By Aram Tolegian
Most local fans know Greg Gano as the head coach who won four CIF championships while in charge of the Los Altos High School football team.
And despite unsuccessful stops at Damien, Tustin and Wilson since his days at Los Altos, the vibe on the street is that Gano is going to do big things at his latest stop, Don Lugo.
So far, that’s exactly the case. Gano has hit the ground running at Don Lugo and just this past weekend his team won its second passing tournament of the summer by winning the Tournament of Champions hosted by Santa Fe.
“We’ve got some good looking kids and there are some athletes,” Gano said of his team. “But just because you have them doesn’t mean anything. You don’t win anything in passing league, but we wanted to see if our kids can compete. We’ve competed very well.”
The Tournament of Champions was the second passing tournament that Don Lugo has won this summer. Earlier, the Conquistadores won the El Rancho Tournament. They also went 6-1 in the Bonita Air Assault and have only lost two games all summer — both to Villa Park, which Don Lugo finally beat last weekend.
Gano’s coaching staff has some elements from the past on it, most notably former Los Altos assistant Marco Curtis handling the running backs. Longtime Gano cohort Lee Fair, who was Gano’s defensive coordinator at Los Altos and Damien, is also helping out but is limited by knee trouble.
“Lee Fair is a consultant,” Gano said. “He can barely walk out there on the field because of his knees, but Lee will always be part of something I do. He’s a good man. Me and Lee know each other better than any other coaches I’ve been around with.”
Don Lugo has a huge challenge in the form of Colony in the Mt. Baldy League later this fall. But should the Conquistadores make the playoffs, there’s no reason to think Gano can’t take them on a deep run in Division 8.
Early Top Ten Tribune Football guess for 2016
1. Charter Oak, 2. Bishop Amat, 3. Northview, 4. South Hills, 5. Glendora
— Fred J. Robledo (@SGVNSports) June 29, 2016
I asked Charter Oak/Arizona bound football stud Brian "The Man of" Casteel about facing Northview in opener, he says, "Too Easy." It's on.
— Fred J. Robledo (@SGVNSports) June 29, 2016
@SGVNSports Exactly too easy is right. For the Vikings to take the W of course
— Antwaun AA Ayers Jr™ (@AyersAChampion) June 29, 2016
If Bishop Amat Football goes 6-4 it would be absolutely incredible considering what it lost. I'm guessing 5-5/4-6 more realistic or worse.
— Fred J. Robledo (@SGVNSports) June 29, 2016
Tribune football player of the year Torreahno Sweet has committed to Western Oregon, where he will likely play football and baseball.
— Fred J. Robledo (@SGVNSports) June 29, 2016
TRIBUNE SOFTBALL 2016 ALL AREA TEAM PHOTO GALLERY
Player of the year: Natalie Lugo, South Hills, Junior
Natalie Lugo is so good she’s easy to take for granted.
She didn’t just lead South Hills to the Palomares League title, she did it with an astonishing statistic. In going a perfect 10-0 in league, Lugo didn’t allow an earned run.
Incredible stuff considering how dangerous offensively teams like Glendora, Los Altos, Diamond Bar and Bonita were throughout the season.
“From the start of the season my goal was to not give up any runs at all, which I know is very difficult,” Lugo said. “Now that I’m able to look back and reflect on the season, it’s a bit overwhelming to realize that I was able to have the type of season that I did. But it all starts with the girls behind me. I’m able to throw strikes with confidence and know that that if the ball is put in play, I have a solid defense behind me that will lay it out on the line for me every play.”
And did they ever, helping Lugo finish 18-6 with a whopping 0.62 ERA with 279 strikeouts in 159 innings.
She struck out 10 or more in 15 games, including two games with a season-high 19 strikeouts. Lugo also struck out 17 in a 10-inning heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Valley View in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 quarterfinals.
For the second consecutive year, Lugo, who verbally committed to the University of Florida when she was a freshman, has been selected the Tribune softball player of the year.
“It’s an incredible honor to be named the player of the year once, and to be able to repeat it again was beyond my expectations,” Lugo said. “There are so many talented players in the San Gabriel Valley who all had great seasons themselves and to be named the best out of them all is amazing. It’s great to know that all my hard work has not gone unnoticed and pushes me to work even harder to help my team go for the (CIF) title next season.”
Lugo also threw three no-hitters, including a 10-0 no-hitter over Pacifica in the first round of the Division 2 playoffs.
