The final awards of the season go to Bishop Amat’s Rio Ruiz and Northview’s Khalalah Todd, the 2010-11 Tribune athletes of the year

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.


In football and baseball combined, Ruiz’s teams had a record of 38-5.

Ruiz was the starting quarterback on the football team and a first-team selection in the prestigious Serra League, arguably one of the toughest leagues in the country.

Ruiz, also a second-team All-Area football selection, helped the Lancers to a 9-2 finish and a fourth seed in the Pac-5 Division playoffs.

The first-year quarterback threw for 2,000 yards and 19 touchdowns, averaging 181 passing yards per game.

Ruiz helped Amat to a 9-0 start and had one of the best single-game performances in Lancers history, threatening legendary Pat Haden’s 1969 single-game record of 470 yards passing in a win over Pius X.

In the Lancers’ 52-7 win over Notre Dame, Ruiz completed 22 of 24 passes for 346 yards and five touchdowns in just three quarters of work.

Ruiz completed 20 consecutive passes during the contest, tying a CIF-SS record for consecutive completions in a game set in 1978 by La Ca ada’s Paul Gagliardi and matched in 2000 by Crescenta Valley’s Hudson Gossard.

In baseball, the left-handed-swinging third baseman helped the Lancers to the Division 4 title, belting a two-run homer in the championship game at Dodgers Stadium, a 7-0 win over top seed Palm Desert.

Ruiz, who already has verbally committed to USC on a baseball scholarship and whom many scouting services predict could be a first-round selection in next year’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, was among the area leaders in just about every statistical category despite playing against one of the toughest schedules in California.

Ruiz batted .455 with three home runs, 35 RBIs, 29 runs scored and 14 doubles. By the end of the season he became the team’s closer, and a very good one. In seven pitching appearances, he threw 11 innings and struck out 18 without allowing a run.

His personal and team accomplishments resulted in Ruiz being named the Del Rey League MVP and the Division 4 and Tribune baseball Player of the Year.

He also was named ESPN Rise’s top junior in California, and was a finalist for ESPN Rise Cal-Hi Sports’ Mr. Baseball – an award that goes to the top high school baseball player in California.

Earning the CIF-SS Division 4 Most Valuable Player award was a goal of Ruiz, a benchmark that players at Bishop Amat must achieve in hopes of having their number and jersey retired and displayed at the school.

Todd, on her way to New Mexico State on a soccer scholarship, finished a brilliant four-year career with one of the best single-season performances in area girls soccer history.

Todd led the CIF-SS in goals scored with 48 to go with 17 assists. Her 48 goals scored were the second-most in California.

Northview, whose girls soccer program was virtually nonexistent prior to Todd’s arrival, finished 20-5 and tied with San Dimas for the Valle Vista League title.

Todd was named the Valle Vista League Player of the Year and was a Tribune and Division 6 first- team selection.

Todd’s 132 career goals left her just four shy of cracking the CIF’s top-10 career goal scoring list – a list Todd surely would have made had she not been out nearly all of her sophomore year with a knee injury.

What makes Todd’s scoring accomplishments unique is that most girls soccer scoring records happened during the 1980s and ’90s, when there was much less parity. Since the 2000 season, only two players have scored more than 132 goals in a career.

Todd also had a stellar season in track, earning Tribune All-Area second-team honors.

Todd won the Valle Vista League 400-meter title in 1:00.81, and anchored the Vikings’ league- champion 1,600-meter relay team.

Todd also finished second in league in the 200 meters (25.32), an event in which she advanced to the CIF-SS Division 3 finals.

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  • USC FAN

    OH NO!!! They mentioned Rio again!!! All the Amat “HATERS” are going to come out of their trash cans!!!

    Congratulations to both athletes!!

  • Revote

    Rio is a fine athlete, but I think you missed the boat on this one. Matt Gelalich from Bonita should have won the award. He was all CIF in both football and baseball. He matched Rio accolade for accolade but should have been given the nod. Rio has next year to win this award.

  • 12th man

    “LET THE GAMES BEGIN” LOL..

  • player

    Cmon, here we go with the Bonita people again!

  • Believer

    Nonbeliever,

    You sound like a parent whose kid never got playing time. Khalalah is a phenominal athlete and that is why she has a scholarship to play soccer at a Division 1 school. To think that she scored 47 goals her junior year and then scored 48 goals her senior year is remarkable. It wasn’t as if the NHS coach was hiding her stats. They were there for everyone to see and she still was able to put up ridiculous numbers even when teams could game plan accordingly.

