinalda (Valley Christian, Cerritos) Basketball, Softball

Note: List extends back to 1919-1920 in Cal-Hi Sports Record Book & Almanac. Call 1-800-660-1334 to order copy of most recently published edition (1999).


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