You learn a few things with players and coaches visiting the Tribune on picture day for the PrepXtra Football preview magazine that is scheduled to debut on Aug. 30. Jim Arellanes, who was recently fired at Los Altos, is now an assistant at Baldwin Park with coach James Heggins. Brian Zavala, who was let go at Wilson, is now an assistant at Gladstone with Albert Sanchez. I also loved my brief conversation with new Wilson coach Bob Burt, the only coach in our area who has coached a Division 1 football program. Burt coached Cal State Northridge in the early 90s.
No wonder Aram’s been turning in mileage lately, he’s been all over the place giving his opinion on summer passing league tournaments, and the best eateries on his road trips. Read Aram’s reaction to Monrovia, West Covina, Claremont, La Puente and Ganesha’s passing game on Tuesday from West Covina High
Charter Oak won the Bonita air assault over the weekend, with coach Lou Farrar offering another classic quote, “Something’s growing, I can feel it. After all these years, I just see something happening. We’ve got some kids who weren’t at the top of my Christmas list last winter and spring, but they’re starting to buy into the program. I’m happy to see this kind of growth with our kids.” There is also a good video interview with Diamond Bar coach Ryan Maine and Arroyo’s Jim Singiser following the Alhambra, Arroyo, Azusa and Diamond Bar passing game last week .
For those wondering what’s up next, here ya go.
July 9: SGV Shootout (@Arroyo) Passing Tournament
July 9: Tournament of Champions @Santa Fe and Linemen Tournament (38 teams)
July 15-16: Claremont Passing Tournament
July 16: Ayala Passing Tournament
July 16: Los Osos Linemen compeition
July 16: Arroyo Linemen Competition (Azusa, Covina, Gladstone, West Covina (3 teams), Villa Park, Los Altos (2 teams), Monrovia, Baldwin Park, La Salle, Temple City … I probably missed a few.
July 23: Ayala Linemen competition
There are fewer multisport athletes in high school athletics today because of year-round programs, club and travel-team commitments, personal coaches and the fear that too much bouncing around could lead to injuries, which could ruin a scholarship opportunity in a particular sport. The old-school multisport athlete, though, still lives.
That’s why, for the fourth consecutive year, this newspaper has selected a boys and girls Athlete of the Year, a distinction that honors the athlete who competes and excels in more than one sport.
The 2010-11 Tribune athletes of the year are Bishop Amat High School junior Rio Ruiz, a football and baseball standout, and Northview senior Khalalah Todd, who excelled in soccer and track.
Glendora’s Gretchen Jaques reached the mountaintop of high school awards today, named the National High School Coaches Association girls swimmer of the year, essentially naming Jaques the top high school girls swimmer in the country. Here’s what the NHSCA wrote about Jaques: Nicknamed “The Glendoranator” for her domination of her two current signature events, the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke, Jaques completed a two-year sweep of the Southern Section (SS) Division 2 titles in both events, giving her a perfect 8-for-8 record in Division 2 individual finals, and also won SS Masters titles in both events. She is ranked No. 1 among high school seniors in both events. Jaques was the SS Division 2 champion in the 50 and 100 freestyle her freshman and sophomore years, and the SS Masters champion in the 50 as a freshman. As a junior, Jaques broke U.S. Olympian Janet Evans’ national high school record in the 200 individual medley – a record that had stood since 1988 – in the preliminaries, and in the finals, she set the all-time California high school record with a time of 1:57.91, breaking a nine-year-old record. She also set the Division 2 meet record in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.83). She was the Swimmer of the Meet at the USA Swimming Short Course Junior Nationals in December, scoring a meet-high 94 points, and was honored by Sports Illustrated magazine in its Faces in the Crowd section in the Jan. 24 issue. A three-time San Gabriel Valley Tribune Swimmer of the Year, Jaques will attend the University of Texas.
The best report cards over the summer come from coaches who spend their weekends at summer passing leagues, and several I’ve spoke with this week have said the same thing, that Charter Oak’s Travis Santiago and Arroyo’s Steven Rivera have been head and shoulders above the rest. The way Charter Oak’s offensive coordinator Dominic Farrar and Arroyo coach Jim Singiser utilize the two suggest they’re in for monster years too. In fact, I would be surprised if come week seven, eight and nine if Santiago and Rivera aren’t the top two in the Valley in passing yardage and touchdowns because they will be among the leaders in attempts too. There are several other quarterbacks to consider, but here’s my list of the Super Six for 2011.
1. Travis Santiago, Charter Oak — He threw for 2,418 and 21 touchdowns last year and is even more confident and experienced this season. He will probably wind up with over 3,000 yards and over 30 touchdowns, but the bigger question is the offensive line and can they win against other good teams in the Sierra. I hope it’s not like a Daniel Kessler situation where you throw for a lot of yards and touchdowns, and then your team is one-and-done in the postseason. But I’m with most observers in that Santiago has been the best QB over the summer and if you had to put your finger on a preseason favorite for player of the year, he’s had the kind of summer that warrants it.
