About Steve Ramirez

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

Wrestling: San Marino wins 2015 Masters title; Arroyo’s Jackie Quinones wins state title

Zander Wick, from San Marino, celebrates after defeating Corona Santiago's Jeremy Thomas during their 145 pound match Saturda at the CIF-SS Master Meet at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario February 28, 2015. (Will Lester/Staff Photographer)

Zander Wick, from San Marino, celebrates after defeating Corona Santiago’s Jeremy Thomas during their 145 pound match Saturda at the CIF-SS Master Meet at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario February 28, 2015. (Will Lester/Staff Photographer)

By Stephen Ramirez

San Marino High School had big expectations entering the 2015 wrestling season.
The Titans lived up to that billing Saturday.
San Marino, a few years removed from being the doormat in the Rio Hondo League, is the best in Southern California after taking the CIF-Southern Section Masters title in dominating fashion at Citizen’s Business Bank Arena.

The Titans, led by two-time Masters champion Zander Wick (145 pounds) scored four individual championships and had six qualifiers to the CIF State championships en route to a first-place finish, St. John Bosco was second with Northview third. The Titans and Vikings each qualified six competitors to next weekend’s state championships, scheduled for Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
The other individual champions for San Marino were Zander Silva (113), Julian Flores (132) and Luke Troy (152).
“We did really well,” said Wick, who won at 126 last season. “It was awesome. It’s amazing, because three years ago we weren’t even league champions, we were like last in our league. We got good coaches to come in and we got a lot better.

“Nobody would have thought back then we could come in and take first at Masters. It’s great.”
The rest of the area had a pretty solid day as well, with six champions. The other two were Northview’s Richie Casillas (120) and Ricky Padilla (160). The area qualified 21 to next week’s state championships.

The other area qualifiers were Montebello’s Nico Gomez (103, fifth); Bishop Amat’s Eddie Flores (103, seventh) and Nigel Ruiz (145, fourth); San Dimas’ David Gonzalez (113, second); Sonora’s Russell Rohlfing (126, third) and Josh Kawaguchi (132, second); Northview’s Andres Hooper (126, sixth), Andres Estrada (132, fourth), Joe Dominguez (145, third) and Roger Arce (170, fifth); California’s Richard Pocock (132, fifth); San Marino’s Evan Wick (138, second) and Aaron Padilla (160, third); Charter Oak’s Antonio Zavala (152, seventh) and Damien’s Patrick Sanchez (285).

Zander Wick was one of two from the area to repeat as Master champions. He was joined by Padilla, who won at 152 last season.
Wick, ranked No. 3 in the state, beat No. 2 Jeremy Thomas, of Corona Santiago, 7-2. He led 3-2 late getting a takedown and near-fall to win by 5.
“My match was very tough,” Wick said. “He had me on a single leg, and I can’t remember what I did but I was able to put him on his back to win 7-2.”
Padilla was steady in beating Hemet’s Caleb Wilson, 3-0.
“It’s a great feeling to be two-time Masters champion,” Padilla said. “Not too many people have done it. It’s a tough section, so its real good.”

It was mission accomplished for Arroyo High School’s Jackie Quinones Saturday.
The senior had a season-long of goal of winning CIF-Southern Section and CIF state wrestling titles this season. She accomplished the former two weeks ago and finished off the aspiration by winning at 189 pounds at the CIF State championships at Visalia Convention Center.
Quinones’ title quest was the area highlight, which also included Northview finishing second for the second consecutive season.
The Vikings, who won a state title in 2013, had three competitors score a top-eight medal. They were Izzy Valles (137, second), Deidra Valles (150, fifth) and Azusenna Molina (170, second).
The area had 10 athletes win medals. The others were Walnut’s Alyssa Barredo (101, second) and Mia Dow (121, fourth); California’s Nadia Escamilla (111, sixth); West Covina’s Jennifer Lopez (116, seventh); Arroyo’s Lesly Ramirez (150, sixth) and San Dimas’ Daishea Jaime (121, second).

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Northview, San Marino score CIF-SS wrestling titles

By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter

SANTA MARIA — Another year, another CIF-Southern Section wrestling title for Northview High School.
The Vikings scored their fifth consecutive championship in dominating fashion, winning the Northern Division crown with ease.
Northview had six individual titles and qualified eight for next week’s CIF-SS Masters Meet at Citizen’s Bank Arena in Ontario.
Scoring titles for the Vikings were Eddie Flores (106 pounds), Richie Casillas (120), Andres Estrada (132), Joe Dominguez (145), Ricky Padilla (160) and Roger Arce (170). Casillas was lower-weight MVP.

