Big day for area signees …

By Aram Tolegian, staff writer

A bumper crop of local high school athletes made their college destinations official on Wednesday by signing on the dotted line.

Softball is the sport in which the most area athletes earned college scholarships. Eleven of the area’s finest players signed letters of intent for schools ranging as close to home as Azusa Pacific University to as far away as West Point, N.Y.

St. Lucy’s pitcher Caroline Smith will attend Army after going through the difficult process of getting accepted to one of the country’s most distinguished military academies.

“Not only is it an honor to serve my country, but I think it’s the best opportunity I have to get a great education and set my path for the future,” Smith said. “I was looking at other schools in Boston and California, but this is probably the best one I’ve gotten an offer from.”

Bishop Amat will send a trio of softball players to college level play.

Brandy Galaviz (Charleston Southern), Victoria Saucedo (Utah State) and Alexis Gonzalez (Oregon State) made their plans official Wednesday.

“When I stepped on campus, the family atmosphere and how well the coaches made me feel made me choose Oregon State instead of other schools,” Gonzalez said. “Just to know that me and my (Amat) teammates are signing together and we’re all going to college makes it the more the merrier. We’ve been through everything together and they’ve been with me through it all – they’ve been my best friends since freshmen year.”

Rowland slugger Kaylea Snaer signed with South Carolina. Snaer hit a whopping .536 last year with 16 home runs. The Raiders won just five games, but there was no keeping her off the map of college recruiters.

“I went to South Carolina and compared it to Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, and the people were great,” Snaer said. “I want to major in business and South Carolina is the No. 1 international business school and that’s what I was looking for.

“Of course, I don’t want to just go there for the sports.”

Other softball players to sign on Wednesday included Charter Oak’s Alison Strycula (Sonoma State) and Nicki Sprague (Azusa Pacific), Bonita’s Jazzlyn Costa (Azusa Pacific) and Corrina Liscano (Howard) and South Hills’ Abry Moreno (Azusa Pacific) and Lexi Robles (St. John’s).

Four area baseball players made their plans official, led by the Glendora duo of Scott Burke (UCLA) and Billy Sanford (Azusa Pacific). South Hills pitcher Adrian DeHorta earned his way to Cal-State Fullerton, where he will join the Titans’ pitching staff.

“The baseball tradition is huge there,” DeHorta said. “It’s close to home and my parents and brothers can always come by and watch a game. All the hard work and hours spent is paying off. There’s a long way to go and still a lot of hard work to put in.”

DeHorta was deciding between Fullerton, University of San Diego and San Diego State. But the Aztecs didn’t leave the Valley empty-handed after Nogales pitcher/catcher Erik Gonzalez signed on the dotted line.

“It’s a great school and they have a really good program there,” Gonzalez said. “San Diego State was pretty much my only option. I was getting letters from other people, but I really liked San Diego State.

“It’s a great feeling because not everyone has an opportunity like I do.”

The local area sent five girls volleyball standouts to the next level.

Chino Hills’ Shelley Anderson picked UC Irvine while just down the road Ayala’s Shannon Bell signed with Cal State Fullerton. St. Lucy’s Arden Davis will join Anderson at UC Irvine. San Dimas’ Jene Lee chose Sacred Heart University. Bishop Amat’s Samantha Quesada-Diaz will play her college ball at Pomona Pitzer.

La Verne Lutheran saw yet another player earn a scholarship when McKay Anderson signed with Southern Utah.

Gymnastics standout Desiree Palomares of San Dimas will attend Cal-Berkeley. West Covina girls tennis star Alexis Valenzuela signed with Cal State Fullerton.

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Mission Valley League winning in the playoffs and players are having a record-breaking good time

“If it was so easy, somebody would be doing it every year. But they’re not. When you have Brandon and our offense, then you have a shot against everyone you play. You have to respect that. They’re not averaging 40 points per game just because we’re getting lucky. They’re putting in work.” El Monte coach Joel Sanchez on QB Brandon Martinez.

By Aram Tolegian, SGVN

The Mission Valley League’s seemingly never-ending quest for respect got bolstered in a big way last Friday night.

The league’s three high school football teams all advanced to the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division playoffs. No other local league can boast the same feat.

For the MVL players and coaches, it’s just more evidence they can point to for proof that the league’s bad rap is undeserved.

“The first thing that came to my mind was respect for our league,” El Monte head coach Joel Sanchez said. “Everybody always puts us down and says that we only have one team that does well. This kind of sends a message to everyone else that the Mission Valley League is getting better.

