About Steve Ramirez

Steve Ramirez has covered prep sports for San Gabriel Valley Newspapers since 1989.

CIF State Wrestling Championships: San Marino’s Julian Flores wins state title

By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
Julian Flores, along with brothers Zander and Evan Wick, were the core of San Marino High School’s rise from afterthought to one of the top wrestling programs in the state.
Saturday, Flores climbed the highest mountain, scoring the 132-pound title at the CIF State wrestling championships at Rabobank Arena.
He’s San Marino’s first state champion.

“It’s unbelievable,” Flores said. “I really didn’t have a good postseason, but it all matters here in March. I just let it go. It was amazing.”
Flores title capped a stellar day for San Marino, which also had Zander Wick place second at 145, with Zander Silva (113), Luke Troy (152) and Evan Wick (138) all earning top-eight medals.
But Saturday was all about Flores, who opened the day with a 5-2 win over Pitman’s Angel Velasquez in the semifinals before scoring a 3-1 win over Mission Oak’s Jaden Enriquez in the final.
He used an escape with 1:25 left in regulation to force overtime before taking down Enriquez early in the extra period for the win.
“I wasn’t really panicking,” Flores said. “I knew I would get a takedown some how. I didn’t know what I was going to do exactly, but I just hit on something.”
Zander Wick, after beating Palm Desert’s Anthony Mantanona in the semifinals, was hoping to join his teammate atop the podium. But was denied by Poway’s Ralphy Tovar, 5-0.
“He definitely knew what I was going to do,” Wick said. He slowed me down and I couldn’t get any of my offense. I tried my all, but it just wasn’t good enough.
“As far as the season, I did really well this year. I didn’t place here last year. To make it to the finals is a huge accomplishment, but it’s always a bummer when you lose in the finals.”
It was also a strong weekend for area competitors, who scored 10 medals. The others were San Dimas’ David Gonzalez (113, third), San Marino’s Silva (113, fifth), Wick (138, fourth) and Troy (152, third); Northview’s Richie Casillas (120, seventh) and Ricky Padilla (160, sixth); Sonora’s Russell Rohlfing (126, sixth) and Bishop Amat’s Nigel Ruiz (145, seventh).
Gonzalez fought back from 6-3 loss to Clovis’ Justin Meija in Friday’s quarterfinals to win four consecutive bouts on Saturday. He beat De La Salle’s Donovin Guerrero, 4-2, to take third.
“(Third is) the closest thing you can get in the consolation bracket,” Gonzalez said. “I came here to take first. Lost a tough one in the quarterfinals yesterday, and came back strong today.
“Once you lose, you can’t do any better. I wrestled my heart out. I can believe how fast these past four years have flown by. Everything worked out the way it did.”
Northview’s Joe Dominguez (145) and Damien’s Patrick Sanchez (285) lost in the consolation fifth round and will not medal.


David Gonzalez, San Dimas, 3rd
Zander Silva, San Marino, 5th
Richie Casillas, Northview, 7th
Russell Rohlfing, Sonora, 6th
Julian Flores, San Marino, Champion
Evan Wick, San Marino 4th
Zander Wick, San Marino, 2nd
Nigel Ruiz, Bishop Amat, 7th
Luke Troy, San Marino, 3rd
Ricky Padilla, Northview, 6th

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Wrestling: San Marino wins 2015 CIF-SS Masters title; Arroyo’s Jackie Quinones wins girls state title

Zander Wick, from San Marino, celebrates after defeating Corona Santiago's Jeremy Thomas during their 145 pound match Saturda at the CIF-SS Master Meet at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario February 28, 2015. (Will Lester/Staff Photographer)

Zander Wick, from San Marino, celebrates after defeating Corona Santiago’s Jeremy Thomas during their 145 pound match Saturda at the CIF-SS Master Meet at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario February 28, 2015. (Will Lester/Staff Photographer)

By Stephen Ramirez

San Marino High School had big expectations entering the 2015 wrestling season.
The Titans lived up to that billing Saturday.
San Marino, a few years removed from being the doormat in the Rio Hondo League, is the best in Southern California after taking the CIF-Southern Section Masters title in dominating fashion at Citizen’s Business Bank Arena.

