Our 10th Annual Bay Area 75 Athlete Rankings Honoring The Top High School Athletes From The ’21-’22 School Year Concludes With Nos. 25-1 •
PICTURED ABOVE: No. 16 Talana Lepolo of Carondelet-Concord (Chace Bryson photo)
Welcome to our tenth annual Bay Area 75 rankings — SportStars’ countdown of the top 75 Bay Area athletes from the 2021-22 school year.
The 2021-22 high school sports year wasn’t entirely without hiccups, but it was the closest thing we’d had in nearly two years. And the Bay Area’s athletes were ready to make up for lost time.
As always, our only criteria used in generating the list is that the athletes must compete at a school from within one of the nine Bay Area counties, and they must have played in a sport which culminated in a sanctioned section title or reached a national-level of success (i.e., won a national championship or been appointed to a youth national team).
This is third and final installment of the Bay Area 75 rankings, featuring athletes No. 25-1. Part 1 debuted Monday and featured No. 75-51, and Part 2 followed Tuesday with No. 50-26. Also, new for this year, we’ve selected 10 underclassmen from this past season that just missed the cut but our favorite for next year’s list. We’re calling it the Bay Area 75 Next Gen. That will debut Thursday.
All sports fans know rankings are an opinion, and certainly subjective. They also spark debate and conversation, which is why we love them. So don’t hesitate to give us your thoughts. We’re looking forward to it.
—Chace Bryson, Editor
2021-22 Bay Area 75 Rankings
25. GAYATHRI KRISHNAN (Cupertino, Jr.)
The Columbia-commit is a 5-star recruit that TennisRecruiting.com has listed as the top recruit in the state and No. 7 recruit in the nation for the 2023 Class. She claimed the Central Coast Section singles championship with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 win over Menlo-Atherton’s Ava Martin.
24. MAX SLOAT (Sacred Heart Prep-Atherton, Sr.)
A lacrosse scoring machine, the Duke-bound Sloat racked up 99 goals over just 21 games this past spring. He also tacked on 15 assists for a Gators squad that reached the CCS finals, and was recently selected to compete in the 17th Annual Senior All-America Game on July 30 in Baltimore. Sloat was also a contributor to a Sacred Heart soccer team that won 16 games and finished second in the West Bay Athletic League.
23. KING-NJHSANNI WILHITE (Riordan-S.F., Jr.)
Numerous postseason honors befell Wilhite after he was the catalyst to the Crusader’s first CCS Open Division championship. He averaged 23.3 points per game but scored 29 in the CCS final against a Mitty-San Jose team that had beaten Riordan twice earlier in the season. Wilhite also dropped 35 in a CIF NorCal Open Div. playoff win over De La Salle-Concord. He was named the S.F. Chronicle’s Metro Player of the Year and was a second-team All-State selection (CalHiSports.com).
22. LUTHER K. GLENN (Wilcox-Santa Clara, Sr.)
A shifty running back who could make opponents miss, or run right over them, did both for a Wilcox team which went 10-5 and reached the CIF 2-A State Bowl game. His 2,366 yards led all of NorCal and was third in the state among reported stats. He scored 29 TDs on the ground and added 424 yards receiving and seven more scores for the CCS and NorCal champs. He averaged 10.2 yards per carry.
21. ELLA WOODHEAD (Sacred Heart Prep, Sr.)
She’ll join defending NCAA-champion Stanford this fall, but she may require a quick breather after a July that saw her compete for the U.S. Youth National Team at the PanAm Junior Championships. It’s not her first national team exposure either after having spent time training and competing with the team in Greece in 2021. Her senior year efforts helped lead the Gators to CCS and NorCal semifinals. She was named first team All-America by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association.
20. MORGAN CHELI (Archbishop Mitty-San Jose, So.)
If there’s a betting favorite for NorCal Girls Basketball Player of the Year for the next two years, Cheli should be it. The 6-foot-2 combo guard helped propel the Monarchs to CCS and NorCal Open Division championships, leading them in nearly every category. She averaged 14.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 3.1 assists per game. She spent a good part of her July competing for Team USA at the U17 World Championships in Hungary.
