South Pasadena’s Richard Yu is San Gabriel Valley Newspaper’s volleyball player of the year


PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Richard Yu, South Pasadena, Junior, Outside Hitter
For the casual observer, the transformation of Richard Yu is obvious.
In 2013, Yu was a recent immigrant to the U.S. from China. His English was halting and he rarely spoke. His play on the South Pasadena High School volleyball court had that same type of skills. He was brilliant at times, but played awkwardly at some critical moments, too. He appeared to be an introvert.
Fast forward to 2014. Yu can throw zingers back at his teammates as fast they can deliver them. He appeared to be an extrovert. Tigers coach Ben Diaz frequently called his 6-foot-5 junior “a beast” on the volleyball court. His play earned him Star-News Player of the Year honors.

Complete details and story:

Coach of the year: Ben Diaz, South Pasadena
First team
Ben Dalgarn, La Salle, Senior, Outside Hitter
Charlie Diep, San Gabriel, Senior, Libero
Dante Fregoso, Flintridge Prep, Sophomore, Outside Hitter
Eric Leggio, Damien, Senior, Middle Blocker
Greg Luck, South Pasadena, sophomore
Max Luck, South Pasadena, sophomore
Andrew Rudchenko, South Pasadena, senior
Second team
Joshua Ajayi, San Gabriel Academy, Senior
Jevan Coronado, Bishop Amat, Freshman
Danny Mueller, Whittier Christian, Senior
Christian Perez, Santa Fe, Senior
Will Pyburn. La Salle, Junior
Connor Walbrecht, La Canada, Sophomore
Trip Westmoreland, Flintridge Prep, Senior

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Diamond Bar’s Sahith Theegala is San Gabriel Valley Newspaper’s golfer of year

Photo by Watchara Phomicinda

Player of the year: Sahith Theegala, Diamond Bar, Junior
Player of the year: Sahith Theegala, Diamond Bar, Junior
High school golf victories come down to putting.
“It definitely is almost all putting,” Diamond Bar High School’s Sahith Theegala said. “We’re all pretty good ball-strikers. I think a lot of people do not believe that juniors are almost as good as ball-strikers as the pros. But we don’t make half as many putts.”
Theegala made putts when it counted in the 2014 season and it earned him the San Gabriel Valley Newspaper’s Player of the Year honors.

Complete details and story:

Coach of the year: Rich Wheeler, La Canada
First team
Andrew Baek, Arcadia, Junior
Nathan Clark, Damien, junior
Michael Lascari, La Habra, Junior
Collin Morikawa, La Canada, Junior
Dean Sakata, Diamond Bar, Senior
Joshua Suh, La Canada, Senior
Second team
Rami Abdou, Walnut, sophomore
James Bragger, Duarte, Senior
Jefferson, Kao, Diamond Bar, Junior
Will Moffly, Pasadena Poly, Senior
Michael Mozillo, St. Francis, Junior
Stephen Peterson, Glendora, Senior

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San Marino’s Robert Carter leads All-Area tennis team

Staff photo by Walt Mancini

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Robert Carter, San Marino, Senior
All Robert Carter did in the 2014 high school tennis season was win.
The San Marino High School senior helped the Titans to another undefeated Rio Hondo League title. He won his fourth consecutive league tournament title and then helped the Titans win their second consecutive CIF-Southern Section Division 2 crown.
He completed his high school career playing for the CIF-SS individual doubles title.
Yes, Carter played doubles tennis almost his entire high school career. But it was no run-of-the-mill doubles campaign. What the Star-News Player of the Year did was extraordinary.

