Damien’s dominating fourth quarter leads to first championship ever, Spartans beat Santa Margarita 54-40 to capture Division 3AA boys title

Damien wins in first trip to finals: Damien High School, after advancing to the CIF-Southern Section finals for the first time, wasn’t about to waste the opportunity.
Ayo Adedeji and Jeremy Hemsley made sure of it.
Adedeji had 18 points and eight rebounds and Hemsley scored 17 points and the Spartans scored the program’s first CIF-SS title with a 54-40 victory over Santa Margarita in the Division 3AA championship game Thursday night at Anaheim Arena.

Photo gallery of Damien, Santa Margarita

Damien won its first championship ever with a dominating fourth quarter, outscoring Santa Margarita 18-6, pulling away down the stretch to close out a 54-40 victory in the Division 3AA championship game Thursday at the Anaheim Arena. Damien senior Ayo Adedeji had his best game of the season, scoring 18 points with 13 rebounds and the always reliable sophomore Jeremy Hemsley finished with 17 points with four assists.

Tom Kiss’ video highlights and interviews of Damien’s first championship ever

TOUT VIDEOS

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Baseball: Los Altos outlasts Damien, 2-1, in Dick’s Sporting Goods Tournament; Friday’s quarterfinals set

Los Altos-Damien photo gallery
By Steve Ramirez
twitter.com/SteveRRamirez
WALNUT –
The nonleague season in high school sports is about progressing and improving while preparing for league play.
It’s also about making a name for yourself, and the Los Altos baseball team has accomplished that aspect during the first two games of its season.
Isaiah Roybal gave up one run and two hits in six innings and Joey Franco had an RBI double to score Anthony Cuevas in the eighth inning as the Conquerors improved to 2-0 with a 2-1 victory over Damien in a Dick’s Tournament second-round game at Mt. San Antonio College.
Los Altos, which opened the tournament with a 2-0 victory over CIF-Southern Section power Yucaipa, advanced to face Temecula Valley, a 6-0 victory over Elsinore, in Friday’s quarterfinals at Mt. SAC. The time will be announced later.
Damien, which beat La Puente, 8-0, in the first round on Saturday, slipped to 1-1.
The Spartans and Conquerors are ranked Nos. 4 and 7 in the area, respectively.
Los Altos coach Andrew Formano: “It means a lot. Early on, we’re trying to figure out who we are and trying to build from game to game. We played Yucaipa, which is a good ball club. Damien’s obviously a very good club, so we’re just trying to test ourselves and see where we’re at. Winning league is our goal and all this is prepping us for that. We’ll take every win that we can get. We’re competing, which is what it’s about.”
Damien coach Al Leyva: “That shows we’ve got character, we’ve got heart. We didn’t give in. Yeah, we were short today by a run, but those things are going to happen. It’s a good character builder for us, and we passed the test. Now we go on to the next game.”

Full Schedule for the San Gabriel Valley Dicks Sporting Goods High School Baseball Tournament.

Dicks Sporting Goods Winners Bracket
Wednesday’s second round results
Upper Bracket

South Hills 3, Paloma Valley 2
Alta Loma 3, La Canada 1
Claremont 7, Corona Santiago 4
Bonita 3, Carter 1
Lower Bracket
Temecula Valley 6, Elsinore 0
Los Altos 2, Damien 1
Arcadia 13, Rosemead 3
Northview 10, Roosevelt 0

Friday’s Quarterfinal games
Upper Bracket

South Hills vs. Alta Loma at Mt. SAC, 4 p.m.
Claremont vs. Bonita at Bonita, 7 p.m.
Lower Bracket
Temecula Valley vs. Los Altos at Bonita, 4 p.m.
Northview vs. Arcadia at Mt. SAC, 7 p.m.

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Softball Rankings: Bishop Amat, Chino Hills lead the way

SOFTBALL PREVIEW: Bishop Amat High School felt it left a little on the table last softball season.
The Lancers hope to make up for it this year, and judging by who they have back from a team that advanced to the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 semifinals, this could be a special time for Bishop Amat, which begins the season ranked No. 1 in the Valley.
“They are committed to go all the way,” said Bishop Amat coach Jesse Mendez, whose Lancers return four core players who keyed last season’s run to the division final four. “They’ve won a couple of league titles, but still haven’t accomplished the goal of a CIF title.