Lugo struck out 19 in a 5-0 victory over Canyon, and was most proud of her 19 strikeouts in a 2-0 victory over Glendora, in which she allowed only one hit against a team that batted. 348 overall.
“Glendora was the team to beat at the start of league and I knew that game would set the tone for the rest of our league games,” Lugo said. “Going into the game, I knew that it was important for me to step up and perform the best I could to give my team the best chance to win. Our hitting and defense did their jobs and I had one of my best games. That’s one game I won’t forget for a very long time.”
Lugo has done everything imaginable at South Hills except lead it to a CIF championship. She watched her brother Nick Lugo win a Division 2 baseball title with the Huskies this spring, and the girls soccer team won a championship in the winter season.
She’s hoping her senior season ends with a ring.
“As happy as I am to see baseball and soccer win their own championships, I believe it’s our turn to be in the school’s spotlight and hang a softball banner in our gym next year,” Lugo said. “I’m proud of our team and what we accomplished this year, but it’s time for us to turn it up a notch and it all starts with me in the circle. We need to get back to work and not get comfortable with the last two good seasons.”
Coach of the year: David Gaither, St. Lucy’s
Face it, there wasn’t much expected at St. Lucy’s after going 10-16 the previous season with a lot of unproven youngsters competing in the unforgiving Baseline League.
But somehow, someway, St. Lucy’s became the biggest surprise of the 2016 season, finishing 14-8-2 and third in the Baseline to earn a CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoff spot for first-year coach David Gaither, who has been selected the Tribune softball coach of the year.
“I thought that we could be competitive looking at the talent we had returning and the players we had coming into our program,” Gaither said. “I felt that it would take a couple of years to climb the ladder to where we needed to be. To end up in third place in the Baseline and a playoff berth gives us all the momentum heading into next year.”
The highlight of the season were the biggest upsets of the season.
St. Lucy’s stunned Etiwanda, ranked No. 1 in Division 1 at the time, 6-3, then followed with a shocking 5-0 shutout over Chino Hills to take over sole possession of first in the Baseline after the first four games.
Etiwanda went on to win the Baseline league and lost to eventual Division 1 champion Mater Dei in the playoffs.
But not without St. Lucy’s leaving a lasting impression.
“The Etiwanda game was the highlight of our season, no doubt,” Gaither said. “They only had lost one game at the time but our girls were focused from the first pitch to the last out.”
Gaither was flattered to be named coach of the year, and insisted this is just the beginning.
“I’m shocked and honored,” Gaither said. “The players were the main reason we had a successful turnaround this season. They had the skills and talent to play the game, they just needed someone to instill the confidence in them. We just brought them together, guided them and let them play the game to their ability.
“You coach for the love of the sport and when something like this is bestowed upon you (coach of the year), it’s all worth the time and effort you put in every day.”
Pitcher: Samaria Diaz, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Every dominant team has a dominant pitcher and Diaz was just that for the Del Rey League champion Lancers, earning Del Rey League pitching most valuable player honors after finishing 13-2 with a 0.93 ERA with 125 strikeouts in 122 innings. The New Mexico State signee was a big reason the Lancers won the Del Rey league title and advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division 3 semifinals. She also helped herself at the plate, batting .345.
Pitcher: Cambria Keefer, Glendora, Sr.
The Tartans pitcher earned Palomares League first team honors for the second straight season. Keefer, who is headed to Rutgers University, helped the Tartans to a second-place finish in the Palomares by finishing 13-5 overall with a 2.33 ERA. She finished with 120 strikeouts in 106 innings.
Pitcher: Dakota Casper, St. Lucy’s, Jr.
The Regents were the most improved team in the San Gabriel Valley, and the junior pitcher was a big reason why, earning Baseline League first team honors after finishing 12-5 with a 2.26 ERA in 151 innings of work. Casper was the winning pitcher in a 6-3 win over Etiwanda, who was ranked No. 1 in Division 1 at the time, and followed with a 5-0 shutout over Chino Hills, another dominant team that finished 22-10. She helped the Regents finish third in the Baseline to quality for the Division 1 playoffs.
Catcher: Melysia Ortega, South Hills, Sr.
There’s no doubt the Dakota Wesleyan University signee is one of the best defensive catchers and clearly the best hitting catcher in the San Gabriel Valley. Not only does she have the huge responsibility of catching for player of the year Natalie Lugo, but she’s a big reason the Huskies won so many games. She was a run producer, batting .434 with 32 RBIs, eight doubles and 10 home runs.
