Sunkist League History
The Sunkist League was launched in 1958 and was composed of teams from Arrowhead, Glendora, Red Hill, South Hills and Victoria Country Clubs. The first few years of competition saw many changes, as the new league worked on differences and difficulties. For example, in the first year, the breaststroke and butterfly were combined in the same race rather than being run separately. All the teams participated in meets at Red Hill, South Hills and Victoria rather than in dual-meet competitions. In the first year, South Hills came out as league champions. Despite the difficulties, the venture was a unanimous success, and the league
pioneers made plans to continue the program.
In 1959, the butterfly and breaststroke were run as separate events, Glendora dropped out of the league and clubs participated in dual meets. Red Hill went undefeated in the dual meets, and the League Championship meet was added at the conclusion of the season. In the first league finals, Red Hill edged out the defending champs, South Hills, by two points.
In 1960, charter member Glendora returned to the league, and was joined by new members Altadena, Candlewood, and Oakmont Country Clubs. The league was divided into the Eastern and Western divisions with Arrowhead, Red Hill, South Hills and Victoria in the East and Altadena, Candlewood, Oakmont and Glendora in the West. Victoria emerged as the Eastern Division champs, while Candlewood topped the West and Victoria won the overall League Championships. In the 1960 Championships, held at South Hills, new league records were set in nearly every event. There was a wonderful feeling of good sportsmanship and clean competition that convinced all concerned of the worthiness of their efforts to operate such a league.
The year 1961 saw more changes in the Sunkist League. Chevy Chase Country Club joined the league in the Western Division. The changes in teams, combined with the addition of new coaches and managers, highlighted the need to create a standard set of rules and regulations. In this year, the first “Sunkist League Handbook” was born. The 1961 Western Division Champ was Altadena, and Victoria won the East. Victoria won the League Championships. The other major change in 1961 was the separation of diving into boys and girls events. In previous years, the events had been combined. The age groups for diving were also condensed in order to speed up the program.
For the remainder of the ‘60s, the Western Division dominated the league, with the exception of 1964 when Victoria was the champion. In 1968, Oakmont withdrew from the league and was replaced by Hacienda Golf Club.
The early ‘70s again saw changes in the Sunkist League. In 1971, the league added its nineth team when Friendly Hills Country Club was added to the East. South Hills won their second league title in 1971. In 1972, Hacienda won their first championship. In 1973, host team Red Hill won their second title, nosing out defending champs Hacienda by only seven points. The meet was not decided until the final two relays. Altadena was victorious in 1974, returning the title to the West. Victoria was runner-up with South Hills finishing third. Altadena repeated as champs in both 1975 and 1976. Victoria was runner-up both years.
The late ‘70s saw the championship cup passed around the Sunkist League. In the mid- ‘70s, Victoria won the swimming events but came up short on the overall title. In 1977, Victoria returned the cup to the east with a win. The runner-up was Hacienda, with South Hills finishing third. In 1978, a close battle developed as South Hills edged out Hacienda for first place and Altadena finished third. This was also the year that saw Ed Pierce begin his long reign over the microphone as “The Voice of the Sunkist League.” In 1979, the title returned to the West with an Altadena victory. Victoria took second place and South Hills finished third. Friendly Hills won the Diving Championship. In this year, South Hills presented the Randy Ferrari Memorial Trophy to the league in memory of a long-time Sunkist League swimmer. The trophy became the traveling Championship Cup that would list all team champs since the League’s beginning in 1958.
The Sunkist League recorded more change in the early ‘80s. In 1980, the 9-10 age group began swimming the 50-yard races. In this year, Altadena retained the league title, Hacienda placed second and Victoria came in third. Friendly Hills was the diving champs. In 1981, 6-and-under swimmers started swimming in all four individual events. Altadena again won the Championship Cup, Red Hill finished second with Friendly Hills coming in third and holding on to win diving again. In 1982, Friendly Hills won diving for the fourth consecutive year and won the overall championship for the first time since 1978. In 1983, Altadena left the league. Friendly Hills won the Championship Cup again and their fifth consecutive diving title. In 1984 and 1985, Red Hill claimed the swimming title and Friendly Hills won diving and the overall championships. In 1985, Arrowhead showed up with a strong performance, taking second in diving in third in both swimming and overall.
