TRIBUNE PREP ATHLETES OF THE YEAR: Donovan Holmes, Nikki Wheatley earn top honors

2008: Glendora’s Michael Edwards, Northview’s Hannah Fraijo
2009: South El Monte’s Manny Acosta, San Dimas’ Ariel Shore
2010: South Hills’ Dakota Behr and South Hills’ Melinda Gomez
2011: Bishop Amat’s Rio Ruiz, Northview’s Khalalah Todd
2012: Glendora’s Donovan Holmes, Bonita’s Nikki Wheatley

By Fred J.Rolbedo

For the fifth consecutive year, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune is recognizing the area’s boys and girls Athletes of the Year.

With specialization taking over and year-round club teams the norm, the Athlete of the Year awards were created to honor the multi-sport athletes who excel in at least two sports.

That’s why letterman jackets were created and there is nothing more gratifying than the throwback athlete who works hard to make a school’s athletic program the best it can be.

This year’s honorees are Glendora High School senior Donovan Holmes, a Baseline League first-team selection in football and baseball, and Bonita High’s super sophomore Nikki Wheatley, the Tribune’s Player of the Year in basketball and Athlete of the Year in track and field.

Holmes was arguably the Tartans’ best overall player in football, earning a spot on the Baseline League first team, no easy task considering the Baseline was one of the toughest leagues in the CIF-Southern Section.

Holmes, a two-way player at running back and defensive back, rushed for 645 yards and five touchdowns, and was among the team leaders in tackles with 48.

Holmes helped the Tartans’ baseball team to a co-league championship and was named to the Tribune’s All-Area first team in addition to earning Baseline League first-team honors.

The second baseman batted .455 with 13 doubles, 33 runs scored and stole 33 bases while helping his team reach the CIF-SS Division 2 quarterfinals.

“I think football came easier to me because I got more opportunities,” Holmes said. “Baseball I had to work harder at, so I was really proud of what I was able to accomplish my senior season.”

Not only was Wheatley just a sophomore but she’s the first Athlete of the Year winner to be a Tribune Player/Athlete of the Year in two different sports.

Wheatley helped the Bearcats’ basketball team reach the CIF-Southern Section divisional and state playoffs by averaging 17.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.9 steals per game.

She also was selected the Hacienda League’s Most Valuable Player and named to the CIF-SS Division 3AAA first team.

In track, Wheatley won the CIF-SS Division 3 long and triple jump titles with leaps of 18 feet, 3 inches and 39-8, respectively, and was seventh in the high jump.

She qualified for the state finals in the triple jump, finishing eighth to cap a remarkable season.

With two years to go, Wheatley is not interested in focusing on one sport, she wants to continue getting better at both.

“Playing basketball helps me in track and running track helps in basketball, they feed off each other and keep me in good shape,” Wheatley said. “I’m starting to really think about a double scholarship, I would like to do both in college if possible.”

626-962-8811, ext. 2161

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Damien’s Jason Haney and Ayala’s Ashley Tse rose above the rest to earn Tribune boys and girls Swimmers of the Year honors

All-Area Swim Story: Damien High’s Jason Haney and Ayala’s Ashley Tse earned swimmer of the year honors after a great showing at the CIF-SS Division 2 swim finals

Photo Gallery: Watchara Phomicinda’s All-Area Swimming Photo Gallery

Swimmer of the Year: Jason Haney, Damien
Coach of the Year: Andrew Gates, Damien
Carson May, Damien
Sean Kao, Diamond Bar
Austin Miller, Damien
Austin Garcia, San Dimas
Derek Kao, Walnut
Ken Takahashi, Diamond Bar
Michael Forbes, Damien
Dylan Tarazona, Claremont
Adam Nelson, Damien
Edward Sanchez, South Hills

Swimmer of the Year: Ashley Tse, Ayala
Coach of the Year: Danny Feola, San Dimas
Christina Vu, Walnut
Cori Casper, Ayala
Rosemary Garcia, Glendora
Sammie Keehn, St. Lucy’s
Amy Patrick, San Dimas
Sarah Le, Walnut
Millie Moro, Bonita
Danielle Hebert, San Dimas
Theresa Lo, Walnut
Brea Cook, Glendora

