Calling ALL Feb. 1 signers: The Tribune wants you if ….


So any athletes who did not attend that shoot back in Oct. or Nov. (I don’t remember the date) and are signing a letter of intent WEDNESDAY, FEB. 1, please contact me at

I have spoken to most of the football players and athletes from other sports who are signing. If I missed anybody or you simply want to confirm tomorrow’s photo shoot, please email me.

Remember, the photo shoot is 2:30 p.m. at the Tribune and you need to be wearing SOMETHING representing the college you are signing with.

IMPORTANT: Tommy Kiss, aka Chino Hills Tom, aka The Inland Insider, will be putting together a nice video package of the football signers.

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Different gym, same result: Covina beats rival Northview again … Colts use 16-1 run in fourth

By John “Nuttin Honey” Honell

COVINA – Games between crosstown rivals Covina and Northview high schools are some of the most intense in the Valley.

With second place in the Valle Vista League and a high CIF-SS postseason seed on the line, the standing room-only crowd almost could feel the electricity in the air.

The Covina boys basketball team, which defeated Northview last Wednesday, outscored the Vikings 16-1 in a four-minute stretch of the fourth quarter to knock off the defending league champions 47-41 Monday night.

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Fred’s, uh, on vacation this week. So it’s back to the Aram Regime … just don’t expect me to use Fred’s crusty mouse …

There are currently 1,459 forms of the flu virus on Fred’s mouse. Blet.

Anyway, it’s good to be back in the saddle again (not really). The suggestions Fred left this week for the Tribune coverage plan wreaked of soccer. Which is nice, but don’t expect The Fat Man to stick to it word-for-word. We’ve got Signing Day on Wednesday and that’s gonna be huge. If you know of any athletes signing a letter of intent on Wednesday, please contact me at to let me know.

As for the Top 10s, I will be handling those as well. With Glendora and Damien both losing to Etiwanda last week, and La Verne Lutheran losing to Westchester, we’ve got some decisions to be made. Wilson No. 1, anybody? Also, Amat’s girls team is slip-sliding away.

And this week is The Rematch: Workman at Duarte (girls).

Follow me on Twitter @ChemicalAT

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Damien’s step-up game a big step-back in loss to Etiwanda; Bishop Amat girls routed by Keppel

Big second half pushes Etiwanda pass Damien: Etiwanda boys basketball coach Dave Kleckner certainly thinks so after his star sophomore Jordan McLaughlin scored 15 of his 27 points in the second half and the Eagles (21-1) blew out Damien (19-2) in a 64-45 victory in Saturday’s Southern California Shootout at Azusa Pacific University.

“That was a quiet 27 points,” Kleckner said. “Because he’s not out of control. He’s very efficient.”

Etiwanda’s defense was as efficient as McLaughlin on offense.

The Eagles’ defense was good in the first half but was kicked up a notch in the second.

Damien led 25-23 at halftime, but the Eagles opened the second half on a 14-0 run as the Spartans were held scoreless for more than six minutes.

Bishop Amat girls no match for Keppel The Keppel High School girls basketball team, tired of cruising through the Almont League and then finding rough going in the CIF-Southern Section playoffs, has amped up its schedule.

The Aztecs scheduled three nonleague games in the middle of league play, including Bishop Amat in the 10th annual Southern California Shootout on Saturday at Azusa Pacific University.

The strategy has worked so far. Keppel, the top-ranked team in CIF-Southern Section Division 2AA, easily defeated Amat, the top-ranked team in 3A, 57-31.

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Split Decision in the Valle Vista: Wilson boys beat Covina 55-36; Covina girls beat Wilson, 33-32

By John Honell, Correspondent
- For the second consecutive season, the Valle Vista League looks like it will come down to the final week of the season before a boys basketball champion can be crowned.

Defense was the key for Wilson High School as it moved into sole possession of first place after a 55-36 win over Covina on Friday night.

The Wildcats (14-7, 7-1) avenged their only league loss of the season while dropping the Colts to 15-7 and 5-2.

“We both still have to play Northview, this isn’t over,” Wildcats coach Jason Rochwerg said. “Last year we were in second place going into the last game. With a loss we ended up in fifth.”

