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

ATHLETE OF THE YEAR RESUMES
HUNTER MERRYMAN
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.

MICHELLE MILLER
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.

2011 STAR-NEWS ALL-AREA TEAM
Player of the Year:
Johnson Diep, San Gabriel, Senior, Setter
Coach of the Year: Chris Kwan, San Gabriel
FIRST TEAM
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
SECOND TEAM
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.

20th CONCACAF GOLD CUP
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.

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY FROM THE HALL OF FAME GAME

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.”

HALL OF FAME GAME
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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