Athletes of the Year: Poly’s Merryman, Miller top jocks.

Football: Northwest Division semifinalists, first team All-CIF, first-team All-Prep League, second team Star-News All-Area quarterback, three-year letterman.

Basketball: Division 5A semifinalists, first team All-CIF, first team All-Prep League, second team Star-News All-Area center, Tribune/Star-News All-Star, three-year letterman

Baseball: Division 6 champions, Prep League champions state-record 16th consecutive year, first-team Star-News All-Area infielder, first-team All-CIF, Prep League MVP, three-year letterman.

Volleyball: Division 3AA finalists, first-team All-CIF, second team Star-News All-Area.

Basketball: Division 5A champions, Prep League champions, second consecutive Star-News Player of the Year, Division 5A Player of the Year, Prep League Player of the Year, ESPN Rise Player of the Week.

Swimming: Division 2 prelims in 50 freestyle, competed in four events during the year (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay, 200 medley relay).

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

Perhaps it’s time to start thinking of Pasadena Poly as a sports powerhouse.

The pristine school across from Caltech known for its rigorous academic programs is also home to Hunter Merryman and Michelle Miller, the 2011 Star-News male and female Athletes of the Year.

The three-sport standouts are the first pair from the same school to win the award.

Merryman, a senior, and Miller, a junior, helped their respective teams bring home a CIF-Southern Section championship.

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All-Area Volleyball: San Gabriel’s Johnson Diep is Player of the Year, coach Chris Kwan is Coach of the Year.

Player of the Year:
Johnson Diep, San Gabriel, Senior, Setter
Coach of the Year: Chris Kwan, San Gabriel
Daniel Beringer, La Salle, Senior, Libero
Garwing Lai, Arcadia, Senior, Outside Hitter
Kevin Quach, San Gabriel, Senior, Outside Hitter
Michael Saeta, Pasadena Poly, Junior, Outside Hitter
Tim Sanderson, Temple City, Senior, Middle blocker
Harrison Tang, San Gabriel, Senior, Middle blocker
Preston Lee, Arcadia, Senior, Setter
John Phang, San Gabriel, Senior, Middle Blocker
Kenyatta Smith, Flintridge Prep, Senior, Middle Blocker
Nolan Tcheng, Gabrielino, Senior, Outside Hitter
Shane Whittington, San Gabriel Academy, Junior, Outside Hitter
Colin Woolway, Pasadena Poly, Junior, Middle Blocker

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Born in Mexico, raised in the USA. The debate continues.

Mexico vs. USA, 6 p.m. Rose Bowl

It’s an hour before kickoff and the atmosphere here is insane, to say the least. While walking up from the parking lot to the media entrance it was easy to spot the sea of Mexican flags by the main entrance of the Rose Bowl as aficionados of El Tri waited for the Mexican National Team bus to pull into the stadium. While also walking up I struck up a conversation with a few people, which started by a girl asking why I was wearing a suit jacket on such a hot day. I explained I was a journalist covering the Gold Cup, but not before she interrupted asking who I was going to cheer for tonight.

First, I won’t be cheering. I’m a journalist, and as such I’ll remain objective as with every event I cover. And any true journalist will tell you: There’s no cheering in the press box.

Still, people always wonder if I had to choose who would I cheer for between Mexico — my birth place of which I know very little about — or the U.S. — where I’ve called home since I was two months old.

To be honest, both places are dear to me.

Mexico is my place of birth, my older brother’s place of birth and my mom’s place of birth. It’s where our extended family resides, Mexico City, to be exact. The only thing I know about Tijuana, my birthplace, is where to find delicious, guacamole-filled tacos. I’ve visted a handful of times, each visit a chance to wonder how my parents crossed the border in an effort to provide for a better life. The first time I heard the Republic’s natonal anthem was, if memory serves me right, in the seventh grade when it was played in its entirety at midnight on XTRA Sports 690, the San Diego radio sports station I would listen to while I fell asleep.

If I’m honest, it doesn’t compare to when I hear, and even play, the Star Spangled Banner. No doubt I’ll hear both tonight at the Rose Bowl, but our nation’s national anthem gives me chills every single time it’s played at sports arenas and throughout. It’s one of the first songs I learned in orchestra in the fourth grade.

I hear of many who leave Mexico during their high school years and come to the U.S. and have a hard time adapting to the culture. Nevertheless, the consensus among the people I know is that despite missing their homeland immensely, they live a much better life here.

I wouldn’t know what that feeling is like, but I do know is having lived here my entire life, there’s nowhere else I’d rather call home.

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East wins Hall of Fame, 7-6 … West misses game-tying extra-point and game-winning field goal attempt; Muir’s Karl Holmes Jr. scores West’s lone TD, earns West MVP.