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Sierra League soccer results are in: Ayala girls finish off huge week with 1-0 win over Chino Hills

According to the Inland Insider, the Ayala girls soccer team finally had its full team together this week, which might explain the Bulldogs’ slow start after reaching the D-3 finals last year. After crushing St. Lucy’s 5-1 earlier in the week, Makenzy Doniak scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Chino Hills. That leaves Ayala in a first-place tie with Claremont and South Hills and St. Lucy’s a half game back and Chino Hills a full game back. It doesn’t get much tighter than that with two weeks to go. The Claremont boys beat Damien 2-0 to take a two-game lead in the Sierra. Damien and South Hills are tied for second.

Check out the Inland Insider highlights and interviews from Ayala’s 1-0 win over Chino Hills, girls soccer.

Friday’s Sierra League Results
Boys Soccer

Claremont 2, Damien 0
Ayala 3, Chino Hills 1
South Hills 3, Charter Oak 0
Boys Standings
Claremont (6-0, 16-2-2)
Damien (4-2, 9-6-2)
South Hills (4-2, 12-4-2)
Chino Hills (2-4, 4-5-4)
Ayala (2-4, 3-8-5)
Charter Oak (0-16, 0-6)

Girls Soccer
St. Lucy’s 1, Claremont 1
South Hills 2, Charter Oak 0
Ayala 1, Chino Hills 0
Girls Standings
Claremont (3-1-2, 18-1-4)
Ayala (3-1-2, 7-7-4)
South Hills (3-2-1, 8-3-7)
St. Lucy’s (3-2-1, 13-6-1)
Chino Hills (2-2-2, 14-3-4)
Charter Oak (0-6, 3-14-3)

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Bishop Amat girls hoops lose again and near last in Del Rey, but no need to worry, Lancers are still ranked No. 1 in Division 3A

Bishop Amat fell to 15-8 and a dismal 1-4 in the Del Rey league after losing to Serra on Thursday. But does it really matter? League races are meaningless because league teams go into different playoff divisions based on school size and recent history. So, Amat could finish last in the Del Rey but all that really matters is they’re still ranked No. 1 in Division 3A. Guess who’s No. 2? Covina, a team Amat could beat over and over again. Strange isn’t it? Bishop Amat needs to beat St. Paul next week to avoid finishing last in the Del Rey? Question is, should last place teams or fourth in a five-team league make the playoffs? Amat could lose out, and still win a CIF title, what’s wrong with that picture? The system doesn’t work. Look at the Muir boys basketball team, having one of its best campaigns in years, 20-1, and with a huge win over rival Pasadena to take over first in the Pacific League. But the Mustangs have virtually no chance to win in Division 4AA, where private powers La Verne Lutheran, Price, Windward and Crespi reside. Meanwhile, Pasadena is No. 2 in 3AAA, an easier division. It’s a screwed up system when league champions have a tougher road than fourth and fifth place teams in the playoffs. How else can you explain it, though I’m sure Amat girls hoops isn’t complaining.

Amat falls again: The Bishop Amat High School girls basketball team continued its struggles with the taller teams in the Del Rey League.

The Lancers led at halftime but wore down in the third quarter and lost 52-39 to Serra on Thursday night.

The Lancers (15-8, 1-4) had to play without their leading rebounder, Leeah Powell, who suffered a shoulder injury. She is expected to be back for the final week of the season.

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Thursday’s soccer roundup and today’s Sierra League schedule

Today’s Sierra League games
Boys Soccer

Claremont (15-2-2, 5-0) at Damien (9-6-2, 4-1), 5:30 p.m.
Chino Hills (4-4-4, 2-3) at Ayala (2-8-5, 1-4), 5:30 p.m.
South Hills (11-4-2, 3-2) at Charter Oak (0-15, 0-5), 5:30 p.m.
Girls Soccer
St. Lucy’s (13-6, 3-2) at Claremont (18-1-3, 3-1-1), 5:30 p.m.
Charter Oak (3-13-3, 0-5) vs.South Hills (7-3-7, 2-2-1) at Covina District, 5:30 p.m.
Ayala (6-7-4, 2-1-2) at Chino Hills (14-2-4, 2-1-2), 5:30 p.m.