“And for next season, a lot more teams are going to have to respect us coming in more than they did this year.”

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Damien boys water polo hoping to advance to third straight title game vs. top seed Agoura at 6:30 p.m.

By Fred J. Robledo, SGVN

It’s been a while since Grant Miller led the Damien High School boys water polo team to its only CIF-Southern Section title, beating Riverside Poly 10-9 for the Division 5 crown in 2002.

Miller was an unstoppable force then, scoring 124 goals with 141 steals to earn Division 5 player of the year honors.

A decade later, Miller’s trying to lead the Spartans to the school’s second title as their head coach. Miller took over last season and led the Spartans to the finals, but came up short.

“It’s not easy,” Miller said. “Of all the time’s we’ve been to the CIF finals we’ve probably only been favored once.

“But we’re always striving to get back. That’s why you play, to have an opportunity to win a championship.

The Sierra League champion Spartans (21-10) edged fourth-seeded Foothill 6-5 in the Division 2 quarterfinals to advance to today’s semifinal against top seed Agoura (24-4), an 11-4 quarterfinal winner over Dos Pueblos.

Agoura is going for its third straight division title, having moved to Division 2 after winning back-to-back Division 4 titles.

Damien and Agoura will square off at the William Woollett Jr., Aquatic Center in Irvine at 6:30 p.m.
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Diamond Bar girls golf finish second in state to three-time champion Torrey Pines

By Clay Fowler, Staff Writer

Tony McCabe has a plethora of silver trophies in his house.

The one his Diamond Bar High School girls golf team brought home Tuesday afternoon may be the same color, but that is its only similarity to the rest.

The burgeoning Brahmas program continued its ascent with not only its first appearance in the CIF-WSCGA State championship, but a runner-up finish to three-time state champion Torrey Pines.

Diamond Bar’s team total of 420 left it 19 strokes ahead of third-place Mission San Jose. With the first three sets of golfers in the club house, Diamond Bar trailed Torrey Pines by eight strokes, but the defending champions widened the gap down the stretch to post a 401 total.

“We’ve been chasing Torrance, Palm Desert and Torrey Pines for seven years now, and we’ve caught everybody but (Torrey Pines),” McCabe said. “It was a great year for us.”

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Winter Polls: Defending girls soccer champ Claremont No. 2 in D-2; Amat No. 2 in D-3; Northview wrestling No. 1 in D-2; St. Lucy’s No. 3 in D-3 polo

CIF-SS GIRLS SOCCER POLL
Highest ranked teams: Division 2: Claremont (2), St. Lucy’s (10); Division 3: Bishop Amat (2), Diamond Bar (3), Bonita (4); Division 6: San Dimas (2), Sierra Vista (7).

CIF-SS BOYS SOCCER POLL
Highest ranked teams: Division 5: Mountain View (3)

CIF-SS Girls Water Polo Poll
Highest ranked teams: Division 3: St. Lucy’s (6), Ayala (8); Division 4: Bonita (1), Los Altos (5); Division 7: Wilson (8).

CIF-Wrestling Team Poll
Highest ranked teams: Division 2: Northview (1), South Hills (6), Ayala (9);

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All eyes on San Dimas-San Marino in the Mid-Valley while West Covina takes on Mighty Muir in the Southeast

“They’ve beaten everyone in front of them except Monrovia and we’ve beaten everyone in front of us except Monrovia, so it’s a neat little game. We’re very similar, our schools, in terms of makeup. It feels a lot like we’re playing ourselves.” San Dimas coach Bill Zernickow on facing San Marino

By Aram Tolegian, SGVN

It’s not every year you see two 10-1 teams square off in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section football playoffs.

But that’s exactly the case on Friday night when San Marino (10-1) visits San Dimas (10-1) in a game that surely will have the attention of the rest of the Mid-Valley Division.

“They’ve beaten everyone in front of them except Monrovia and we’ve beaten everyone in front of us except Monrovia, so it’s a neat little game,” San Dimas coach Bill Zernickow said. “We’re very similar, our schools, in terms of makeup.

“It feels a lot like we’re playing ourselves.”

San Dimas took its loss to Monrovia back on Sept. 14 by a score of 35-23.

San Marino’s setback came on Oct. 26 and the score was 21-16. But reading too much into how each team did against the Wildcats would be foolish, according to Zernickow.