In the late ‘80’s, the league was reconfigured to resemble the Sunkist League of today. In 1986, the 6-and-under category was added to diving, and the league was divided into the Blue and Gold Divisions. The Blue Division consisted of the four teams scoring the highest number of points in the preceding league championships, and the Gold Division consisting of the remaining teams. In that year, Red Hill won the swimming title in the Blue Division, South Hills won the Gold Division, and Friendly Hills was the overall champions. Arrowhead won the diving title for the first time, breaking a seven-year streak for Friendly Hills. Friendly Hills regained the diving title in 1987, and held on to it until 1990. Red Hill won the Blue Division again, and would retain the swimming title until 1989 when Victoria took it away. In 1989, Hacienda won its first Gold Division title, only to see it return to South Hills the next two years. Friendly Hills won its fourth and fifth consecutive Ferrari Cups in 1987 and 1988 but like Red Hill, would give it up to Victoria in 1989.
The early ‘90s saw the Championships handed from team to team. 1990 was the year of the Alligator when Arrowhead became the first team in the league history to sweep the Dual Meet, Diving and Swimming titles along with the overall title by winning the Ferrari Cup! Glendora won the Gold Division for the first time, and held on to it until1993. In 1991, Friendly Hills regained the diving title, the Blue Division title and the Ferrari Cup. In 1992, Arrowhead repeated their amazing 1990 feat by dominating all four championships. Glendora won the Gold Division and was moved to the Blue Division, where they took the title the following year in 1993. On the strength of their diving championship, Friendly Hills recaptured the Ferrari Cup. Red Hill reigned as the Gold Division champs and also won the newest title, the Percentage Winner Trophy, based on total points divided by the total amount of team participants. And, in 1993, Ed Pierce was recognized for his 25th year as the “Voice of the Sunkist League.” Arrowhead captured the Blue Division and the overall Championship in 1994, and Friendly Hills won diving again. This title marked their thirteenth diving title in 16 years. In its second year of existence, the Percentage Trophy went to Hacienda who scored more than 21 points per swimmer. In 1995, five teams shared six major awards. Victoria won Blue Division and the Ferrari Cup, Friendly Hills once again won diving, Red Hill was the Percentage Trophy winner, Glendora won the Gold Division and Arrowhead won the Dual Meet Championship.
The 1996 Centennial Olympics brought out the competitive fire within the Sunkist League. Arrowhead came out in full force, winning the Dual-Meet title, the Blue Division Championship, and over winners of the Ferrari Cup. Friendly Hills won the Gold Division and Red Hill repeated as Percentage Trophy champs, with 14 points per swimmer. Victoria won the 1997 finals, winning the Blue Division and becoming the first team to win the Ferrari Cup and the Percentage Trophy. Arrowhead took the diving title from Friendly Hills and held on to the title for the next seven consecutive years. Arrowhead also won the Dual-Meet Title for the sixth time in seven years. The Gold Division was won by Red Hill. In 1998, Arrowhead won diving for the second time in a row, and the Dual Meet title once again. Victoria again won the swimming portion of the finals, winning the Blue Division and taking the Ferrari Cup for the second consecutive year. Glendora won the Gold Division. Ed Pierce returned for his 30th consecutive year of service behind the microphone. In 1999, the league saw one of its most exciting finals ever as Arrowhead edged out Victoria in diving and won their first Percentage Trophy. In swimming, the roles were reversed as Victoria barely got by Arrowhead to win the Blue Division and Ferrari Cup.
