About Steve Ramirez

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

Girls Volleyball: Los Altos beats Walnut in five to move into share of Hacienda League lead


By Stephen Ramirez
steve.ramirez@langnews.com
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter

Walnut's Kuuipo Vaimaona, #4, left, and Jaceylin Tan, #8, right, jump up to block an incoming ball on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at Los Altos High School. Los Altos High School Girls Varsity Volleyball hosted Walnut High School on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at Los Altos High School. The Los Altos Conquerors led the game with a 2-0 win over the Walnut Mustangs. (Correspondent photo by Shilah Montiel/ San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Walnut’s Kuuipo Vaimaona, #4, left, and Jaceylin Tan, #8, right, jump up to block an incoming ball on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at Los Altos High School. Los Altos High School Girls Varsity Volleyball hosted Walnut High School on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at Los Altos High School. The Los Altos Conquerors led the game with a 2-0 win over the Walnut Mustangs. (Correspondent photo by Shilah Montiel/ San Gabriel Valley Tribune)


HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> Los Altos High School has been the dominant girls volleyball team in the Hacienda League the previous two seasons, and the Conquerors aren’t quite ready to give up the title.
Mireya Rojo and Esmeralda Reynoso had 14 kills each and host Los Altos withstood a late charge from Walnut to get back in the league race with a 25-23, 25-19, 13-25, 22-25, 15-11 victory on Tuesday.
The Conquerors, also getting eight kills from Danielle Hernandez and seven from Sahra Chavez, improved to 11-9 overall and into a first-place tie with the Mustangs, each at 4-1 in league play. Diamond Ranch was 3-1 going into a league match vs. West Covina on Tuesday.
Kuuipo Vaimaona had 18 kills and Shirley Zhao 12 for Walnut, which slipped to 11-9 and 4-1.
Los Altos came up big late. The Conquerors, after giving up sets 3 and 4, broke a 10-10 in the fifth set and took a 14-11 lead following an ace by Vanessa Cuenca and consecutive kills by Rojo.
Vaimaona, who had 10 kills in the third and fourth sets to force a fifth, then mis-fired on a spike that went wide, giving the match to Los Altos.
Los Altos’ Mireya Rojo: “This win was amazing. We needed it so much. It was five sets, but we got it.”
Walnut’s Kuuipo Vaiamaona: “I was really surprised we came back. It was going to be hard, but I knew we could do it. We have enough heart to come back. I’m really proud of my team.”

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Girls Volleyball: Chino Hills takes first round from St. Lucy’s, 3-1

Chino Hills' Meghan Buzzerio (C) (10) reacts after scoring against St. Lucy's in the second game of a prep volleyball match at St. Lucy's High School in Glendora, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. Chino Hills won 23-25, 25-12, 25-15, 29-27 (Photo by Keith Birmingham/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Chino Hills’ Meghan Buzzerio (C) (10) reacts after scoring against St. Lucy’s in the second game of a prep volleyball match at St. Lucy’s High School in Glendora, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. Chino Hills won 23-25, 25-12, 25-15, 29-27 (Photo by Keith Birmingham/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter


GLENDORA >> The goals for the Chino High School girls volleyball team are pretty simple this season: Win league and CIF-Southern Section championships and taste victory at rival St. Lucy’s.
The Huskies crossed the latter off their list Tuesday.
Meghan Buzzerio had 19 kills and eight aces and Chino Hills took control of the Baseline League race with a 23-25, 25-12, 25-15, 29-27 victory over the host Regents.
Cherise Hennigan had 11 kills and Alexis Cardoza 10 for the Huskies, who improved to 14-5 overall and 3-0 in league. Loryn Carter had 21 kills for St. Lucy’s, which slipped to 9-6 and 2-1.
St. Lucy’s, which split the season series with Chino Hills last season, looked like it might force a fifth set after scoring 14 of the first 23 points in the fourth. But the Huskies, ranked No. 7 in Division 1A, put together an 8-3 surge to tie it at 17. Chino Hills, after falling behind, 24-21, got consecutive kills from Buzzerio, Hannigan and Cardoza to tie a second time.
Buzzerio followed with back-to-back spikes to win it, 29-27.
Meghan Buzzerio: “It feels great. We’ve never beaten them at their place, so this is our first. We started a little rough, but we finished strong. We all played great. Yeah, it feels really good.”
St. Lucy’s coach Sean Douglas: “They have weapons at all places and obviously had us on a size advantage, so I’m really proud of where we’re at. But we play to win. We’re disappointed, but we did a lot of things we can grow on, too.”

