Monrovia, Rio Hondo Prep and La Serna ready to chase titles this weekend

Keith Birmingham’s SIGHTS OF THE GAME

By Aram Tolegian, SGVN

For guys like Monrovia High School football coach Ryan Maddox and Rio Hondo Prep’s Ken Drain, the CIF-Southern Section luncheon held the Monday before the championship games have seemingly become an annual tradition.

Even La Serna was back at the luncheon for a second consecutive season on Monday when all the teams in all the championship games kicked off the biggest week of the season by dining together at The Grand in Long Beach.

“No it doesn’t get old, this is a great thing,” said Drain, who has been to seven championship luncheons as head coach of the Kares. “The menu is pretty much the same. It’s usually really good. I enjoy it.”

Rio Hondo Prep was represented by Drain and team captains Colby Rivera, Jake Holguin, Rico Perez and Jared White. The Kares (11-1) host Mission Prep of San Luis Obispo on Friday night in the Northeast Division championship. Kickoff is 7:30.

The game marks the second time this season the teams will have played. Mission Prep beat Rio Hondo Prep, 47-14, on Aug. 31 and is favored to deny the Kares their second straight division title and Drain’s fifth overall.

“I think we’ll be a lot better, but they are a really good team,” Drain said. “I think we’re a lot better than we were and we didn’t play very well in that game. We’re looking forward to it.”

La Serna is taking a more businesslike approach this season after last year’s championship game resulted in a disastrous loss to West Covina. The Lancers (12-1) take on Downey (10-3) on Saturday night in the Southeast Division final at either Cerritos College or Cal State Fullerton.

The Lancers were represented at Monday’s luncheon by captains Frankie Palmer, John McFarland, Isaiah Osorio and Michael Dingillo.

“It’s a great honor to be around the great teams, especially the captains that worked so hard to get their teams there,” Palmer said.

After having been through the distractions of last season’s trip to the finals, Palmer feels the Lancers are much better equipped to focus fully on the game.

“Since we were there a year ago, it gives us that experience because a lot of the team returned,” Palmer said. “But we still have that 84-21 (loss to West Covina last year) still on our minds. Just because we beat West Covina (this year), it’s not out of our minds yet. We still have unfinished business to win the championship.”

Monrovia is in its fourth consecutive Mid-Valley Division championship game and bidding for its third straight title. It’s getting so that Maddox and his team should have a permanent table at the luncheon.

“I wish I could say it’s going to be like this every year, but I’ve been around this game long enough to know that it isn’t guaranteed and isn’t necessarily going to be the case,” Maddox said. “We’re just grateful to be back The kids are focused and trying to finish the goal that we started way back in fall.”

The Wildcats were represented Monday by linebackers Brett Walsh and George Frazier V, and wide receiver/defensive back Anthony Craft. Monrovia (12-1) hosts Paraclete (12-1) on Friday night. The game pits the division’s top two teams and will provide the final verdict on whether the Southern Section’s plan to beef up the division in order to make things harder on Monrovia worked.

If Monrovia wins on Friday, it stands a good chance to be selected to a state championship bowl-game qualifier that would take place next week.

With so much on the line in terms of history and the chance to have its season continue, you’d think the Wildcats may be caught up in the moment.

But Maddox said that isn’t the case.

“We have to focus on Paraclete,” Maddox said. “We have no control over the other stuff. We have no control over a state bowl game. All we can control is what we do today in practice and we’ve got to take advantage of that.”

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Damien, Glendora, Claremont and Wanut win openers in 32-team Baldwin Park/Sierra Vista boys basketball tournament Monday

We’ll update the brackets each day and ask that coaches phone in results with information on the game to 626-544-0991 or 626-594-0992. Also, twitter me your finals so I can retweet them @sgvnsports

Monday’s round-robin results
At Baldwin Park

Walnut 80, Edgewood 13
Colony 75, Arroyo 43
Claremont 86, Sierra Vista 43
Glendora 76, Garey 30
Damien 89, Azusa 21
Troy 69, Jurupa Hills 54

Tuesday’s round-robin schedule
At Baldwin Park

Walnut vs. Keppel, 3 p.m.
Colony vs. South Hills, 4:30 p.m.
Don Lugo vs. Thousand Oaks, 6 p.m.
Claremont vs. Baldwin Park, 7:30 p.m.
At Sierra Vista
Rowland vs. Garfield, 3 p.m.
Damien vs. Diamond Ranch, 4:30 p.m.
Glendora vs. California, 6 p.m.
Troy vs. Covina, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday’s round-robin schedule
At Baldwin Park

Keppel vs. Edgewood, 3 p.m.
Garfield vs. La Puente, 4:30 p.m.
Diamond Ranch vs. Azusa, 6 p.m.
West Covina vs. Don Lugo, 7:30 p.m.
At Sierra Vista
Garey vs. California, 3 p.m.
South Hills vs. Arroyo, 4:30 p.m.
Baldwin Park vs. Sierra Vista, 6 p.m.
Covina vs. Jurupa Hills, 7:30 p.m.

