Damien Basketball to host “The Classic,” a gigantic 48-team tournament with Mater Dei, Long Beach Poly and other top programs participating

damien1Damien High Sets Boys Hoops Classic Extravaganza
DAMIEN PRESS RELEASE ON THE CLASSIC: It will simply be known as The Classic at Damien. Following five months of planning, Damien High School and title sponsor Mark Christopher Auto Center (Ontario) have fashioned together what promises to be one of the stellar basketball extravaganzas ever in Southern California at Damien High in La Verne, Dec. 26-30, 2016.
The Classic at Damien will feature 48 teams in three distinct 16-team brackets (Gold, Silver, and Bronze divisions), based upon strength of program, and has attracted some of the top programs from the CIF Southern Section, Las Vegas, Northern California, Arizona and the Los Angeles City Section.

Some of the programs committed include:
Mater Dei (led by the most successful coach in California history, Gary McKnight); Crespi (2016 California State D-I champion); Long Beach Poly (2016 California State D-II runner-up); Santa Monica (CIF SS I-A champion); Etiwanda (perennial power under Coach Dave Kleckner); Corona Centennial (Riverside County power led by Coach Josh Giles; Southern Section Open Division in 2016); Woodland Hills Taft (2016 L.A. City Open Division), Las Vegas Centennial (No. 2 team in Nevada last season), Hayward Moreau Catholic (NorCal State Open Division) and Damien (Southern Section Open Division in 2016). Other sponsors that the event is partnering with include Brandblack; Sheraton Fairplex; McWil Sports Surfaces; Spalding; James Litho; and Krossover.

The Classic at Damien will utilize four playing site – Damien High’s Athletic Center, a newly refurbished Damien Event Complex, San Dimas High and Life Pacific College in San Dimas. Key to the planning is the title sponsorship of Mark Christopher Auto Center. “We see this as an excellent opportunity to partner with education and the extended community,” said Owner Chris Leggio.
“The Inland Empire has become well known for its athletic excellence, but this tournament takes it a notch higher as student-athletes representing schools from a number of areas and states will have the opportunity to bond over a full week,” added Leggio.

Each team entered will play a minimum of four or a maximum of five games over the week long elite affair. This is due to schools from some states having differences in rules as to how the number of allowable contests is counted in a tournament.

Mike LeDuc, the coach at Damien, was pleased by the quick response from an array of programs wishing to enter The Classic at Damien. “We already have a large list of coaches who are very interested in participating in the event in December of 2017,” said LeDuc. “This speaks volumes about the quality of event we can expect to see in December and beyond.”

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All Area: Walnut’s Jerry Chen named Boys Swimmer of the Year