19. JUSTIN GUIN (San Marin-Novato, Sr.)
The SF Chronicle’s Co-Metro Player of the Year and SportStars All-NorCal selection did it all for the 14-win CIF 5-AA State Bowl champs. His 2,359 yards and 36 rushing TDs both ranked second in NorCal and were each top 5 marks in the state. And while he trailed Luther K. Glenn on those leaderboards, he’s above him on this list due to being a two-way player that also added 97 tackles, 12 pass breakups and two fumble recoveries.
18. ETHAN HARRINGTON (Palo Alto, Jr.)
Harrington was far and away the Bay’s most accomplished swimmer during the spring season. He was a four-time champion at the CCS Championships, winning both the 50- and 100-yard freestyles in addition to leading both freestyle relay teams to victories. He carried that momentum to the state meet where he set a new meet record en route to winning the 50 freestyle in 19.85 seconds. Harrington also won gold in the 100 and picked up silver as part of the 200 free relay. Swimcloud.com has him ranked the No. 3 recruit in the state for the 2023 class.
17. ELLE LADINE (Pinewood-Los Altos Hills, Sr.)
A CalHiSports first team All-State selection and MaxPreps NorCal Player of the Year were just a few of the many honors bestowed upon the Washington-bound star. Ladine averaged a ridiculous double-double of 23.4 points and 14.7 rebounds a game — for a 22-win elite Pinewood team that traditionally plays one of NorCal’s toughest schedules. She had a triple double against Crystal Springs-Upland, and an 18-point, 30-rebound, 6-assist effort against Sacred Heart Cathedral-S.F..
16. TALANA LEPOLO (Carondelet-Concord, Sr.)
Lepolo was CalHiSports.com’s NorCal Player of the Year and a first-team All-State selection. The Stanford-bound guard was the best two-way player in the bay. She was a relentless defender (4.5 steals per game) who could do whatever needed to be done on the offensive end as well. She averaged 15.4 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists in leading the Cougars to an NCS Open championship and the CIF NorCal Open final — a game in which she had 32 points and six assists in a losing effort.
15. JURRION DICKEY (Valley Christian-San Jose, Jr.)
There was quite a bit of talent on the Valley Christian football team during the 2021 season, so Dickey wasn’t a one-man show. But he could’ve been if needed. The big-build, big-play wideout caught 78 balls for 1,304 yards and 19 scores. He finished with 23 total TDs and also served as the team’s punter (big fun for defense and special teams coaches). The 4-star Oregon commit is listed among the Top 60 recruits and Top 10 WR in the country for the 2023 class
14. GRAYCE OLSON (Foothill-Pleasanton, Sr.)
A 6-foot-4 hitting machine, Olson led the state with 655 kills for a Falcons team which won 29 games this past fall. The UCLA-bound star also added 314 digs, 32 blocks and 71 aces. She was recently included in VolleyballMag.com’s Fab 50 list of the top national recruits from the 2022 class.
13. JENNIFER SOTO (Gilroy, Sr.)
In her first year at Gilroy after transferring from Orland High, Soto won her third CIF State Championship in as many tries. She was technically perfect in Bakersfield for her career since there were no 2021 championships held due to the pandemic. Soto was the 111- and 121-pound champion her first two years at Orland, and finished with the 126-pound crown as a Mustang. She won her first four matches by pin and claimed a 2-1 decision in the championship match. FloWrestling.com currently ranks her No. 2 in the nation at 126s, and No. 10 across all divisions (pound-for-pound).
12. VILIAMI TEU (St. Francis-Mountain View, Sr.)
Teu was SportStars’ choice for NorCal Offensive Player of the Year after the San Jose State-bound running back helped propel the Lancers to a remarkable season. Teu saved his biggest performances for the Lancers’ biggest games, which included a 4 TD effort against Bellarmine-San Jose and a 45-carry, 344-yard showing in a win over Serra-San Mateo. He finished with 2,211 yards and 27 touchdowns. He added another 651 yards in return and receiving yards and set the WCAL record for league rushing yards with 1,449.