1. Bishop Amat (24-7) – The Lancers have all the pieces for a run at a CIF-SS title
2. Chino Hills (32-3) – Can the Huskies repeat? You bet
3. Los Altos (20-8) – The favorite in the Hacienda
4. San Dimas (22-8) – Saints should rule the VVL and challenge for a D-5 title
5. St. Lucy’s (24-6) – Smith leads the way
6. Ayala (19-12) – Is there enough back to contend in the Sierra?
7. Charter Oak (14-11) – They can hit, but success will be decided in the circle
8. Bonita (18-8) – Losing Sanchez is a key blow for the Bearcats
9. South Hills (15-12) – Never doubt the Huskies
10. Duarte (20-4) – Strong returning core has Falcons eying repeat

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Girls Soccer Semifinals: Bishop Amat wins another thriller in PKs; Arroyo advances to finals 3-2; San Dimas loses a heartbreaker

CIF-Southern Section Soccer Finals
Division 7
Friday, Warren High, Downey

Arroyo vs. Marshall, 5 p.m.
Division 3
Saturday, Corona High
Bishop Amat vs. Pasadena Poly, 5 p.m.

CIF-SS Girls Soccer Playoffs
Tuesday’s semifinals
Division 3

Bishop Amat 0, Yorba Linda 0, Amat wins 5-4 in PKS
Division 6
Citrus Valley 3, at San Dimas 2
Division 7
Arroyo 3, University Prep 2

Bishop Amat to play for second title in three years: Bishop Amat goalkeeper Evelyn Fierros learned just a few minutes before kick-off she was being replaced in the semifinals by Ruby Nichols after giving up three goals in the second round and quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs, both 4-3 victories.
Fierros cheered on her team, but the disappointment was evident on her face.
But after Bishop Amat thoroughly dominated top-seeded Yorba Linda during Tuesday’s division semifinal but had nothing to show for it, Lancers coach Ruben Gonzalez brought in Fierros for the penalty shootout after a 0-0 regulation and two scoreless overtimes.
It turned out to be a brilliant move. Fierros came up a with a big, opening save in the shootout and was an intimidating presence the rest of the way in allowing Bishop Amat to pull out a 5-4 victory on penalty kicks to advance to its third consecutive championship game.

Arroyo advances to D-7 championship: The Arroyo High School girls soccer team is going where its previous teams hoped to: the CIF-Southern Section division final.
After defeating University Prep (14-3-2) from Victorville 3-2 Tuesday, the Knights (16-4-4) will play Marshall, a 2-0 winner over Gabrielino, in the Division 7 championship game later this week.

San Dimas fall to Citrus Valley: San Dimas was closing in on a stunning win late in Tuesday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 6 girls soccer semifinal.
But Citrus Valley was thinking of its own victory celebration.
With about eight minutes left in regulation and San Dimas holding on to a one-goal lead, the visiting Blackhawks began a rally that propelled them to their second consecutive division title game with a 3-2 victory.

Inland Insider with highlights and interviews following San Dimas’ tough 3-2 loss to Citrus Valley

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Girls Basketball: Bishop Amat will play for its second straight and sixth title after beating Ventura; Bonita falls to Lynwood

Bonita-Lynwood photo gallery

Bonita falls short against Lynwood: The jump to CIF-SS Division 2AA this season was looking like it never was going to catch up to the Bonita High School girls basketball team.
In Tuesday’s semifinal, however, Lynwood was too tall an order.
The towering lineup of the third-seeded Knights dominated the boards in the second half as it pulled away for a 60-47 victory over seventh-seeded Bonita. The defending division champion Knights are back in the title game, where they will face the winner of No. 1 seed Mark Keppel and No. 4 seed Riverside North.