Montview League
La Puente 2, Ganesha 1

The Warriors (11-5-3, 8-1-1) took the win as Augustine Huazano scored an unassisted goal and Alex Saldana scored off an assist from Huazano. Eduardo Martinez scored the lone goal for Ganesha.

Hacienda League

Walnut 1, West Covina 0
Walnut (8-6-4, 4-1-3) got the lone goal from Amber Marani with an assist from Marissa Lara.

Montview League

Sierra Vista 8, Gladstone 0
Sierra Vista (13-2-2, 10-0) beat Gladstone (4-11-1, 2-8) with Jessica Lopez scoring two goals and adding an assist. Cynthia Hernandez also scored two goals.

La Puente 1, Ganesha 0
The Warriors (8-5-3, 8-1-1) were led by Arye Looney, who scored the game’s only goal unassisted. It was the sophomore’s 19th goal of the season. Goalie Christine Montero of Ganesha (10-7-1, 7-3) had seven saves..

Valle Vista League
Wilson 3, Covina 1

Sara Martinez scored two goals for the Wildcats (6-2 in league).

San Dimas 4, Baldwin Park 0
Jeanette Jimenez scored two goals for the Saints (15-2-2, 8-0) with Jordyn Haynes and Maribel Duran chipping in one.

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Sondheimer reports Marmonte League moving to the Pac-5; more changes to come

L.A. Times’ Eric Sondheimer is reporting that preliminary proposals for the new CIF-SS football playoff divisions brings a big change in the Pac-5, where Bishop Amat resides. He reports that the Marmonte League has been moved from the Northern Division into the Pac-5 and the Sunset League has been moved from the Pac-5 to the Southwest. There was some chatter that the Serra League might be dropped from the Pac-5, but that’s not likely now. In the coming months we also will find out if the Sierra League remains in the the Inland, if the Hacienda stays in the Southeast and the Rio Hondo in the Mid-Valley. West Covina and Monrovia have dominated the Southeast and Rio Hondo, respectively, the past two years, sparking debate that the divisions will be strengthened or the Hacienda and Rio Hondo league’s could be moved to stronger divisions.

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After a winless December, Diamond Bar boys soccer leads Hacienda after come-from-behind 2-1 win over Diamond Ranch; Los Altos next

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
— The way Diamond Bar High School boys soccer coach Kemp Wells explains it, the soccer Gods are cruel sometimes, which might explain the Brahmas’ winless December, which included eight losses and a tie in their first nine games.
“We were ahead in a lot of games, they (opponents) would tie it and we would give up,” Wells said. “If we got behind, there wasn’t a lot of fight, we weren’t coming back. It kind of snowballed and was frustrating.”
Since the Hacienda League started, the Brahmas have done a complete 360, winning at Diamond Ranch 2-1 on Thursday for sole possession of first, their sixth win in seven games to improve to 6-9-1 and 6-1 in league. (To continue click thread)

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Who is going where on Wednesday’s National Letter of Intent signing day?

We’re gathering a list of athletes in football, soccer, track, cross country and boys water polo that will be signing national letters of intent on Wednesday, Feb 1. You can post it here, tell your coaches to call or send an email to We’re scheduling a group photo at the Tribune that afternoon and don’t want to miss anyone.

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Covina football hires assistant Joe Brown, who is also girls softball coach, to take over football reigns; Marc Paramo takes over at Rosemead

By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Two local high school football programs put quick ends to their respective coaching searches by hiring from within Wednesday. At Covina, longtime assistant Joe Brown was named the successor to Darryl Thomas. At Rosemead, former assistant Marc Paramo was hired to replace Matt Koffler.

Both programs are among area’s more successful ones, with Covina having reached the semifinals of the playoffs five times under Thomas and Rosemead reaching the semifinals of the Division 7 playoffs 2001 and the Mid-Valley Division championship game in 2008 under Koffler.

Brown’s came as somewhat of a shock since he originally turned the job down when the school tried to hire from within. Covina recently flew the position publicly and had attracted 12-15 applicants before Brown had a change of heart and decided to take the job.

