ZAVALETA CHOSEN AS ONE OF KING HIGH'S TWO ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
When he crossed the finish line in the final race of the 2020 cross country season, Francisco Zavaleta pumped his fist into the air to celebrate a remarkable accomplishment. It was an exclamation mark on a great season, but also a great high school career that still had a full track and field season left to go.Zavaleta was one of the rare ones who entered high school with running experience. Most who join cross country and track their freshman year are rookies in the truest sense of the word. To the typical 9th grader, competitive running is something to be learned for the first time.
Not Francisco. His experience competing in youth club groups and local road races pre-dated his arrival at MLK back in 2017, and that experience showed immediately once in high school. Francisco, or “Franny” as his coach nicknamed him, was one of the top freshmen that year and has grown and matured in the sport ever since. His improvement came steadily in the two sports, cross country and track, but the first half of his junior year saw exponential improvement. An MVP campaign in cross country while leading the team to an 8th place finish in CIF Finals, (the highest since the team had qualified for State in 2015) portended great things to come in the other half of last year. Sadly, just as he was rising, COVID came and took away what could have been in track.
Disappointed but not defeated, he made up for lost time in his senior year. The cross country season was delayed by 5 months and had every large competitive invitational, CIF and the State Championship cancelled. But, true to his character, Francisco made the best of the discouraging reality: He prepared, he worked hard and ended the season undefeated. Despite all that was lost, he remarked recently that he felt it was his best season of high school.
The results of that XC campaign were the Big 8 League MVP and he earned the team MVP for the second year straight. In track which overlapped the end of the cross country season, he raced all three distance races – the 800, the 1600 and the 3200 – but it was in the last two that he really shined. League champion in both the 1600 and 3200 meters (the metric equivalent of the mile and 2-mile), he ran personal best times of 4:20 and 9:14 and remained undefeated in the 3200 in all dual races where he was expected to be competitive. His 9:14.65 ranks third-fastest in school history and his 4:20.59 is the 7th-best time in school history.
Those marks and high achievement, along with a gracious and humble character that has carried him well through the years, earned him the title of 2021 Boys Athlete of the Year.
Coach Dave Smith was given the reigns of King High’s Soccer Team in 2018. He was the new coach, coming in on the heels of rapid coaching changes and a chaotic span where, as he told the Press Enterprise recently, “so many players quit because it wasn’t fun.” To get it turned around, he knew he would need a little time and some special players.
Players like Kaylee Hauck.
Upon hearing the report of Hauck’s selection as the 2021 King High Athlete of the Year, Smith was quick to say that “when I first met Kaylee as a freshman, I sensed something special within her. I could tell she had a strength of character and would be a great team leader even as a freshman.”
When she drilled an arcing free kick into the net to solidify the win in Saturday’s CIF D3 Championship, it was a fitting moment that defined the journey she – and Smith – have been on since 2018.
According to Smith, Kaylee’s biggest contribution to her team this year has been her leadership. “She consistently sets a high standard for how hard she plays on the field” Smith says. “She gives everything she has in her to the team.”
A varsity player right from the start of her high school career, Kaylee has been 1st Team All League in the Big 8 for three consecutive years, and has been awarded the team MVP honor on all three years. In 15 games this season, Kaylee has scored 18 goals and assisted on six more.
As is true so often for elite athletes, Kaylee possesses tremendous character. “She has always been a positive and encouraging student athlete who wants the best for her team” Smith noted. “Whether Kaylee is on the field or on the sidelines, she is in it for her team 100%. She worked hard to welcome the 9 new players to the team this season; making them feel they are an important part of the program. She has organized activities for the girls so that they can grow closer as a team which helps improve their performance on the field.”
That character, coupled with her athletic excellence has made Kaylee Hauck an irreplaceable part of the King Soccer program, a program that is in a very different place than when she arrived.
2020 Athletes of the Year Leo Mendez, Olivia Moran
2019 Athletes of the Year Morgan Sjoerdsma, Reyte Rash
2018 Athletes of the Year Adrian Salgado, Madison Stamen
2017 Athletes of the Year Bradley Kleven, Kathryn Hammar
2016 Athletes of the year Claire Fisch, Tyler Janes
2015 – LUCAS RITTER
2014 – JOSUE SOTO
2013 – JOSEPH MOORMAN
2012 – JUSTYN PEEPLES
2011 – LANE WERLEY
2010 – JUSTIN DeCOUD
2009 – KAWHI LEONARD 2018 Inductee to King Hall of Fame
2008 – MARQUES LEA
2007 – CARLON BROWN
2006 – SPENCER PARDON
2005 – IAN PEEBLES
2004 – MICHAEL MYERS
2003 – PIETRO MARTINEZ
2002 – MARVIN LEA 2019 Inductee to King Hall of Fame
2001 – AUSTIN THOMPSON
2015 – HALEY MONTGOMERY
2014 – ALEXIS OSORIO
2013 – TAYLER FLEMING
2012 – CYDNIE JONES
2011 – HANNA PETERSON
2010 – KELSI TIPPETS
2009 – KELSI TIPPETS
2008 – LOTOLELEI FRANKLIN
2007 – JENNIFER HOLDERMAN
2006 – HEIDI GARRETT 2019 Inductee to King Hall of Fame
2005 – STEPHANIE ERDODI
2004 – MEGAN FAIRLEY
2003 – MARKISHA LEA
2002 – HEATHER BOOTH
2001 – MARKISHA LEA