The Titans, led by two-time Masters champion Zander Wick (145 pounds) scored four individual championships and had six qualifiers to the CIF State championships en route to a first-place finish, St. John Bosco was second with Northview third. The Titans and Vikings each qualified six competitors to next weekend’s state championships, scheduled for Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
The other individual champions for San Marino were Zander Silva (113), Julian Flores (132) and Luke Troy (152).
“We did really well,” said Wick, who won at 126 last season. “It was awesome. It’s amazing, because three years ago we weren’t even league champions, we were like last in our league. We got good coaches to come in and we got a lot better.

“Nobody would have thought back then we could come in and take first at Masters. It’s great.”
The rest of the area had a pretty solid day as well, with six champions. The other two were Northview’s Richie Casillas (120) and Ricky Padilla (160). The area qualified 21 to next week’s state championships.

The other area qualifiers were Montebello’s Nico Gomez (103, fifth); Bishop Amat’s Eddie Flores (103, seventh) and Nigel Ruiz (145, fourth); San Dimas’ David Gonzalez (113, second); Sonora’s Russell Rohlfing (126, third) and Josh Kawaguchi (132, second); Northview’s Andres Hooper (126, sixth), Andres Estrada (132, fourth), Joe Dominguez (145, third) and Roger Arce (170, fifth); California’s Richard Pocock (132, fifth); San Marino’s Evan Wick (138, second) and Aaron Padilla (160, third); Charter Oak’s Antonio Zavala (152, seventh) and Damien’s Patrick Sanchez (285).

Zander Wick was one of two from the area to repeat as Master champions. He was joined by Padilla, who won at 152 last season.
Wick, ranked No. 3 in the state, beat No. 2 Jeremy Thomas, of Corona Santiago, 7-2. He led 3-2 late getting a takedown and near-fall to win by 5.
“My match was very tough,” Wick said. “He had me on a single leg, and I can’t remember what I did but I was able to put him on his back to win 7-2.”
Padilla was steady in beating Hemet’s Caleb Wilson, 3-0.
“It’s a great feeling to be two-time Masters champion,” Padilla said. “Not too many people have done it. It’s a tough section, so its real good.”

It was mission accomplished for Arroyo High School’s Jackie Quinones Saturday.
The senior had a season-long of goal of winning CIF-Southern Section and CIF state wrestling titles this season. She accomplished the former two weeks ago and finished off the aspiration by winning at 189 pounds at the CIF State championships at Visalia Convention Center.
Quinones’ title quest was the area highlight, which also included Northview finishing second for the second consecutive season.
The Vikings, who won a state title in 2013, had three competitors score a top-eight medal. They were Izzy Valles (137, second), Deidra Valles (150, fifth) and Azusenna Molina (170, second).
The area had 10 athletes win medals. The others were Walnut’s Alyssa Barredo (101, second) and Mia Dow (121, fourth); California’s Nadia Escamilla (111, sixth); West Covina’s Jennifer Lopez (116, seventh); Arroyo’s Lesly Ramirez (150, sixth) and San Dimas’ Daishea Jaime (121, second).