“They offered it to me when we got back from Christmas break and I thought about it for a few days and politely turned it down,” said Brown, a 1990 graduate of Wilson. “After thinking about it, I’ve been here 16 years.

“I live right by the school. I still want to coach. I had opportunities to coach in some other programs but I just decided it would be better if I stayed here at Covina and took the responsibility.”

Brown was offensive coordinator under Thomas since 2005. In that time, he’s called the plays for some high-flying offenses. In 2005, Covina averaged 43 points per game. In 2006, the Colts scored 42 points per game. This past season, Covina averaged 36 points per game.

Brown’s chances of continuing that kind of success suffered a big blow Tuesday when standout running back Gevontray Ainsworth, who would have been the Colts’ top returning player next season, checked out of school and transferred to Monrovia.

Paramo’s hiring at Rosemead came as no shock. After Koffler resigned earlier this month, he was very vocal in wanting Paramo, his defensive coordinator, to replace him.

“The good thing about coach Koffler was that he didn’t micro-manage,” said Paramo, who graduated from Rosemead in 1995. “I was pretty much the head coach of the defense and the special teams, so I already felt like I was doing head coach things.

“It’s unfortunate that coach Koffler stepped down, but this would be the only place I ever would have done it. I couldn’t be more excited. I grew up in Rosemead and went to Rosemead High School. My dad is 80 and still lives right down the street and he doesn’t miss a game.”

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Boys Hoops: Damien 55, Ayala 50; Covina 46, Northview 41; Gabrielino 44, Arroyo 39

Covina beats Northview, will host Wilson on Friday for first in VVL: Covina High School’s boys basketball team used a 7-0 run late in the fourth quarter to defeat arch-rival Northview 46-41 in a crucial Valle Vista League game Wednesday night. The Colts spent most of the fourth quarter nursing a small lead, but fell behind when Danny Johnson hit a jumper to put Northview up 36-34 with just over two minutes left.

Damien wins after scoring just 15 first-half points: For the first half of Wednesday’s Sierra League boys basketball showdown with visiting Ayala High, Damien looked anything but the CIF-SS Division 3AAA’s top-ranked team. Damien scored just 15 first-half points and Chris Reyes was held scoreless as Ayala led 25-15 at the half. But the Spartans outscored the Bulldogs 19-7 and went on to earn a 55-50 victory.

Gabrielino takes over first in MVL with win over Arroyo: Gabrielino High School basketball coach John Carney started two freshmen in a pivotal Mission Valley League game at Arroyo on Wednesday night. Freshman guard Sean Takeuchi, starting only because of an injury, scored his only two baskets midway through the fourth quarter to tie the game and give the Eagles the lead for good in a 44-39 victory.

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Bonita’s Nikki Wheatley scores 23 points to lead ‘Cats to 53-43 win over Diamond Ranch

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
LA VERNE — Diamond Ranch coach Mike James lost count of how many times Bonita High School’s Nikki Wheatley grabbed a rebound, sped down court and converted an easy basket.

Wheatley scored 12 of her game-high 23 points on fast-break buckets, and also had seven rebounds to lead Bonita to a 53-43 win over Diamond Ranch, giving the Bearcats (19-3, 7-0) firm control of the Hacienda League with a season sweep over the Panthers (17-6, 5-2).

“Those kill you,” James said of Wheatley’s coast-to-coast baskets. “Our game plan was to not give up those type of baskets to her in transition. But she keeps coming, you have to always get back. And every time you relax, there she goes again.

“One of the best parts of her game is she gets rebounds. And when she gets them she goes by everybody, by our team and by her team. She’s just fast and under control. When she’s going to the basket she’s such a good athlete that she can finish or get to the line.”
(to continue click thread).

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Four big basketball games we’re covering tonight; Glendora boys bounce back in Baseline

Boys Hoops
Valle Vista League
Northview (16-6, 5-1) at Covina (14-6, 4-1), 6:30 p.m. – Northview, Covina and Wilson all have one loss and Wilson visits Covina on Friday, so a make or break week for the Colts. Big Aram will be there covering for us.