San Dimas’ David Gonzalez won at 113, scoring his second consecutive divisional title.
Thirteen area competitors qualified for the masters. Also advancing to next week are Northview’s Andres Hooper (126, third) and Steven Comstock (152, third); Rowland’s Christian Ramirez (132, second); San Dimas’ Julian Moreli (195, second) and Covina’s David Chavarria (220, fifth).

The top nine at Masters qualify for the CIF State championships, scheduled for Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield on March 6-7.
Northview scored its second CIF crown in as many weeks. The Vikings won the Central Division dual championship two weeks ago.
“It’s just an attitude,” said Padilla, who beat Sultana’s Allen Dromeo by fall in the 160 bout. “Big props to all 14 guys. Everyone won a match. It was great. A real team effort.”
Casillas won four matches by fall, including pinning Simi Valley’s Jacob Cam in the 120 final at 5:59.
Estrada scored his first divisional title by rallying past Ramirez, 3-3, in the 132 final.
“This kid has beaten me before, so I went in there knowing it would be a tough match,” Estrada said. “I felt if I kept my head in the right place, and was disciplined enough, I’d come away with the ‘W.’”
Gonzalez was dominant in winning at 113. He scored three wins by fall before beating Santa Maria’s Issac Sechslingloff, 12-0, in the final.
San Marino had five individual champions and won the team title over second-place Victor Valley at Lakeside High School in Elsinore.
The champions for San Marino where Zander Silva (113), Julian Flores (132), Evan Wick (138), Zander Wick (145) and Aaron Padilla (160).
The other area qualifiers were Bishop Amat’s Sydney Flores (103, fifth), Jonathon Ornelas (126, fourth), Nigel Ruiz (145, second) and Joshua Sapien (285, second); San Marino’s Sebastian Velasquez (126, third), Luke Troy (152, second) and Tino Maese (182, fifth) and La Canada’s David Vardanian (220, fifth).
Damien’s Patrick Sanchez, who was second at heavyweight, and Bassett’s Arturo Vasquez, who was fifth at 182, were the lone area qualifiers at Grand Terrace High School.
Montebello’s Nico Gomez (106) and California’s Richard Pocock (132) scored wins at Marina High School.
Also qualifying for Masters were Cal’s Christian Espinoza (106, second), Peter Rodriguez (152, fourth) and Alex Sotelo (160, third); La Serna’s Damien Valdez (106, third) and Nick Garcia (195, fourth); Gladstone’s Mario Barrios (113, third); Santa Fe’s Jose Peraza (132, third) and John Robles (182, third); Schurr’s Joseph Staley (145, fifth) and Efren Velez (170, fifth) and Duarte’s Angel Villanueva (285, second).
Sonora enjoyed a daily double with wins by Russell Rohlfing (126) and Josh Kawaguchi (132) at Ayala High School. Rohlfing was also lower-weight MVP.
Area qualifiers were Arroyo’s Minh Nguyen (120, second), Thien Luu (145, fifth) and Jose Flores (195, fifth); Charter Oak’s Vincent Zavala (120, fifth), Jack Castorena (138, fifth) and Antonio Zavala (152, second); West Covina’s Frank Lopez (126, fifth), Gabriel Maldonado (132, fifth), Silvio Caceres (160, third) and Tyler Ili (182, fourth); Gabrielino’s Jael Yanes (132, third); Walnut’s Micah Maes (152, fourth); Diamond Bar’s Derek Moss (160, fourth); South El Monte’s Josh Escobedo (170, third); South Hills’ Carlos Calderon (182, fifth) and Austin Moreno (285, third); Rosemead’s Adam Macias (285, fourth) and Sonora’s Chance Lyster (220, fifth).

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CIF-SS Girls Wrestling Finals: Northview wins team title; San Dimas’ Daishea Jaime, Arroyo’s Jackie Quinones score individual titles

By Stephen Ramirez
EASTVALE — The San Gabriel Valley has been the dominant force since girls wrestling has been a CIF-sanctioned sport, and the area lived up to the billing at the CIF-Southern Section championship finals on Saturday.
Northview won its second consecutive section title and three area athletes scored individual titles at Roosevelt High School. The Valley also had 32 qualify for the CIF State championships, scheduled for Feb. 27-28 at the Visalia Convention Center.
The Vikings had a section-best nine state qualifiers, led by Deidra Valles, who was second at 150 pounds.
The area champions were San Dimas’ Daishea Jaime (121), Arroyo’s Jackie Quinones (189) and California’s Nadia Escamilla (111).