Details and complete story:

Coach of the year: Melwin Pereira, San Marino
First team

Ryan Cheng, San Marino, Sophomore
Charles Deng, San Marino, Freshman
Danny Gealer, San Marino, Junior
Garrett Mak, La Salle, Senior
San Marino: Nicholas Splichal (Senior) and Derek Chen (Sophomore)
Pasadena Poly: Sachim Puri (Senior) and Andrew Trojan (Junior)
Second team
Phillip Beniga, Keppel, Senior
Noah Brink-Goodman, Duarte, Junior
Juan Cartier, Flintridge Prep, Sophomore
Henry La Soya, Pasadena Poly, Junior
Maranatha: Chris Chun (Senior) and Bryan Lin (Freshman)
Keppel: Evan Liang (Senior) and Jeffery Jen (Sophomore)

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Monrovia’s Cravon Gillespie, Muir’s Tierra Adams are track and field athletes of year

Staff photos by Keith Birmingham

Boys athlete of year: Cravon Gillespie, Monrovia, Senior
Cravon Gillespie is a league champion, holds the Monrovia High School record in the 100 meters and helped the Wildcats to a school record in the 4×100 relay. He is the CIF-State runner-up in the 100 and the Wildcats finished third in the state in the relay.
The results may not seem that surprising, but the way they happened certainly can be considered surprising. It earned Gillespie Star-News Athlete of the Year honors.
Girls athlete of year: Tierra Adams, Muir, Senior
All it took was a little consistency.
That is all Muir High School’s Tierra Adams had to do complete her biggest season in her senior year. The shot putter won her second consecutive CIF-Southern Section Division 4 title and advanced to the CIF State meet for the first time.
“I did not think I was going to make it to State,” she said. “But I kept working and kept working.”
All she seemed to have to do was consistently throw at the 42-foot mark. That she did. She threw 42-0 or better 12 times this season.
“She really flipped a switch,” Muir coach Terry Jenkins said. “Her work ethic has been through the roof. She has been a 42-foot better thrower week in and week out.”
Hitting at least that 42-foot mark helped her to a seventh-place finish in state. It also earned her the Star-News Athlete of the Year honors.

Coaches of the year:
Mike Knowles and Randy Hare, Monrovia
First team
Estevan De La Rosa, Arcadia, Senior
Ruben Dominguez, Bosco Tech, Senior
Phillip Rocha, Arcadia, Sophomore
Barrett Weiss, Flintridge Prep, Junior
Gareth Weiss, Flintridge Prep, Junior
Second team
Eric Knowles, St. Francis, Senior
Joshua Li, Arcadia, Senior
Ross Niederhaus, St. Francis, Junior
Octavius Spencer, Monrovia, Junior
Alan Yoho, Flintridge Prep, Senior
Coach of the year:
Chris Schultz, Arcadia
First team
Sydney Mosley, Monrovia, Junior
Roni Yamane, Arcadia, Senior
Claire Kieffer-Wright, South Pasadena, Senior
Kyra White, Arcadia, Senior
Keeya Cotlage, Muir, Junior
Second team
Madison Herrera, Monrovia, Senior
India Hines, La Salle, Junior
Jazmin Jackmon, South Pasadena, Junior
Sophia Saldivar, Flintridge Sacred Heart, Freshman
Sarah Troescher, Arcadia, Sophomore

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La Canada’s Garrett Chin, Flintridge Sacred Heart’s Kirsten Vose are Swimmers of the Year


Staff photos by Keith Birmingham

BOYS SWIMMER OF THE YEAR: Garrett Chin, La Canada, Senior
There was a quiet fortitude within the La Canada High School boys swimming team this season.
The Spartans did not win the Rio Hondo League title, a crown they have consistently won in recent years. They had several standout swimmers, but the depth of other teams in the league, taking third, fourth and fifth places in the league meets, proved too much for the Spartans to overcome.
“We did not win dual meets, but I told the guys to definitely wait for CIF,” senior Garrett Chin said. “That is where we are going to shine.”
La Canada coach Art Lopez said that his team admittedly struggled through those periods. But his senior athletes, led by Star-News Swimmer of the Year Chin, helped the Spartans overcome those bumps.

GIRLS SWIMMER OF THE YEAR: Kirsten Vose, Flintridge Sacred Heart, Junior
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy athletes often wear a heart on their warm-up jerseys. The heart replaces the ‘H’ in FSHA.
Competing in the CIF-Southern Section’s top swimming division, one of the smallest schools in the division by enrollment, the Tologs need a lot of heart. They have a student population of about 400, more than a 1,200 students fewer than the division’s champion, Santa Margarita. That can lead to a tight-knit community that has a large collective heart.
That is exactly the way Kirsten Vose took to the water at the CIF-SS finals at Riverside City College.
“At the CIF finals, we came together for the relays and that is all that really matters,” Vose said. “My individual results? I was not too worried.”
Vose helped the Tologs to a sixth-place team finish in the division. For her efforts, she has been selected the Star-News Swimmer of the Year for the second consecutive year.

