About Steve Ramirez

Steve Ramirez has covered prep sports for San Gabriel Valley Newspapers since 1989.

2016 CIF-SS Football Division Playoff Groupings

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The CIF Southern Section released its new playoff division groupings for the 2016 football season Thursday. Below is where area teams were placed.
The CIF-SS also released playoff groupings for girls volleyball, boys water polo and girls tennis.
HERE’S THE FULL STORY: Arguably the most important news of the season came early for local high school football teams on Friday when the CIF Southern Section released its playoff groupings for the upcoming season two months sooner than expected.Originally, teams thought they’d be getting their divisional assignments in August, but given that this is the first year CIF-SS is using a playoff groupings system that uses competitive equity as its only deciding factor, the Southern Section felt it necessary to get the jump on any potential mistakes.“The sooner it’s out there, the more time we have until August to fix anything we don’t know of,” CIF-SS Director of Information Thom Simmons said. “We feel pretty confident that we have with football is going to be the final version. But I can’t say that until August, when, via the bylaws, we stated we will be releasing the final version.”
DIVISION 1
Bishop Amat
DIVISION 2
La Habra
DIVISION 3
St. Francis
La Serna
La Mirada
DIVISION 4
Charter Oak
Glendora
Damien
DIVISION 5
Sonora
DIVISION 6
West Covina
San Marino
Bonita
Los Altos
DIVISION 7
Diamond Ranch
South Hills
Monrovia
St. Paul
DIVISION 8
San Dimas
Northview
DIVISION 9
La Salle
El Rancho
Maranatha
California
Muir
Diamond Bar
DIVISION 10
Whittier
Santa Fe
Pasadena Poly
South Pasadena
DIVISION 11
Pioneer
Covina
Pasadena
Montebello
Arcadia
Rosemead
DIVISION 12
Schurr
Walnut
La Canada
Arroyo
Baldwin Park
Whittier Christian
Bassett
DIVISION 13
Rio Hondo Prep
Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary
Rowland
Temple City
Azusa
El Monte
La Puente
Nogales
Alhambra
South El Monte
HH Wilson
Southlands Christian
Gabrielino
Blair
Mountain View
Sierra Vista
San Gabriel
Gladstone
Duarte
Bosco Tech
Keppel
Workman
Marshall

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Damien wins back-to-back CIF-SS boys volleyball titles

Damien Spartans of La Verne won the CIF-SS Division 5 boys volleyball championship against Laguna Blanca Owls of Santa Barbara by winning three matches in a row at Cerritos College Saturday, May 21, 2016.(Photo by Walt Mancini/Pasadena Star-News)

Damien Spartans of La Verne won the CIF-SS Division 5 boys volleyball championship against Laguna Blanca Owls of Santa Barbara by winning three matches in a row at Cerritos College Saturday, May 21, 2016.(Photo by Walt Mancini/Pasadena Star-News)


By Stephen Ramirez
NORWALK >>
This area has produced its fair share of dynasty programs. You can add another one to the list.
Michael Spinney had 12 kills and Damien High School won it’s second consecutive CIF Southern Section Division 5 boys volleyball title by sweeping Laguna Blanca, of Santa Barbara, 25-18, 25-22, 25-23, at Cerritos College.

Jack Mitchner had 25 assists and Daniel Enriquez and Marco Rodriguez-Fleishman had five kills each for the Spartans, who improved to 32-7.
Damien, which beat Arrowhead Christian for the Division 5 title last season, dominated the playoffs, sweeping four of their five matches, only pushed to five sets by Santa Fe in the quarterfinals. The Spartans are also eligible for the CIF State Southern California Regionals, which begin next week. The pairings will be released Sunday.
Laguna Blanca, slipped 28-5.
“It feels great,” Spinney said. “We knew coming into the season we had a good chance. I’m just happy we were able to fulfill it.
“We played as a team throughout the season and it really came together at the end.”
The Spartans used the same formula in each set — breaking away during the mid-point to close strong and win.
Damien, after falling behind to begin the third set, used a 7-3 surge to rally for a 17-15 lead. The Spartans, getting an ace from Mitchner and a kills from Spinney and Enriquez, then closed the match by winning six of the final nine points, including a spike by Enriquez down the middle that began the celebration.
“That’s how we’ve been able to play,” said Damien coach Randy Bohlmann, whose program also boasts four consecutive league titles. “In the quarterfinals, we had some match points against us against Santa Fe. We were able to withstand those and win the match.
“We were very battle-tested. I thought we played really well all day today. Our passing was good. We played solid volleyball.”
The Spartans used a 7-3 surge to break free from a 12-12 tie for a 19-15 lead in the first set. Damien then won the final five points, getting an ace by Nick Hibshman and a kill by Andrew McCarson, to win, 25-18.
Laguna Blanca, which got 14 kills from Philip Fauntleroy and 13 from Chris Costantino, scored seven of the first 11 points in the second set. But couldn’t withstand another Damien blitz.
The Spartans, getting kills from Spinney and Rodriguez-Fleishman, then countered with an 8-3 surge to lead, 12-10.
Damien, after pushing it to 19-15, then closed the set with a 6-4 run, winning it on a kill by Enriquez.
The Spartans then clinched the match by winning the final two points of the third set.
“We just found a way to push through,” Spinney said. “We were able to come together when it really mattered. The last two matches we were able to fullfil our destiny. It feels great.”

