The rise of Ronda Rousey tops the Glendale News-Press' Top 10 Sports Moments of 2012
Women's MMA superstar's popularity and success grew to never-before-seen heights in 2012.
Ronda Rousey, thanks to help from Glendale-based trainer Edmond Tarverdyan, climbed up the MMA ranks in 2012. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer) (December 30, 2012)
4) A rookie like no other on the links — When it was all said and done, John Huh, a 2008 Crescenta Valley High graduate, gained plenty of notoriety and rubbed elbows with many of the top professional golfers before being selected as the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.
After receiving his card out of qualifying school in 2011, Huh proved he could compete within the ranks of the PGA Tour. After briefly playing on the Korean Tour several years ago, Huh fit in on the PGA Tour. His crowning moment came In February, when he captured the Mayakoba Golf Classic. He bested Robert Allenby in an eight-hole playoff at El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Huh finished with an eight-under-par 65 on the final day to catch Allenby at 13-under 271 before parring all eight holes in the playoff to equal the second-longest playoff in PGA Tour history.
Huh, 22, became the youngest player to qualify for the Tour Championship since Sergio Garcia in 2001 at 21. Huh was the lone rookie to qualify for the Tour Championship. He became only the fifth rookie to qualify for the Tour Championship since the inauguration of the FedExCup in 2007.
For the season, Huh finished 29th in the FedExCup standings and was 28th on the final official money list at $2,692,113. Huh registered four top-10 finishes in 28 appearances, which included a tie for second at the Valero Texas Open.
Huh was one of three golfers to receive a berth into the British Open via a special exemption reserved for the top three and ties inside the top 20 in FedExCup points through the HP Byron Nelson Classic in May. He recorded a two-round score of 148 and missed the cut by five strokes at the British Open. At the PGA championship, Huh tied for 68th after making the cut.
5) Huge year on track for standout Nitro — Mike Davis, a member of the Glendale High boys' track and field and football teams, encountered a year that he’ll likely not soon forget. After committing to Brigham Young University to play football, the junior hit the track and repeated as Pacific League champion in the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
Davis was far from done, as he turned in a mark of 21.40 seconds in the 200 to finish second at the CIF Southern Section Division I final at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut. Davis moved to the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet, where he shattered his seeded time of 21.58 for a fifth-place effort overall.
Davis became the first Glendale male athlete to reach the state meet since 1986. At the CIF State Track and Field Championship preliminaries at Buchanan High in Clovis, Davis finished third in his heat of the 200-meter dash and ninth overall in a time of 21.67 seconds, good for the final qualifying spot to the championships state meet. He finished seventh at state in 21.85.
In football, Davis did more than his share. Glendale went 3-7 and 2-5 in the Pacific League, with wins over Crescenta Valley and Hoover, to take the city championship.
Davis, a wide receiver, played all over the field on offense. He was easily the Nitros’ go-to weapon, as he registered 33 catches for 409 yards and three touchdowns. On the ground, Davis rushed for 258 yards and two touchdowns in 39 carries. He also returned five punts for 107 yards and 13 kickoffs for 394 yards to earn all-league first-team honors.
6) Rebels bounce back strong on the gridiron — It could be argued that the 2011 season was the worst in program history for Flintridge Prep football. But it also served as the precursor for a 2012 campaign that saw the Rebels pull off an unforgettable, feel-good turnaround that made history.
After going 1-9 with two defeats via forfeit due to a depleted roster and a winless Prep League campaign, Flintridge Prep, after a summer of recruiting on campus and hard work in the weight room to bolster the roster, ran off a 6-5 season.
But there was more to it than just the final record — though it served as the first winning season for the program since 2007. Behind the 1-2 running back punch of 1,000-yard rushers Stefan Smith and Kurt Kozacik, as well as the linebacking play of Chad Cosse, the Rebels achieved historical success. They beat Chadwick and Pasadena Poly for the first time in years en route to a second-place league finish and their goal of qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2008. There, Prep defeated Ribet Academy in the first round in an overtime thriller for the program’s first postseason win since 2003. Indeed, a year after historical tribulation, the Rebels surged to historical triumph.
“They’ve done something that no team at Flintridge Prep has done in 10 years,” third-year Rebels Coach Antonio Harrison said. “I told them when they come back in 10 years and Flintridge Prep tradition is strong where it used to be, it will be because of this team this year.”
7) Nitros dominate Pacific before making history — Expectations were raised after the Glendale High boys’ water polo team won the Pacific League championship in 2011. That proved to more apparent in 2012 with Nitros Coach Forest Holbrook believing Glendale could make a deep postseason run.
With a band of standout players, including Arman Momdzhyan and David Papazian, Glendale went undefeated in league for a second straight season. Its endurance was put to the test throughout the CIF Southern Section Division V playoffs as the top seed.
Glendale (22-6) advanced to the program’s first CIF championship match and the first CIF championship final for any Glendale sports program since 1989. The Nitros suffered a 12-10 loss to third-seeded Pasadena Poly in Irvine.
Momdzhyan, a junior, tallied 136 goals and was named the league’s most valuable player.
8) Falcons enjoy playoff journey to state — The Crescenta Valley High boys’ basketball team figured to have an imposing team with the return of starters Cole Currie, Dylan Kilgour, Christian Misi, Rudy Avila and Davis Dragovich. The Falcons showed stretches of dominance throughout the regular season, finishing second in the Pacific League.