Complete details at:

Casey Holcomb, San Marino
Dane Bell, La Canada, junior
Justin Chiu, Keppel, senior
Marco Flores, Flintridge Prep, senior
Peter Loakes, La Canada, senior
Javier Lopez, San Marino, junior
Tenny Chong, Arcadia, Freshman
Douglas Nogueira, St. Francis, Junior
Carlo Sivilotti, Flintridge Prep, Senior
Samuel To, San Marino, Senior
Garrett Tse, South Pasadena, Junior
Andersen Chen, Arcadia, Senior
Kevin Fry, Arcadia, Senior
Calvin Giang, Gabrielino
David Jimenez, Marshall, Junior
Harry Kim, South Pasadena, Sophomore
Sean Kim, Gabrielino, Junior
Andreas Langen, Flintridge Prep, Freshman
Jacob Mullin, South Pasadena, Freshman
Matt Varraveto, La Canada, Junior
Andrew Wright, South Pasadena, Senior

Steve Bergen, Flintridge Sacred Heart
Samantha Campbell, La Canada, senior
Kate Herrill, Flintridge Sacred Heart, Sophomore
Summer Otazu Micah, Maranatha, sophomore
Briana Thai, Alhambra, freshman
Yida Wang, Keppel, junior
Katie Altmayer, Flintridge Sacred Heart, Senior
Gabby Maarse, Pasadena Poly, Freshman
Jacqueline Torrez, La Salle, Sophomore
Madi Witt, Flintridge Prep, Junior
Samantha Zavala, South Pasadena, Senior
Christina Campbell, Flintridge Sacred Heart, Freshman
Heather Grotzinger, Pasadena Poly, Sophomore
Katie Iio, South Pasadena, Junior
Eliza Koh, San Marino, Junior
Jennifer Langen, Flintridge Prep, Senior
Alisha Mah, Keppel, Senior
Michelle Martin, Keppel, Freshman
Samantha Torrez, La Salle, Senior
Rachel Wong, La Canada, Junior
Sabrina Zavala, South Pasadena, Junior

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Monrovia’s Elise McCarthy is Star-News softall player of year


Staff photo by Sarah Reingewirtz

Player of the year: Elise McCarthy, Monrovia, senior
Speed has always been a key cog in the arsenal of Monrovia High School softball standout Elise McCarthy, but nobody knew it would ever take her this far.
If it’s possible, McCarthy got even faster this season. She did so by joining the Wildcats’ track and field team and the results on the softball field were downright amazing.
After hitting a eye-popping .667, scoring 32 runs and going a perfect 18-for-18 in stolen base attempts, McCarthy is the Star-News’ softball Player of the Year.

Full details, profiles and photos, go to:

Coach of the year: Dave Guzman, Monrovia
First team
Pitcher: Adrienne Guerra, Monrovia, senior
Pitcher: DeeDee Logan, Pasadena Poly, junior
Catcher: Olivia Lam, La Canada, junior
Infield: Olivia Leyva, La Canada, senior
Infield: Kennedy Cribbs, La Salle, senior
Infield: Kellie Natham, Maranatha, junior
Infield: Katy Lee, La Canada, senior
Outfield: Beverlee Valerio, La Salle, senior
Outfield: Sierra Singer, Temple City, junior
Outfield: Derek Blow, Monrovia, senior
Utility: Alexis Parker, Rio Hondo Prep, senior
Second team
Pitcher: Anjelica Amezquita, Maranatha, senior
Pitcher: Paula Damas, La Salle, sophomore
Catcher: Caitlyn Callahan, San Marino, senior
Infield: Kelly Crowley, San Marino, sophomore
Infield: Jazmin Lewis, Temple City, senior
Infield: Brooke Mann, Monrovia, junior
Infield: Kinsley Washington, La Salle, freshman
Outfield: Brenna Gay, La Canada, senior
Outfield: Allison Lee, San Marino, senior
Outfield: Yeram Park, Arcadia, senior
Utility: Cassie Baca, South Pasadena, junior

