Swimmer Kenisha Liu of Ayala headed to international event

Ayala High school swimming standout Kenisha Liu will compete in the FINA Junior World Championships Aug. 25-30 in Singapore.

Liu, the Daily Bulletin Swimmer of the Year the past spring, qualified for that event with her showing in the 100-meter freestyle at the Long Course National Championships in San Antonio, Tex. two weeks ago.

Liu finished in 20th place  in that event with a mark of 56.23 but that field included swimmers all ages, including those in college. She was the fourth fastest of athletes under 18.

She actually had a mark faster than that of 55.98 that came the previous week in junior nationals where she finished third.

Liu has already qualified for next summers Olympic Trials in four events – 100 free, 200 individual medley, 200 breast and 100 fly.

Liu, who just started her senior year, trains with Brea Aquatics which competes out of Mt. SAC.

 

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Two-way quarterback battle brewing at Chino Hills

VIDEO: Caleb Arreola and Brett Borgogno talk about competing for the starting quarterback spot at Chino Hills.

The Chino Hills Huskies were second in the Baseline League last year in their debut, giving eventual champion Upland quite a battle in the head-to-head match-up between the two.

All agree competition in the league will be tougher than ever.

Chino Hills coach Matt Bechtel has some key players back at some of the skill positions and has three starting linemen back as well. But the biggest void is at quarterback so what happens there will go a long way in determining the Huskies fate.

The candidates are junior Brett Borgogno and senior Caleb Arreola.

Arreola saw mop up duty in a handful of games last year. Most of that came in a 38-7 win over Los Osos when he completed 10 of 15 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown.

Looming even larger, he got the start in the Huskies playoff game against Temecula Great Oak when starter Zac Sturdivant was out injured. It was quite the baptism under fire.

Borgogno is better known as a slick infielder for the CIF runner-up baseball team. He had an outstanding season for the freshman team two years ago but opted to not play last year so he could focus on baseball. He made a verbal commitment in that sport to Cal State Fullerton last spring. With that decision behind him, he is ready to return to football.

Bechtel says Arreola has the slight edge because he played last year but the competition has just begun. We’ll see how it plays out!

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Montclair alum Larry Gordon returns to help raise money for basketball program

Larry Gordon talks about Montclair’s alumni game and playing professionally in Germany.

Probably the best basketball player to come out of Montclair High School returned to his old stomping grounds tonight.

Larry Gordon will be on a plane to Germany on Tuesday but first he stopped to visit and help raise some money for the Cavaliers program. The school had its second alumni game, organized by Gordon.

The first raised nearly $680 but tonight’s improved to $960.

Gordon has remained close to Cavaliers coach and athletic director Bill Blades who has headed the program the last 18 years. He wanted to help. It proved to be a good way to do so while also getting to see some old friends.

The biggest trick has been finding a good day. He wanted to do it while school was in session but it had to fit into his professional schedule too.

“It’s always fun to come back,” said Gordon, who was accompanied by wife Desiree. “I really wanted to help and this was a fun way to do it.”

Gordon will be entering his seventh year as a professional. He graduated from Cal Poly Pomona in 2009. He was an All-American there and one of the best players that storied program has ever produced.

He just signed a contract with the Bremehaven entry of the German League which is in the same league as Phoenixhagen with whom he had played the past couple of years.

Montclair coach Bill Blades talks about Larry Gordon coming back to help raise money for the program.

 

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Chaffey’s Michael Dean ready to hit the ground running

VIDEO: Chaffey’s Michael Dean talks about preparing for his season.

Last year Chaffey High School’s Michael Dean rushed for 1,373 yards with more than 100 yards in 10 of 11 contests. He also played defensive back and was a big-play threat on special teams.

He was a first team All-CIF and first team All-Inland Valley selection.

But the college offers didn’t exactly start flowing in. He admits it was a little discouraging. But chalk that up to his size rather than his ability. He stands only 5-foot-5. No matter what your speed, 5-5 isn’t going to land you many offers.

But some are starting to see past the size, or lack there of.

Two offers came last month, the first coming from NCAA Division II Western New Mexico, the other coming from NAIA Trinity International (Chicago, Ill.).

Azusa Pacific, which has made quite the splash in its infancy at the Division II level, has shown a lot of interest and he admits that option looks enticing should he actually get an offer.

“That definitely takes the pressure off,” he said of the two offers he has now. “I am starting to feel a lot better about things.”

