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.