Bishop Amat to play for second straight and sixth divisional title: Bishop Amat High School was pushed to the limit Tuesday.
But that just made the Lancers shove back, which put them in position for a repeat.
Paulina Santana scored 17 points, including two key free throws with 11.6 seconds left, and Bishop Amat advanced to the CIF-Southern Section Division 1A girls basketball final with a 51-48 victory at Ventura.

Bishop Amat coach Richard Wiard: “Our kids never gave in. They showed great fight. They made the plays they needed to make. We didn’t make a lot of foul shots down the stretch, but (Santana) made those two huge ones, and that’s the key. You have to make enough to win.”
Bishop Amat’s Paulina Santana: They were a great team that really challenged us. We kept our composure and capitalize. Kudos to my teammates. It was a great game and we were able do what we are supposed to do. I think we’re experienced as a team and that definitely helped us out.”

Girls Basketball Playoffs
Division 1A

Bishop Amat 51, Ventura 48
Division 2AA
Lynwood 60, Bonita 47

Clay Fowler with highlights and interviews following Bonita’s loss

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Baseball Rankings: Who’s No. 1? Bonita is still the one

Top Ten Story: Last season was a magical one for the Bonita High School baseball team.
The Bearcats, behind top pitcher Justin Garza, won another Hacienda League title and earned the school’s first CIF-Southern Section championship by defeating Alhambra, 5-1, to take the Division 3 crown.
But while Garza, who was 25-1 over his junior and senior seasons, and other key players are gone, expectations for another year of success are alive and well in La Verne. The Bearcats begin the season ranked No. 1 in the Valley and No. 3 in Division 3.

READY FOR MORE: Catcher Jake Blunt, pitcher Parker Merritt and shortstop Justin Row are ready for a new season Feb. 20, 2013.
(SGVN/Staff photo by Leo Jarzomb)

Here’s the initial area baseball rankings, which include the usual suspects. The story on the top 10 will be in Tuesday’s newspaper:

1. Bonita (32-2 in 2012) – Bearcats still formidable, aided by D-1 transfers
2. Bishop Amat (20-10) – Lancers serious contenders with 8 returning starters
3. South Hills (20-10) – Denson makes Huskies a powerful pick
4. Damien (15-11-1) – Will rely on UCLA commits Hockin and Olsen
5. Nogales (22-7) – Pitching tandem Gonzalez and Guzman are tough to beat
6. Glendora (18-11) – Tartans again the favorite in the Baseline
7. Los Altos (20-10) – If anyone can overtake Bonita in the Hacienda, its the Conqs
8. Northview (16-9-1) – All-leaguers Grijalva and Castaneda make the Vikes a tough out
9. San Dimas (18-9) – Saints will challenge Nogales, Northview for VVL supremacy
10. Diamond Bar (15-9-2) – Brahmas are young, but solid

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CIF-SS Basketball finals schedule set; Damien vs. Santa Margarita main event on Thursday


BOYS & GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Boys Basketball
Anaheim Arena, Thursday
Division 3AA Final
Santa Margarita vs. Damien, 8:15 p.m.
Saturday
Division 4AA

La Verne Lutheran vs. Serra, Noon.
Girls Basketball
Anaheim Arena, Friday
Division 2AA

Mark Keppel/J.W. North vs. Lynwood/Bonita, 5:15 p.m.
Division 1A
Bishop Amat/Ventura vs. Vista Murrieta/Canyon Springs, 7 p.m.

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Girls Basketball: Bonita knocks off undefeated Cajon, 60-47; Bishop Amat takes care of business, 54-50

Bonita Magic: It was a perfect 27-0 entering the quarterfinals, but the Cajon High School girls basketball team had to come from behind in more of those victories than coach Mark Lehman preferred.
“Our girls thought they could do that tonight, but I told them one of these nights it’s not going to happen,” Lehman said. “The other team’s not going to let you come back.”

