Men’s swimming and women’s basketball keep the Monarchs flying high.
By Henry Guembes, Staff Writer
The women’s basketball and men’s swimming teams were able to quench Valley College’s thirst for athletic success in an otherwise barren spring-sports season for the Monarchs.
The Valley men’s swimming team achieved their best finish ever at the Western State Conference championship this year, clinching second place overall. Breaststroke specialist Timothy Hornyak broke two school records in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke, posting times of 58.76 seconds in the 100-meter race and 2:06.12 in the 200-meter race. The previous school record of 59.70 seconds in the 100-meter stood since 1967, and the previous record for the 200-meter was 2:08.25.
“It didn’t surprise me,” said aquatics coach Jim McMillan. “He came in as a talented swimmer; he trains real hard, and he’s very determined and likes to win.”
Only in his first season, Hornyak, 19, is expected to swim next year for Valley and his expectations going forward are high.
“The season passed by so fast, thanks to my great team and an even greater coaching staff,” said the Russian native. “The atmosphere here is different than what I was used to—different, but in a better way. I am thankful for my team most of all. I am looking forward to an even more productive second season.”
On the court, the Lady Monarchs secured a playoff berth with a final conference record of 10-4 and an overall record of 14-14 throughout the season. Adaori Obi and Diamond O’Connor were this year’s major standouts. Obi, a sophomore guard, averaged 15.8 points a game, shooting 40.4 percent from the field. She has committed to play at UC Riverside next season. O’Connor, a freshman forward, was the Monarchs top scorer, averaging 15.9 points a game while leading the Western State Conference in field goal percentage at 52.6 percent.
Men’s baseball broke even in the season, finishing with an overall record of 18-18 and 9-12 in conference. Although the Monarchs displayed an average performance on the field, a few gems indulged in individual merits. Left-handed pitcher Jesse Hobaica hurled his way up to first team all-conference while also receiving a Golden Glove in the WSC. Valley baseball was formidable with Hobaica on the mound, winning five and losing only one match in conference. He also boasted the second-best ERA in conference, only allowing an average of 1.66 runs per game. Andrew Penner, first base, earned a spot on the first team all-conference as well, along with a Golden Glove after exhibiting a solid defensive performance on base.
The Lady Monarchs softball team were streaky throughout the semester, concluding the season with an overall record of 16-22 (11-10). Their biggest win of the season was a 24-1 dismantling of the El Camino College Compton Center Tartars.
Looking forward, both the baseball and softball teams tested out brand-new facilities this year.
“The field is really nice,” said Monarchs catcher Rigo Torres. “It’s an all-turf field, so we have an advantage on rainy days. If it rains the day before, the field dries up in time for us to still practice.”