“They are very, very good,” he said. “Both teams. We’re going to have to play our game. The game is going to go really fast, probably two hours, because we’re both going to run the ball.”

San Dimas hasn’t had to unveil too much of its offense over the past two months. The Saints haven’t had a close game, and even against Northview for the Valle Vista League championship Zernickow refrained from using any of the plays he’s been known to throw at opponents out of his team’s “Wing-Z offense,” which is a variation of the Wing-T.

But all of that is going to change this week because San Marino’s defense is too good to crack by being vanilla.

“I think we have some things that we can do to them to be successful with,” Zernickow said. “They do a good job with their fundamentals and stuff, so we’re going to have to do some things to take advantage of that.”

San Dimas and San Marino met in the first round of the playoffs last year with the Saints advancing with a 31-21 win. The game was close at halftime and Zernickow expects the Titans to be even better this season.

“I thought last year when we played them, they did a good job defending us,” Zernickow said. “We’re expecting more of the same and probably even better because of how improved they are as a football team.”

Both teams feature two of the better ground attacks around. San Marino has a trio of capable runners in quarterback Matt Wofford and running backs Nick Gott and Ryan Wood. San Dimas is led by junior standout running back Jake Peyton, who finished the regular season with 1,526 yards and 19 touchdowns.

POWERS COLLIDE

Two programs with rich histories will meet on Friday at West Covina when the Bulldogs (7-4) host Muir (8-3) in the second round of the Southeast Division playoffs.

“It’s one of those games that if I wasn’t coaching I would want to see it,” West Covina coach Mike Maggiore said. “I think it’s going to be competitive and it should be entertaining. There’s a lot of good athletes on the field, a lot of speed and two teams that don’t want their season to end.

“It’s one of the better teams in their area versus one of the better teams in our area.”

West Covina has won the division the past two seasons but was somewhat of a mystery entering last week’s first round matchup with San Gabriel Valley League co-champ Paramount. The Bulldogs proved to be in full postseason form by posting a resounding 41-9 win.

West Covina has been plagued by injuries all season and things won’t get any better this week with starting quarterback Jon Najera a game-time decision because of a knee injury suffered in the second half against Paramount. West Covina already was missing top offensive linemen Matthew and Marco Garcia, key running back DeShon Love and arguably its best defensive player in rush end Justin Hornsby.

On the positive side, running back Josh Best may return this week and Hornsby could be back next week if the Bulldogs advance.

Muir hasn’t lost a game since September when it was put to task with a difficult nonleague schedule that featured games against Upland, Alemany and Rancho Cucamonga. The Mustangs are on an eight-game win streak and started the playoffs with a 44-17 dusting of California on Friday.

“They’re a lot better on defense than I thought they were going to be,” Maggiore said of the Mustangs. “I’ve never coached against Muir, but you just hear a lot of the stories about the athleticism and speed, but this team seems like it plays really hard. This coach (John Hardy Jr.) obviously does a very good job.

“I think they’re a better team than they were last year and it’s going to be another big challenge for us. I liked the way we played last week, but we’re going to have to raise our level another step to beat Muir.”

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Athletes expected to sign Wednesday

Athletes that are expected to sign national letters of intent on Wednesday. If there are more, email them to me at fred.robledo@sgvn.com
SOFTBALL
Kaylea Snaer, Rowland, (University of South Carolina)
Alison Strycula, Charter Oak, (Sonoma State)
Brandy Galaviz, Bishop Amat (Charleston Southern University)
Alexis Gonzalez, Bishop Amat (Oregon State University)
Jazzlyn Costa, Bonita, (Azusa Pacific)
Victoria Saucedo, Bishop Amat (Utah State)
Nicki Sprague, Charter Oak (Azusa Pacific)
Lexi Robles, South Hills (St. John’s)
Abry Moreno, South Hills (Azusa Pacific)
Caroline Smith, St. Lucy’s (West Point)
BASEBALL
Scott Burke, Glendora, (UCLA)
Billy Sanford, Glendora, (Azusa Pacific)
Eric Gonzales, Nogales, San Diego State
GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
Samantha Quesada, Bishop Amat (Pomona Pitzer)
Shelley Anderson, Chino Hills (UC Irvine)
Jene Lee, San Dimas (Sacred Heart University)
Arden Davis, St. Lucy’s (UC Irvine)
GYMNASTICS
Desiree Palomares, San Dimas, (University of California)
BOYS BASKETBALL
McKay Anderson, La Verne Lutheran (Southern Utah)
GIRLS TENNIS
Alexis Valenzuela, West Covina (Cal State Fullerton)

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Tribskin Pick’em, this weeks games and predictions: I’m going to take Charter Oak, West Covina and Gladstone

Aram and I will go head-to-head in Tribskin Pick’em throughout the season for our annual dinner bet.