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South Hills High School to hold benefit for alum, former Covina wrestling coach Randy Aguirre

South Hills High School will hold a benefit dinner Saturday for alum and former Covina wrestling coach Randy Aguirre, who is battling brain cancer.
Fellowship of Christian Athletes is sponsoring the dinner, which is scheduled for Saturday at the South Hills gym from 6-9 p.m.
Aguirre was a 4-year letterman at South Hills and was captain his senior season. He also wrestled at Mt. San Antonio College and San Francisco State University. He was an assistant at South Hills before becoming the head coach at Covina and later Palisades.
The dinner will include door prizes and a silent auction. The cost is $20 for adults and $10 for kids ages 5-12. All proceeds are for for coach Aguirre and his family.
Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at the South Hills ASB office.

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Girls Volleyball: Walnut sweeps Nogales

By Stephen Ramirez
steve.ramirez@langnews.com
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter

Walnut's Pauline Mendoza (3) reacts after scoring against Nogales in the first game of a prep volleyball match at Walnut High School in Walnut, Calif., on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

Walnut’s Pauline Mendoza (3) reacts after scoring against Nogales in the first game of a prep volleyball match at Walnut High School in Walnut, Calif., on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)


WALNUT – Walnut High School is getting hot at the right time.
The Mustangs, after going through a five-match losing streak a few weeks ago, won for the fourth time in five matches Tuesday, sweeping Nogales, 25-14, 25-14, 25-21, in a nonleague match at home.
Kuuipo Vaimaona had eight kills and Pauline Mendoza seven to lead the Mustangs, who improved to 7-7. They face Wilson next week before opening up Hacienda League play vs. West Covina on Oct. 7.
Julianna Purcell and Annjoree Calvero-Sunga had five kills each for Nogales, which slipped to 4-2. The Nobles open Valle Vista League play next week at rival Rowland.
Walnut’s Pauline Mendoza: “We started out kind of rough. But finally we got our rhythm and were able to succeed and get the lead. One main thing for us to work together is that we have to talk to each other. We continue talking, who is going to get the ball, calling for the ball, then we are able to overcome our (mistakes).”

Nogales’ Julianna Purcell: “I’m happy with the way my team played. We had a good match against Walnut, but they had good solid hits, but so did we. I think if we would have fought a little harder, we might have won.”

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Jesse Garcia helps South Hills run by Covina, 38-29

By Stephen Ramirez
steve.ramirez@langnews.com
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
SAN DIMAS >>
The gap may have closed a bit, but the South Hills High School football team is still king of the Covina Valley Unified School District.
Jesse Garcia rushed for 233 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Huskies to a 38-29 victory over intra-district rival Covina Saturday at San Dimas High School.
Garrett Fonseca threw for 60 yards and two touchdowns for the Huskies, who beat the Colts for the second consecutive season. Joe Benavidez threw for 178 yards and a score and Pearnell Smalley rushed for 120 and touchdown to lead Covina.

South Hills’ Jesse Garcia: “It’s a pretty big game. We’re cross-town rivals. We were prepared for them and they prepared for us. They took it to us early, but we pulled it out. It’s a good win for us.”

Covina coach Joe Brown: “We were able to punch back a little bit this year. We have some great kids, just came up on the wrong end of it. I give South Hills credit. (Garcia) just ran his tail off. We really had no answer for him. Every time we would make a play, they’d come back. They just made a few more plays than we did.”

South Hills coach Albert Rodriguez: “We gave them a few plays (in the first half). We were able to get off the field after kicking off (to begin the second half), and then we went down and scored, which was huge. We wanted to chew clock tonight, and get out of here with a win, and we did that.”

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Steve Ramirez, Northview coach Marcel Perez answer the #IceBucketChallenge for ALS; St. Francis’ Jim Bonds and Wilson’s Greg Gano receive the challenge

The #IceBucketChallenge for ALS started on Monday at San Dimas High School and Wednesday the tour took us to Northview, where sports writer went to his alma mater to take the the challenge and he was joined by Vikings’ coach Marcel Perez, who both took the bath.
After Ramirez called showed “some love” to the Westside, calling out St. Francis coach Jim Bonds to take the challenge. Perez did the same to his former coach Greg Gano, who is now the head guy at Wilson. You guys have 24 hours to take the ice bucket or dig in to your pocket, all for a good cause.