Utility: Julia Valenzuela, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Arguably the best defensive catcher in the San Gabriel Valley, the Del Rey all-league selection was like an extra coach on the field, a true field general and big reason why she earned a scholarship to Cal State Fullerton. Valenzuela batted . 277 with 17 RBIs, two doubles and two home runs, and was clutch at the plate when her team needed her the most.
Infield: Randi Farricker, Glendora, Sr.
The super shortstop is a Tribune first-team selection and Palomares League first team selection for the second straight year. Farricker is headed to Arizona State not only for her defense, but because she’s one of the best hitters in the San Gabriel Valley. She batted an impressive .516 with 30 RBIs, nine home runs, six doubles and 25 runs scored.
Infield: Alyssa Diaz, South El Monte, Sr.
The University of Santa Barbara signee was the Mission Valley League most valuable player and led the area in hitting with a whopping .643 batting average. Not only could she hit for average, she did everything else, finishing with six home runs, eight doubles, six triples, 32 runs scored and 32 RBIs.
Infield: Marissa Chavez, Charter Oak, Jr.
The sure-handed shortstop has a big future after being named to the Hacienda League first team. She hit for average and power, batting .455 with 11 home runs, seven doubles, two triples and 31 RBI’s. Chavez belted two home runs with six RBIs in a 15-0 rout over Walnut.
Infield: Samantha Garcia, St. Lucy’s, So.
The sophomore infielder was named to the Baseline League first team, quite an accomplishment considering how tough the league was. Garcia swung a solid bat, batting .365 with 15 RBIs and two doubles for the Regents, who finished 14-8-2 and third in the Baseline.
Infield: Ciara Granado, Edgewood, Jr.
The Miramonte League most valuable player led the Lions to an undefeated league championship and a 20-2 overall finish with mind-boggling numbers. She batted .622 with an area leading 12 home runs, 50 RBIs and 44 runs scored — which was her version of the area Triple Crown. She also had nine doubles and will be back next year to do it all again.
Outfield: Alyssa Barrera, Bishop Amat, Sr.
The University of Utah signee was the Del Rey League most valuable player and arguably the most influential non-pitcher in the San Gabriel Valley. The leadoff centerfielder batted .474 with 12 stolen bases and 28 runs scored. She also had 15 doubles, five triples and three home runs. She also was selected to play in the inaugural Premier Girls Fastpitch High School All-American all-star game, July 28.
Outfield: Katie Greep, St. Lucy’s, So.
Considering how good the Baseline League is, which competes in Division 1 and whose league champion Etiwanda, lost in the playoffs to eventual Division 1 champion Mater Dei, it’s quite an accomplishment for the sophomore outfielder to be named to the Baseline League first team. But that’s exactly what Greep accomplished, batting a competitive .292 against solid pitching while finishing with 10 RBIs and 19 runs scored.
Pitcher: Kennedy Cuevas, Edgewood, So.
Pitcher: Marina Roski, Diamond Ranch, Sr.
Pitcher: Alondra Reynoso, San Dimas, Sr.
Utility: Chloe Ochoa, Charter Oak, Sr.
Utility: Peiu-Afele Tafisi-Logoai, Nogales, Sr.
Catcher: Jantzen Owen, Charter Oak, So.
Infield: Shynia Torrez, Arroyo, Jr.
Infield: Gabby Bracamonte, Bishop Amat, Jr.
Infield: Clarissa Perez, South Hills, Sr.
Infield: Taylor Tetone, Glendora, Jr.
Infield: Melissa Felix, Los Altos, So.
Infield: Carlie Salm, San Dimas, Sr.
Outfield: Brooke Jackson, San Dimas, Jr.
Outfield: Idalis Jimenez, Edgewood, Sr.
Outfield: Christie Aguilar, South Hills, Jr.
Outfield: Ashley Carbajal, Los Altos, Jr.
Outfield: Monet Manning, Northview, Sr.
Karyna Baldomino, Rowland, Jr.
Elizabeth Wilson, Diamond Bar, So.
Audrey Sellers, St. Lucy’s, Fr.
Brielle Fraijo, Charter Oak, Sr.
Emily Bracamonte, Wilson, Fr.
Britney Orozco, Northview, So.
Janelle Meono, Wilson, Fr.
Brianna Torres, Wilson, Fr.
Isabella Sierra, Covina, Sr.
Savannah Diederich, Los Altos, So.