Last Week: Robledo (14-6); Tolegian (14-6).
This Week: Robledo (164-74); Tolegian (165-73).

Last Week: No blood as we both went 14-6, leaving Aram with a one-game lead going into the quarterfinals. We both lost taking Amat over LB Poly, Paramount over West Covina, Bell Gardens over Arroyo and Bonita over Santa Fe. Aram got me taking South El Monte over Covina, but I got him back taking El Monte over Montebello.

This week: Charter Oak is the San Gabriel Valley’s best hope to do special things and beating Rancho Cucamonga and getting a home game the following week against Big, Bad Vista Murrieta would be special. I’m not taking Charter Oak for sentimental reasons, I believe they’re flat out better and have the defense to drive RC nuts. West Covina proved something last week, so I’m taking the defending champions over Muir, though I like Muir’s chances. I’m going out on a limb taking Gladstone. On the road, I would have taken North Torrance, but at home I’m giving the Gladiators a punchers chance. Let’s be honest, North Torrance is probably better, but I like how the Gladiators answered the playoff bell last week. Every other game on the schedule is a slam dunk, don’t even take note.

This weeks games and predictions
Friday
Southeast Division
Muir at West Covina, 7 p.m. — Robledo (West Covina); Aram (WC)
La Mirada at Santa Fe, 7 p.m. — Robledo (La Mirada); Aram (La Mirada)
La Serna at Compton Dominguez, 7 p.m. — Robledo (La Serna); Aram (LS)
Mid-Valley Division
San Marino at San Dimas, 7 p.m. – Robledo (SDimas); Aram (SM)
Sierra Canyon at Arroyo, 7 p.m. — Robledo (SC); Aram (SC)
South El Monte at Monrovia, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Monrovia); Aram (M-Town)
El Monte at Paraclete, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Paraclete); Aram (P)
Inland Division
Charter Oak vs. Rancho Cucamonga at Los Osos, 7 p.m. — Robledo (COak); Aram (CO)
Northwest Division
North Torrance at Gladstone, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Gladstone); Aram (NT)

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Saturday Recap: St. Lucy’s CIF repeat comes up short, La Puente falls; Damien advances in boys water polo

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
DIVISION 1A

St. Lucy’s falls: Playing only its second five-game match of the season, top-seeded St. Lucy’s suffered a 16-25, 27-25, 15-25, 25-18, 15-12 loss to No. 8 seed El Dorado in a CIF-Southern Section Division 1A quarterfinal match Saturday night.
Division 4A
La Puente’s season ends in five: St. Anthony advanced to the semifinals with a 21-25, 25-18, 25-16, 21-25, 15-9 win Saturday night over La Puente at St. Anthony High.

BOYS WATER POLO QUARTERFINALS
DIVISION 2
DAMIEN 6, FOOTHILL 5

Trevor Adkins, Travis Carnochan and Stephen Osterberg scored two goals apiece as Damien High School held off fourth-seeded Foothill of Santa Ana, 6-5, in a CIF-Southern Section Division 2 quarterfinal game at Pomona College on Saturday. Kyle Garwick made 14 saves for Damien.
DIVISION 3
GLENDALE 11, LOS ALTOS 6

The Los Altos High School water polo team had trouble stopping Arman Momdzhyan and David Sarkisian. The pair led top-seeded Glendale to an 11-6 victory over the Conquerors in the CIF-SS Division 3 quarterfinals on Saturday in Burbank. Momdzhyan had seven goals and Sarkisian had 13 saves.
DIVISION 5
PASADENA POLY 20, WALNUT 9

Pasadena Poly moved one step closer to earning a third consecutive shot at a CIF-SS Division 5 title with a 20-9 victory over visiting Walnut in a quarterfinal match. Scott Dillman scored six Walnut goals.

CROSS COUNTRY PRELIMS: No. 1 girls team in Division 3, Bonita, acted like it Saturday by landing three in the top five and all five runners in the top nine of its heat to qualify with ease. Junior Mackenzie Landa won the race by 17 seconds with a time of 18:08 while teammates Marissa Scott and Kailyn Scott finished third and fifth, respectively.