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Bonita girls cross country follow CIF title with a Division II state title in Fresno

By Keith Lair, SGVN

FRESNO – There could have been a big letdown.

The Bonita High School girls cross country team won its first CIF-Southern Section championship last week at Mt. SAC and had a big celebration.

But the Bearcats did anything but let down. They ran the seventh-fastest team time of the day to win the CIF State Division II championship going away on Saturday on Fresno’s Woodward Park 5,000-meter course. It was Bonita’s first state title as well.

“We got this far, so we said, `Why not see another championship?’ ” senior Marissa Scott said.

Experts called the Bearcats’ team time of 94 minutes, 10 seconds the biggest surprise of the meet. The Bearcats won the title by 60 points.

Bonita had 83 with Cathedral Catholic of San Diego at 143.

“The girls ran it perfectly,” coach Lonny Carr said. “They did everything perfectly; their mental preparation, their physical preparation. I have no complaints. We wanted this. We wanted CIF, then why not state? We got that.

“What an amazing year.”

Last year, Bonita finished 13th in this meet.

“We knew what we could be,” Carr said. “This group of girls was ready for this since last year in track. That’s when we turned the corner.”

Scott, competing in her fourth state meet, was the Bearcats’ top finisher but not the top Valley finisher in the race.

That honor went to Bishop Amat sophomore Emily Hubert, who was sixth in 18:20.

“It was a lot better than last year,” she said. “It feels real good.

I trained to do well and I’m proud that I came through. Last year I tried to forget.”

She was 89th last year.

Azusa sophomore Roxanne Valle finished 12th in 18:41. It was the first time an Aztecs girl had competed in the meet.

“It was a challenge,” she said.

Bonita’s Scott was 10th in 18:30.

“I was really nervous before the race,” she said. “I knew we trained all season for this and I knew we would pull it off because I had a lot of confidence in my teammates. They get their best effort.”

The Bearcats never lost to a Division 3 team this season.

“They were just outstanding,” Carr said “That big margin (of victory), that’s how good we are. I’m extremely proud of these young ladies. I’m overwhelmed right now.”

Carr will lose only Scott next year. The other six starters are returning.

“We used to try to come here every year,” Carr said. “Now we’re one of the best. We will do everything we can to live up to that.”

Marissa’s sister, sophomore Kailyn, was 17th in 18:49. Freshman Kelsey Creese was 21st in 18:52, junior Mackenize Landa was 23rd in 18:53 and Jordin Prado finished 34th in 19:06.

“We got better after (two miles),” Carr said “We trained for that. We moved up. After that hill, we maintained the pace and held it until the last turn and then let it go.”

The Bearcats’ first six runners were in before Cathedral’s fifth runner.

It arguably was the Valley’s biggest-ever day in the 36th edition of the meet. Arcadia won its second Division I title in three years and California finished second. The Apaches, led by a second-place finish from Estevan De La Rosa and third-place effort from Mitchell Pratt, won by 74 points and ran the second-fastest team time on the course. La Salle’s Daniel De La Torre won the Division IV race. The Flintridge Prep boys finished second in Division V, losing by one point, and Mayfield was third in Division IV.

Arroyo senior Samuel Garcia was ninth in Division II in 15:27. Los Altos Mark Huizar was 15th in 15:48 in Division III. He was the first Los Altos athlete to run in the meet.

“It’s a big honor,” he said. “It just feels great to have all of the faculty support me. I felt like dying out at the end. I left it all on the field.”

Arcadia won it by putting five runners within the top 30. The Apaches ran a team time of 77:00, second only to the 2010 Arcadia team’s 76:12. The Apaches were second last year.

La Salle’s De La Torre made an amazing comeback to win the Division IV race in 15:30.

He trailed John Lawson of Sir Francis Drake, who won the title last year, by 15 seconds with a mile to go., He passed Lawson with 50 yards to go for the win.

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Not meant to be for West Covina and San Dimas, ending football season in East San Gabriel Valley

West Covina and San Dimas both led 14-0, but neither could hold on, ending the high school football season in the Tribune area. Monrovia will host Paraclete in next Friday’s Mid-Valley Division title game and La Serna will face Downey on Saturday for the Southeast title at a site to be determined.

Below: Tom Kiss’ highlights and postgame interviews of West Covina-La Serna

La Serna-West Covina photo gallery

Friday’s results and game stories
Southeast Division

La Serna 35, West Covina 17
Downey 35, Santa Fe 3
Mid-Valley Division
Monrovia 42, Sierra Canyon 31
Paraclete 28, San Dimas 20
Northeast Division
Rio Hondo Prep 42, St. Monica 14

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