By Steve Ramirez Staff Writer
WEST COVINA — The strength of the San Gabriel Valley in football has favored the Eastside in recent years.
That didn’t change Friday..
Former Pomona High School standout Jamal Overton rushed for 82 yards and the East sacked Muir’s Jeffrey Davis three times during the final three minutes to lead the East to a 7-6 victory in the 32nd Hall of Fame Game at West Covina High School.
The East, which rolled to a 40-0 victory last year, won for the eighth time in the past nine meetings.
“I was just thinking if we sack them here, we win,” said Northview’s Chris Auxier, who forced a punt with just over a minute to play when he dropped Davis at his own 42. “When I got that last sack, and I knew we won, it made everything feel so much better.”

East 7, West 6
West 0-0-6-0–6
East 0-7-0-0–7
E: George Johnson 13 run (Jeff Stamp kick)
W: Karl Holmes Jr. 21 pass from Nick Bueno (kick failed)

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Hall of Fame game tonight at West Covina, 7:30 p.m., matching West’s Nick Bueno, Jeffrey Davis and Karl Holmes against East’s Julian Gener, Maurice Dupleasis and Aubrey Coleman

What: San Gabriel Valley Hall of Fame Game
When: Tonight, 7:30 p.m.
Where: West Covina HS
Series: East leads, 19-10-2
Last year: East 40, West 0

By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
The East’s recent dominance in the Hall of Fame All-Star Game means very little to Covina High School football coach Darryl Thomas, who has yet to taste any success in two tries in the game.
Thomas, who has played and coached in the game, is 0-1-1 heading into tonight’s renewal.

He’s hoping to coach the heavily favored East to another dominant performance and add to what’s become a commanding lead for the East in the series.

“I’ve been affiliated with this game twice and I haven’t won,” said Thomas, who lost as the East coach in 2001 and tied as a player in 1986.

The East won last year’s matchup, 40-0, to take a 19-10-2 lead in the series.
Tonight’s kickoff is slated for 7:30 at West Covina High.

As poised as the East looks to keep the pounding going, there has been some optimism out of Monrovia High where the West team has been practicing and, according to game organizers,looks capable of springing an upset.

Monrovia’s Ryan Maddox will coach the West and has the services of Star-News Player of the Year Nick Bueno under center. Joining Bueno at quarterback is Muir’s Jeffrey Davis.
Both quarterbacks couldn’t ask for a better group of receivers to throw to, led by Arizona State-bound Muir split end Karl Holmes Jr., Monrovia’s Jay Henderson and Arroyo tight end Sam Torres.

Defensively, though, the West will have its hands full with a sizable group of East receivers led by Walnut’s Aubrey Coleman, who is 6-foot-5. As if that wasn’t enough, the East will try Rowland’s Michael Ball, one of the area’s top weapons, at receiver.

The East also boasts Claremont’s Aaron Dockery as one of its top targets.

Line play is an area where the series seemingly has gotten away from the West. Led by Fresno State-bound Allen Brown of San Dimas, South Hills’ Peter Nonu and West Covina’s Jon Cortez, the East figures to have another big advantage up front.

The East, which didn’t allow a point last year, also should be tough to crack again this year thanks to a stellar front seven that’s led by Amat defensive end Julian Gener and West Covina linebacker Maurice Dupleasis.

Gener and Bishop Amat teammate Michael Juarez will honor former teammate Austin Lacy, who passed away earlier this month, by wearing stickers of Lacy’s No. 6 on their helmets.

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All-Area Swimming: Keppel’s Chiu, La Caada’s Campbell earn Swimmer of the Year honors; La Caada’s Lopez, Keppel’s Perez are Coach of the Year.

Swimmer of the Year:
Brendon Chiu, Keppel, Senior
Coach of the Year: Art Lopez, La Caada
Andrew Barmann, La Salle, Senior
David Jakl, Keppel, Senior
Brandon Nguyen, La Caada, Sophomore
Christian Renfro, La Caada Senior
Stephen To, San Marino, Senior
Garrett Chin, La Canada, Freshman
Justin Chiu, Keppel, Freshman
Joe Costa, San Marino, Senior
Filip Dagkovich, Temple City, Senior
Bo Mattix, La Caada Junior

Swimmer of the Year:
Katy Campbell, La Caada, Junior
Coach of the Year: Ish Perez, Keppel
Nicole Hau, Temple City, Senior
Annika Lenz, Pasadena Poly, Sophomore
Victoria Lepesant, Pasadena, Sophomore
Sarah Olson, La Caada, Junior
Bella Schamber, Maranatha, Junior
Mackenzie Heaton, La Caada, Senior
Gwen Mathias Southwestern Academy, Senior
Elysse Pedote, Westridge, Senior
Stephanie Samudro, San Marino, Freshman
Samantha Torres, La Salle, Sophomore


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Pasadena Poly’s Beerman to undergo suergery Friday.

Pasadena Poly junior Logan Beerman will undergo surgery Friday morning to insert three pins in his toes after suffering a freak injury during a summer basketball tournament. Beerman went up for a layup and landed awkwardly with his foot pointed down, breaking four of his toes. He will require three pins and will be on crutches and a boot for a month. Beerman is coming off a successful season in which the shortstop helped Pasadena Poly bring home the school’s first CIF-Southern Section Division 6 baseball championship. We wish him a speedy recovery.

