Over the final couple weeks of the 2013 football season, Sacred Heart Prep’s Ben Burr-Kirven forced his way into the state spotlight by playing the best football of his life.
And as he prepares for his senior season, the first of many awards to come has already arrived.
The SHP linebacker and running back was named to the All-Cal-Hi Sports football team — earning a spot as a first team defender.
All-Cal-Hi Sports said of the 6-2, 205-pound junior: “Yes, he’s from a small school and he’s a junior but Burr-Kirven simply forced his way to be first team all-state on the defensive side of the ball. He had 200 tackles on the season, including 16 in the D3 state bowl game against Corona del Mar and 17 in a big win over El Cerrito (featuring all-state pick Adarius Pickett). He also was the San Jose Mercury-News Player of the Year, which also was based on him averaging 9.2 yards per carry as a running back. He wasn’t Small Schools Player of the Year (Mendota’s Edgar Segura was) but it was a close call. We couldn’t put Segura first team among the running backs or multi-purpose (he is second team) but decided there was room for Ben on first team defense.”
Burr-Kirven wasn’t the only local representative on the Cal-Hi team.
Serra’s Hamilton Anoa’i was named to the third team as an all-purpose player. Anoa’i was the West Catholic Athletic League Player of the Year.
Terra Nova’s Nick Pierotti was named to the Second Team Medium School’s defense. The linebacker won a share of the Defensive Player of Year honors in the Peninsula Athletic League.
Burr-Kirven’s teammate Patrick Finnigan was named to the All-State Small Schools offense first team for his play on the Gators’ offensive line.
His Menlo rival, quarterback Jack Heneghan, earned a Second Team Small Schools multi-purpose nod.
Three more Serra Padres, Kava Cassidy, Jack Dreyer and Brandon Monroe, were also named to separate teams — third team All-Juniors and All-sophomores squads respectively.
The Honor Roll is also about how an athlete shines off the field.
In David Ball’s case, the senior was honored for his exemplary sportsmanship.
Ball, a senior at Menlo School, has won the USTA Bill Talbert Junior Sportsmanship Award for his honorable tournament play during the season, and three other Menlo students were finalists.
Chosen among all junior players nationwide, Ball is one of four winners who will be honored in a ceremony during the International Hall of Fame weekend in Rhode Island July 11-13.
In an unprecedented showing, Menlo had four finalists for the award: Vikram Chari, Lane Leschly and girls’ tennis CCS champion Elizabeth Yao. The last winner from Menlo was Ball’s brother Andrew (2011), who now plays for Harvard.
Presented annually by the Board of Directors of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the award honors four recipients selected from the 17 sectional nominations of the United States Tennis Association awards committee. The USTA Northern Section solicited nominations from tournament directors, officials and coaches and, this year, the section asked for selections for junior players, as well.
Each winner is a junior player who exemplifies the finest qualities of sportsmanship in tournament play, as well as one who maintains the finest traditions of the great sportsmen/women of tennis, past and present. The award is given in honor of 1967 Hall of Famer Bill Talbert, who was regarded for his high standards of sportsmanship.
“David Ball was no surprise to me for winning this award,” Menlo coach Bill Shine said via school release. “During that time he has always placed the team and the goals of the team before his own.”
Elsewhere on the Honor Roll, Sabrina Miller of Carlmont basketball has emerged over the last few games as a complement to Anisah Smith. Miller combined for 24 points in wins over Burlingame and Woodside last week. And, speaking of Smith, she continues to fill up the scoring column. She dropped 27 on Burlingame and went for 17 against Woodside.
Staying with Carlmont, Michael Costello of the boys’ team, lit up Burlingame for 24 points in a loss to the Panthers, draining four 3-pointers in the process.
Over on the soccer pitch, Ayo Agunbiade of Crystal Springs soccer helped lead the Gryphons to a pair of wins last week as they evened their West Bay Athletic League record at 4-4. Agunbiade scored twice in a 5-1 win over Pinewood and added a goal and an assist in a 5-1 victory over Eastside Prep. Also in Hillsborough, Ally Solorzano of the girls’ soccer team, scored a pair of goals in a win and a tie for the Gryphons last week. She had one in a 6-1 win over Mercy-San Francisco and scored the equalizer against Mills, before the Vikings pulled out a 2-1 win.
Over in PAL soccer, Salvador Herrera of Woodside soccer was responsible for a pair of goals off of set pieces in two ties last week. During a 2-2 tie with Menlo-Atherton, Herrera bent a free kick around the wall and past the goalkeeper from about 21 yards for the Wildcats’ second goal. In a 4-4 tie with San Mateo, Herrera converted a penalty.
That draw with the Bearcats was crazy. And San Mateo’s Alejandro Mendoza was a big reason why. After sitting out the first half for disciplinary reasons, Mendoza came on in the second half and helped spark a four-goal outburst that forced a 4-4 tie with Menlo-Atherton. Mendoza had a foot in three of the Bearcats’ goals. His free kick hit the crossbar and fell to the foot of Rony Guzman. Mendoza scored his team’s second goal and assisted on a Tyler Mucci strike.