For Walnut High School, winning a CIF Southern Section swimming championship meant that Jerry Chen, one of the Mustangs’ top swimmers, needed a Herculean effort.
Chen delivered. He won a Division 3 title in the 100 backstroke. He took second in the 200 individual medley. The Mustangs eked out their first title in 24 years, edging Gabrielino by 10 points, a small margin of victory in CIF-SS swimming. It earned Chen San Gabriel Valley Tribune Swimmer of the Year honors.
“After four years in CIF, this was a great way to win it; me and my teammates were able to close it out,” he said.
Chen had his fastest 100 back time of the final meet in the prelims, going 50.21. He was slightly slower in the finals (50.46), but still got the victory.
“It was rough,” he said of the race. “I knew I had the lead and dug in to finish strong.”
He went back-and-forth with Javier Bernal of Riverside’s J.W. North in the 200 IM. Bernal had the faster time going into the meet, but Chen was faster in the prelims by 0.20 seconds. Bernal won the race in 1:51.45 with Chen second in 1:52.97. They were the lone swimmers faster than 1:55.
Chen helped the Mustangs win the 200 medley relay, swimming the opening leg. He also helped Walnut to a second-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay, swimming the anchor leg.
In the CIF State meet in Clovis, he was seventh in the 100 back in 50.62. He was 14th in the 200 IM in 1:53.12.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Damon Pitre, Damien
Depth among swim teams can sometimes be overrated.
Damien High School proved that in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 finals at the Riverside Aquatics Center. The Spartans needed only eight swimmers to win the title.
Damien claimed its first CIF-SS crown since 2001 and defeated second-place and fellow Baseline League competitor Los Osos by 117 points. Damon Pitre earned San Gabriel Valley Tribune Coach of the Year honors.
“We were fortunate to have two water polo kids come back to us and they’re studs,” Pitre said. “It was what we really needed.”
That would be starters Chase Travisano and Matt Maier, although Mac Quinn and Ryan Terlip were also on the team. The Spartans had four swimmers, Preston Planells, Quinn, Richie Campbell and Travisano, in four events at the meet, Maier was in three events and Cody Liske in two. Grant Farias and Terlip only swam in one relay race each. The Spartans had only two club swimmers on their team.
“That was huge,” Pitre said. “We just had to make sure we do what we needed to do. Going into the meet I had us up. But I did not know it would be that big.”
Planells, Quinn, Farias and Campbell set a school record in the winning the 200 medley relay (1:34.63). Travisano, Maier, Planells and Campbell swam the second-fastest 400 free relay time in school history (3:07.31) for a victory. Those were Damien’s lone wins in the meet.
“Massive,” Pitre said. “Massive.”
Campbell was second in the 50 free and fifth in the 100 free. Travisano was fourth in both the 100 and 200 frees. Quinn was third in the 100 breaststroke. The only event the Spartans did not score points was the 100 butterfly. Damien competed in the CIF State meet in Clovis.

Richie Campbell, Damien, senior (50, 100 frees)
Jason Ku, Rowland, sophomore (100 breast, 200 IM)
Michael Lee, Diamond Bar, sophomore (200, 500 frees)
Cody Liske, Damien, junior (200, 500 frees)
Preston Planells, Damien, freshman (100 back, 200 IM)
Mac Quinn, Damien, senior (100 breast, 200 IM)
Jacob Sustayta, Covina, junior (100 back, 100 fly)
Chase Travisano, Damien, junior (100, 200 frees)
Kevin Vargas, Diamond Bar, freshman (500 free, 200 IM)
Derek Wan, Walnut, senior (100 back, 100 fly)

Jared Calderone, San Dimas, junior (50, 100 frees)
Brian Honng, Walnut, freshman (100 breast)
Matthew Huang, Walnut, junior (200 free)
James Hull, San Dimas, senior (50, 100 frees)
William Ku, Rowland, sophomore (100 back)
Brian Li, Diamond Bar, sophomore (100 breast)
Matt Maier, Damien, senior (100 free)
Robbie Simpson, San Dimas, junior (200, 500 frees)
Sean Wang, Walnut, senior (500 free)
Nhat Vo, Bishop Amat, senior (100 back)

Justin Banh, Rowland, junior (100 fly)
Ryan Chou Walnut, sophomore (200 free)
Zach Hesse, Bishop Amat, sophomore (100 back, 100 fly)
William Huang, Diamond Bar, sophomore (50 free)
Seth Ireland, San Dimas, senior (50 fee)
Henry Landers, San Dimas, junior (100 fly)
Prestin Li, Diamond Bar, junior (100 breast)
Ohaka Maung, Rowland, sophomore (500 free)
Matthew Romero, Bishop Amat, freshman (500 free)
Phillip Wu, South Hills, senior (200, 500 free)

50 free: Richie Campbell, Damien, 21.02
100 free: Chase Travisano, Damien, 46.35
200 free: Travisano, 1:41.56
500 free: Michael Lee, Diamond Bar, 4:34.52
100 back: Jerry Chen, Walnut, 50.21
100 breast: Mac Quinn, Damien, 56.99
100 fly: Derek Wan, Walnut, 51.41
200 IM: Chen, 1:52.97
200 free relay: Damien 1:29.11
400 free relay: Damien 3:07.31
200 medley relay: Damien 1:34.63