    As far as the “kick it to Ka” show, that coach would have been stupid not to try and get her the ball. I’m sure when Anson Dorrance, the head coach at North Carolina, had Mia Hamm he told his players to spread the ball around!? Don’t make absurd comments about sharing the ball when there was no one else to share with. And by the way she did have 17 assists so she did pass and get her teammates involved.

    Here are some amazing statistics that Fred failed to include (from Maxpreps). Todd scored in 21 out of 22 consecutive games. The one game she didn’t score she had an assist. Contributing to the score by way of an assist or goal in 22 straight games is amazing. Another fact is that Todd accounted direclty or indirectly for 65 of the Vikings 84 goals. So 77% of the scoring came via her – remarkable.

    Finally, girls will always be jealous – especially those who think they are better than they actually are. It is sad that Todd’s teammates were jealous when she would score and help them win and then blame her for losing when she did not score. Why can’t people just give credit where credit is due?

    Khalalah Todd if you are reading this you are most deserving. Well done! I know it and Fred knows it!

  • Fred Robledo

    I already deleted one comment, you can discuss athletes you think should have been considered and compare them to who we selected, but don’t take cheap shots, attack character or make it personal, that’s all.

  • Rosemead

    Congrats to both that were selected. Not taking anything away from Rio Ruiz but he is a junior, and this accolade should have been given to a senior.

    Matt Fregoso should have won this award, but he didn’t because he goes to Rosemead HS. We all know Fred Robledo has a crush on anything Bishop Amat related.

    The stats speak for themselves. Matt Fregoso was a 1st team CIF RB. Led the Southern Section in rushing yards and was 3rd in the SGV in TD’s scored. He as among the State leaders in both rushing yards and TD’s (top 10 in both), and he made the all encompassing SGV Tribune 1st team.

    His wrestling accolades are even more impressive. 4x League champion (only 2nd person in Mission Valley league history to do so) 3x CIF champion, MVP his senior year. 3x State qualifier, and a 5 Counties (nationally ranked tournament) place winner. He was also the Star News wrestler of the year his sophomore and senior seasons, and was 1st team Star News all 4 years, and 1st Tribune 3 years.

    The fact that he did not play basketball or baseball, again sports that Robledo has bias towards, cost Matt Fregoso this distinguished award.

  • USC FAN

    So what if he is Junior. Just be happy for the athletes that were selected!!!

  • FredJ

    Rosemead, Revote
    Both guys you mentioned are very deserving, loved Gelalich and Fregoso too. Also considered West Covina’s Beejay Lee, Covina’s Vinny Venegas, Glendora’s Josh Luevanos, Walnut’s Aubrey Coleman, Bonita’s K.C. Huth and Covina’s Remontay McClain.

  • AMAT 73

    Congratulations to both of these fine athletes . Great accomplishment by both and congrats to the young lady on her scholarship .
    Revote,
    If all goes well and Rio does wind up playing a complete season of football he may wind up being the first 2 time POY.
    Isn’t Rosemead in the Star News territory , so maybe Fregosi has a chance with Miguel’s award.

  • hahahahaha

    Anyone know the record of that “D1″ she is going to . . .hahahahahahahaha

  • saintsfan

    OK. How about Courtney Hine? Two totally different sports. 4 year varsity standout in Softball and CIF First team, All league in Volleyball, Champion of Charature for her attitude on and off the field. All around athlete with lots of offers to schools. Havent heard yet which one she decided on.

  • Damien Alum

    Maybe the Tribune felt they had to give this award to Seven because Seven might only be a one sport athlete next year or may only play part of this upcoming football season. I do not hate on any high school athlete and I wish Ruiz all the best in his future endeavors as his future in baseball seems promising. There just may have been a few others who may have been more deserving of this award than Ruiz and by the looks of Fregoso’s accomplishments, he may have been one of those athletes. I understand that Ruiz was a “first-year quarterback” and his numbers were impressive for a “first-year quarterback” but he was only the third best quarterback in the Serra. His best game was against an awful defensive team, Notre Dame, who’s two wins last season were against teams that went a combined 5 and 15. To say that the Serra League is “one of the toughest leagues in the country” is also a stretch. The Pac-5 as a whole is one of the toughest conferences in the nation but that does not mean that every league in that conference is equally strong. In summation, Ruiz is an accomplished baseball player, a great baseball player who is a descent quarterback at best. McClain is an even better track athlete who is also a descent football player.