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Softball: Bishop Amat beats rival St. Paul, 1-0

Bishop Amat starting pitcher Samaria Diaz, center, reacts along with her teammates after Sofia Saucedo (not pictured) scores against St. Paul in the sixth inning of a prep softball game at Bishop Amat High School in La Puente, Calif., on Wednesday, April, 20, 2016. Bishop Amat won 1-0. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

Bishop Amat starting pitcher Samaria Diaz, center, reacts along with her teammates after Sofia Saucedo (not pictured) scores against St. Paul in the sixth inning of a prep softball game at Bishop Amat High School in La Puente, Calif., on Wednesday, April, 20, 2016. Bishop Amat won 1-0. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

SOFTBALL
DEL REY LEAGUE
BISIOP AMAT 1, ST. PAUL 0


LA PUENTE — Bishop Amat High School, after a rain-out and two failed attempts for make-up dates, finally got on the field with rival St. Paul on Wednesday, and it was worth the wait for the Lancers.
Samaria Diaz tossed a three-hit shutout and Maddie Ramirez went 2 for 3 with the only RBI to lead host Bishop Amat to a 1-0 victory over rival St. Paul in a Del Rey League softball game.
Julie Menrad also had two hits for the Lancers, who improved to 16-2 overall and 6-0 in league play. Emilee Leonard gave up seven hits and struck out four for the Swordsmen, who slipped to 13-7 and 4-2.
Bishop Amat, which stranded a runners in scoring position in the second and fourth innings, finally broke through in the fifth. Bryanna Perez and Sofia Saucedo led off with consecutive singles. Ramirez then singled to center field with two outs to score Perez for a 1-0 lead.
SAFE OR OUT?:
St. Paul had a chance to tie it in the sixth. Jaclyn Candelas singled with two outs and Tatum Anzaldo was then hit by a pitch. Samantha Rivas followed with a single to center field.
Candelas tried to advance home, but pulled up and was trapped in a run-down. She then tried to avoid the tag from Diaz at the plate and was called out to end the inning.
Bishop Amat coach Kristen Dedmon: “Of course, there is a little extra incentive to beat St. Paul, because the history of the rivalry. I think ultimately, they (the Amat players) came out here ready to play. It doesn’t really matter who is in the other dugout, my girls come out ready to play. It was really great to see them bring it all together.”
St. Paul coach Dena Slye: “I feel in softball you have to take your chances. We have no instant replay, but I don’t know if the tag was made. But I’m proud of my girls. We fought, and we still have two more games (vs. Bishop Amat). I tell them all the time the first game is like a feel game. We just have to win the next two. The goal of the year is to win the series.”
Bishop Amat’s Maddie Ramirez: “When I went up there, I wasn’t over thinking,” Ramirez said. “I knew there was a runner in scoring position, so I knew I had to do my job and bring her in.”
— Stephen Ramirez

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CIF SoCal Division III Basketball Finals: Ayala uses quick start to beat Bonita, 63-54

Ayala celebrates defeating Bonita 63-54 during the CIF-State Division III Southern California Regional finals at Colony High School in Ontario on Saturday, March 19, 2016. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz/Pasadena Star-News)

Ayala celebrates defeating Bonita 63-54 during the CIF-State Division III Southern California Regional finals at Colony High School in Ontario on Saturday, March 19, 2016. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz/Pasadena Star-News)