Mission Valley League
Gabrielino (9-7, 4-0) at Arroyo (11-9, 4-0), 6:30 p.m. — Can anyone stop the double-double machine, Primitivo Gomez, who averages 20 points and nine rebounds, and who had 28 points and 14 rebounds in their last win over South El Monte. Our Keith Lair is covering it.

Sierra League
Damien (18-1, 4-0) at Ayala (13-5, 3-1), 6:30 p.m.
— The Bulldogs can turn the Sierra into a three-way tie for first with a win, but writing it is easier than doing it. The Bulletin’s Brian Baiotto is covering it.

Girls Hoops
Hacienda League
Diamond Ranch (17-5, 5-1) at Bonita (18-3, 6-0), 5 p.m. — The area’s top two teams meet again. Bonita won 51-39 in the first meeting, though the Panthers’ Erika Williams went down with a knee injury and hasn’t returned since. The Panthers have continued to win without her, leaning on Chelsea Barnes, who’s averaged 17 points. But is Barnes and her supporting cast enough for Bonita’s great point guard Nikki Wheatley and forward Brianna Kennedy? I will there for tonight’s game.

Boys Basketball
Baseline League
Glendora 46, Los Osos 31

The Tartans’ (16-6, 4-1) relentless offense led the charge in the second half and sealed the victory against Los Osos. Kyle Gordon scored a game high of 18 points. He grabbed six rebounds and dished out two assists. Wesley Burke chipped in scoring 14 points. He also grabbed eight steals. Luke Smith scored 12 points for Los Osos and Jake Solomon contributed with eight points.

Baseline League
Los Osos 53, Glendora 39

Los Osos (3-2 league) was led by Maulle Clayton, who finished with nine points, six rebounds and two steals. Hayley Trindle pitched in by also scoring nine points and grabbing six steals. Glendora (12-11, 1-4) was led by Kasey Lowden’s game high of 19 points and seven rebounds. Olivia Haybern contributed to the Lady Tartans’ effort with six points and three assists.

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Aram reporting that Covina stud running back Gevontray Ainsworth headed to champion Monrovia

Aram reporting that: Gevontray Ainsworth, who rushed for 1,469 yards and nine touchdowns last season as a member of the Covina High School football team, has checked out of Covina and enrolled at Monrovia.

Fred’s thoughts: What’s interesting about this is not so long ago Monrovia was losing players to the East San Gabriel Valley, but now that they’re dominating the Mid-Valley and winning titles, players are staying and transferring in. Remember when South Hills was winning and getting all the transfers before before moving to the Sierra? When was the last time you heard a legit transfer going to South Hills or Los Altos, which was the hotbed for transfers a few years back. Now it’s Monrovia, West Covina, and of course Charter Oak, who is still relevant after winning the Sierra. It’s like I’ve always said, if you win, the players will come, it has little to do with actual recruiting. But I will be very curious to see what CIF does with this because on the surface, it has athletic motivation written all over it. Aram also is reporting that a Pasadena player has transferred to Monrovia. At this rate, they might break West Covina’s CIF championship record of 84 points in a title game.

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Soccer Roundup: Sierra Vista and San Dimas win big again; Big games in the Sierra tonight

Today’s Sierra League Games
Boys Soccer

South Hills (11-3-2, 3-1) at Claremont (14-2-2, 4-0), 5:30 p.m.
Ayala (2-7-5, 1-3) at Damien (8-6-2, 3-1), 5:30 p.m.
Charter Oak (0-13, 0-4) at Chino Hills (3-4-4, 1-3), 5:30 p.m.
Girls Soccer
St. Lucy’s (13-5, 3-1) at Ayala (5-7-4, 1-1-2), 5:30 p.m.
Chino Hills (13-2-4, 1-1-2) at Charter Oak (3-12-3, 0-4), 5:30 p.m.
South Hills (7-2-7, 2-1-1) vs. Claremont (17-1-3, 2-1-1) at CDF, 5:30 p.m.

Walnut 0, Los Altos 0

Los Altos (8-4-3, 3-2-2) lost Daysia Avery to injury in the 75th minute of the contest, leaving the Conquerors short handed with only three available subs. With the tie, Walnut moved to 7-6-4 overall, 3-1-3 in league.