  • just sayin’

    Damien Alum – you guys never learn with your “it’s not one of the best leagues” business. That’s not just Amat fan beating his chest. Take a look
    http://calpreps.com/2010/ratings/National_leagues.htm
    then scroll through that last 5 or 6 yrs while you;re at it. It’s not a fluke!

  • Damien Alum

    just sayin’

    Technically you are correct. My point is that there are basically 3 teams in the Serra League and out of the top 3 teams, Amat had the third best quarterback. How tough is it when all you have to do to make the playoffs is beat Loyola and Notre Dame. You made the playoffs last year and you’ll make the playoffs again this year. It’s not an insurmountable task.

  • Fred Robledo

    Damien alum said…

    “How tough is it when all you have to do to make the playoffs is beat Loyola and Notre Dame?” Maybe Damien should join the Serra and find out.

    You even upped yourself with with this ..”You made the playoffs last year and you’ll make the playoffs again this year. It’s not an insurmountable task.”

    An insurmountable task is closing the 42-7 gap between Amat and Damien…

  • reality

    Just a thought. If one of the other deserving men were awarding the trophy I do not think there would be any chiming in with proof that Ruiz deserved it more than others. Why? Because he does’nt. Hype wins again over accomplishments.

  • Ridiculous

    It’s pretty sad that all this bashing is going on. I really hope none of the High School kids ever read these blogs. Unbelievable!

  • just sayin’

    Alum – “technically”? Ask Upland how tough it is to beat Loyola? Loyola stomped them last season. And Notre Dame beat Loyola !!!
    All the while you guys would have ZERO chance against Upland!

  • AMAT 73

    Get down with your bad self FRED J.

    Damien Alum ,just what do you think would have been the score between Damien and ND or would you guys sue to not have to play that game . If you feel Loyola and ND are so bad come and join the Serra ( where you should be ) and become the 6th team we need . By your account all you would have to do is beat AMAT and you would be in the playoffs . When was the last time Damien played ND or Loyola for you to berate them in that manner. By the way where was Damien come playoff time last year , oh that’s right at home. You just better worry about placing in your league first , where did you finish anyway 4th , 5th .
    Now back to the subject , if Rio was with any other SGV team all you haters would be heaping praise and saying he was hands down the winner without a doubt , but because he happens to be an AMAT LANCER you just can’t seperate the hate from this young man’s accomplishments.

  • Really?

    I think you missed the boat on this one, Fred. There were several other better choices than Todd, whose 400m time (1:00.81) was pedestrian at best (she didn’t even run it at CIF), and who finished last in CIF Finals in D3 in the 200m, second to last out of all divisions. Neither of her relay teams advanced to Finals.

    As you know from reading the soccer blog, many of your readers, some very well-informed, think that you are overly fascinated with Todd, focusing on her statistics, most of which were generated against pretty bad teams. Northview lost in the first round of CIF last year, second round this year. Apparently you removed an earlier post about her, so I won’t say anything more about her but I wish you’d focused on an athlete who was more of a team player.

    Didn’t Emily Donohoe (St. Lucy’s senior) play on two CIF Finalist teams (volleyball and waterpolo), winning CIF in volleyball and advancing to the state playoffs? And Shannon McKee (San Dimas HS senior) co-captained the Saints to CIF Finals in soccer and the state playoffs, playing 3 different positions during the course of the year (both sides of the field at midfield, forward, and defense), and anchoring the Saints 4x100m relay which finished second at CIF Finals (having already beaten Todd’s 4x100m relay team at League Finals). McKee will be playing soccer at Cal (U.C. Berkeley, a PAC-12 school) in the fall. Or how about SDHS’s Courtney Hine (volleyball and softball) who’s apparently still considering her college options? Or Bonita’s Marissa Scott, a sophomore, who was Trib all-area in cross country and track?

    Fred and Believer, I think you are not giving the rest of the Northview team enough credit. I don’t think it’s fair to say that the Northview girls soccer program was “virtually nonexistent prior to Todd’s arrival.” And was there really “no one else to share [the ball] with”? But I agree that the NHS coach wasn’t hiding her stats. In fact, he left her in so she could run up her stats against weak teams, rather than subbing her out so other players could play. Next year when NHS doesn’t do as well you will say, “Oh, it’s because Kalalah is gone.” This will be partly true, but it will also be because the coach didn’t give his juniors, sophs, and frosh playing time this season so he could leave Todd in to run the score up. And although Northview wouldn’t have scored as many goals without her, they had some pretty good players, some of whom made all-CIF. I think Todd is not even the best player on the Northview team. Jade Vehawn (defense) is. Too bad defenders don’t generate any stats unless they play keeper.

