2014 in Review: Sports

Caroline Pietrzyk headlines a historic year in Malibu

Capping off a brilliant cross country career, Malibu’s Caroline Pietrzyk saved the best for last this season. 

On Dec. 13 at Balboa Park in San Diego, the senior finished 14th overall in the country at the 36th Annual Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships to earn All-American honors.

In an incredible season that saw her rewrite the record book at Malibu High, Pietrzyk won a league title, CIF title, California State title and became an All-American with a superlative race in her final performance. 

For her efforts, Pietrzyk has been named the 2014 Malibu Times Athlete of the Year.

With four CIF titles (two in cross country and two in track) and a State Division IV title under her belt thus far, Pietrzyk has stamped herself as the greatest long distance runner in MHS history. The 2015 track season is still to come with more opportunities to cement her legacy. 

“It’s an honor,” said Pietrzyk. “I wanted to make the cross country season something I wouldn’t forget. So I worked hard over the summer and I’m really glad it paid off. 

“A lot of times when you have one accomplishment like a league championship, you stop there. I just kept going. I had more energy and I wanted to keep going as far as I could.” 

Pietrzyk, 17, concluded her career as an All- American after finishing in the top 15 runners to earn the national accolade. Among a field of the nation’s best runners, she was ecstatic with her time of 18:08. 

“It was amazing and I was really excited. It was such a great experience,” Pietrzyk said. “It was really competitive. You are going against the best from every region. That was my goal going into it. I’ve put in a lot of work so I was real happy with how it turned out.” 

It’s been a joy to cover Pietrzyk from her first cross country meet as a freshman at the Brentwood Invitational until now. In October of 2011, she received the Malibu Times Athlete of the Week honor. Three years later, Pietrzyk captivated us all with her grace, humility and inspiring run to glory. 

The humble senior recognized her teammates and coach for a job well done. 

“The best part of my season was seeing my team go as far as they did,” Pietrzyk said about the Lady Sharks reaching the CIF Prelims. “Every year I’ve been waiting for that. To have them get there was just awesome.” 

She also credited MHS assistant coach Jennifer Gonzalez who has trained Pietrzyk since her freshman year. 

“She has been so helpful. She put in so much time preparing me and she loves doing it,” Pietrzyk said. “I couldn’t have done anything without her. She put everything together for me. I am so grateful.” 

Boys water polo and swimmers take the cake, too

Not to be overshadowed by Pietrzyk’s accomplishments were the outstanding performances turned in by the Malibu boys swim and boys water polo teams. The talented aquatic programs produced four CIF individual champions and a CIF team champion. 

Last May, the Sharks boys swim team brought home five CIF titles from the Division IV swim championships held at Riverside City College. 

It was a banner day as Logan Hotchkiss won the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle races while Owen Franz was victorious in the 100 freestyle. Teammates Cooper Bell and Alec Wilimovsky joined Hotchkiss and Franz in winning a CIF title when the Sharks won the 200 freestyle relay followed by conquering the 400 freestyle relay. 

Then in November, more history was made when the boys water polo team won the school’s first ever CIF title with a 10-7 victory over Segerstrom in the Division VI final. 

“The CIF title means we have climbed to the pinnacle of our sport and have joined an elite group,” Coach Mike Mulligan said. “It also confirms we are doing things correctly and we have created an environment that promotes success and champions. We also have athletes that go the extra mile to become the best they can.” 

League titles in 2014 were won by boys soccer (first time since 2008), baseball (back-to-back in 2013 and 2014), boys swimming (2013, 2014) and boys water polo (five straight league titles). 

Congratulations to all the Malibu student-athletes for a memorable 2014 sports year. Let’s do it again in 2015! 

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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