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Girls Swimming All-Area: Glendora’s Alexis Margett named swimmer of the year

alexisGIRLS SWIMMER OF THE YEAR: Alexis Margett, Glendora
There was no pressure to win CIF Southern Section swimming championships,No, the pressure came another way: Timing.
Alexis Margett’s Glendora High School succeeded on both counts. She got the victories and she got the times. The junior set a meet record in a 100 butterfly preliminary heat race and then won the main event a day later. The big victory, though, came in the 200 individual medley. She broke the two-minute barrier for the first time. It earned her San Gabriel Valley Tribune swimmer of the year honors.“That was what I was really ecstatic about,” she said.

It was her first victory in probably the most difficult race because of its four stroke discipline. She finished the event in one minute, 59.79 seconds. It was a personal best by two seconds and she won the event by a whopping 2.09 seconds.
The time was the second-fastest of all swimmers in the four divisions at the three-day finals. Only Edison’s Nora Deleske went faster, going 1:59.39 in a Division 1 victory.
“I kept telling myself that that was what I was training for all season,” she said. “For this. All that work paid off.”
A shoulder injury had kept her from getting a victory in any event in her sophomore season. She was third in the 100 fly.
She set the fly meet record in the preliminary races, going 52.59; eclipsing the time of 53.03, set by Yumi So of Crescenta Valley in 2009. She then won the main event in a slightly slower time of 52.73. It was still 0.99 seconds faster than her nearest competitor. It was the fastest time among all divisions.
“Last year with that shoulder injury, I could not full train like I should,” she recalled. “So getting two CIF titles this year is unbelievable.”
Only she said her coaches expected that.
“From what my coaches were telling me, they pretty much expected me to do it,” she said. “They said if I did not do it, I did not know what I was doing.”
She won the division’s 100 fly title her freshman year in 54.52.
She also helped the 200 freestyle relay team to a second-place finish and the 200 medley relay team to a fourth-place finish. The Tartans finished second in team points.
Margett then became the first Glendora athlete to win a CIF State swimming title. She won the 100 fly in 52.77 in Clovis. She took second in the 200 IM in 1:59.78. Isleta Chloe of Presentation won in 1:59.27.
“I really had fun racing people in these heats,” she said. “Everyone is such competitive swimmers.”

The Glendora High School girls swim team nearly won its third CIF Southern Section championship.
The Tartans were just a few places here and there from pulling off their first title since 2014. They finished in second place, 13 points behind Irvine’s Crean Lutheran in the Division 2 finals at the Riverside Aquatics Complex. As a result, Janet Pollard was named San Gabriel Valley Tribune coach of the year,
How close is 13 points? An individual victory is worth 22 points, scoring second is 19 and the remaining places are in increments of one point. In the three relay events, those numbers are doubled. A sixth-place finish and a Crean shutout in individual events or a 12th-place finish and Crean shutout in the relays would have placed Glendora ahead of Crean.
“I’m proud of them,” Pollard said. “I would have liked to win it and we obviously gave all we had. I’m happy with how we did.”
Crean defeated second-place Glendora by 23½ points last year.
The Tartans’ Alexis Margett swam to victories in the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley. The Tartans had one second-place finish, three thirds, seven others in the championship finals and three in the consolation finals.

Jackie Basham, Glendora, sophomore, 100 breast, 200 IM
Erin DeAnda, Walnut, junior, 100 free
Amelia Feick, Glendora, senior, 100 breast, 200 IM
Emily Honng, Walnut, junior, 100 breast
Jenna Lloyd, Diamond Bar, senior, 50 free, 100 breast
Kelsey Lloyd, Diamond Bar, sophomore, 100 breast, 200 IM
Allison Nguyen, Rowland, senior, 100 breast, 200 IM
Katelyn Nguyen, Rowland, freshman, 50, 200 frees
Catherine Sanchez, Glendora, senior, 200 free, 100 fly
Katie Sulkevich, Glendora, sophomore, 200, 500 frees