Saturday’s Schedule
Quarterfinals
Division 1A

Bishop Amat 54, Westminster 50
Tuesday’s semifinal: Bishop Amat at Ventura, 7 p.m.
Division 2AA
Bonita 60, Cajon 47

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Bishop Amat’s girls basketball team won its first two playoff games so easily — by an average of 53 points — you wondered what would happen when it went up against a team that could swing back, especially without one of its best players, junior Dagmar Ramirez, out the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
Visiting Westminster, riding a 13-game winning streak and 25-3 overall record, certainly provided that.
But top seed Amat isn’t chasing its sixth divisional crown and second straight title without knowing what to do when the game’s on the line, and it proved it again with clutch baskets and free throws in the fourth quarter to squeeze out a 54-50 victory in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1A quarterfinals on Saturday.
Lancers junior Janae Chamois finished with 20 points, five assists and senior Mauriana Clayton dropped 14 points with 10 rebounds. But with the game on the line, junior Paulina Santana’s four consecutive free throws proved to be the difference. Continue reading

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Wrestling: Northview wins girls state team title; Vikings’ Sabrina Solis, West Covina’s Aylssa LaFrancis score titles

By Steve Ramirez<
twitter.com/SteveRRamirez

Northview High School’s wrestling program has build a solid reputation over the past two decades.
The Vikings’ girls team added to it Saturday.
Northview, with five competitors receiving a top eight medal, including one champion, secured the team title during the third annual CIF State championships at Lemoore High School.
Northview’s Sabrina Solis at 118 pounds, and West Covina’s Aylssa LaFrancis at 165 won individual titles, beating Loara’s Crystal Zamarripa and San Jose Edison’s Gabriela Guzman, respectively. The Vikings’ Maddie Tyrone was a finalist at heavyweight, losing to Santa Monica’s Jessica Walker.
Also receiving a top-eight medal for the Vikings were Rose Martinez (98, seventh), Lazmin Perez (122, seventh) and Katie Auxier (146, fifth).
Other area top-eight medalists were Charter Oak’s Brittny Hernandez (103, third) and Savanna Barr (114, third); Rowland’s Zitali Bailon (118, eighth); Sierra Vista’s Marisela Fierro (122, third) and La Puente’s Sharon Garcia (189, third).

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CIF-SS Masters Wrestling: Northview’s Daniel Valles, Bryan Salinas win titles; Vikings take third; Area qualifies 15 for state meet

Northview High School’s Bryan Salinas, right, battles King’s Harlan Kistler in the 170-pound final at the Masters Meet Saturday. Salinas won, 7-3.
(Lafonzo Carter / Staff Photographer)

By Steve Ramirez
twitter.com/SteveRRamirez
TEMECULA –
For Northview High School wrestlers Daniel Valles and Bryan Salinas, Saturday’s CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet was all about redemption.
Salinas, who lost here in the finals last season, and Valles, who lost in the finals at last weekend’s Central Division championships, wanted to make up for coming up short previously.
Mission accomplished
Valles won at 138 pounds and Salinas at 170 to lead the area efforts at Temecula Valley High School.
The area, including Valles and Salinas, qualified 15 competitors to next weekend’s CIF State championships, scheduled for Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
St. John Bocos’s Aaron Pico, who is from Whittier, was lower weight MVP after winning at 132 with four wins by fall and one by default.
Northview, which won the team title last season, finished third with 121 points despite sharing top honors with Santiago, of Corona, with seven qualifiers each. Santiago finished first with 168. Bosco was second at 144.
Other area qualifiers were Northview’s Vincent Parra (106, third), Eric Ochoa (113, fourth), Tony Arellano (132, seventh), Ricky Padilla (145, fourth) and Steven Lopez (160, eighth); San Marino’s Evan Wick (113, second) and Julian Flores (120, third); Glendora’s Thomas Tello (132, fourth); Rowland’s Mario Lopez (138, second); Walnut’s Michael Sill (138, eighth); Chino Hills’ Garrick Gurney (170, fifth); Diamond Bar’s Nathan Rodriguez (182, seventh) and La Habra’s Michael Rangel (106, ninth).
Valles got some revenge on Lopez, who beat him for the Central title last week.
“When I lost to him last week, I knew I could beat him, but I just wasn’t my best last week,” said Valles, who scored a 6-3 victory over Lopez on Saturday. “I just trained harder during the week and knew I could beat him this time.
“It all paid off and I’m ready for state.”
Continue reading

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Boys Hoops: La Verne Lutheran shocks the Southland, beats undefeated Bishop Montgomery; Damien advances to first finals ever; Glendora done

James Escarcega talked to La Verne Lutheran coach Brandon Lee and came back with not only highlights, but exclusive, explosive post game comments from the locker room after the Trojans’ shocking 63-58 victory over 29-0 Bishop Montgomery, ranked No. 1 in Division 4AA and third in the state by MaxPreps.

