By Zach Cavanagh
Dana Point athletes continued to aim high this season, with several touching championship glory and setting records.
Here is a look back at some of the memorable Dana Hills sports moments of 2022:
Dana Hills Boys Basketball Reaches First CIF-SS Final
The Dolphins earned the third seed in CIF-SS Division 3A, and for the first time in the school’s 49-year history, Dana Hills boys basketball advanced to the program’s first CIF-SS championship game. The Dolphins traveled up to Santa Barbara and fell to Bishop Diego, 61-56, to take the runner-up silver plaque.
Bo Kelly Earns Offensive MVP in Orange County Football All-Star Classic
The Dana Hills senior signal-caller threw two touchdown passes to lead the South to its seventh consecutive victory over the North in the Orange County North-South Classic. Kelly completed 11 of 17 passes for 186 yards in his final high school performance before heading to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Griffin Haugh, Sadie Riester Named All-CIF
Haugh, a senior, led the Dana Hills boys basketball team in its run to the CIF-SS Final with hot outside shooting, including six 3-pointers in the semifinals. Riester, a junior, paced the Dolphins girls water polo team to the CIF-SS quarterfinals with team-highs in goals (77) and assists (46).
Jai Dawson, Allura Markow Win County Track Titles
Dawson, a senior, won two Orange County titles in the boys 800-meter and 1,600-meter runs. It was Dawson’s second consecutive 800 county title. Markow, a then-junior, won the 3,200-meter title with a personal-record time. Markow also finished second in the 1,600-meter run.
Two Dana Hills Alumni Make MLB Opening-Day Rosters
Left-handed reliever Blake Taylor, 26, made the Opening Day roster in the Houston Astros bullpen, and utility player Luke Williams, 25, was on the Opening Day roster for the San Francisco Giants. Williams was traded from the Giants to the Miami Marlins in May.
Jai Dawson Wins Two CIF-SS Track Championships
The New Zealand native put a golden crown on his Dana Hills running career with CIF-SS championships in the Division 2 1,600-meter run and 800-meter run. Dawson’s run in the 1,600 was the best Finals time across all CIF-SS Divisions. The senior went on to the CIF State Championships and finished second in the 800. Dawson now runs at UCLA.
Christian Guarascio Bursts Out to Open Football Season
The senior ran for more than 200 yards in each of the first four games of the season, including season-highs in the first two games of the season in August. Guarascio carried the ball 26 times for 259 yards and two touchdowns in an opening win over University, and he bested himself in a comeback win over Laguna Beach with 29 carries for 264 yards and three touchdowns.
Allura Markow Wins Dana Hills Invitational
The senior finally won her home invitational with a personal-record time of 16:38 on the 3-mile course around the Dana Hills campus and into Dolphin Stadium. Markow stayed with the lead pack, separated in the final stages and held off a challenge on the track for the one-second victory.
Christian Guarascio Finishes Regular Season as County’s Leading Rusher
The senior ran for 1,722 yards on 229 carries to lead Orange County in rushing yards through 10 regular-season games. Guarascio ran for 120 or more yards in eight regular-season games. Guarascio ended up being named Co-Offensive Player of the Year for the Pacific Coast League and selected to the Orange County All-Star Classic.
Dana Hills Sweeps CIF-SS Cross Country Championships
The Dolphins won boys and girls team titles in the CIF-SS Division 3 Finals, and Evan Noonan and Allura Markow won individual titles in Division 3 to take a full golden sweep for the Dana Hills cross country program. The Dana Hills boys won their seventh CIF-SS team title and first since 2009, and the Dolphin girls won their third CIF-SS team title and first since 2008. Noonan was the fourth Dana Hills boy to win a CIF-SS title and second in a row following Jai Dawson. Markow was just the second Dolphin girl to win a CIF-SS title.
Evan Noonan Wins CIF State Cross Country Championship
Following the Dolphins’ CIF-SS success, Noonan, a sophomore, went up to Fresno and won the CIF State Division II championship. It was the Dolphins’ second individual state title in a row, again following Dawson, and the program’s third individual state title. Noonan also qualified for the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon.
Collin Haugh Sets Dana Hills Basketball Scoring Record
The sophomore set the Dana Hills boys basketball single-game scoring record for the third time this season with a 46-point performance on Tuesday, Dec. 27, at the Damien Classic. Already this season, Haugh scored a then-record 41 points over Calvary Chapel in the season opener and dropped another 41 points at San Juan Hills nine games later.