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Fundraiser for former South Hills wrestler Randy Aguirre set for Friday

By Stephen Ramirez
steve.ramirez@langnews.com
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter

As a wrestler, Randy Aguirre was one of the area’s best.
Now the South Hills High School graduate is in the toughest match of his life. He was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 Glioblastoma, which effects the brain, and his family and friends have come to his aid.
Fans of Los Angeles City Wrestling are hosting a fund-raiser for Aguirre this week. The event is scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m. at the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club.
The night for Aguirre will include comedians Adam Hunter, Aldo Juliano and John Diresta.
The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club is located at 1000 Universal Studios Blvd, Suite 222, in Universal City.
Aguirre wrestled at South Hills before competing at the collegiate level at San Francisco State. He is now the coach at Palisades High School in Los Angeles.
More information on the event can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/816534431700486/

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What’s in a league name?

TRESIDNEY

OK, I’m confused…Bishop Amat is now in the Mission League, and St. Francis is in the Serra League…No Amat is still in the Pac-5, but because Serra moved up to the league Amat and Alemany and the rest called home, officials thought it wasn’t right, so they gave the league the Mission name, and transferred the “old Mission” to the Serra. We heard it might be the Angelus League, but have not heard any official word.
From a historical perspective, I don’t see any reason why they just couldn’t call the “old Serra” the Angelus League, which has the tradition of being a D-1 league, and then keep the Mission League, which has tradition as a D-3/4 league.
What do you think?

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All-Area Boys Tennis: Damien’s David Washington, Angelo Mollo are co-players of the year

Damien High's Angelo Mollo, left, and David Washington have been selected as the SGV Tribune's Boys Tennis Players of the Year. (Staff photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Damien High’s Angelo Mollo, left, and David Washington have been selected as the SGV Tribune’s Boys Tennis Players of the Year.
(Staff photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)


CO-PLAYERS OF THE YEAR:
DAVID WASHINGTON/ANGELO MOLLO, Damien

Damien High School boys tennis coach Bill Urquhart had an idea of putting his two best players — seniors David Washington and Angelo Mollo — together on doubles.
It turned out to be a magical pairing. Washington and Mollo enjoyed a monster season, going 40-1, winning the Sierra League title and becoming the only area representatives to advance to the round of 32 at the CIF-Southern Section individual tournament.
For their efforts, Washington and Mollo are Tribune co-Tennis Players of the Year.
“Coach came up with the idea of having us play doubles this year and it worked out really well,” said Washington, who also plays basketball at Damien. “Angelo and myself are not just good tennis players, but we’re also really good friends.
“We get along really well, and I think that showed in a lot of the matches. They didn’t work as well together as he and I did. It worked really well. It took us to CIF and we had a really good season.”
The duo was dominant in the Sierra League. They not only went 30-0 in league play, but only lost three games in any one match once. They went on to win the league tournament before advancing to the round of 32 at the CIF-SS tourney by upsetting top seed Jona Malkin and Emilio Yera, of Beverly Hills.
Their season ended with a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Parker Braverman and Darren Nguyen, of Fountain Valley.
“Doubles is all about coming together,” Mollo said. “We were really good friends off court, so there were no personality clashes. We were able to come together better, and it worked better as a team.”

hamel
COACH OF THE YEAR:
DAVE HAMEL, DIAMOND BAR

Hamel, who took Diamond Bar to the Division 2 finals in 2007, has been one of the area’s top coaches. This season was one of his best. It included the Brahmas advancing to the Division 2 semifinals and playing the CIF State Southern California Regionals for the first time. Diamond Bar also upset No. 3 seed Beverly Hills in the quarterfinals and pushed Palisades before losing in the first round of the regional tournament.
“The team did a great job,” said Hamel, who is in his 15th season at Diamond Bar. “They worked hard and it paid off in the end. We got a big win over Beverly Hills, which was unexpected. It was a lot of fun, the boys had a great time and we’re looking forward to next year.”
FIRST TEAM
SINGLES
KEVIN VUONG, Rowland