The other state qualifiers were Northview’s Haven Driscoll (101, fourth), Emily Hays (121, sixth), Julia Padilla (126, fourth), Izzy Valles (137, third), Mia Leon (160, fifth), Azusenna Molina, Serina Carrillo (189, eighth) and Desiray Galvez (235, seventh); Walnut’s Alyssa Barredo (101, second), Lauren Cuellar (111, fifth) and Mia Dow (121, second); West Covina’s Jennifer Lopez (116, third), Jimena Sarmiento (150, eighth) and Yvette Garcia (170, second); Sierra Vista’s Krystal Velazquez (111, eighth), Briana Villchis (126, sixth) and Angelica Ochoa (160, second); Bonita’s Natalie Romero (143, third) and Alyssa Palmer (160, sixth); Monrovia’s Brianna Dominguez (106, third); Schurr’s Sidney Valencia (106, seventh); Nogales’ Lizeth Flores (111, fourth); Santa Fe’s Nancy Guzman (116, sixth); Charter Oak’s Adriana Oliva (137, fourth); Gabrielino’s Jasmine Monroe (137, eighth); Rowland’s Cherydan James (143, fourth); Arroyo’s Lesly Ramirez (150, fifth) and San Dimas’ Haley Valdez (116, second).
“The expectations at Northview are high, whether it’s the boys or girls,” Northview coach Robert Dominguez said. “We’re family. We’re expected to go to class, get the grades and win championships. My girls came here and wrestled hard. It’s all about them. They had the right attitude. I’m proud of them.”

Jaime won an all-area battle in the 121 bout, beating Dow, 5-1.
“I feel accomplished,” Jaime said. “I got (Dow) back. I’ve been working really hard for this, so I’m really happy. I wrestled smart. I wasn’t focused on winning, like before. I was focused on working my moves.”

Quinones, who had four wins by fall, beat Pioneer Valley’s Torey Barrett, 5-0, in the 189 final. She won a state title last year, but after finishing sixth here last season.
“I want to win everything this year, because last year I didn’t win everything,” Quinones said. “Winning all of them is the goal again.”

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South Hills alumni game set for Saturday

The South Hills High School baseball program will debut the improvements to its field when it hosts its annual alumni game on Saturday.
All alumni are welcome to attend. Pre-game batting practice is scheduled for 9:45 a.m.
Second-year coach Darren Murphy said the turnout was good last season and he’s hoping more players/fans show up on Saturday.
The improvements to the field include a new backstop and screen.

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Wrestling: Northview, San Marino receive top seeds for dual championships

By Stephen Ramirez
Northview and San Marino, arguably the top two wrestling teams in the area, received top seeds in their respective divisions when the CIF-Southern Section released pairings Thursday for Saturday’s the dual championships.
The Vikings, who won a dual title last season, are No. 1 in the Central Division, with San Marino taking the top spot in the Western Division.
The 16-team tournaments will be Saturday at selected sites. Preliminary rounds begin at 11 a.m., with the finals slated for 7:15 p.m. The six host sites are Alta Loma High School (Central), Marina (Coastal), Carter (Eastern), Dos Pueblos (Northern), Redondo (Southern) and Millikan (Western).