11. MEGHAN MCANINCH (Miramonte-Orinda, Jr.)
The USC-commit earned Diablo Athletic League MVP honors and joined Ella Woodhead on the list of NISCA first team All-Americans. McAninch was the linchpin of a ridiculously talented Matadors team that finished a perfect 28-0 and claimed NCS Open and CIF NorCal Div. I titles. She was also recently named to the Women’s Youth National Team.
10. ADEN VALENCIA (Sobrato-Morgan Hill, So.)
A U15 world champion in both freestyle and greco-roman wrestling a year ago, Valencia remains one of the best lightweight wrestlers in the nation. FloWrestling.com currently ranks him No. 6 in the nation for the 126-pound division — which is the weight he’s wrestling at in the USMC Junior Freestyle Nationals in Fargo, North Dakota, this month. He took third in that weight class at his first CIF State Championships in February, going 6-1 and winning every match by decision. He won his CCS title with two pins, an injury default, and a tech fall in the final.
9. AIDAN MAHANEY (Campolindo-Moraga, Sr.)
After battling nagging and freak injuries over the past two seasons, Mahaney was finally able to let loose for his final season. The Saint Mary’s College-bound four-year starter averaged 17.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists and was the consummate leader for a Cougars team that went 28-2 and won the NCS Open Division. It was the program’s first section title since 2008. They also reached the NorCal Open final where they lost a heartbreaker to Modesto Christian — Mahaney had 27 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists in the loss.
8. GRIFFEN PRICE (Sacred Heart Prep-Atherton, Sr.)
The Stanford-bound senior is widely considered the best high school goalkeeper in the country, and might arguably be in the best player conversation as well after leading the Gators to a 28-3 season that included CCS Open and CIF Division I titles. The Gators also took first place finishes in the Elite 12 Tournament and North v South Challenge, as well as taking third in the prestigious South Coast Tournament. Price averaged eight saves per game and allowed an average of just five goals per match. He was the CCS MVP and first team selection on the CA-Hawaii All-America Team.
7. HENRY BOLTE (Palo Alto, Sr.)
Bolte was among five finalists for CalHiSports.com’s Mr. Baseball (state player of the year) award was considered among the Top 40 draft prospects in the country prior to the MLB Draft that began on July 17. Bolte wound up being selected by the Oakland A’s in the second round (56th overall) and will have to choose between signing or heading to the Univ. of Texas. His electric five-tool talent was obvious in leading the Vikings to 26 wins. The outfielder hit .441 with 13 HR, 42 RBI and added 48 stolen bases.
6. SYDNEY STEWART (St. Francis-Mountain View, Sr.)
Her .678 on-base percentage would have led the Lancers if she wasn’t teammates with NorCal Player of the Year Jess Oakland. The Washington-bound talent had 44 hits, 34 walks, 15 HR and 53 RBI for the 31-2 CCS and NorCal champs. Before she hit the diamond, though, Stewart was the leading scorer and rebounder for a 17-9 team that made the CCS Open tournament and the CIF Division I field. She averaged 14.4 points and 8.7 rebounds a game while adding 1.4 blocks a night. In the final game of her career, she posted a double-double of 30 points and 13 boards in a 62-60 NorCal loss to Laguna Creek-Elk Grove.
5. ZEKE BERRY (De La Salle-Concord, Sr.)
It was hard to watch De La Salle in 2021 without noticing the many ways that Berry could impact a football game. There also weren’t many spots on the football field that Berry couldn’t play. In some practices, he lined up in as many nine spots. In games, he could end up in as many as five. SportStars named him its NorCal Defensive Player of the Year, though his position on the All-NorCal team was multi-purpose. His defensive dominance was mostly achieved at safety (35 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and an interception), but he also showcased his talent in special teams (2 kick return TDs), receiving (120 yards, TD) and passing (4-for-5, 196 yards and 2 TDs) for the NCS Open Div. champs. His collegiate career begins at Michigan in the fall.
