Matthew was born six weeks early on May 25, 1990 after a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. He was medically fragile and had many hospitalizations in his first year, due to congenital cardiac problems, liver failure and congestive heart failure. He had open heart surgery at 11 months, but after that, his health slowly began to improve.
When Matthew was nine years old, he joined the Antelope Valley Special Olympics Swim Team for two years and became quite a strong swimmer, earning gold medals.
When his family moved to the Santa Clarita Valley, he joined the Santa Clarita Special Olympics and played soccer for two seasons. Matthew has tried basketball, floor hockey, and volleyball and is a team player. Today, Matthew is 28 years old, strong, healthy, and he loves basketball. Basketball Coach Brad Bowers says of Matthew, “He is always, always hustling and looking to make a shot.”
His team just ended their season undefeated earning 3 gold medals.
Ally Shipman is a recently graduated member of Valencia’s softball team. Shipman was named to the Extra Innings Softball 2018 First Team. Extra Innings takes into account on-field performance, grades, and positive off-field behavior.
Shipman, who will be attending the University of Tennessee, finished the 2018 season with a .356 batting average, 31 hits, 25 RBIs, and seven home runs.
According to Valencia Softball Coach Donna Lee, Shipman’s accolades do not stop there. “Ally was also named 2018 Valencia HS Female Athlete of the year, and Daily News and Signal Sports Softball Player of the year,” Lee said.
Hayden Trowbridge is an incoming junior for Saugus’ baseball team. The Centurions took an 8-7 lead into the seventh and final inning of their game against St. Francis in the Valley Invitational Baseball League (VIBL) on July 2. St. Francis scored five runs to take a 12-8 lead.
With the Centurions at bat, Nolan Kutcher scored on a wild pitch, making the score 12-9. Trowbridge then hit a triple that brought in three runs to tie the game 12-12. No more runs would be scored, and the game finished in a tie. Trowbridge finished 3-5 with four RBIs.
“Hayden (is a) hard worker, wants to be the best in whatever he does, (and a) complete joy to be around!” said Coach Carl Grissom.