2. Steven Rivera, Arroyo — A coach told me if he could take any quarterback in the Valley, he would take Rivera. He also said if he had the same type of supporting cast that you find at Charter Oak, Bishop Amat, West Covina, etc, etc, it would prove his point even further. No argument here. Rivera’s been under center since he was a freshman, and he’s been good since then. You take Rivera away from Arroyo, they win two, maybe three games. With him, they have a shot at the Mid-Valley Division title. Who is worth more to their team than that?
3. Rio Ruiz, Bishop Amat — It will be interesting how they use Ruiz, because RB Jalen Moore is a beast and the most important piece to their offense. They will also have Zach Shay returning and will probably run more than they throw. In terms of total offense, nobody touches Amat, they simply have too many weapons. In terms of talent, give Ruiz 30 attempts a night and he’s among the area passing leaders too. But that won’t happen at Amat.
4. Billy Livingston, Covina — We can’t discount Livingston, in a spread like the Colts, he’s capable of putting up big numbers too. In terms of total offense, Livingston should be among the area leaders with his ability to run the ball, and with options like Vinny Venegas and Geovantray Ainsworth, the Colts’ offense will be among the best in the Valley.
5. Vincent Hernandez, South Hills –– Some will argue he’s as talented as anyone on the list, but like Ruiz, he’s their second option with Jamel Hart returning at RB. The Huskies also do not have the skilled receivers that others teams do, so it will be interesting how many attempts he gets per game. If all-purpose Jamie Canada returns from injuries, the Huskies’ offense will be as balanced as anyone not named Amat.
6. Henry Omana, Diamond Bar — He’s a sleeper in that he had solid numbers as a junior and is with a new coach in Ryan Maine who desperately wants to return Diamond Bar to the area’s elite. On paper, Omana’s size and arm strength make him an intriguing prospect for college coaches. If he has a monster senior year, his stock could fly the roof. I also think Diamond Bar, not Diamond Ranch or Bonita, will be the biggest threat to West Covina in the Hacienda League.
Bishop Amat’s Rio Ruiz won a gold medal over the weekend on the winning Babe Ruth team in the Tournament of Stars in North Carolina, a 3-2 victory over AABC. Then more good news came for the Big River on Monday as Ruiz was one of 40 players selected to the 18 and under U.S. National teams trial roster.
Here’s where it gets interesting: The 18U National Team Trials are running today through June 30 in North Carolina, and will conclude with the inaugural Prospect Classic. The two-game series will match the 18-U team against USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team, July 1-2 in North Carolina. After that is concluded, team officials will select 28 players for the second round of trials Sept 12-21 in North Carolina. From there, 20 will be selected to compete in the 2011 COPABE Pan American AAA/18U Championships in Cartagena, Colombia, Sept. 23-Oct. 2.
OUTLOOK: What does this all mean for Rio and the Bishop Amat football team? It means their senior quarterback misses a few practices now, with the big decisions coming if Ruiz makes the 28-man roster in September, or the 20-man roster late September and early October. In other words, do you play for USA baseball, Bishop Amat football or both? I spoke with Rio’s father, Rudy Ruiz, who said he will cross that decision-making bridge if Rio continues advancing with USA baseball. Rudy Ruiz said he will speak with Amat coach Steve Hagerty to discuss the scenario’s and how it will work out. When I spoke with Hagerty, he said the news was to fresh to comment on. There are other things to consider such as school and the length of time he would have to miss. It’s a unique situation, of the 40 players selected, Rudy Ruiz believes Rio is the only one who plays football for their high school team. My gut feeling is that Rio would opt to play football if a decision had to be made, but playing for your National Team in the Pan-Am championships in Colombia is as tempting as it gets.
This goes to show hard work pays off. Bishop Amat’s David Berg was a complete unknown who barely pitched at Amat prior to so his senior season. But he worked with pitching coach Chris Beck in developing a side-winding pitching motion that resulted in the most dominating season I’ve ever seen a middle-reliever at the high school level have. He was the glue that held things together, earning Del Rey and Division 4 first-team honors and it certainly didn’t go unnoticed, with UCLA offering a scholarship. It is what it is, hard work at its best.
There are finals. And then there are Finals.
But mere capitalization doesn’t suffice in capturing the anticipation of Saturday’s much hoped-for U.S.-Mexico final — sorry, Final — of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup in Pasadena at 6 p.m. This game won’t just anoint a champion of all North and Central America and the Caribbean and send the winner to the 2013 Confederations Cup (the greatest head start for the World Cup out there). It will also write the latest chapter in one of the fiercest rivalries in the world’s game.