CIF-Southern Section Boys Basketball Playoffs
Division 2A Quarterfinals

Redondo Union 55, Glendora 41
Division 3AA Semifinals
Damien 61, Corona del Mar 53
Division 4AA semifinals
La Verne Lutheran 63, Bishop Montgomery 58

By Steve Ramirez
NEWPORT BEACH —
Damien High School had ventured into the CIF-Southern Section boys basketball semifinals three times during the past four seasons only to have it end in heartache.
That disappointment ended Friday.

Sophomore Jeremy Hemsley scored 25 points and Jared Dizon had 15 and the Spartans advanced to the finals for the first time with a 61-53 victory over host Corona del Mar in a Division 3AA semifinal.
The Spartans improved 24-6 and will face Santa Margarita, a 65-59 winner over Leuzinger, in the finals next week at either Anaheim Arena or Mater Dei High School. The date and time will be announced later.
Blake Grable scored 23 points for the Sea Kings, who dropped to 21-10.
Damien coach Matt Dunn: “It’s a great feeling (to get to the finals). I thought our guys played great. Corona del Mar is a great team. It was a war right to the end, so I’m really proud of our guys.”
Damien’s Jeremy Hemsley: “It’ feels great. This was our goal. We worked hard all season. I think we really deserve it.”


Glendora-Redondo photo gallery
By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
It was clear from the opening tip that visiting Redondo Union was going to spend the night harassing Glendora’s shooters, rushing them off the 3-point line and pressuring them all over the floor.
It worked to perfection.
While Glendora set a school record for three-pointers in a season (252), the Tartans shot a paltry 8-for-27 from behind the arc and that wasn’t nearly enough as Redondo Union handed Glendora a 55-41 defeat in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2A quarterfinals on Friday.
Continue reading

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Predicting a Damien championship victory over South Hills in the Dicks Sporting Goods baseball tournament that starts Saturday

Full Schedule for the San Gabriel Valley Dicks Sporting Goods High School Baseball Tournament.

STORY: You have to love it, a 32-team CIF style survive and advance tournament that starts on Saturday. You can also go the consolation route, but who follows that?

Robledo’s final four prediction: South Hills vs. Bonita; Damien vs. Charter Oak
Robledo’s championship prediction: Damien over South Hills

Memory Lane: One of my favorite pictures from 2007 and Aram’s description of it, which he dubbed “the shot heard around the SGV,” Northview’s incredible come-from-behind 4-3 CIF playoff victory over Bonita. Aram wrote: “I’ve never seen such a stunning end to a prep baseball game. What amazed me was the silence right after Arnold went yard. The Bonita fans were obviously shocked, but I don’t think it even registered with Northview fans for about a minute. That’s probably because it happened so quick. Arnold came to the plate, took a cut, then took another and connected. Poof! Game over! Absolutely unreal!!!!” — Aram Tolegian

Only negative comment about Dicks tourney: No Glendora. No Bishop Amat. No Nogales. No Alhambra. No Temple City. No Monrovia. Those are some of the best SGV teams we all love to watch. Even so, may be tough to top last year’s championship, South Hills beating Bonita and giving Garza his only loss of the year.