Northview has a bye in the first round and will face the winner of Colton and Norte Vista in the quarterfinals. Other area first-round matchups are Bonita vs. Walnut, San Dimas vs. No. 3 Ayala; Hillcrest vs. Charter Oak and Diamond Bar vs. No. 2 Bloomington.
San Marino faces Lakewood in the first round of the Western Division. Other area first-round matchups are Arroyo vs. California; Montebello vs. Millikan; La Canada vs. Gabrielino and Santa Fe vs. No. 2 Downey.
Bishop Amat is No. 2 in the Northern Division and faces Channel Islands in the first round.
Bassett, which won its first league title in nine seasons with a Miramonte League championship, is no. 3 in the Southern Division. The Olympians face Fillmore in the first round. The other area first-round matchup is Montview League champion Duarte vs. La Puente,
Sonora, which won the Freeway League, faces San Clemente in Coastal first-round matchup.
Northview will host the CIF-SS Eastern Region girls wrestling championships on Saturday.
The event features some of the top competitors in the area. Preliminary rounds are slated to begin at 10 a.m., with the finals scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
Other regionals are slated for Tustin, Pioneer Valley and Upland high schools. The CIF-SS finals are scheduled for next weekend at Roosevelt High School, with the state finals slated for Visalia Convention Center on Feb. 27-28.
Regional host Northview, which won the CIF-SS meet last season, is led by seniors Izzy Valles (137 pounds) and Daisy Velasquez (143) and sophomore Deidra Valles (150).
Other key area athletes competing are El Monte’s Brianne Penunuri (101) and krissiana Fregoso (11); San Dimas’ Haley Valez (116), Daishea Jaime (121) and Monique Barajas (126); Walnut’s Alyssa Barredo (101), Lauren Cuellar (111) and Sarah Arellano (131); Sierra Vista’s Angelica Ochoa (160) and West Covina’s Jennifer Lopez (116).

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Boys Soccer: El Monte boys soccer edges Mountain View, 2-1

 El Monte's Jesus Garcia, top, scores past Mountain View goal keeper Michael Garcia (74) in the first half of a prep soccer match at South El Monte High School in El Monte, Calif., on Thursday, January 29, 2015. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

El Monte’s Jesus Garcia, top, scores past Mountain View goal keeper Michael Garcia (74) in the first half of a prep soccer match at South El Monte High School in El Monte, Calif., on Thursday, January 29, 2015. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

By Jared Pine
EL MONTE — After tying its previous meeting with Mountain View this year, the El Monte High School boys soccer team defeated the Vikings 2-1 with a goal from Ramon Rodriguez in the 77th minute for the Mission Valley League victory at home Thursday afternoon.
The win gives El Monte (10-6-2, 7-1-1) a game and a half lead over Mountain View (9-6-3, 5-2-1) in the league standings. The two teams were nearing their second 1-1 tie this season, but with just three minutes left in the game, El Monte earned a corner kick. The Spartans directed the kick out of the box, but when the ball came back in, Rodriguez was there and put his head on the ball amidst the Vikings’ defensive scramble, knocking the ball just over the line for the go-ahead goal.
Mountain View had a chance to answer in the final minute after Mauricio Rodriguez got a yellow card just outside the box on the goalkeeper’s left side. Valera Moises took the free kick for the Vikings, which was punched out by goalkeeper Jose Paredes. The ball was controlled by Roberto Alvarez, who took one dribble to control the ball and lifted it toward the goal. Paredes jumped up for the floater and knocked it over the cross bar, and Mountain View couldn’t get a shot off on the ensuing corner kick right before time expired.

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Girls Basketball: St. Paul completes sweep of Bishop Amat

 St. Paul players celebrate their win over Bishop Amat after their Del Rey girls basketball game at St. Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs on Thursday January 29, 2015. St. Paul defeated Bishop Amat 53-38. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News)

St. Paul players celebrate their win over Bishop Amat after their Del Rey girls basketball game at St. Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs on Thursday January 29, 2015. St. Paul defeated Bishop Amat 53-38. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News)

By Stephen Ramirez
SANTA FE SPRINGS — There was no league title at stake when the St. Paul High School girls basketball team hosted Bishop Amat on Thursday. It just seemed that way.
That’s what sweeping your rival for the first time in nearly three decades will do for you, especially one that has had the upper hand in the series.
Clarissa Perez scored 19 points and Adrianna Gonzalez had 14 as the Swordsmen beat the Lancers for the second time, scoring a 53-38 victory in a Del Rey League game at St. Paul.
St. Paul, which won at Amat (69-45) on Jan. 13, improved to 14-10 overall and 2-3 in league play. Bishop Amat, getting 14 points from Jurhandi Molina, slipped to 7-15 and 0-5.

St. Paul, after falling behind, 16-7, after the first quarter, put together a 14-minute stretch in the second, third and four quarters where it outscored the Lancers, 27-4, for a 45-28 advantage late in the fourth. The stretch included keeping Bishop Amat scoreless for more than eight minutes over the final seven of the third and the first of the fourth.

St. Paul’s Clarissa Perez: “It’s a great feeling to sweep Amat. Coach (Robert Miller) said its the first time in 24 years we’ve swept Amat. It’s a great win for us, and I’m very proud of all my teammates.”

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