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Alhambra’s Marcos Briones is All-Area baseball player of year


Photo by Walt Mancini

Full details at:

Player of the year: Marcos Briones, Alhambra, Sr.
They won’t soon forget about Marcos Briones around Alhambra High School. The record books make that a certainty.
Briones just recently wrapped up a prep baseball career, the feats of which surely won’t be repeated any time soon. For this season, though, he was a force both on the mound and at the plate.
After posting a minuscule 0.40 ERA in 70 2/3 innings pitched, winning nine games and saving four others, and hitting .333 with 16 RBIs and 15 runs scored, Briones is the Star-News Player of the Year.
Coach of the year: Mack Paciorek, San Marino
Not many coaches could lose their ace during nonleague and then proceed to win a league championship. That’s exactly what Paciorek did at San Marino this spring. The Titans lost pitcher Jeff Bain to injury during nonleague and still went on to win the Rio Hondo League championship. It was the school’s first league title in baseball since 1997. Paciorek never let his team skip a beat en route to winning 19 games and a CIF playoff game before a narrow loss to Oaks Christian in the second round of the playoffs.
First team
Pitcher: Miles Glazier, San Marino, Jr.
Pitcher: David Orndorff, Pasadena Poly, Sr.
Catcher: Max Warren, San Marino, Sr.
Infielder: Tyler Spitzer, San Marino, Jr.
Infielder: Zack Bern, Pasadena Poly, Sr.
Infielder: Nick Carino, Monrovia, Sr.
Infielder: Fernando Rosales, Arcadia, Jr.
Outfield: Kyle Cuellar, La Salle, So.
Outfield: Sumner Smith, Pasadena, Jr.
Outfield: Juan Quinonez, Monrovia, Jr.
Utility: Frankie Garriola, Pasadena, Jr.
Second team
Pitcher: Nick Esparza, Monrovia, Sr.
Pitcher: James Giambalvo, Alhambra, Jr.
Catcher: Johnny Selsor, La Canada, Sr.
Infielder: Andrew Prieto, Alhambra, Jr.
Infielder: Gabe Juarez, Temple City, Jr.
Infielder: Joey Harmon, Arcadia, Sr.
Infielder: Calvin Christiansen, Pasadena, Sr.
Outfield: David Saldate, Alhambra, Sr.
Outfield: Max Heefner, Maranatha, Jr.
Outfield: Kyle Beerman, Pasadena Poly, Sr.
Utility: Brendan McKiernan, Flintridge Prep, Sr.

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Pasadena Poly baseball coach Wayne Ellis resigns

Pasadena Poly baseball coach Wayne Ellis, who led the Panthers to the CIF-Southern Section Division 6 semifinals, has resigned after 27 years. He will remain an on-campus teacher.
The Panthers have won 25 out of the last 27 Prep League titles, including 19 consecutive league titles. They won a CIF-Southern Section Division 6 title in 2011, defeating Oxford Academy, 10-0, in the title game. The Panthers went 25-2-1 and he was the division’s coach of the year.
“The kids who showed up for practice are the ones we’ve gone with and it turned out that they played baseball the right way,” Ellis said of his teams.
Ellis, who was a basketball coach at Marshall High School, came to Poly in 1987 to coach the baseball team. He was hired by his brother, then-athletic director Chuck Ellis.
“Baseball was my first love and passion,” Wayne Ellis said.
His 2007 team, which went to the the semifinals, featured pitcher Rob Rasmussen, who plays for the Toronto Blue Jays.
“A lot of quality baseball players and a lot of quality teams have come out of Poly during Coach Ellis’ tenure and he deserves much of the credit for that,” Rasmussen said. “His passion for the game allows him to make the game fun for his players and has truly helped to grow the love for the game at Poly during his time. I’m very happy and proud to say that I played for Wayne and that I was able to help continue the winning tradition that he started.”
His 2008 team also went to the CIF-SS semifinals.
Ellis said his biggest accomplishment was that all but two of his players have been part of a Prep League championship team.
He finishes with a career record of 470-143-4, including a 252-36 record at home.

