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Titles, Olympics, redemption highlight 2013 La Cañada sports year

Spartans alumna Kate Hansen's Olympic berth headlines strong year for locals.

December 24, 2013|By Charles Rich, Andrew Shortall and Andrew J. Campa
  • Kate Hansen, who will compete in the luge in the wither Olympics in Sochi greets and thanks supporters at Los Gringos Locos in La Canada Flintridge on Monday. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
Kate Hansen, who will compete in the luge in the wither…

Redemption, rebirth and renewal were some of the storylines that dominated a successful sports year for the teams and students-athletes from La Cañada Flintridge in 2013.

Among some of the accolades earned were Olympic berths, CIF Southern Section championships and several bounce-back seasons from the city’s programs.

Here are the La Cañada Valley Sun’s top 10 sports stories of 2013.

1. La Cañada High alumna Kate Hansen reaches Olympics. Having fallen short on a trip to the winter games in 2010, the 21-year-old Hansen was not denied this time.Hansen needed two world top-nine finishes through the first five Viessman Luge World Cup competitions this fall and winter and didn’t waste any time. After finishing out of the top 10 in the first two world cups, Hansen snatched seventh at the third event in Winterbery, Germany on Dec. 1 in a time of 1 minute, 54.605 seconds.

The following weekend, Hansen sealed the deal, taking sixth (1:31.851) at the fourth World Cup in Whistler, Canada on Dec. 7.

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Yet, Hansen’s best race was still ahead of her, as she posted her highest-ever finish in taking fourth (1:27.929) at the fifth World Cup in Park City, Utah on Dec. 17.

“It was difficult not making it last year and it’s something I’ve thought about for the last four years,” Hansen said. “Once I was selected, it was just validation for all the hard work. I didn’t have to say anymore that I just missed because I made it.”

The very next day, Hansen was officially selected as one of three individual qualifiers out of a 10-person luge contingent to represent the United States at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Hansen is believed the be only the second-ever La Cañada High alumnus to represent her school at the Olympics after Peter Wells advance to the 2004 Sydney Games in sailing.

2. St. Francis High football enjoys a dramatic turnaround. Coming off one of its most trying seasons, St. Francis High football produced one of its most successful in 2013: starting the year on an eight-game winning streak, taking third in the Mission League and finishing at 10-3, 3-2 in league.

The Golden Knights advanced to the CIF Southern Section semifinals for the first time in eight years and stacked up well against some of the best competition in the state, with all three of their losses coming against CIF Southern Section Western Division finalists Chaminade and Serra in league and the postseason.

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