CIF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BASKETBALL REGIONAL FINALS
BOYS
DIVISION III
AYALA 63, BONITA 54


ONTARIO — Ayala High School will get a chance to end its incredible season with a fantastic finish.John Edgar scored 23 points and the Bulldogs advanced to their first CIF State title game in program history with a 63-54 victory over Palomares League rival Bonita in the Southern California Division III final at Colony High School.
Austen Awosika also had 20 for Ayala, which improved to 33-3 and will face Manteca, a 70-45 winner over Oakland Bishop O’Dowd, for the state championship Thursday at 4 p.m. at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.
Joe Quintana scored 24 points and Tyler Poepping had 12 for the Bearcats (28-7).
The key moment for Ayala came not in the final eight minutes, but the first eight. The Bulldogs held Bonita to two field goals in the first quarter for an 11-point advantage at 16-5. They never relinquished until the final minute.
Bonita, after trailing by double digits for most of the game, got two 3-pointers by Quintana to pull within 59-54 with 37 seconds left. But the Bearcats got no closer.
Awosika and Miles President combined on four free throws in the final 35 seconds to clinch it.
Ayala’s John Edgar: “I feel great right now. We’ve been working all year and this is a big thing for us. We have a great coach, a great team. We’ve just been doing it all year. We’re just going to keep on working and try to get another ring.”
Bonita coach Tim Godley: “A game like this, you have to start strong and we didn’t for whatever reason,” Bonita coach Tim Godley said. “I proud of my kids because they answered. The second half they played a lot better. I can’t fault our effort and I’m very proud of them at the end of the day.”
— Stephen Ramirez

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CIF State Wrestling: San Marino’s Wick brothers win state titles; Northview’s Comstock takes fourth


By Stephen Ramirez
steve.ramirez@langnews.com
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
BAKERSFIELD >>
The Wick brothers reign supreme.
Zander and Evan Wick, two of the area’s best over the past three seasons, will finished on top, scoring 145 and 152-pound titles, respectively, at the CIF State wrestling championships at Rabobank Arena.
They are the first twin brothers to win state titles at the same event.
“It’s never happened before,” Evan Wick said. “It’s definitely exciting. We’re the first set of twins to win state titles.”
Evan Wick, who was fourth here at 138 last season, had a dominant run to the title. He had three wins by technical fall and two wins by fall, including pinning San Marcos’ Jett Moy in 39 seconds in the final.
He finishes the California season at 33-1.
“It’s awesome,” Wick said. “The fact I didn’t (win) last year makes it that much more awesome this year. I just wanted to dominate the entire tournament. I got three techs and two pins. I’m excited.”
So is brother Zander, who was nearly at dominate in taking the 145 title. He ran his record to 37-1 by scoring two falls and one technical fall before getting an 8-5 victory over No. 2 Ruben Garcia, of Selma, in the final.
“I’m really excited,” said Wick, who was runner-up last season. “I’m really happy. It sucked last year going home with that second place. It just feels like a dream. I got that ‘W,’ state champ. I couldn’t be happier.”
The other area top-eight medalists were Northview’s Steven Comstock (170, fourth), Eddie Flores (106, sixth) and Richie Casillas (120, seventh) and San Marino’s Julian Flores (138, fourth) and Zander Silva (126, seventh).
Bishop Amat’s Sidney Flores (113), Rowland’s Ethan Vistro (195) and Northview’s Jackson Serna (285) lost consolation fifth-round matches and did not medal.
Comstock’s fourth-place finish was one of the bigger stories of the weekend. The sophomore, who is also one the area’s top quarterbacks, went from a 24th state ranking three weeks ago to a top-four finish, which including advancing to the semifinals.
“My confidence was high coming off a big Masters tournament,” Comstock said. “I just had to prove myself to these guys (competitors). They’re all used to this state tournament and this was my first year here. I just wanted to prove myself to everyone in the state of California that I’m will be the best as long as I keep doing the hard work.”
He went 1-2 on Saturday after advancing to the semifinals on Friday. He lost to Palm Desert’s Anthony Mantanona by fall (:51) in the semifinals before splitting his last two bouts, defeating Trabuco Hills Lukas Howa (6-3) and losing to Windsor’s Dominic Ducharme (fall, 2:18).
“Now, that everyone knows who I am, I’ll have to work just as hard, if not harder,” Comstock said. “I was kind of a no-name coming into this tournament, so now I’ll be in the spot light and know I have to continue to work hard.”
Eddie Flores and Julian Flores lost in the semifinals.
Julian Flores, who was looking for a second consecutive state title, lost in overtime to Dinuba’s Jacob Wright, 3-2.