Dean has worked hard during the off-season to prepare for the coming season, bulking up about 15 pounds and adding some muscle to his diminutive frame. He averaged 15 or so carries a year ago but with backfield mate James Oxier and quarterback James Leon both having departed, coach Chris Brown says he could get twice that.

He is used to playing full-time on defense too but if he needs a break, that’s where his break will come.

He had always competed in track in the spring but did little this year because he had a broken bone in his pelvis. That sidelined him for two months but he is back stronger than ever.

His speed has gotten better, improving from a 4.48 to a 4.40 in the 40.

“I feel really good,” he said. “I’m really excited about this season and being able to do everything I can to help us win.”

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Ganesha seeks wrestling coach

Ganesha High School is in need of a wrestling coach.

Athletic Director Don Cayer has been searching but come empty so far and says if one isn’t found the program may have to be dropped.

“It isn’t like many other sports,” Cayer said. “They’re pretty hard to come by.”

Those interested can contact Cayer at (909) 397 4409, ext. 30097 or e-mail him at donald.cayer@pusd.org.

 

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Two-way standout Jaylon Dean transfers from Kaiser to Ganesha

Christmas came a little early for Ganesha football coach Don Cayer.

Jaylon Dean has transferred from Sunkist League champion Kaiser to Ganesha, Cayer confirmed.

The CIF has already ruled him eligible for the coming season. Dean, a 5-foot-10, 225 pounder, is expected to make an immediate impact.

“He will be a difference maker, especially on defense because that’swhere he has played the most,” Cayer said. “We have some skill players on offense but he gives us more options there.

Dean was an All-League selection last year on defense with 53 tackles and four sacks. Cayer says he will use him on both sides of the ball.

“We don’t get a transfer of this caliber that often,” he said. “We’re talking an All-League kid on a first place team. We’re excited to have him.”

Ganesha opens the season at Mark Keppel on Aug. 28.

 

 

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Webb football team looks to continue making progress

How do you make for the loss of a running back that ran for 1,724 yards and 24 touchdowns? By committee. That is the plan for the Webb football team moving forward.

The Gauls are coming off a 6-5 season, highlighted by the school’s first playoff berth in 12 years. Coach Amahl Thomas returns practically his entire squad but one of the lone departures is that of running back Ricky Gonzales who moved on to the University of Redlands.

“We really don’t have that one guy that is that electric,” says Thomas, entering his third year. “But we have a lot of good players and we have our offensive line back.”

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Those involved in that “running back by committee” will be seniors Chaz Salazar and Johnny Vitale, both returners on varsity, as well as Adrian Alvarez, who is up from the junior varsity.

Returning offensive line starters are seniors Tylor Bell-Rogers, Shey Newton, Daniel Heidari and Raj Sandhu. A fifth player, sophomore center Aiden Halvey started two games.

The biggest question mark will be what happens at the quarterback position. Senior Andrew Vidales, the starter much of last year, factors into that battle, as does junior Wyatt Albert who is the fastest player and will be utilized at several positions.

Sophomore Ryan Place is contending for that job too but how much he is needed on defense at linebacker may determine his role on offense.

Heading the receiving core are juniors Nick Jung and Apollo Thomas.

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Many of the same players will be counted on defensively, with Bell-Rogers, Newton and Sandhu on the defensive front. The head coach is also looking for a breakout season from junior linebacker Andrew Christensen.

“We’ll have a lot of guys going both ways but I will try and get more guys playing time,” Thomas says. “We got worn down at times last year and that was a definite factor.”

The team was 1-9 the year before Thomas arrived. It improved to 3-7 his first year, then the 6-5 in 2014. He is pleased with the improvement.

“The first year we let a couple of games get away but we’re going in the right direction.”

Webb opens the season on Aug. 28 at Hamilton.

Last year it played home games on Saturday afternoons but this year there will be three Friday night games at Damien.

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Here are 10 more players to watch the coming prep football season

We’re rolling out the content that will be in our Prep Xtra Football section on Aug. 26 bit by bit.

Earlier this week we unveiled the area’s top 10 prospects and soon we’ll give you a countdown of the top 10 teams.

Today it’s our Pre-Season All-Area team. If there is anything harder than picking one at the end of the season, it’s picking one BEFORE it starts. You have to go a lot on last year and what players are already known and there are always some that have breakouts years.

Here is the link to that.

Yes I had a hard time narrowing it down because there are so many great players from which to choose.

But here are 10 others I think are poised for great seasons. A couple guidelines – I didn’t want to pick more than one player from the school and I wanted to have representations from different geographic areas.

