Kirsten Vose

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy swimmer Kirsten Vose is the La Cañada Valley Sun's 2012-13 Female Athlete of the Year. (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff Photographer / August 20, 2013)

For the first time in two years, a La Cañada-area team didn’t find itself hoisting a CIF Southern Section championship at the end of the 2012-13 seasons. The year was instead highlighted by individual success.

It was in the pool where the most success occurred for locals with individuals from Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and Flintridge Prep bringing CIF-SS titles home from Riverside City College in the CIF Southern Section Division I swimming finals and Division III diving championships.

Those Tologs were the ones who enjoyed the finest run this past year, dominating the Mission League for consecutive outright titles and climbing up the CIF Southern Section Division I standings.

While there weren’t any CIF-SS titles won by teams, there were a host of Rio Hondo, Mission and Prep league championships in store for La Cañada High, Flintridge Prep and Flintridge Sacred Heart. Those led to playoff berths and impressive postseason runs — most notably the Spartans and Rebels girls’ basketball teams, La Cañada girls’ cross-country and volleyball squads.

Fueling those runs were individual athletes who reaped All-American, All-Area, All-CIF and all-league honors. A wide range of athletes — multi-sport, under and upperclassmen — shined brightest in the pool, on the field or in the gym.

Here is the list of La Cañada's top-10 female athletes in 2012-13.

1 Kirsten Vose, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy swimming, sophomore — All the success that came for Vose in her debut season with the Tologs in 2012 was a surprise. She’s the first one to admit that.

Her championship season in 2013 was about expectations.

As a freshman, Flintridge Sacred Heart Coach Steve Bergen described Vose as a bit of a one-hit wonder. There was nothing wrong with that, as she went runner-up in the 100-yard breaststroke at the 2012 CIF Southern Section Division I finals with a personal-best mark of one minute, 3.53 seconds.

“Not at all, that was such a surprise to me,” Vose said when asked if she thought she’d be so successful as a freshman.

Word was certainly out on Vose this season after her debut CIF-SS performance.

It certainly didn’t slow Vose down in the regular season, as her four other strokes matured and she developed into a complete swimmer as a sophomore, Bergen said.

The near 6-foot-tall talent didn’t lose a race leading into the postseason in 2013 after winning all four of her events at Mission League Finals for the second year in a row and leading the Tologs to consecutive sole league championships.

Pressure created by her immediate success didn’t prove a factor this year until after CIF-SS prelims, where she locked up the top seed in the breaststroke and 200 individual medley.

It wasn’t until the final day of the season when Vose’s expectations to win hit her. It led to a hiccup and sixth-place finish in the individual medley, but she rebounded in a big way. She won the breaststroke in nailbiting fashion in 1:02.57. She also teamed with Kate Herrill, Katie Altmayer and Emily Balog for a dramatic, underdog victory in the 200-medley relay (1:44.26) to start the day.

“I knew it was going to be really hard to do, but I thought I had a pretty good chance [to win the breaststroke] if I was right on it,” Vose said of her preseason goal. “If I really raced hard, I had a possibility to win. That was definitely my goal for the whole year.”

Now the question is how Vose will continue to improve as a junior and senior after reaping the All-Area Girls’ Swimmer of the Year and La Cañada Valley Sun Female Athlete of the Year awards.

First thing is keeping the Tologs on top of the Mission League and moving up in Division I. In the past two years, they have climbed 27 spots in CIF and placed seventh this past year.

Personally, Vose has plenty left she wants to accomplish. She wants to match her success at CIF-SS Division I championships and has her eyes on setting a few school records in the process. One elusive one is the breaststroke record held by arguably Flintridge Sacred Heart’s greatest swimmer, Andrea Kropp.