If there is one thing most people in Burbank will agree on it is that 2016 was the best year on record for sports at Burroughs and Burbank highs.
Three teams appeared in CIF Southern Section championship games or matches and that isn’t counting Burroughs boys’ cross country team, which also put together a solid season.
Myburbank.com takes a look at the top 10 teams of the 2016 calendar year.
10. Burbank boys’ basketball
The young Bulldogs’ squad put together an impressive season going 20-11 overall, 8-6 in league. But it was postseason play that earned this team on this list. Led by junior Michael Woods, Burbank reached the quarterfinals of the Division 2-AA playoffs. Burbank won on the road at Garden Grove and then defeated El Toro. Both opponents came in having won more than 20 games. In the quarterfinals, the Bulldogs hung tough for a long time before falling to Loyola of Los Angeles.
9. Burroughs baseball
The Indians (19-7) started the season as hot as any team, winning the prestigious Easton Tournament by defeating eventual CIF Southern Section Division 1 finalist Harvard-Westlake in the final. The Indians went on to earn a share of a second consecutive Pacific League crown, despite losing virtually its entire starting lineup to graduation from the previous year. It was the first time in school history that Burroughs won league titles in consecutive years. Burroughs’ season ended in the first round of the CIF playoffs with a loss to Rancho Cucamonga. Highlights included pitcher Kyle Nicol signing a letter of intent with Cal State Northridge. Teammate Shaine Leonard signed with the University of Antelope Valley.
8. Burroughs boys’ basketball
The Indians put together a 22-8 season and reached the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 1-A playoffs for the first time since 1990, when Burroughs was knocked out by an Artesia team that featured future-NBA players Ed and Charles O’Bannon. In 2016, Burroughs lost to Santa Monica, the eventual CIF champion. Junior Tristen Hull earned All-CIF honors. Guard Steven Hubbell signed with California Lutheran University. Coach Adam Hochberg stepped down after the season to spend more time with his family.
7. Burbank boys’ track
The Bulldogs won a league title in boys’ track and field for the first time in 31 years. Burbank also did it without relying too much on its distance runners, which have traditionally been the strength of the program. Hurdler Martin Swan, jumper Noah Powell and sprinters Josh Cantong and Joey Miller were the leaders of the team. All four qualified for the CIF finals as a 1,600 meter relay team.
6. Burroughs boys’ cross country
This is a team that going into the season looked like a strong contender to win its second CIF title in three years and one that could have very easily been the top team in the city. The Indians shared the Pacific League title with Arcadia even though Burroughs won two of the three league meets and only lost on a sixth man tie-breaker in the league final. Burroughs ran very well in CIF preliminaries and looked like a serious contender to win in the finals. But this team fell well short and surprisingly missed qualifying for the state meet. This team should be motivated for next season after this season’s disappointing finish. Several key runners return next season led by Alexander Hirsch, Jagdeep Chahal and Jacob Calderon. A CIF title is within reach in 2017.
5. Burroughs girls’ basketball
The Indians dominated league by going 14-0, 24-8 overall and reaching the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 1-A playoffs. Ironically, Burroughs lost on the road in the semifinals at Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach. Mira Costa then lost in the final to Crescenta Valley, a team Burroughs defeated twice in winning the Pacific League. Jordan Meltzer led the Indians as she shared the Pacific League Player of the Year honor with Crescenta Valley’s Alissa Shin.
4. Burroughs softball
The Indians had an outstanding season led by sophomore pitcher Presley Miraglia, who was named the Pacific League Player of the Year and earned All-CIF honors for a second time. Burroughs went 24-5 on the season and lost 7-0 in the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs to Grand Terrace, the eventual champion and one of the top rated teams in the nation. Coach Doug Nicol stepped down after the season so he could spend more time watching his kids play sports in college.
3. Burroughs boys’ water polo
A CIF champion in the third spot some might say? Yes, Burroughs had an outstanding season in winning the CIF Southern Section Division 5 title. However, one must remember the Indians did not win the Pacific League title. Their opposition in the playoffs was certainly not elite. There are also some questions marks around this team as several key players have not been students at Burroughs throughout their entire high school careers. In fact, several are transfers from Burbank High. But this team will almost certainly be higher up on the list next year as the main core of players return for their senior seasons, led by CIF MVP David Arakelyan, J.J. Ambartsumyan and Marko Vucetic.
2. Burbank football
The Bulldogs captured the hearts of many of the city. For the first time in 30 years a local football team played for a CIF Southern Section title.
After finishing second in the Pacific League, the Bulldogs were clearly a different team in the playoffs, dominating most of their opponents until the final when it was bothered by an unexpected call of Mother Nature. Still nobody will forget this group that grew up together led by Guy Gibbs, Nick Warren, Forest Fajardo and Jake Kelley. These kids should all be in the Burbank High Sports Hall of Fame one day. Coach Richard Broussard stepped down at the end of the season.
1. Burroughs boys’ volleyball
The Indians won their seventh consecutive Pacific League title and were clearly the most talented team in the city. Led by a veteran group that included setter Ryan Van Loo and outside hitters Andrew D’Almada and Cameron Capili, the Indians overcame a loss to Oak Park in the CIF Southern Section championship by defeating that same team a week later in CIF Southern California State Regional tournament.
In closing, it was very hard to make a top-10 list. There were a couple of teams that were very good that did not make the list but deserve honorable mention. Those were the Burbank and Burroughs girls’ soccer teams. The Burroughs boys’ soccer team also had a solid season as did the Burbank girls’ tennis team, the Burbank girls’ basketball team and Burroughs girls’ golf team and volleyball teams.
We want to wish the best of luck to all Burbank and Burroughs teams in 2017.