By Steve Ramirez
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
E: George Johnson 13 run (Jeff Stamp kick)
W: Karl Holmes Jr. 21 pass from Nick Bueno (kick failed)
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.
After the preliminary rounds of the Los Altos-Workman High summer basketball tournament, the schedules for the weekend is as follows:
At Los Altos
1:00 California vs Sierra Vista
2:00 Charter Oak vs Pioneer
3:00 Villa Park vs Cantwell
4:00 Los Altos vs Whittier Christian
5:00 Diamond Bar vs La Serna
6:00 Loser of Villa Park/Cantwell vs Mark Keppel
7:00 9th Place Pool Play game
8:00 Loser of California/Sierra Vista vs El Rancho
4:00 San Dimas vs Huntington Park
5:00 Wilson vs Fresno Hoover
6:00 Upland vs Workman
7:00 9th Place Pool Play game
Saturday’s games at Los Altos
Quarterfinal games: 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00 p.m.
Semifinal games: 7:00 and 8:00 at Los Altos
Sunday’s games at Los Altos
3rd place game – 3pm
5th place game – 2pm
Championship game – 4pm
By Steve Ramirez, Staff Writer
The area high school swimming season ended the way it began, with Glendora’s Gretchen Jaques and Damien’s Jason Haney a cut above the rest. They keyed their respective teams to solid finishes at the CIF-Southern Section divisional finals in May, and for their efforts are the Tribune’s girls and boys Swimmers of the Year. Nicole Flores of Sierra Vista and Glendora’s Janet Pollard earned boys and girls Coach of the Year honors, respectively. (To continue click thread).
SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE ALL AREA SWIMMING
Swimmer of the Year: Jason Haney, Damien Jr.
Coach of the Year: Nicole Flores, Sierra Vista
Sam Jardine, Claremont, Sr.
Johnny Beal, Damien, Sr.
Danny Lam, Sierra Vista, Jr.
Bennett Yuan, Diamond Bar, Jr.
Carson May, Damien, Jr.
Sean Kao, Diamond Bar, Jr.
Eric Ting, Wilson, Sr.
Chris Katoh, Diamond Bar, Jr.
Michael Forbes, Damien, Fr.
Jaye Chang, West Covina, Jr.
Swimmer of the Year: Gretchen Jaques, Glendora, Sr.
Coach of the Year: Janet Pollard, Glendora
Andrea Grant, Walnut, Sr.
Noelle Tarazona, Claremont, Sr.
Emily Yu, Walnut, Sr.
Ashley Tse, Ayala, So.
Ellie Jaques, Glendora, So.
Courtney McCadden, Glendora, Sr.
Kayla Clark, Ayala, Sr.
Sammie Keehn, St. Lucy’s, So.
Christina Vu, Walnut, So.
Kelly Corso, Glendora, Sr.
What: San Gabriel Valley Hall of Fame Game
When: Friday, 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
Michael Ball’s senior season as quarterback of the Rowland High School football team was supposed to be one of redemption. Besieged by a broken collarbone suffered the year before, Ball was healthy last fall and seeking to build on the promise he showed as a sophomore and some of his junior season. Things didn’t go according to plan. (To continue click thread)
Above: MIchael Ball and Rowland were having a fantastic season in 2009 when he broke his collarbone on this play. What followed was a frustrating senior year for Ball and the Raiders in 2010, who missed the playoffs.
Monrovia softball coach Randy Medina and his entire staff abruptly resigned, basically saying the pressure and expectations from parents forced him to come to the conclusion that returning for a 12th season wasn’t worth it. “Our expectations was we wanted to do well in league and go as far as we can in CIF,” Medina 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.”
“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.”
Fred’s thoughts: I enjoyed covering Medina in MTown while I was at the Star News, he always came across as a knowledgeable coach with a genuine passion for what he was doing. He wanted to win as much as anyone, that was clear, and was a great example of what a high school coach should be. That’s not enough for some parents, particularly travel ball parents who feel more entitled, but I wish Medina would have stayed on and not allowed the distractions to get under his skin. We deal with it in the newspaper business too, specialization has made experts out of everyone, and the experts love telling you why certain coaches aren’t qualified, why so-and-so is better than so-and-so, and so on. Most parents are great, but the experts can be nauseating. My feeling is, the experts aren’t going anywhere, so just deal with it rather than allow them to chase you off, which is why I wish Medina would have stayed on. Here’s an idea for all the experts, you want to speak and make your opinions known? Any expert out there who has trouble with a coach and wants to debate or discuss the reasons on camera with me, I’m all in. I would love to see what you have to say when the spotlight’s on you.