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Girls Soccer: Maranatha wraps up Olympic League with 1-0 win over Whittier Christian

 Maranatha's Morgan Howe (C) (12) with the header past Whittier Christian's Tania Amaya (4) in the first half of a prep soccer match at Maranatha High School in Pasadena, Calif., on Tuesday, February 10, 2015. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

Maranatha’s Morgan Howe (C) (12) with the header past Whittier Christian’s Tania Amaya (4) in the first half of a prep soccer match at Maranatha High School in Pasadena, Calif., on Tuesday, February 10, 2015. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

By Stephen Ramirez

PASADENA — Maranatha High School wasted an opportunity to win the Olympic League girls soccer title last season. The Minutemen made sure Tuesday it wouldn’t happen again.
Alexis Phillips scored in the 52nd minute and Maranatha secured the league championship with a 1-0 victory over visiting Whittier Christian.
The Minutemen, ranked No. 3 in CIF-Southern Section Division 6, held a 20-5 advantage in shots to improve to 16-5-2 overall and 6-0-1 in the Olympic League. They close the regular season with a home game vs. Heritage Christian on Thursday.
Shiloh Moore stopped eight shots for Whittier Christian, which slipped to 10-9-2 and 4-2-1 in league play. The Heralds host Valley Christian on Thursday.

Maranatha’s Alexis Phillips: “The big thing for us was that we wanted to secure league. We didn’t last year and we had it taken away from us. Our coach wanted us to possess and switch and in the second half and we did it.”

Whittier Christian’s Shiloh Moore: “(Maranatha) had speed on us. I thought we played well together as a team. I’m really proud of my team. We’ve come a long way from last year.”

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Wrestling: Northview, San Marino receive top seeds for dual championships

By Stephen Ramirez
Northview and San Marino, arguably the top two wrestling teams in the area, received top seeds in their respective divisions when the CIF-Southern Section released pairings Thursday for Saturday’s the dual championships.
The Vikings, who won a dual title last season, are No. 1 in the Central Division, with San Marino taking the top spot in the Western Division.
The 16-team tournaments will be Saturday at selected sites. Preliminary rounds begin at 11 a.m., with the finals slated for 7:15 p.m. The six host sites are Alta Loma High School (Central), Marina (Coastal), Carter (Eastern), Dos Pueblos (Northern), Redondo (Southern) and Millikan (Western).

Northview has a bye in the first round and will face the winner of Colton and Norte Vista in the quarterfinals. Other area first-round matchups are Bonita vs. Walnut, San Dimas vs. No. 3 Ayala; Hillcrest vs. Charter Oak and Diamond Bar vs. No. 2 Bloomington.
San Marino faces Lakewood in the first round of the Western Division. Other area first-round matchups are Arroyo vs. California; Montebello vs. Millikan; La Canada vs. Gabrielino and Santa Fe vs. No. 2 Downey.
Bishop Amat is No. 2 in the Northern Division and faces Channel Islands in the first round.
Bassett, which won its first league title in nine seasons with a Miramonte League championship, is no. 3 in the Southern Division. The Olympians face Fillmore in the first round. The other area first-round matchup is Montview League champion Duarte vs. La Puente,
Sonora, which won the Freeway League, faces San Clemente in Coastal first-round matchup.
Northview will host the CIF-SS Eastern Region girls wrestling championships on Saturday.
The event features some of the top competitors in the area. Preliminary rounds are slated to begin at 10 a.m., with the finals scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
Other regionals are slated for Tustin, Pioneer Valley and Upland high schools. The CIF-SS finals are scheduled for next weekend at Roosevelt High School, with the state finals slated for Visalia Convention Center on Feb. 27-28.
Regional host Northview, which won the CIF-SS meet last season, is led by seniors Izzy Valles (137 pounds) and Daisy Velasquez (143) and sophomore Deidra Valles (150).
Other key area athletes competing are El Monte’s Brianne Penunuri (101) and krissiana Fregoso (11); San Dimas’ Haley Valez (116), Daishea Jaime (121) and Monique Barajas (126); Walnut’s Alyssa Barredo (101), Lauren Cuellar (111) and Sarah Arellano (131); Sierra Vista’s Angelica Ochoa (160) and West Covina’s Jennifer Lopez (116).