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CIF Quarterfinal Football Schedule and Brandon Martinez’s pursuit of the San Gabriel Valley’s all-time records

CIF-SOUTHERN SECTION QUARTERFINAL SCHEDULE
FRIDAY’S GAMES

Inland Division
Norco at Vista Murrieta
Charter Oak vs. Rancho Cucamonga at Los Osos
Upland at Redlands
Corona Centennial at Murrieta Valley
Mid-Valley Division
El Monte at Paraclete
San Marino at San Dimas
Sierra Canyon at Arroyo
South El Monte at Monrovia
Northwest Division
Bishop Diego at Village Christian
North Torrance at Gladstone
Compton Centennial at El Segundo
Whittier Christian at Nordoff
Southeast Division
La Mirada at Santa Fe
Downey at Norwalk
Muir at West Covina
La Serna at Compton Dominguez

SEMIFINAL COIN FLIP WINNERS (Teams who would be home in Semfinals)
Inland: Vista Murrieta at CHARTER oAK
Mid-Valley: Paraclete at SAN MARINO, San Dimas at PARACLETE; Sierra Canyon at SOUTH EL MONTE, Monrovia at SIERRA CANYON; Arroyo at SOUTH EL MONTE; Monrovia at ARROYO; San Marino at EL MONTE, San Dimas at EL MONTE.
Northwest: Gladstone at BISHOP DIEGO AND VILLAGE CHRISTIAN
Southeast: West Covina at LA SERNA and COMPTON DOMINGUEZ

Brandon Martinez Watch
Last week: 392 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Season Passing yards: 3,940 yards
Season Touchdowns: 42 touchdowns
Record Chaser: Martinez passed Los Altos’ Mike Smith last week to become the East San Gabriel Valley’s all-time single-season passing leader and Friday tied legendary Bishop Amat QB Pat Haden (1970) and Los Altos’ Felipe Aguilar’s (2000) record of 42 touchdown passes in a season. When El Monte travels to Paraclete for Friday’s second-round playoff game, Martinez needs 122 yards to break Richard Irvin’s (Muir) all-time San Gabriel Valley single-season passing record of 4,061 yards set in 2002, and a TD pass to become the all-time TD passing leader.

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Saturday Morning QB: Charter Oak’s Dominating D does it again; Gladstone romps, West Covina is back and the Mission Valley goes 3-0; Amat no match for LB Poly

Highlights: Gladstone won its first playoff game since 1977 to pay tribute to coach Albert Sanchez, who announced this week this is his final season after 13 years. El Monte QB Brandon Martinez’s game winning touchdown on the final play of a 44-43 win over Montebello gave him his sixth TD, tying him with Bishop Amat’s Pat Haden (1971) and Los Altos’ Felipe Aguilar (2000) for the all-time SGV record with 42 TDs in a season. Bonita’s Brandt Davis booted his 33rd career field goal in the Bearcats’ 11-10 loss to Santa Fe, tying him with Sherman Oak’s Notre Dame’s Chris Sailer and Don Lugo’s Luis Zendejas for most career field goals in CIF-SS history.


Charter Oak photo gallery

By Fred J. Robledo
Leave it to Charter Oak coach Lou Farrar to come up with something creative to describe one of the best Chargers defenses he’s been part of.

“I had a freshman football team that had six shutouts once, so I don’t know,” Farrar said with a smile. “They’re good. They’re really good.”

Even with visiting Chaparral moving receiver Chris Stratton to quarterback in hopes of confusing or catching Charter off-guard, the Chargers were simply quicker and more physical in winning 24-14 in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Inland Division playoffs Friday night.

Friday’s Results and game stories
Charter Oak 24, Chaparral 14
Redlands 55, Chino Hills 27
Vista Murrieta 34, South Hills 6
Southeast Division
West Covina 41, Paramount 9
Santa Fe 11, Bonita 10
La Serna 49, Diamond Ranch 0
Rowland vs. Downey
Pac-5 Division
Long Beach Poly 40, Bishop Amat 25
Mid-Valley Division
South El Monte 31, Covina 24
El Monte 44, Montebello 43
Arroyo 42, Bell Gardens 14
San Dimas 42, Windward 0
Sierra Canyon 20, Northview 7
Northwest Division
El Segundo 31, La Puente 7
Gladstone 54, Mary Star 17
Nordoff 44, Sierra Vista 0
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