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All-Area Track: Pons, Browne named Star-News Athletes of the Year; South Pasadena’s P.J. Hernandez, Monrovia’s Knowles, Hare earn Coach of the Year.

Athlete of the Year:
Sam Pons, South Pasadena, Senior
Coach of the Year: P.J. Hernandez, South Pasadena
Ammar Moussa, Arcadia, Senior
James Knowles, St. Francis, Junior
James Martin, Alhambra, Senior
Daityvon McFadden, Muir, Senior
Mayan Schexnayder, South Pasadena, Senior
Darren Bragg, Alhambra, Senior
Michael Harris, Monrovia, Junior
Ellis McCarthy, Monrovia, Junior
Sean Nang, South Pasadena, Senior
Philippe Ueng, Temple City

Athlete of the Year: Omhunique Browne, San Marino, Junior
Coaches of the Year: Randy Hare and Mike Knowles, Monrovia

Itohan Aikhionbare, La Salle, Senior
Zibby Boyer, Pasadena Poly, Senior
Skylar Buchanan, Monrovia, Junior
Ebony Crear, Maranatha, Freshman
Claire Kieffer-Wright, South Pasadena, Freshman

Jade Richard-Craven, Pasadena Poly, Senior
Kamia Rodil-Willis, South Pasadena, Freshman
Kia Smith, Monrovia, Junior
Miranda Stiver, Arcadia, Freshman
Stephanie Vargas, Flintridge Sacred Heart, Junior

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BREAKING NEWS: Monrovia’s Randy Medina steps down after 11 seasons at the helm, entire staff joins him.

Randy Medina, who spent 11 seasons as Monrovia High School’s softball coach and led them to four consecutive Rio Hondo League titles from 2003 to 2006 and the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 playoffs in 2007, has stepped down along with his entire staff.

Medina said internal issues with a select few parents proved too much to handle, prompting him to resign two weeks after the regular season ended.

“I left the program better than the way I found it 11 years ago,” Medina said. “Maybe somebody else can take it further than what I had projected on my mind. My staff felt the same way. They were very disappointed in how the parents perceived the program. So we stepped down as a group. We thought Monrovia would be able to find a staff that was better suited for their parents.”

Medina, who has coached for 23 years, said a summer program was nonexistent before his arrival, starting a program and running one ever since 2001. Medina said “to my knowledge there’s no program right now.”

Before Medina, Monrovia had not won a game in three years and a league game in nearly a decade. The junior varsity program for the first time in school history brought home a Rio Hondo League title after going 20-1.

Still, it wasn’t enough, Medina said.

“The JV program had tremendous season, going 20-1,” he said. “Yet, still JV parents weren’t happy because they didn’t like this or didn’t like that. It was like, ‘Are you serious?’ We had one of the greatest season and kids are happy and kids can lift their heads up, and that was not good enough.”

Medina acknowledge that most, if not all, coaches deal with off-field issues. But Medina said “it was this season” when the problems started and that “it hasn’t been the last two or three years or anything like that.”

“Every coach has parents that are not happy, whose expectations are not met by you as a coach,” Medina continued. “At times they’re willing to let you know and you tell them where you’re coming from as a coach and where the program you think is going and where an individual lies as part of the team, and usually parents get on and move forward, or they don’t.

“My big problem was I had three parents who were not happy. They would talk about the program behind my back in adverse conditions. I think that hurt me the most. They were willing to talk about me, about my players and about my staff, sort of behind the team’s back. And that bothered me. It bothered me that my staff was being talked about as ineffective. That’s what hurt.

Medina’s staff included two JV coaches and two varsity assistants, including Dave Hart, who has been on board for a decade. Medina, the athletic director at Monrovia’s Clifton Middle School, served as an assistant for three seasons when Hart coached the varsity program.

“That really bothered me the most that they felt my staff was ineffective,” Medina said. “When saying that they’re talking about a 72-year-old gentleman who coached for 30 years and has intense love for the game. I got a teacher that’s been teaching and coaching for over 20 years, and a varsity coached that helped the JV program.”

Medina said his approach to coaching high school softball clashed with some.

“Our expectations was we wanted to do well in league and go as far as we can in CIF,” he said. “To an extent I like the extra intensity that goes into travel ball, and I’m all for that. But the players, most of them play travel ball year round with intense schedules with four or five games in a weekend. High school is to be with your friends. It’s a different mindset. It just came down to where it felt that they being the parents weren’t happy and things got back to me. It’s a small town. A lot of parents were on my side and they said people are saying this about you.”

Medina said he’ll take a year off from coaching and could be back in the softball scene a year from now. For now, Medina will take a break after an exhaustive process that led to his resignation.

“It was not an easy process,” he said. “It was hard. There was a of just “sit down” with myself and other coached I talked to that weren’t involved with Monrovia, that I’ve known over the years and talked about a lot of things. My administration didn’t ask me to resign, it was nothing like that. I just felt that maybe right now it was best to step down.”

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