Montview League
Sierra Vista 6, Workman 0

The Dons hustled out to an early 3-0 lead and were never challenged by the Lobos (1-10-1, 1-7). Jessica Lopez led the scoring for Sierra Vista with three goals and got two assists from Daisy Ruiz and another from Jasmine Loera. Ruiz had two goals of her own, getting assists from Lopez and Magali Moreno. Sierra Vista’s (12-2-2, 9-0) final goal came unassisted by Giselle Garcia. Sierra Vista was active on offense in taking 26 shots on goal and got 12 saves from keeper Christine Jimenez.Workman had two saves from keeper Rosalma Ramirez and took two shots on goal.

Valle Vista
San Dimas 10, Nogales 1

San Dimas sped away to a 4-0 halftime lead and never looked back against Nogales. The Saints (14-2-2, 7-0) had two goals from Jordyn Haynes with assists coming from Melissa Watson and Lindsey Toneck, Jeanette Jimenez chipped in with two goals and Daisy Duran added two goals with an assist coming from Maribel Duran. San Dimas recorded 28 shots on goal and goalie Britain Chaputa had seven saves for San Dimas. The Nobles got their lone goal in the 38th minute but could not get untracked.

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Boys Soccer: South El Monte ends Mountain View’s 37-game league unbeaten streak, 2-1

“We knew this was the year we would finally get them. Look at their sideline, they’re all quiet. Every time we play them they’re always loud. Look at them now, they’re in shock.”South El Monte’s Mario Burciaga after scoring the game-winning goal in the Eagles’ 2-1 win.

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
South El Monte boys soccer coach Nelson Rodriguez was dripping wet following the Eagles’ 2-1 win over host Mountain View that left the Eagles in sole possession of first place in the Mission Valley League.

Nelson was chased down by his players, who dumped a bucket of water over his head after snapping the Vikings’ 37-game league unbeaten streak — a feel-good moment after finally knocking off the three-time defending league champs.

In all three years, South El Monte finished second.

“We won a big game, but we didn’t win the league title,” Rodriguez said. “This will feel better if we can do it again in the last game of the season at our place. But you know what, our guys are excited and they have a right to be.”

The Eagles (7-2-1, 5-0), ranked ninth in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 poll, beat the sixth-ranked Vikings (7-4-4, 4-1) on a 69th minute goal by Mario Burciaga at the back post.

It started on a long throw-in to the middle of the penalty area. Raul Almanza back-headed it perfectly to Burciaga, who rifled it out of the air with a swinging right foot for the game winner.

“It was amazing, we worked on that play all day in practice, and this is where it pays off, in the game,” Burciaga said. (To continue click thread).

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Softball Preview: Go ahead, who are the best teams and players in 2012? …

It’s almost that time to start thinking about the best teams and players for the 2012 softball season. The top-ranking will surely come from the Sierra, by far the area’s toughest league with South Hills, St. Lucy’s, Chino Hills, Ayala, and who knows, maybe Charter Oak finally claws its way into the mix. Bonita should dominate the Hacienda, Bishop Amat should be favored in the Del Rey and the Valle Vista is wide open. Best player returning? If you’re talking pitcher, probably St. Lucy’s lefty Danielle O’Toole. If you’re talking player, South Hills’ Brittany Rodriguez.

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Football Decisions: Travis Santiago to APU? Steven Rivera to Whittier? Chris Solomon to Colorado? Read all about it

By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
The desire to play quarterback at the next level may be what will send Arroyo High School’s Steven Rivera to Whittier College when he announces his college destination sometime soon.

Rivera, the Tribune’s Player of the Year this past season after shining at both quarterback and safety, is leaning toward Whittier College but he also has interest from Azusa Pacific University, Cal Lutheran and Dakota-Wesleyan.

“He’s really impressed with the coaching staff and the facility upgrades that they have going on,” Arroyo coach Jim Singiser said of Rivera’s thoughts on Whittier College. “It’s a local school and family is really important to him and they’ll be able to watch him play.

“It’s a good academic school and he’s an academic kid.”

What really might put Rivera over the top is Whittier wants him to play quarterback whereas APU wants him as a defensive back.

