When it comes to the top 10 Newport-Mesa sports stories of 2013, as selected by the Daily Pilot sports staff, a singular mantra emerges: Work hard. Compete. Win. Celebrate. Repeat.
Five of the top six stories in 2013 shared similar status in 2012, though all but one moved to a new position in the lineup.
Corona del Mar High football, which added a CIF State title to its three consecutive CIF Southern Section Southern Division crowns, tops the list for the second time in three years. It was No. 2 last year.
Back Bay girls' water polo, beach volleyball, UC Irvine men's volleyball, which repeated as NCAA champion in 2013, and the perennially important Toshiba Classic senior golf tour event were repetitively relevant the last two years.
Additionally, Sage Hill School girls' volleyball and UCI men's soccer, which have spots in the lower portion of this year's Top 10, held similar positions in the final 2011 tally.
In short, there was little new under the Newport-Mesa sun when it came to ultimate happenings in sports. But the fact that achievement on such a high level could become commonplace, speaks to the high caliber of competition those who call this area home are regularly treated to.
Here's this year's foremost sports stories.
1 – CORONA DEL MAR HIGH FOOTBALL – Football has officially joined the list of sports in which Corona del Mar High regularly posts title banners, as this year's record-setting squad produced two.
Coach Scott Meyer, in his third season at the helm, led the Sea Kings to a 16-0 record, a first in California history shared with St. John Bosco, the CIF State Division III title and the team's third straight CIF Southern Section Southern Division crown.
The Sea Kings, who will take a 26-game winning streak into the 2014 season, defeated Sacred Heart Prep, 27-15, in the Division III state bowl game on Dec. 21 in Carson. They topped Garden Grove, 42-21, on Dec. 6 at Orange Coast College to pocket their Newport-Mesa-best fifth CIF Southern Section division championship in football.
The season also included a noteworthy 34-14 win over Back Bay rival Newport Harbor to end a six-game losing streak against the Sailors, who advanced to the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division final.
CdM was No. 21 in the final CalHiSports.com state rankings and its 26-game streak is the longest in the state.
Senior center Giovanni Gentosi earned Pacific Coast League Most Valuable Player recognition for anchoring the all-senior offensive line. He started 44 games in three seasons, during which CdM was 40-4.
Senior quarterback Luke Napolitano passed for a school single-season record 2,645 yards and his 197 completions were also a single-season best for the program. He also holds CdM career marks of 2,703 yards and 203 completions.
Junior running back Cole Martin (1,870 rushing yards, 21 rushing touchdowns and 126 total points) also broke CdM single-season marks, as did junior receivers Cole Collins (60 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards) and Bo St. Geme (60 receptions).
Napolitano, Martin, Collins and St. Geme were first-team All-PCL honorees, as were senior guard Brett Olson, senior tight end Braden Brahs, junior defensive ends Parker Chase (16 sacks) and Harrison Carter, junior linebacker Hoyt Crance and junior cornerback Brett Greenlee.
The Sea Kings scored at least 34 points in 12 games and posted four shutouts. The team's 548 points were not only a school record, but the most in Newport-Mesa single-season annals.
2 – BACK BAY GIRLS' WATER POLO – Corona del Mar High rallied to defeat rival Newport Harbor, 6-5, in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 final to claim the program's first CIF crown in Division 1.