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CIF-SS Masters Wrestling: Northview, San Marino combine on seven titles; Area sends 20 to state

NORTHVIEW MASTERS

By Stephen Ramirez
ONTARIO >>
Northview and San Marino high schools have been the area wrestling kings the past two seasons and they showed off their dominance Saturday.
The two area powers combined for seven individual titles at the CIF Southern Section Masters to finish second and third at Citizens Business Bank Arena. Calvary Chapel, of Santa Ana, topped the team standings.
San Marino scored a meet-best four titles, getting championship efforts from Zander Silva (126), Julian Flores (138) and the twin brothers tandem of Zander (145) and Evan Wick (152). Northview countered with titles from Eddie Flores (106), Richie Casillas (120) and Jackson Serna (Heavyweight). Casillas, Silva, Julian Flores and Zander Wick were repeat winners. Flores also won a state title last season.

The area qualified 20 to next week’s CIF State championships at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield. The other area qualifiers were Northview’s Dominick Arellano (113, fifth), Ricky Marin (132, eighth), Steven Comstock (170, fourth) and Gabriel Ortiz (126, ninth); San Marino’s Aaron Padilla (160, eighth); Bishop Amat’s Sidney Flores (113, sixth); Gladstone’s Mario Barios (120, eighth); Walnut’s Micah Maes (160, seventh); Charter Oak’s Vincent Zavala (132, fifth); Santa Fe’s Damian Valdez (106, ninth); Rowland’s Ethan Vistro (195, sixth); California’s James Udell (220, ninth) and South Hills’ Austin Moreno (285, ninth).
Northview led the area and section with seven qualifiers.
“This tournament is so challenging that our mind-set was to just get our kids through and qualified to state,” Northview coach Bobby Bellamy said. “If we had an opportunity to win the tournament, we’d be OK with that. If not, (then it’s OK). I’m very pleased. We got seven kids to state, the most we’ve ever had. I’m extremely ecstatic.”
Casillas was also lower-weight MVP after scoring two wins by fall and one by technical fall. He beat La Quinta’s Joe Avila, 8-4, in the final.
“I wanted to get that two-time Masters championship,” Casillas said. “I just came out with all I had to accomplish my goal.”
Julian Flores, who won at 132 at the state championships last season, had one of more dominant finals, easily beating Mater Dei’s Devin Pacheco, 16-2, to take the 138 bout. He also had two wins by fall en route to the final.
“Winning two Masters titles is a blessing,” Flores said. “My first two years, I didn’t do well, so it’s a blessing. It’s an accomplishment.
“I just tried to take the match myself, and not let someone else control it. I just did my thing, my offense and don’t let him use his offense.”
Evan Wick, who was second last season, used a late takedown to score a 3-2 win over Riverside King’s Luke Troy, who transferred from San Marino.
“I was down by one, so I had to do what I had to do,” Wick said. “I got him with a single leg (takedown). We were (an inch) from being out of bounds, so I had to drag him back in. I finally got him back in, got the takedown, then rode him out for 21 seconds to take the win.”
Serna, ranked in the state top 10 by The California Wrestler all season, made history for the second consecutive week. He’s Northview’s first Masters heavyweight champion after becoming the Vikings’ first divisional heavyweight titlist last week. “It feels great, but a lot of hard work,” Serna said. “It’s a team effort, too. I couldn’t do this without my coaching staff. It’s a great honor. I hope I can win state next week, too.”

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Girls wrestling: Three area competitors take home second-place medals

No area girl was on the top of podium at the Girls CIF State wrestling championships Saturday, but the area did get four second-place finishes, while earning nine top-eight medals in Visalia.
The area medalists were West Covina’s Jennifer Lopez (116) and Yvette Garcia (160) and Baldwin Park’s McKayla Loza (189). The other top-eight placers were Diamond Ranch’s Trina Nguyen (101, sixth); Walnut’s Mia Dow (121, third); Sierra Vista’s Brianna Vilchis (126, eighth); Northview’s Mia Leon (143, third) and Deidra Valles (150, eighth); Bonita’s Natalie Romero (143, eighth).

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