4. THEO SNOEY (Head-Royce-Oakland, Sr.)
Named to VolleyballMag.com’s Fab 50 national recruit list with a special designation as one the Top 5 in the 2022 Class, Snoey will take his 6-8 power hitting frame to Stanford in the fall. He’ll be doing so after helping hsi club, Bay-to-Bay 18-1s, finish as national runners-up at the AAU Nationals in Florida. He was also named to the Junior Volleyball Association All-National Team on June 20 and to the U21 National Training Team (after also being part of the U19 National Training Team a year ago) on June 29. During the spring he led Head-Royce to an 18-1 record and a trip to the NCS Div. IV semifinals. During the 2021 fall soccer season, Snoey’s length made him a fantastic goalkeeper for the Jayhawks. He split keeper duties and allowed just seven goals in 10 games. He had two shutouts and was in goal for the entirety of the team’s lone playoff win.
3. MEGAN GRANT (Aragon-San Mateo, Sr.)
Softball, Basketball, Volleyball
Grant officially becomes the newest member of the Bay Area 75 Four-Timers Club. A constant three-sport standout throughout her high school career (when COVID allowed), Grant finished out her time with the Dons the same way she came in — playing as much as she could, and making it look easy. Starting with the sport that’s sending her to UCLA, Grant hit .511 with 25 runs, 22 RBI and six home runs over 18 games for Aragon. She also found time to win a pair of international gold medals with the U18 National Team, including going 7-for-16 and earning All-World Honors at the Women’s Softball World Cup in Peru. In basketball she ranked third on the team in scoring (9.5 point per game) and led the Dons in rebounds (7.0 per game). Aragon won the CCS Div. II title and Grant had a double-double of 12 points and 17 boards in the game. In her first year of varsity volleyball, she became a regular rotation player at middle blocker and helped lead Aragon to the CCS Div. II semis.
2. RAY-JOHN SPEARS (Sacred Heart Cathedral-S.F., Sr.)
Spears is the legit type of multi-sport star that this list is designed to honor. When the Fighting Irish football team got off to brutal 0-5 start to the season, head coach Barry McLaughlin made the decision to simply put his best athlete behind center. That was Spears, and the rest is history. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior completed 62 percent of his passes while throwing for 25 touchdowns and more than 2,000 yards. He also rushed for 600 yards and six more TDs. He won eight starts and led the Irish to a CCS Div. III crown and a CIF 4-A State Bowl Championship. Spears threw for five TD in the state win. Then he transitioned to his natural sport of hoops where he averaged 19.6 points, 3.7 rebonds, 2.5 assists and 1.9 steals over 15 contests. He was named to the first team of CalHiSports.com’s All-State Grid-Hoop team in July.
1. JESS OAKLAND (St. Francis-Mountain View, Sr.)
Even if Jess Oakland didn’t average 11.4 points and 7.5 rebounds for the Lancers basketball team, she still would’ve topped this list on Softball alone — frankly because she wasn’t just the best player in the Bay Area, but the best in the state. CalHiSports.com settled the best-in-the-state argument when it ordained Oakland as its Ms. Softball State Player of the Year winner for 2022. And really, it would’ve been hard to go with just about anybody else. Oakland wrapped up her four-year varsity career with her name etched across several categories in the CalHiSports State Record Book.
The Minnesota-bound star infielder went 50-50-50 in runs, hits and RBI for the second straight season. This season it was 52 hits, 52 run and 67 RBI. She hit .578 and had an on-base percentage of .687. An astounding 32 of her 52 hits went for extra bases, including 21 home runs. She had a .914 fielding percentage with just five errors at shortstop, and she struck out just eight times in 119 plate appearances. And perhaps the most important stat of all: 31 wins. The Lancers went 31-2 and claimed CCS and NorCal championships. She becomes the third female and first softball player to finish atop the Bay Area 75 rankings.