* QB Angel Matute, Rancho Cucamonga, Sr.
The Cougars boast a lot of Division I prospects and Matute, who will be starting for the third year, will be one of those. He’s 6-4 and mobile. Colleges love that. He threw for 2,000 yards last year and it wasn’t even a great one for the Cougars.

Grady O'Donnell

* RB Grady O’Donnell, Chino Hills, Sr.
He was kind of unknown going into last season but when Brysen Charbonier got hurt he took advantage of the opportunity and ran with it (pun intended). With the Huskies breaking in a new quarterback, he will be counted on heavily and have the opportunity to shine.

* RB Dylan Thigpen, Damien, Sr.
He’s already had two great season so it isn’t like he’s an unknown commodity. But he has a great lineman in front of him in Liam Ryan and the Spartans should be a little more competitive this season, their second in the Baseline. He should put him bug numbers, even more impressive given the competition.

* RB Duy Tran-Sampson, Claremont, Jr.
How do you put yourself on the nap? You rush for 1,525 yards as a sophomore. Like Thigpen, not unknown. But not in a program that has garnered a lot of attention recently. Didn’t want to include so many running backs here, but couldn’t leave him out.

* RB-CB Davion Gaisie, Diamond Ranch, Sr.
He very quietly rushed for more than 1,000 yards last year in a so-so season for the Panthers. It will be interesting to see what he does under a new coach in a new offense. He’ll also be a contributor on defense.

* WR-DB Leni Toailoa, Carter, Sr.
Everyone knows his more heralded brother Lokeni but Leni is a solid player in his own right. He committed to San Jose State but now has offers from higher profile programs including UCLA. We’ll see where he ends up.

* WR Chris Jackson, Pomona, Sr.
He was a great player last year but since he was at Garey, barely anyone noticed. (Ok I did because I did a story on him). But he’ll be in a higher profile program which graduated a ton of players so his contribution will be huge if the Red Devils are to repeat.

* OL Raymond Matelau, Upland, Sr.
Upland always has lineman and he is the most experienced one Coach Tim Salter has. With so many new starters he will be counted on heavily.

* LB Aidan Anderson, Etiwanda, Sr.
The Eagles have always had great players, especially on defense. They had a lot of them last year too so Anderson didn’t get a lot of recognition. This year that will change. Not only has he stepped it up performance-wise, new coach Kevin Davis also singles him out as a great team leader.

* MLB Cody Darrow, Ayala, Sr.
The Bulldog standout is drawling a lot interest right now from Big Sky type schools. But a good season will likely land him some higher profile offers. Ayala has a ton of players coming back and he’s one of those. Good things can be on the horizon for Darrow and his teammates.

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Webb football gets different opening week foe by accident

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The Webb School football team was supposed to play Temecula Prep in its season opener on Aug. 28.¬† Instead the Gauls will be playing DeAnza Hamilton and it has nothing to do with something the school did or didn’t do.

Webb coach Amahl Thomas says yes his team was to play Temecula Prep but that school had some sort of computer glitch and lost its schedule. It tried to recreate one but left Webb off the second time and scheduled Hamilton instead.

Needless to say that didn’t sit well with Webb.

When contacted, the CIF mandated that either Temecula Prep either play Webb or let Webb play the team it scheduled the second time.

So Webb will face Hamilton.

Not quite sure how you have a schedule in a computer and have no other record anywhere. But that’s the story.

And even if you lose that schedule, it would be hard to believe you wouldn’t at least remember your first opponent.

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Will Summit’s talent translate into a league championship?

Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Staff Photographer Running back Stephen Carr, who is verbally committed to USC, is one of four Summit High School players already with Division-I scholarship offers entering the 2015 season.

Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Staff Photographer
Running back Stephen Carr, who is verbally committed to USC, is one of four Summit players with Division-I scholarship offers entering the 2015 season.

If it could convert scholarship offers into victories, Summit could crown itself today.

The SkyHawks football team enters the 2015 season with four players sporting Division-I offers, including Damian Alloway’s list of 16. Had he not committed to USC nearly two years before he could sign a letter of intent, running back Stephen Carr would presumably have more than five scholarship offers.

After becoming the first school other than Kaiser to win a Sunkist League championship – Summit claimed consecutive league titles in 2011 and 2012 – the SkyHawks have finished second the last two seasons. But talent hasn’t been much of an issue, according to head coach Nick Matheny.

“With our three guys at the skill positions, we’re pretty loaded,” Matheny said. “But we were talented last year too and we were only able to pull out six wins.”
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