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St. Francis baseball coach Aaron Milam steps down

St. Francis High School baseball coach Aaron Milam will turn in his resignation as baseball coach on Tuesday.
Milam announced his decision on Monday.
He coached the Golden Knights for three years. He was a St. Francis assistant coach for the previous eight years.
St. Francis, playing in the tough Mission League, won only four of its 36 league games in those years. The Knights gradually improved every season, finishing 9-18 overall this season.
St. Francis did well out of Mission League play, defeating Temple City three times and Walnut once. The Knights lost their season opener, 3-2, to Monrovia.
Milam finishes with a 22-58 record.
“My decision to leave is both personal and professional and does not reflect a change in my opinion of the school, its administration, employees, or its students,” he said. “I have been employed by St. Francis High School since 2004, a greater part of my adult life, and have the utmost esteem for its mission.”
He will remain as the Arroyo Seco Saints coach during the summer.

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Blue beats the streak, ends seven-year losing skid to Red in San Gabriel Valley All-Star baseball game; Monrovia’s Nick Esparza is MVP

Diamond Ranch's John Picazo (#13) tries for a fly ball as they play in the annual San Gabriel Valley All-Star Game at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut on Monday June 9, 2014. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Diamond Ranch’s John Picazo (#13) tries for a fly ball as they play in the annual San Gabriel Valley All-Star Game at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut on Monday June 9, 2014. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
The Red team has held the advantage over its Blue counterparts in the annual San Gabriel Valley All-Star baseball game.
Until now.
The Blue team, which hadn’t won since 2006, broke the streak Monday at Mt. San Antonio College.
Diamond Bar’s Alek Jimenez beat out a ground ball for an RBI single in the second inning and Charter OaK’s Kory Brown and Monrovia’s Nick Esparza had RBIs in a three-run sixth to lead the Blue to a 4-3 victory before an over-flow crowd at Mazmanian Field.
“We definitely were thinking (of the streak),” said Esparza, who was game MVP. “I came out here wanting to win, have fun.”

The Red team tied it at 1-1 in the sixth, but Blue scored three runs in the bottom of the inning for a 4-1 advantage. Los Altos’ James Mendez led off with a single and the Blue then loaded the bases on back-to-back fielding errors. Charter Oak’s Kory Brown hit a sacrifice fly to right for a 2-1 lead. Esparza singled with two outs for a 3-1 advantage and a wild pitch made it 4-1.
“I was just trying to get an RBI there and break the game open,” Esparza said. “I got it done.”
La Canada’s Johnny Selsor doubled in two runs with two outs in the top of the eighth to cut the lead to 4-3. Diamond Bar’s Chris Sanchez struck out Baldwin Park’s Christian Barraza to end the threat.
The Blue earlier took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Pasadena’s Alex Baer singled with one out, stole second and scored on an infield hit by Diamond Bar’s Alek Jimenez. Baer was running on the play and scored easily as Jimenez beat the throw to first.
The Red tied it in the sixth. La Canada’s Justin Lewis led off with a single and Shun Tsunoda followed with an infield single, but a three-base throwing error allowed Lewis to score, with Tsunoda taking third.
La Salle’s Jordan Rodgers got the next three batters to keep the game tied at 1-1.
Former area coaches Kevin Smith of South Hills and John Romano of Nogales were inducted into the San Gabriel Valley Coaches Hall of Honor before the game.
Smith, now head coach at Mt. SAC, won almost 500 games and two CIF-Southern Section titles in a 35-year career.
Romano, who retired at Nogales this season after 37 years in coaching, won 635 games, including 621 with the Nobles.
Game awards were received by Diamond Ranch’s John Picazo (Defensive MVP), La Verne Lutheran’s Layne Henderson (Pitching MVP), La Canada’s Selsor (Most valuable hitter) and Esparza (MVP).

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