It was a banner year for Valhalla High School in 2020-21 in every sense of the word.
The Norsemen won Grossmont Hills League championships in boys basketball, girls soccer and girls track and field and capped the San Diego Section Season 2 sports schedule with the Division I championship in girls water polo and the Division II championship in boys soccer.
Additionally, the boys water polo team ended its season with a runner-up finish in the Division I championship game while the girls soccer team placed runner-up in the Division II championship game.
The section water polo finals took place June 19 at Granite Hills High School. Sixth-seeded Valhalla upset top-seeded Helix Charter, 8-7, in the girls game while fourth-seeded Poway topped third-seeded Valhalla, 10-7, in the boys game.
“I think it’s really special to have the first and likely last ever dual water polo championship and it’s very special to have both of the teams in the championship game at the same time,” VHS athletic director Steve Bulette said.
The Lady Norsemen finished the season 11-8 after posting a tie for second place in the league standings with Helix. The VHS boys team finished 11-7, including 5-3 in league play to place second in the standings.
New Norsemen boys polo coach Ken Toma did not enter his first season at Valhalla without prior credentials. Toma’s Point Loma team defeated Bonita Vista to win the 2015 Division III championship. His 2016 team followed with a quarterfinal finish in the Division II playoffs while his 2018 team recorded a runner-up finish in the Division I championship game.
The trip to this year’s Division I finals was just as memorable. It helped that Toma was not taking the reins of a start-up program.
“The guys had great chemistry — they were well-bonded,” Toma said. “It’s been fun. Valhalla is a water polo school with a lot of tradition. It’s been really cool. It’s awesome to have your own pool.”
The boys basketball team received the No. 1 seed in the San Diego Section Division III playoffs after winning the Grossmont Hills League title over neighborhood rival Granite Hills. The Norsemen (18-5) advanced to the division quarterfinals with a 66-64 win over the 16th-seeded Morse Tigers,
Valhalla eliminated the eighth-seeded Mira Mesa Marauders, 55-50, to advance to the semifinals but could not get past the fourth-seeded Hoover Cardinals following a 58-55 setback to close out the team’s playoff run.
Senior Joe Avalos led the Norsemen with a 20.4 scoring average in 22 games, followed by junior Josue Amaya with a 13.1 ppg average. Junior Calvert Esho topped the team with 209 rebounds and 15 blocks.
Track and field put together a special season. Besides the girls team finishing undefeated in league dual meets, the Lady Norsemen advanced their 4×400-meter relay team all the way to the state championship meet June 25-26 in Arcadia.