  • Damien Alum

    Hey Fred,

    I have only been to one Damien football game since I graduated and that was to watch Chad May play (he was the next door neighbor of my girlfriend at the time) back in ’89. I had not followed high school football up until last year, when my oldest son played at the frosh level (had more interesting things going on in my life). Now that he will be starting next year at the varsity level as a sophmore (he does not attend Damien), I have a renewed interest in high school athletics at the varsity level. Now I root for my son and for the team he plays. It does not bother me that Damien has only beaten Amat 2 or three 3 times in all the times they have played. I attended Damien the same time all three of the Henley brothers were there, and back in ’82 when we were co-cif champs. So I have fond high school football memories and hopefully I will have new fond memories of my 3 sons playing high school football at the varsity level. I still think that you guys at the tribune gave Ruiz this award because he will only play one sport next season or will only play a partial season of football. Oh and by the way, I am not knocking the kid. He has deservedly won every other award he has received and I wish him nothing but the best and I hope he receives many more awards in the future.

  • Joe Amat

    Big ups to Rio who truly did deserve the award. I stated his case on the nomination thread so no need to rehash.

    I do find it interesting that dissenters mention his best game against the “horrible defense” of Notre Dame. Ha! ND is much better than anyone who hasn’t seen them gives them credit for and this year might have been the #2 team in the SGV. As mentioned below they beat Loyola who thumped Upland. ‘Nuff said there.

    if you want to talk about the competition, what might Rio’s numbers have been if he was running and throwing against those stalwart defenses at Los Altos, Rowland or Diamond Bar – with some preseason games against the likes of Wilson, Northview, even San Dimas?

  • Seem’s right I guess

    Since Maxpreps athlete of the year was a star in football, B ball, and track, it makes since our top valley guy was a star in 2 sports, probably very few around here are in 3 sports

  • reality

    If the award is about accomplishments last year in the boy’s ranks, my two favorites are Garza out of Bonita whose numbers were just ridiculous and came up huge in EVERY big game he pitched. Those numbers will be hard to repeat in any year. Also McClain out of Covina who competed on a National scale regularly. The statistics and the performance of these two guys especially when the pressure of the spotlight was shone directly on them makes either one a far better choice. I honestly believe that the potential of Ruiz at the next level as well as the attention he gets from scouts is the reason for giving him the award, but if its about what someone did last year its one of these other two.

  • Fred Robledo

    Believer, I’ve watched enough soccer to know how difficult it is for a player to score 48 goals with 17 assists. I don’t care what league you’re in, if it was easy, more would do it. Why you would come on here and minimize her accomplishments speaks to whatever agenda you have .. I don’t have an agenda, I’ve seen her and know how good she is.

    To say she’s not the best on her team … that’s just silly. And to say her coach left her in to run up the score, not buying it, nothing wrong with leaving your best player on the field, especially with a player chasing history on a winning team. I would have loved to hear you tell Glendora coach Mike LeDuc to take Tracy Murray out when he was averaging 45 points a game and chasing the state single season scoring record. Everyone loved it, it was probably the most exciting time ever for SGV basketball fans. But I guess you would have been upset with LeDuc for not giving other players some minutes? Or upset with Murray for not passing the ball? Some of us still like to watch the best players do their thing.

  • Really?

    Fred,

    It’s not hate talk. I’m didn’t say Todd was a bad player. I am just trying to give recognition where it’s due, not only for the other athletes I listed but for one of Todd’s own teammates.

    It’s so hard for good defensive players to get any recognition at all. So many people just look at stats. Who generates stats? Forwards, some midfielders, and keepers mainly. The back line? They don’t get any recognition unless someone is there to see them make a great play. I have seen Jade Vehawn make some amazing plays. Amazing! Yet because she plays defense she gets very little recognition at all. The back line often makes the keeper look good (shutouts, etc.). I don’t know if this is true but I have heard soccer coaches say that you should put your worst players at forward and your best players at defense. If the forward messes up, oh well. Goal not scored. If the defense messes up, goal scored.

    Again, my point was to give some other athletes some much-deserved recognition, including Todd’s own teammate, to speak up for soccer defenders, and also to speak up for Northview’s soccer program and Todd’s other teammates. Great season, Jade!

  • FredJ

    Players of the year are usually forwards or attacking players because it’s the most difficult thing to do. I don’t care if the best defender in the world played on Barcelona, Messi is still the best player because he creates scoring chances and finishes, the two most difficult things to do.

    If you heard coaches say you put your worst players on offense and your best on defense, i.e., suggesting that is why Todd was up front, again, that’s silly.

