Super Bowl: I’m taking the Cardinals by 7

I’ve made a friendly wager with one of our advertising executive here at the Star-News. Poor guy. He’s already lost one bet with me (De La Hoya “fight”) and now he wants to take the Steelers straight up. I’m going with the Cards because they’re riding good momentum, and who doesn’t like an underdog anyway? To add insult to injury, the Ad Guy also bet Roger Federer would beat Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s Australian Open finale. The easiest money I’m going to make this weekend …

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Signing Day is Feb. 4


Above: Last year’s signees from the Tribune area.

I’m gathering a list of local athletes that are signing national letters of intent next week. Go ahead and list who you know because someone always slips through the cracks. It seems every year there are a few we miss simply because we never have any information passed on from the school or the players. Here’s your chance, I want to mention everyone in a story next week.

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Melendez: Knowles situation still unresolved

I have again started writing my weekly columns that run in Friday’s sports section. This week’s column (published today in the Star-News sports section on page 3) focuses on the lack of transparency in the recent dismissal of Muir track coach Michael Knowles.

MIGUEL MELENDEZ COLUMN

There’s always two sides to a story, right?

Well, in this case there are possibly three.

Last week we reported the firing of Muir High School track and field coach Michael Knowles.

Knowles had been the school’s track coach in some capacity or another for 28 years, including 10 years as girls head coach and six as the boys head coach.

I went to the Muir High administration for answers and was basically stonewalled until principal Sheryl Orange returned my calls hours later after initially citing a busy schedule and wanting to schedule the interview for the following day.

Even when we heard from Orange, most of the key questions asked were deflected to vice principal Dr. Charles Park. But how was I supposed to get answers when Park would not return repeated calls or respond to messages left on his district-issued cell phone?

Look, I understand school officials — in this case the Pasadena Unified School District — want to cover their bases. But as a reporter I am simply doing my job by asking questions, and I understand Orange and even Park wanted some time to figure out their answers.

But to almost completely ignore our calls just makes the situation read like the school and district have something to hide.

A quick “I’d like to help you but I just can’t comment at this time” would have sufficed.

This much I said to Steve Miller, the director of human resources at PUSD, and to Binti Harvey, the director of communications at PUSD.

They agreed.

When Park was pressed on specific reasons for Knowles’ firing he cited a “personnel issue.”

“I have nothing to hide,” Knowles said. “If I need to sign anything tell me where. I don’t have anything to hide. They can release all my records.”
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Girls Water Polo: This is how you deal with a loss…..


Above: The delicious cake the South Pasadena girls water polo team chowed down after losing to La Canada, 5-2, in Thursday’s Rio Hondo League match.

Got a chance to catch a little girls water polo earlier today. There was a big match featuring the La Canada girls water polo team against South Pasadena. Both are ranked No. 4 and 6 in the CIF-Southern Section Division IV polls, respectively. The Spartans won, 5-2. This means La Canada is still in the driver’s seat for a league title, but the loss doesn’t necessarily mean the Tigers are down and out. This season’s performance is much better to last year’s when they didn’t make the playoffs and finished fourth out of a five-team league. This season, however, South Pasadena is vying for the second-place spot and hoping to peak at the right moment, which is the playoffs. That’s the reason why the South Pas girls were not done and out after the match. They shared the yummy cake above (I didn’t get a taste myself but I was offered a piece by a South Pas player. I kindly declined). While I was writing down the team’s roster I could hear South Pas player Shelby Gogreve singing as she showered. Mind you, the showers were next door and I could still hear her. She was in tune, I’ll give her that. But it’s obvious these girls were not going to let this defeat put them down. Quite an accomplishment and a step in the right direction for these girls.

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A warm welcome for Flintridge Prep’s Ramses Barden

Had a chance to catch the Pasadena Poly-Flintridge Prep boys basketball game last night. The Rebels won, 43-30, and at that game was a special visit: Ramses Barden attended the game. I have to admit. I had no idea who the kid was until I asked Flintirdge Prep AD Alex Rivera for more info. Barden led the Rebels to the 2003 CIF-Southern Section Divisional championship. Gotta hand it to the PA announcer for the Rebels who gave him such a long and warm welcome the game was briefly stopped until the introduction ended. Barden got a loud ovation from the home crowd, and even those on the Poly stands. Barden was humble about it. There’s talk Barden could be picked somewhere in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. Best of luck to Barden.

More on Barden’s success this past season….

Cal Poly senior wide receiver Ramses Barden caught a pair of passes in the second half of Saturday’s Under Armour Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.

Barden, playing for the North squad, gained 20 yards on the two receptions in the game won by the South 35-18 and televised nationally by NFL Network.

Barden, Cal Poly’s first representative in the Senior Bowl, caught a 19-yard pass from Central Arkansas quarterback Nathan Brown for a first down with 5:10 to go in the third quarter.

With eight minutes to play in the game, Barden caught his second pass, a one-yarder from Texas Tech signal caller Graham Harrell.

“I definitely think I improved or helped myself, whatever you want to call it,” Barden told KSBY-TV after the game. “I got a chance to get out there and perform in front of people who hadn’t seen me do so so far.

“My name’s in a couple more people’s notebooks and there’s a couple more important people asking questions about me, asking who I am, where I came from and if i’ll be a good fit for their team,” Barden added.


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