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Friday Night Final: Pasadena Poly is the last team standing; St. Francis, Monrovia, Maranatha, San Marino eliminated

Charter Oak surrounded San Marino on Friday.  (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz/Pasadena Star-News)

Charter Oak surrounded San Marino on Friday.
(Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz/Pasadena Star-News)

SAN MARINO — Charter Oak High School’s football team found itself in the shootout most expected on Friday night against San Marino. And in the end, the Chargers were the ones who didn’t run out of ammo.
Zion Echols rushed for 302 yards and five touchdowns as the Chargers withstood two rallies by host San Marino to post a 49-31 win and punch their ticket into next week’s CIF-Southern Section Central Division semifinals.
“Tonight, the team that throws the ball a lot ran for 302 yards from one running back,” Charter Oak head coach Lou Farrar said. “We’ve got a lot of gutsy kids who are playing their hearts out right now and our coaching staff are doing a great job.”
Charter Oak improved to 8-4 and will host Colony in next week’s semifinals. San Marino finished 9-3.

— Aram Tolegian

WHITTIER — La Serna High School may have finished second in the Del Rio League and wasn’t considered one of the favorites for the CIF-SS Southeast Division football championship, but the Lancers, who won it last season, believe the title is theirs until someone takes it away from them.
They continued to live by that motto on Friday.
Enrique Pacheco threw for 112 yards and two scores, including the game-winner in the fourth quarter, and La Serna advanced to the division semifinals for the fifth consecutive season with a 38-35 victory over top seed St. Francis at California High School.
Anthony Garcia rushed for 143 yards and a touchdown and Ruben Rios had 77 and a score for the Lancers, who improved to 10-2 and will travel to Crescenta Valley for next week’s semifinals.
Miles Bryant, in place of injured Jeremiah Martin, threw for 267 yards and four touchdowns, and Dylan Crawford had five receptions for 136 yards for St. Francis, which finished 11-1.

— Stephen Ramirez
HACIENDA HEIGHTS — Redemption or revenge, whatever you want to call it, it was sweet for Los Altos on Friday night.
The Conquerors avenged a last-second loss to Monrovia (10-2) earlier in the season with a resounding 45-35 victory, ending the Wildcats’ season and propelling themselves into the CIF-SS Central Division semifinals.
Los Altos (7-5) dominated the game on the ground, behind a great night in the young career of sophomore running back Tyler Nevens, who rushed for 290 yards and five touchdowns.
“Tyler (Nevens) has had the greatest sophomore season this school has ever seen,” said Los Altos head coach Dale Ziola. “With the likes of Jimmy Jastrab, Sean Forge, Binky Benton, all of those guys.”

— Richard Hernandez
SOUTH PASADENA — The Pasadena Poly Panthers are one step closer to reaching their goal of playing in the Northwest Division championship game. They advanced to the semifinals Friday night by defeating visiting Linfield Christian 20-11 at South Pasadena High.
After a scoreless first quarter, Pasadena Poly (12-0) got on the scoreboard just before the end of the first half.

— Guillermo Tovar
REDLANDS — Bradley Mowbray usually does a lot of his damage for Arrowhead Christian Academy on offense.
On Friday night, he added defense to the equation.
The senior quarter back threw for one touchdown, ran for one more and had three interceptions in the end zone to squash Maranatha drives as the Eagles advanced the CIF-Southern Section Northwest Division semifinals with a 43-28 victory over the Minutemen at Citrus Valley High School.

— Bill Norris, Daily Bulletin
There is no two-minute warning in high school, but Sierra Canyon High School took that time element to heart in its CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley quarterfinal matchup against Rosemead at Granada Hills High on Friday night.
The Trailblazers took the lead for the first time with just less than two minutes to play in the first half, and rolled to a 33-12 victory over the Panthers.
The Mission Valley League champion Panthers (7-5) built a 12-0 lead through the first 14 minutes of the game. The second-seeded ‘Blazers scored less than a minute after Jesus Renteria kicked a 42-yard field goal to make 12-6 and then went up 13-12 just before the half.

— Staff Report

Pasadena Poly at Nipomo, 7:30 p.m.

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