Meghan Chang, Rowland, 50, 100 frees
Kelly Cheng, Diamond Bar, sophomore, 200 free, 100 fly
Morgan Egan, San Dimas sophomore, 200 IM
Kathleen Gani, Diamond Bar, junior, 100 fly
Emily Lai, Covina, sophomore, 500 free, 100 back
Cara Lee, Walnut, sophomore, 500 free, 100 fly
Gisel Olvera, Glendora, junior, 100 fly
Karina Parker, Glendora, sophomore, 500 free
Melinda Wang, Rowland, junior, 100 free, 100 back
Katelyn Young, Walnut, freshman, 200 free

50 free: Katelyn Nguyen, Rowland, 23.85
100 free: Nguyen, 52.20
200 free: Catherine Sanchez, Glendora, 1:48.23
500 free: Katie Sulkevich, Glendora, 4:52.20
100 back: Kathleen Gani, Diamond Bar, 57.42
100 breast: Kelsey Lloyd, Diamond Bar, 1:02.57
100 fly: Alexis Margett, Glendora, 52.59
200 IM: Margett, 1:59.78
200 free relay: Glendora 1:35.53
400 free relay: Glendora 3:27.72
200 medley relay: Diamond Bar 1:45.49

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2016 CIF-SS Football Division Playoff Groupings


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.”
Bishop Amat
La Habra
St. Francis
La Serna
La Mirada
Charter Oak
West Covina
San Marino
Los Altos
Diamond Ranch
South Hills
St. Paul
San Dimas
La Salle
El Rancho
Diamond Bar
Santa Fe
Pasadena Poly
South Pasadena
La Canada
Baldwin Park
Whittier Christian
Rio Hondo Prep
Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary
Temple City
El Monte
La Puente
South El Monte
HH Wilson
Southlands Christian
Mountain View
Sierra Vista
San Gabriel
Bosco Tech

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Bonita names Carter’s Samuel Lopez to take over Bonita baseball after departure of John Knott

By Pete Marshall
Samuel Lopez wasn’t looking for a new teaching and coaching position.
But when you’re successful, sometimes those positions find you.
Lopez, 33, who led Carter to a league baseball title three times in five years as head coach, has been approved as the new coach at Bonita.

Lopez replaces John Knott, who stepped down last month to take the job as coach at Mt. San Antonio College.
“They reached out to me, to see if I was interested in applying. I wasn’t looking to leave (Carter), but Bonita’s a very successful, established program. I thought it was worth taking a look at,” Lopez said.
In five years at Carter, Lopez compiled a 98-40 record, making the playoffs in all five years, and winning a league title three times, including this season in the Citrus Belt League. Each of the last three seasons Carter won at least one playoff game, including a run to the CIF Southern Section quarterfinals in 2015. Prior to Lopez’s arrival, Carter had missed the playoffs four straight seasons.
“When I came to Carter, there was no real expectation,” he said. “But there’s an expectation there now.”
While he helped create an expectation to win at Carter, there has been that expectation at Bonita for a long time. Continue reading

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Breaking News: Diego Barrera, the sophomore Del Rey League pitching MVP, left Bishop Amat and will enroll at Damien

DiegoDiego Barrera, the super sophomore lefty and Del Rey League most valuable pitcher, has left Bishop Amat and enrolled at Damien, sources confirmed. Barrera will join former Bishop Amat coach Andy Nieto, whose Spartans won the Baseline League title and advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division 2 semifinals, losing to eventual champ South Hills.
Barrera’s sophomore season was one of the best in the San Gabriel Valley, finishing 9-2 with a 1.84 ERA in 68 innings. Barrera also made varsity as a freshman and was one of the best pitchers on the staff, finishing 5-4 with a 2.51 ERA. Diego is the younger brother of Bishop Amat softball centerfielder Alyssa Barrera, who is on her way to the University of Utah after being named the Del Rey League MVP.
Diego Barrera leaving Amat is a big loss, and there are rumors that one or possibly two more are considering leaving as well. For Damien, this adds another piece to a young team that could help Nieto chase his first title at Damien after winning four at Amat.