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Damien High’s Jarrett Gonzales and Bonita’s Nikki Wheatley stood above the rest to earn track athlete of the year honors

All-Area Story: Damien High’s Jarrett Gonzales brought home a state title and Bonita’s Nikki Wheatley proved she’s much more than just a hoop star to earn track athlete of the year honors

Photo’s: San Gabriel Valley Tribune All-Area Track photo gallery

Track Athlete of the Year: Jarrett Gonzales, Damien
Coach of the Year: Dan Luna, Rowland
Andrew Fischer, Diamond Ranch
Nick Rivera, Rowland
Klyvens Delunay, Claremont
Toure McCully, Bonita
Logan Tracey, Damien
Darren Andrews, Bishop Amat
Josh Webster, South Hills
Dillon Nobbs, Bonita
David Galvez, Rowland

Athlete of the year: Nikki Wheatley, Bonita
Coach of the Year: Mae Wong, Covina
Marissa Scott, Bonita
Jaela Williams, Ayala
Rocky Bartholomew, Glendora
Cassie Ramirez, Northview
Emily Sanchez, Covina
Makayla Jacoub, Glendora
Candace Williams, South Hills
Brittany Fulton, Los Altos
Emily Hubert, Bishop Amat
Micaela Lamb, Glendora
Dre Mercado, Covina

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It’s official, Bishop Amat’s Rio Ruiz $igns with the Houston Astros for $1.85 million, then belts a couple homers at Minute Maid Park

Story: Former Bishop Amat High School baseball slugger Rio Ruiz said it was going to take a lot to get him to bypass his dream of playing baseball at USC for an early chance at a professional career. On Monday, the Houston Astros gave Ruiz nearly two million reasons why he should do just that.

After the Big River inked a deal for $1.85 million with the Houston Astors, the fourth round draft pick took batting practice and belted two home runs at Houston’s Minute Maid Park, according to his father, Rudy Ruiz. We’ll have a story on Rio’s signing in tomorrow’s paper. It’s been a wild ride covering Ruiz, starting with our first blog post before he arrived in high school, titled, “The Next Great One at Bishop Amat.” He won a CIF title with the Lancers, was a CIF player of the year and this newspaper’s player of the year, and today’s signing shows he was everything he was advertised to be.

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Diamond Bar Sophomore WR/DB Cordell Broadus, the son of rapper Snoop Dogg, received his first offer from UCLA

Bow wow wow yippy yo yippy yay: Diamond Bar coach Ryan Maine Tweeted that WR Cordell Broadus received his first offer from UCLA. Broadus, the son of rapper Snoop Dogg, is a 6-foot-2, 185-pound sophomore expected to play WR and DB for the Brahmas. Broadus could join Justin Combs, the son of rapper Sean “Diddy”Combs, who will be playing at UCLA in the fall. This is an exciting time in the Valley. USA Today already has picked up this story and the spotlight is only going to grow. I can’t ever recall covering a celebrity’s son or daughter of this magnitude in our own backyard.

Below: Looks like Snoop and Coach Maine are getting along just fine …

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Bishop Amat’s Rio Ruiz expected to sign with the Houston Astros on Monday for approximately $1.85 million, according to sources

Bishop Amat’s Rio Ruiz has agreed to terms with the Houston Astros and is expected to ink a deal for approximately $1.85 million according to sources and other published reports. Ruiz, a fourth-round draft choice in this month’s Major League Baseball draft, was a projected first-round pick but missed most of his senior season due to a blood clot near his right shoulder area. He was recently cleared by family doctors and is on his way to Houston to take a physical before signing on Monday, according to sources. Ruiz’s family said all along the USC commit would attend college unless they received an offer they couldn’t refuse.

Baseball America is also reporting that Ruiz has agreed to terms with the Astros: That’s ($1.85 million) the biggest bonus compared to assigned pick value thus far in the 2012 draft, coming in at $1,489,800 over the $360,200 allocated for the 129th overall pick. Ruiz beats the standard set by fellow Astros draftee Lance McCullers Jr., who signed for $2.5 million as the 41st overall pick.

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