    If you matched the area’s 11 best forwards against the 11 best defenders, you would have a lopsided game. It’s much easier converting a forward into a quality defender than turning a quality defender into a dangerous striker. In fact, as the level of soccer increases, you’ll find that most defenders are former forwards for that very reason. But the great attacking players remain where they’re.

  • Really?

    Fred,

    Again, my point was to give some other athletes some much-deserved recognition, including Todd’s own teammate, to speak up for soccer defenders, and also to speak up for Northview’s soccer program and Todd’s other teammates. Great season, Jade!

  • FredJ

    Well I guess that’s just your way of congratulating someone, good for you.

  • There r 3 sport guys here

    actually, if u look at Melendez’s blog below the top athlete’s in the west both are 3 sport leaders

  • amat oldschooler

    @Damian guy.I remember when Amat played Damian in 82.Randy tanner put up some big numbers at receiver and pernell taylor ran for big yards.Amat killed Damian that year.

  • i<3soccer#5

    i agree! khalalah todd is a phenomenal player! and she deserves every type of recongnition that she was given! a player with so much talent and heart deserves to recieve this award! people who havnt seen her perform but yet have the nerve to still talk about her should be ashamed,id know because i played side by side w/her and exerianced every minute of italong her side. and yes some athletes should of been recognized, but if they wanted that recogniton soo bad they should of busted there butt just as hard as she did, putting in the EXTRA effort instead of complaining how they never did get regonized! so congradulations to you khalalah! im soo proud of you! and cant wait to see you excell at New Mexico State!

  • saintsgirlsr4real2

    You want to talk three sports? How many three sport varsity girls did we have in the valley this year? I happen to know of one, the goalie who took the Saints to the final, played Tennis on the VVL league team as a starting doubles player and who decided to try throwing when the softball coach refused to take her up and although she was not a great thrower, she at least tried even though she got to track way late because of their soccer run to the finals. AND BTW McKee didnt get to start running till way late either because of soccer. All you small school haters out there should be aware that when kids play two or three sports they have a very short time to prepare for the next sport. But boy do our kids thrive in the small school environment. My DD is going to a small D2. See you at graduation in FOUR years!!!

  • prettysmith

    to: i<3soccer#5
    Oh mom, quit blogging about your girl! And are you that excited that she is going to a school that went 1-6-1 in league last year? you go with that babe and hope that she gets a good education because I dont see her on the national team or a pro team in the future. Well, maybe the St Louis Swamp Rats!! BTW – I am not one of the “bench sitters” but a starter on a team that knows how to stop KT.

  • Are You Kidding!?

    Really?

    You need to stop drinking the Jade Vehawn kool-aide. First of all I am not going to bash a player to make someone else look good. Jade is a good athlete. She is a good defender. But to say she was the best player on her team is absurd. I agree with Fred when he says it takes a special athlete to put the ball in the back of the net. Anyone can kick the ball out, but it takes a phenomenal athlete to kick the ball in (score goals).

    I have been a fan of Northview for years and I have seen both Vehawn and Todd play. There is no comparison. In fact, when Todd was injured her freshman year and recovering her sophomore year, Vehawn had the opportunity to play lots of forward and she was decent, but no where near the playmaker Khalalah was and is. Don’t you think that if Vehawn was a scorer, the NHS coach would have played her there!?

    And what is all this about Jade not getting credit? As far as I know she was recognized as 1st team All CIF Div 6 along with Todd and 1st Team All League with Todd being recognized as the Valle Vista League MVP. I think the coach did a pretty good job of making sure his best defender had just as much recognition as Todd. What else is Jade to be recognized for?

    It is true that people look at stats and Khalalah’s stats are amazing. She played at the highest level of club soccer one can play. Did Vehawn? Probably not. Khalalah is going to play D1 soccer on a scholarship. Is Vehawn? Haven’t heard anything about her -so again probably not. So while you can have your opinion about Jade being the best, it is clear based upon the facts, while she is a good player, she is no where close to being in the same league as Todd.

  • Really?

    Are You Kidding?!,

    I wasnt’ going to bring this up, but you opened the door so here goes: Todd did not play on the highest level of club team. She played silver elite. Not premier. Not gold. Silver elite. You can look it up. As far as I know she didn’t play ODP or ECNL.

    My point was not to tear down Todd but to give praise to Vehawn and some other athletes. Jade, I’m sorry I even mentioned your name.

  • Are You Kidding!?

    Really?

    That’s right you should not have mentioned her name because it is not worth mentioning.