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All-Area: Diamond Bar’s Neil Tengbumroong named Boys Tennis Player of the Year

Diamond Bar High’s Neil Tengbumroong at San Gabriel Tribune in Monrovia on Monday, June 13, 2016. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/ San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

BOYS TENNIS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Neil Tengbumroong, Diamond Bar
By Keith Lair
Neil Tengbumroong can look back at his 2016 high school season and see progress.
The Diamond Bar junior finished second in Palomares League play and lost in the CIF Southern Section regional finals in 2015. This season Tengbumroong won the league title and advanced to the CIF-SS Round of 16 play-in match, earning Tengbumroong San Gabriel Valley Tribune player of the year honors for the second consecutive year.

“It was probably my best season so far,” he said. “I’m showing improvement each year.”
The big boost was overcoming Claremont’s Andrew Leahy, the 2015 league champion. The two players split their sets in team competition and Tengbumroong overcame the Wolfpack senior in the individual league tournament this time.
“That was huge because Andrew Leahy beat me really easily the last time,” he said.
It earned Tengbumroong a No. 1 seed for the CIF-SS individual regional round at the University of Redlands. He defeated two league champions, including Ambassador League champion Deepak Tummala of Webb, 6-2, 6-1 in the regional final.
He was one of the 20 singles players remaining and had to go to the Round of 16 play-in round, one of eight players facing off for the 13th through 16th seeds for the finals.
San Marino’s Derek Chen eliminate Tengbumroong, 6-0, 6-4. It was the second consecutive year that a San Marino player has knocked Tengbumroong out of postseason play.
“It was tough,” Tengbumroong said. “I know Derek and I’ve known him for awhile. We’re good friends and it was rough. … Maybe next year.”
It was one of only four losses this season for Tengbumroong.
Claremont won the league team title, beating Diamond Bar by 11-7 and 10-8 scores. In the CIF-SS Division 2 team tournament, the second-place Brahmas were knocked out by eventual finalist Crean Lutheran of Irvine in the second round.

It was a dream season.
Rosemead High School finally made its dream match: The CIF Southern Section Division 5 championships.
The Panthers had never been to the final before, so losing to Heritage, 11-7, was not necessarily a disastrous finish.
“I’m very proud of the guys,” said Gary Ward, selected San Gabriel Valley Tribune coach of the year.
It was an unlikely run. The Panthers (15-7, 9-1) tied Arroyo for the Mission Valley League title. Both matches went to games after they tied in sets at 9-9.
Rosemead received the league’s top seed and the No. 7 seed for the CIF-SS playoffs. The Panthers scored a pair of 10-8 playoff victories, against Lynwood in the second round and against No. 3 Downey in the semifinals. They also defeated No. 2 seed, Beaumont, 13-5.


Derek Lam, Arroyo, freshman
Ian Habbestad, Damien, freshman
Ryan Wong, Walnut, junior
Matthew Diamond, Bonita, senior
Bennett Williams, Bonita, junior
Eric Thai, Rosemead, senior
Kenny Luu, Rosemead senior
Dylan Truong, Walnut, junior
Henry Tang, Walnut, senior


Todd Nanayon, Walnut, junior
Jenar Orbita, Rowland, junior
Jason Vuong, Rowland, sophomore
Tommy Folsom, Glendora, sophomore
Justin Lay, Glendora, sophomore
Cobe Benzel, San Dimas, senior
Connor Crabtree, San Dimas, senior
Matthew Mai, Walnut, sophomore
Aaron Yong, Walnut, senior


Angel Bravo, Workman, senior
Xavier Chico, Edgewood, junior
Bryan Figueroa, Azusa, senior
Zayd Alshoushi, Duarte, senior
Peter Vila, Duarte, senior
John Szeto, Rosemead, senior
Hung Tran, Rosemead junior
Manuel Alba, Workman, junior
Andrew Bravo, Workman, junior

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