Vuong went 57-2 and won the Hacienda League for the third consecutive season. He also advanced to rounds at the CIF-SS Individual tournament, losing in the third round by tiebreaker. Vuong was Hacienda League Singles MVP after helping Rowland to a 17-1 record and the Hacienda League title.
NEIL TENGBUMROONG, Diamond Bar
Tengbumroong went 52-9 and was runner-up in the Hacienda League tournament. He also advanced two rounds in the CIF-SS tournament and helped Diamond Bar to the CIF-State Southern California Regional tournament for the first time.
QUONG TRAN, Rosemead
Tran was a key piece in Rosemead winning the Mission Valley League and advancing to the CIF-SS Division 5 quarterfinals. Tran was Mission Valley League MVP. He also advanced two rounds at the CIF-SS tournament.
DOUBLES
MINSONG HSU/KENNY SAKATA, Diamond Bar

Hsu and Sakata went 52-16 and won the Hacienda League title. They also advanced two rounds at the CIF-SS tournament. The duo were a key piece in Diamond Bar advancing to the Division 2 semifinals and the state tournament.
HANS YU/JEFF ALIDINA, Rowland
The duo went 54-3 and were runner-up in the Hacienda League tournament. They also advanced three rounds at the CIF-SS individual tournament. Yu and Alidina helped Rowland to its second consecutive league title for the first time in school history. The Raiders were 17-1 before losing in the CIF-SS quarterfinals.
SECOND TEAM
SINGLES

Victor Paitimasa, Covina
Noah Brink, Duarte
Adrian Chau, Rowland
DOUBLES
Andy Phan/Billy Wen, Wilson
Ryan Chao/Henry Zhou, Arroyo
HONORABLE MENTION
SINGLES

Kimlong Pham, San Dimas
Ray Donato, Sierra Vista
Tommy Tin, Rosemead
DOUBLES
Peter Marquez/Alex Reyes, San Dimas
Daniel Pichardo/Nathan Jaimes, Gladstone
Calvin Ha/Eric Thai, Rosemead

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Looking ahead: Monrovia at San Dimas, Covina-South Hills highlight openers

It’s never too early to look ahead, so what a better time during the summer downtime than to look at the opening week of the prep football season. And while most colleges rarely go the marquee route on week one, some area coaches have taken the opposite approach as we will have some intriguing matchups during the first week.
saintscrowd

The highlight is likely Monrovia visiting San Dimas, which has been sort of a rivalry in recent years. Some of the luster is likely off now that the two are in different divisions, but it should be a great one. Both lost some talent, but these two simply reload.
Other key games will be Arroyo at San Marino; Steve Bogan’s debut at Maranatha at home vs. Bassett; Bishop Amat vs. Santa Margarita and South Hills renewing its long-time rivalry with South Hills, which is scheduled for Saturday.
The season kicks off on Aug. 28 when Northview hosts Rosemead at San Dimas High School.

Thursday, August 28
Rosemead (CA) vs. Northview (Covina, CA) at San Dimas HS, 7:00pm
Friday, August 29
Alta Loma (CA) at Rowland (Rowland Heights, CA), 7:00pm
Arroyo (El Monte, CA) at San Marino (CA), 7:00pm
Baldwin Park (CA) at El Monte (CA), 7:00pm
Bassett (La Puente, CA) at Maranatha (Pasadena, CA), 7:00pm
Bonita (La Verne, CA) at Schurr (Montebello, CA), 7:00pm
Diamond Bar (CA) at Montebello (CA), 7:00pm
Diamond Ranch (Pomona, CA) at Nogales (La Puente, CA), 7:00pm
Duarte (CA) at Valley Christian (Cerritos, CA), 7:00pm
Gladstone (Covina, CA) at Jurupa Hills (Fontana, CA), 7:00pm
Monrovia (CA) at San Dimas (CA), 7:00pm
Pasadena (CA) at South El Monte (CA), 7:00pm
Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA) vs. Bishop Amat (La Puente, CA) at Saddleback College (Mission Viejo, CA), 7:00pm
Santa Monica (CA) at Los Altos (Hacienda Heights, CA), 7:00pm
Sierra Vista (Baldwin Park, CA) at La Puente (CA), 7:00pm
Walnut (CA) at Don Lugo (Chino, CA), 7:00pm
West Covina (CA) at Colony (Ontario, CA), 7:00pm
Wilson (Hacienda Heights, CA) at Workman (City of Industry, CA), 7:00pm
Green Valley (Henderson, NV) at Charter Oak (Covina, CA), 7:00pm
Saturday, August 30
Covina (CA) vs. South Hills (West Covina, CA) at San Dimas HS, 7:00pm

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