DICKS SPORTING GOODS FIRST-ROUND SCHEDULE
Top Bracket
South Hills vs. Covina at Bonita, 4 p.m., Saturday
Paloma Valley vs. Tahquitz at Paloma Valley, 3:15 p.m., Feb. 26
Crescenta Valley vs. La Canada at Stengel Field, 6 p.m, Saturday
Keppel vs. Alta Loma at Alta Loma, 3 p.m., Saturday
Corona Santiago vs. Baldwin Park at Northview, 3:30 p.m., Saturday
Claremont vs. Colony at Bonita, 1 p.m., Saturday
Carter vs. Arroyo at Northview, 12:30 p.m., Saturday
Duarte vs. Bonita at Bonita, 10 a.m., Saturday
Bottom Bracket
Palm Springs vs. Elsinore at Palm Springs, 3:15 p.m., Feb. 26
Los Osos vs. Temecula Valley at Los Osos, 1 p.m., Saturday
Los Altos vs. Yucaipa at Azusa Pacific, 7 p.m., Saturday
Damien vs. La Puente at La Puente, 12 p.m., Saturday
Charter Oak vs. Arcadia at Bonita, 7 p.m., Saturday
Bonita JV vs. Rosemead at Rosemead, 3:15 p.m., Feb. 26
Northview vs. Cantwell at Northview, 9:30 a.m., Saturday
Roosevel vs. San Gabriel at San Gabriel, 11 a.m., Saturday

CIF-SOUTHERN SECTION PRE-SEASON BASEBALL POLLS
Division 2:
1. Great Oak, 2. Aliso Niguel, 3. Cypress, 4. Redlands, 5. Vista Murrieta, 6. Dana Hills, 7. Glendora, 8. Yucaipa, 9. South Hills, 10. La Mirada.
Division 3: 1. Gahr, 2. Palm Desert, 3. Bonita, 4. Downey, 5. Bishop Amat, 6. Elsinore, 7. Quartz Hill, 8. Palos Verdes, 9. Paramount, 10. Los Altos
Division 4: 1. Oaks Christian, 2. Alhambra, 3. Monrovia, 4. Nogales, 5. Kaiser, 6. Northview, 7. Calvary Chapel/SA, 8. Granite Hills, 9. San Dimas, 10. Century

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Boys Soccer: Servite beats Claremont in PKs, 4-2

CIF-SS Division 1 boys soccer playoffs
Quarterfinals

Servite 0, Claremont 0, Servite advances in PKs, 4-2

Granite Hills defeats Los Altos in penalties: The way things had gone to that point, the Granite Hills boys soccer team wouldn’t have celebrated until the last shot of the game anyway. After holding the lead twice in regulation and the early advantage in the shootout, only to watch each slip away, the Cougars prevailed Thursday when Los Altos’ final penalty kick sailed wide in a CIF-SS Division 5 second-round playoff game.

You have to feel for Los Altos losing on penalty kicks yesterday, and not sure I like how Granite Hills celebrated by almost piling on top of the kid.

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Northview and South Hills baseball to host fundraiser game for 10-year-old Nathan Perez on March 12 at Mt. SAC

Northview and South Hills Baseball will meet on Tuesday, March 12 at Mt. SAC at 7 p.m., for a very special cause to benefit Nathan Perez, the 10-year-old son of Vikings football coach Marcel Perez. The game was created after learning recently that Nathan was diagnosed with an extremely rare autoimmune disorder called Aplastic Anemia. Fortunately Nathan’s sister is a match and Nathan is expected to have a bone marrow transplant in the coming months that we all pray leads to a successful and healthy recovery. But it’s a long recovery with expensive medical costs, so Northview and South Hills is playing the event as a fundraiser in honor of Nathan, asking for $3 donations to help the family. The SGV always rises to the occasion in situations like this, so do what you can to support the Perez family and Little Nathan.

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Wrestling: Northview looking for another Masters title while Vikings girls try to secure a state title

By Steve Ramirez Staff Writer
It’s the aspiration of every wrestler in California to advance to Bakersfield and compete for a CIF State championship.
For area competitors, that goal is one weekend away. All will attempt to punch their ticket for the state championships when they compete in this weekend’s CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet, scheduled for today and Saturday at Temecula Valley High School.
The medal round, including championship bouts, is slated for 2 p.m. on Saturday. The top nine placers in each of the 14 weight classes qualify for next weekend’s state championships at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
The area contingent will feature 65 qualifiers, including 14 who won CIF-SS individual titles last week.
Traditional power Northview, which won this event last season, is expected to be in the running with nine qualifiers, including five who won Central Division titles.
Continue reading

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