Rivera threw for 3,408 yards and 38 touchdowns at Arroyo and leaves high school as the Valley’s all-time leading passer in yards and touchdowns. He also ranks in the top 10 in the CIF-Southern Section in career passing yards and touchdowns.

But some recruiters like Rivera even better on defense after watching him record 131 tackles, intercept four passes, force seven fumbles and have five fumble recoveries as a safety.

“If the schools are similar and their financial commitments are similar, then he would rather play quarterback if he has a choice,” Singiser said.

“But if that’s taken out of the equation and he’s only got interest from one school and they want him to be a defensive back, then he’s more than willing to go play defensive back. All things being equal, he’d rather be a quarterback. But he’s got no problem playing on the other side of the ball if that will help him get into college and get it paid for.”

Rivera will attend APU’s recruiting day in February. APU is interested in Rivera only as a defensive back. He also will visit Cal Lutheran after already touring Whittier College.

Should Rivera wind up at APU, he could be teammates with a familiar face in Charter Oak quarterback Travis Santiago. The Tribune’s Offensive Player of the Year this past season still is undecided about where he’ll play next season, according to Charter Oak coach Lou Farrar.

“APU has laid out the red carpet for him,” Farrar said. “I told Travis one of the big things he doesn’t realize is that if you’re living in Oklahoma or Nebraska and somebody said how about Southern California and playing at APU where the beach is 30 minutes away and downtown L.A. is 30 minutes, you’d jump at that.”

Santiago, a pitcher with electric stuff when his arm is feeling good, also could play baseball at APU.

Santiago isn’t the only Charger getting looks. Receiver Chris Gilchrist took a trip to Nevada this past weekend and has an offer from the Wolfpack as well as Sacramento State. Lineman Luis Oliva is deciding between Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and University of Redlands. Defensive back Herman Akins has interest from Southern Illinois.

Solomon looking Buff

West Covina running back/safety Chris Solomon likely is headed to Colorado, according to Bulldogs coach Mike Maggiore. Solomon, the Tribune’s Player of the Year in 2010, has offers from Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico St. and likely will decide as signing day nears next week.

Fellow Bulldogs Justen Meaders, Dorrin Turner and Jimmy Frazier do not have any official offers yet, but Maggiore calls their situations “a day-to-day thing.”

Solomon already has had an official visit to Colorado and is being recruited to play safety for the Buffaloes.

Colts job drawing interest

Covina athletics director Darryl Thomas said Monday the school has received about 12-15 applications for its open varsity football head coaching job. Thomas, who was the previous head coach before resigning earlier this month after 15 seasons, declined to comment on speculation that some big names from the local area have applied.

Covina will stop accepting applications on Friday and will start the interview process the first week of February, according to Thomas.

Thomas, meanwhile, continues to oversee the Colts’ offseason weightlifting program.

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Community continues to show its appreciation for West Covina’s legendary coach and teacher Michael Okura; Funeral Service on Saturday

Funeral Arrangements: Funeral services for Michael Okura will be at the Christs Church of the Valley (CCV) in San Dimas on January 28 at 10 a.m. A reception will follow at Christ First Baptist Church in Covina. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the new Mike Okura scholarship fund for student-athletes.

Since legendary Michael Okura passed away last week after four decades of teaching and coaching at West Covina,
I have received numerous phone calls and emails sharing stories and telling what a wonderful human being he was. I’ve done this for a long time and when you get reaction like this, you know you’re dealing with someone who was very, very special and adored by many. Here are a few emails I received…..

I was one of his players back in the 70′s. Sad day. I know Coach O had a big influence in my life with his dedication and work ethic. He is one of the reasons I’m being inducted to the Washington State Football Coaches Hall of Fame this weekend. Thank you for the great Article. You did him well.Coach Z Cashmere. Washington

Thank you for your brief snap shot of Our Friend, Coach, Teacher and Mentor, Mike Okura. There are not enough pages in your newspaper to express how many lives Mike Okura touched in his lifetime. Mike Okura, a leader of the young people who instilled the greatest of character and the highest level of integrity humanly possible in all of us. He insisted on discipline, yet offered a comforting smile, a laugh and a word of encouragement to help us handle life’s next challenge. God Bless Mike Okura, Thank You Coach a being positive influence in my life at such a young age. You are Loved and You will be dearly missed! A high school class mate said it best, “Ichiban Okura-san”Larry Coyle WCHS ’69-’73

