By Jane Williams
For the La Habra Journal
In November, the La Habra Rotary honored the best fall athletes in girls and boys sports.
Sonora High School selected a sophomore, Emily Sonny, as the best girl athlete. Sonny just began playing volleyball as a freshman, but plans on concentrating on it this spring when she joins a club team.
She has already proven herself as an athlete by playing baseball with the boys, soccer and water polo. She attributes competing with her brother to developing her love of challenges. She also is a promising photographer, guitarist and artist.
At Sonora, she has maintained a 4.0 GPA with her favorite subjects being Spanish, geometry and agriculture. She is also a member of Future Farmers of America and Best Buds.
Whittier Christian’s only problem was deciding which member of the CIF Division II Championship volleyball team to pick. Reviewing Kylee Wolfe’s accomplishments made the decision easier. After all, she was the All-Area Most Valuable Player for 2012 and captain of the 2012 and 2013 championship teams, as well as First Team All-CIF for 2011 and 2012. The 2013 selections in those categories have not yet been announced.
Wolfe has played volleyball since seventh grade and has been captain for the SoCal Juniors for the past three years. A senior, Wolfe carries a 3.95 GPA and plans to attend the University of Rhode Island where she will play Division I volleyball and major in kinesiology with plans to become a physical therapist.
One of her volunteer efforts involves finding people to adopt abandoned cats and to care for the animals awaiting adoption. She has also volunteered with her uncle’s ministry, Baja Christian Ministries, building homes in Baja. She also played with the children and spread God’s word while doing so.
La Habra High’s Cory Luna was the smallest among the girl athletes present. As captain of the girls cross country team, her best time is 18:43 for the three-mile run. Last year she was named the most valuable runner. As a sophomore, she won the Freeway League championship in the mile (5:26) and the 800-meter race.
Luna has a weighted GPA of 5.0 and is ranked fourth in the senior class. She has taken the most rigorous courses possible, which included 10 honors classes and seven AP classes. As president of her 4H Club, she led the club to the National Junior Horticulture Convention in Virginia where she earned an individual first place award and the team won fourth place overall.
Luna plans to attend University of Colorado majoring in biology and animal behavior while also running. She hopes to become a veterinarian.
Richard Atnip, a two year member of the Sonora varsity water polo team, was named captain this year and its Most Valuable Player. He was named to the Freeway All-League first team for the second year in a row.
In the spring, he pulls out his golf clubs and leads the Sonora golf team on which he has played since freshman year. He has been named to the Freeway All-League golf team since freshman year. In 2011 and 2013 he was named MVP of the golf team and qualified to play in the CIF individual golf championships for the Southern Section.
This fall, Atnip received an AP Scholar Award, which reflects the three AP courses he took and passed last year. His GPA of 4.5 places him in the top three percent of his class. He plans to maintain this GPA while taking AP calculus, AP literature and AP government, as well as marine biology and biochemistry – not to mention history of motion pictures. Atnip hopes to attend a four-year college.
La Habra High also selected a water polo player as its outstanding male athlete. Michael Weir plays the set position for the past three years and been named the MVP his sophomore and junior years. He has been co-captain the past two years. He ended the seasons with 41 goals, four of them coming in the upset of Troy, ending that school’s 53 straight league game win streak. He also compiled 26 assists and 35 steals.
Weir also competes in swimming and has won the scholar-athlete award for both sports. He is also a three-year member of La Habra’s Top 100. He earned a five on the AP calculus AB exam last year and will take the AP calculus BC exam this year. He has earned a 4.6 weighted GPA while taking nine AP classes.
In addition, he is a link crew leader, treasurer of NHS and on the principal’s advisory panel. He plans on attending a four-year university.
For the past two years, Ryan Esslinger was the quarterback of the Heralds’ football team. During that time he passed for 4,440 yards and 46 touchdowns and rushed for 1,366 yards and another 12 touchdowns. He has been on the varsity team for three years. He has been named to the first team All-League, All-CIF team and All-Area first team, as well as MVP of the team. He has also been captain for the past two years.
When football season ends, it’s on to basketball where he also was named to the first team All-League and second team All-Area as well as MVP of the team last year. He led the team in assists, rebounds and steals and was the second-leading scorer. This year he is the captain of the hoop team.
But Esslinger is more than an athlete. He has twice traveled with his family and the Containers of Hope group to Liberia, He went in eighth grade and again as a sophomore. There they visited the orphanage run by John Payan and distributed backpacks filled with health and school items as well as a Bible to the children there and to those in outlying villages. Esslinger is also a leader of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes team at the school for the past two years as well as a member Whittier Christian chapel team.
Esslinger has applied to Harvey Mudd, Stanford, a number of California universities and Penn.