The Championship Finals for 2000 were also one of the most exhilarating competitions. The winner was not decided until the freestyle relays; when Victoria hung on to take a narrow win and the Ferrari Cup. Victoria also won Blue Division swimming and the Dual Meet title. Arrowhead won diving again and South Hills won the Percentage Trophy. In 2001, it got down to the freestyle relays again, and for the second year in a row, Victoria barely edged Arrowhead by just 16 ½ points! Victoria repeated in 2002 with another Ferrari Cup title and also won the Blue Division. Glendora won the Gold Division, and host team Red Hill won the Percentage Trophy. In 2003, Arrowhead won the Dual Meet title, the Percentage Trophy and the diving championship, as well. Victoria took home the Blue Division title and the Ferrari Cup. In 2004, Victoria won the Ferrari Cup and Blue Division, Dual Championship and Percentage title, while South Hills took home the diving championships. Glendora won the Gold Title. In 2005, host team Friendly Hills took the Ferrari Cup from Victoria, ending their long and impressive eight-year reign of the overall title. Friendly Hills also captured the Blue Division title and Dual Meet honors. South Hills won diving, and the Gold Division title. In 2006, Arrowhead won diving, Victoria took back the Ferrari Cup from Friendly Hills, won the Blue Division Title and captured the Percentage Trophy. Arrowhead won the Gold Division Title. Friendly Hills won the Dual Meet Title. Friendly Hills showed up in 2007 with a strong team and took the Ferrari trophy with much fanfare. The results the 2007 finals meet pushed Arrowhead into the Gold Division as Hacienda joined Friendly Hills and Victoria in the Blue Division. In 2008, for the Sunkist League’s 50-year anniversary, Victoria hosted finals and walked away with the Ferrari Cup, the Blue Division Title and Arrowhead won the Percentage Trophy. The Blue and Gold Division remained the same with Victoria, Friendly Hills and Arrowhead in the Blue Division and Glendora, Red Hill, South Hills and Hacienda in the Gold Division. Red Hill hosted in 2009 on the beautiful campus of the Claremont Colleges. High honors went to Victoria, winning the Blue Division Ferrari Cup, Dual Meet Trophy, Diving Championship, and Percentage Trophy. Glendora won the Gold Division.
In the 2010 finals at South Hills Country Club, Victoria won the Ferrari Trophy, Blue Division and Dual Meet titles while Arrowhead regained the Division Championship and took home the Percentage Trophy. Victoria Club’s overall championship marked their thirteenth victory in 16 years! Glendora took first place in the Gold Division for the fourth consecutive year. When Glendora hosted in 2011 again at Claremont, Victoria also took home the Blue Division Title and Ferrari Trophy. Arrowhead Country Club was the winner of the Percentage Trophy and Glendora won the Gold Division title. The 2012 Sunkist League finals hosted by Friendly Hills was held at the Splash! Aquatic Center, a beautiful new facility in La Mirada. The Vikings of Victoria for the fifth straight year won the Randy Ferrari Trophy with Arrowhead Country Club winning Diving and the Percentage Trophy. Congratulations to Red Hill Country Club for their third-place win and moving up in divisions. The return of championships to Arrowhead Country Club in 2013 saw the return of the original scoring system and the removal of the two divisions to allow for a smoother and more efficient closing ceremony. Victoria Club, with their mighty numbers, won the overall trophy with powerful Arrowhead Country Club winning the Percentage Trophy. In 2014, Hacienda Golf Club hosted at the Splash! Aquatic Center for a festive Sunkist Mardi Gras celebration. They continued the league in tradition of fun, healthy competition.
In 2015, after 57 years in the Sunkist League, Arrowhead Country Club announced that they would not be returning. As one of the founding teams of the League, it was extremely hard for everyone to watch them go. In true Alligator Fashion, they won the Percentage Trophy in their final year. Victoria hosted a wonderful event at their home pool and won the overall trophy.
In 2016, Red Hill Country Club hosted a great event at the Claremont Colleges and Victoria once again was victorious, taking home the championship in both diving and swimming. South Hills proudly earned the Percentage Trophy and hosted the championship at their club in 2017.
Victoria Club once again took home the overall in 2017. South Hills Country Club hosted a beautiful finals weekend.
In 2018, the Sunkist League saw the exit of the very loved club Hacienda, and their class and grace in this league will be missed greatly. Glendora Country Club is the proud host of the 60th anniversary of the Sunkist League Finals and will celebrate this monumental milestone in the grandiose style it deserves. Glendora beat out Victoria by 1 point to win the championships in 2018.
In 2019 for the first time in our League’s history, Friendly Hills hosted finals at their new renovated club and 25-meter records were established.
As Victoria prepared to host the 2020 championships, COVID-19 forced our league to cancel the entire season. Schools were closed and on-line learning took on a whole new meaning. Most teams attempted to run “socially distanced” practices during the summer of 2020 in an attempt to provide some normalcy to our swimmers after the world shut down. The league again decided to cancel our 2021 championships due to COVID-19, but scheduled dual meets which allowed our swimmers an opportunity to compete while keeping the number of people gathering to a minimum. Half way though our 2021 season South Hills offered to host the 2021 Diving Championships and all were excited to get back to the competition. After being in a holding pattern for the last 24 months, the Victoria Club is excited to host the 2022 Sunkist League finals before passing the torch to Red Hill.