Mike has for quite a few years now has been teaching AP Literature. In that he had an integral role in the education. His teaching style was more than books and tests, he taught his students by example how to become great human beings and how to make a difference in the world. Some of these students have gone on to attend such prestigious schools as Yale, Berkley, Johns Hopkins, University of Chicago, Mt Holyoke, USC, UCLA and the list goes on and on. He had a profound effect on the leaders of tomorrow. Teacher Molly Allen

My family first came to know Mike and his family when Mike and my brother, Steven Fox, played Little League and Pony League together in the late 1950s. My dad, Moe Fox, Fred Allen, and Ed Shannon coached in the West Covina Little and Pony Leagues together. I remember Mike as being so serious about his game, always a good sport, and a smile that just melted you. I also remember how his mom, dad, and sister were always at the games, always with a smile, and also showing good sportsmanship, even when things didn’t go the team’s or Mike’s way. Sadly, my dad, Mr. Allen, and Mr Shannon have all gone onto that Baseball Heaven in the Sky, but my 93 yr old mom, Helen, and brother, Steve, will be at the funeral to honor Mike and all those wonderful memories. Linda Fox Adler
WCHS and Edgewood High student/graduate

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Basketball Roundup: Bonita boys still in first in Hacienda; Bonita and Diamond Ranch girls win, ready for rematch on Wednesday

Bonita boys make it look easy: The Bonita High School boys basketball team made a statement in a game with first place in the Hacienda League on the line.
The Bearcats were on fire from the 3-point line and their defense shut down Rowland as they cruised to a 69-37 win Monday night.

Valle Vista League
Wilson 52, San Dimas 36

If you asked Wilson’s coach Tracy Calton if his Wildcats were looking past San Dimas to this Friday’s key matchup against Covina High School, which will probably determine the Valle Vista League champion, you would get a definite no. “Although we knew we get another shot at Covina this Friday, in no way were we looking past San Dimas,” said Calton. “They (San Dimas) are a very good team with an outstanding player in Taylor Jackson so we just focused on them and we got the win, so now we can prepare for Covina.” The Wildcats (16-5, 6-1) turned a 21-15 lead into a 38-26 advantage after three quarters of play and cruised the rest of the way. We won the game in that third quarter,” said Calton. “I told the girls at halftime, we have to do a better job in our inside/outside game and that’s what we did which made the difference in third quarter.”
Wildcats junior center Kelly Calton dominated the boards both defensively and offensively as she grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds (13 defense, 4 offense). “Kelly played outstanding game for us tonight. In that decisive third quarter she was able to control the boards which limited them to just one shot,” said Calton. For the game, the Wildcats pulled down 28 defensive rebounds and 12 offensively.
Sophomore guard Kaelyn Kawamoto contributed to the win with 19 points, which included four 3-pointers and 11 rebounds. Senior guard Angela Choie added 15 points all of which were from beyond the arc and three assists.
San Dimas (11-10, 4-3) was led by Taylor Jackson who was averaging 18 points a game but, was held to just seven points. “Angela (Choie) did an outstanding job on her. She bird-dogged her all night and did not allow her to get into any rhythm.”

Hacienda League
Bonita 54, Rowland 16

The Bearcats stifled the Raiders with an intense and consistent defensive effort. Without contributing a single point, Brianna Kennedy helped sway the game with her 13 rebounds, three steals and five blocks. Malorie Ben and Brielle Jordan each scored 6 points respectively for the Raiders. Nikki Wheatley led all scoreres with 19 points while adding six assists and three steals.
The Bearcats (18-3,6-0) play against Diamond Ranch at home Wednesday.
Diamond Ranch 54, West Covina 47
Chelsea Barnes finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Panthers, who are 17-5 and 5-1 in league. The Panthers visit Bonita on Wednesday hoping to split the season series and move into a first-place tie with the undefeated Bearcats. Marlena Rodriguez led the Bulldogs with 15 points.

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