Deanna Alarcon, St. Lucy’s, Sr.
Alexis Morales, Nogales, Jr.
Alison LeNoue, Covina, Sr.
Karissa Duran, Bishop Amat, Jr.
Sarah Kretschmar, Diamond Ranch, Sr.
Sammy Alvarado, Edgewood, Sr.
Janae Moreno, Azusa, Jr.
Maddie Ramirez, Bishop Amat, Jr.
Isabella Sandoval, Azusa, Fr.
Clarissa Reynoso, San Dimas, So.
Jada Richards, Duarte, Sr.
Abigail Cordova, Sierra Vista, Sr.
Alexandria Rodriguez, San Dimas, So.
Destinee Lopez, Bonita, Jr.
Sam Smith, Diamond Ranch, So.
Seanna Jimenez, El Monte, Sr.
Danielle Dominguez, Arroyo, Sr.
Megan Jones, Bonita, So.
Mariah Tovar, South Hills, Sr.
Vicki Zaluske, Diamond Ranch, Jr.
Natalia Garcia, Pomona, Sr.
Jennifer Luviano, Bassett, Sr.
FINAL TOP TEN
1. Bishop Amat (23-5)
2. South Hills (22-8)
3. Glendora (17-5)
4. St. Lucy’s (14-8-2)
5. San Dimas (18-9)
6. Edgewood (20-2)
7. Diamond Ranch (18-8)
8. Charter Oak (16-10)
9. Arroyo (17-4)
10. Duarte (18-7-1)
Del Rey: Bishop Amat
Mission Valley: Arroyo
Palomares: South Hills
Valle Vista: San Dimas
2016 TRIBUNE ALL-AREA BASEBALL PHOTO GALLERY
Player of the Year: Brandon Dieter, South Hills, Sophomore
South Hills’ magical season ended with a CIF Southern Section Division 2 championship in a seventh inning come-from-behind 4-3 victory over Redlands East Valley.
In the middle of it, as has been the case all season, was sophomore pitcher Brandon Dieter, who not only started and gave the Huskies five innings of shutout ball, but he singled and scored the Huskies’ first run, and moved runners over in the do-or-die seventh inning that paved the way to the school’s sixth championship.
That’s been Dieter all season. No matter what, whether pitching, playing second base or delivering at the plate, he delivered when the Huskies needed him the most, which is why he’s been selected the 2015-16 Tribune baseball player of the year while also earning CIF-SS Division 2 player of the year honors.
No wonder the sophomore is already committed to Stanford.
“Brandon is poised beyond his years,” South Hills coach Darren Murphy said.
Dieter was 7-2 with a 1.10 ERA and also was one of the best infielders and hitters on the team, batting .311 with four doubles and 13 RBIs.
“This is a team of many heroes and so many guys played a huge part in the championship, but Dieter saved us,” Murphy said. “He had five hits in the playoffs and turned three double plays in our semifinal win over Damien. He had a hand in everything we did in the playoff run.”
Injuries to pitcher’s Ryan Mauch and Andres Alvarez put more pressure on Dieter to produce, and he didn’t flinch. South Hills won in his last eight starts and in all those wins he never allowed more than two runs.
Dieter opened the playoffs throwing five shutout innings while allowing just three hits in a 4-0 first-round win over Mayfair, then threw a complete game in a 8-1 quarterfinal victory over Foothill.
“Dieter is a complete pitcher in every way,” Murphy said. “And he’s stronger mentally than any sophomore pitcher I’ve ever coached. He’s a walking contradiction. He’s cool as ice on the outside, but an intense competitive fire burns inside.
“He’s the only kid I’ve coached that fit the bill of what I think Stanford student athletes are all about. He’s a special player and special players do special things.”
Coach of the Year: Darren Murphy, South Hills
When Darren Murphy left Northview for South Hills three years ago, many wondered if he was ready for the tradition-rich Huskies’ program and all the pressure that came with it.
Murphy showed what he could do at Northview, building the program from the ground up and winning a Division 4 title in 2008, giving the school its first title in 37 years.
But after leading South Hills to its sixth championship in a dramatic 4-3 victory over Redlands East Valley to claim the Division 2 title, Murphy solidified his place as one of the San Gabriel Valley’s all-time best, and is only the second area coach to win championships at two different area schools. Denis Paul won a championship with Walnut in 1982, and two more with Diamond Bar in 1985 and ‘88.
Murphy, whose team also won the Palomares League title, has been named the Tribune’s 2015-16 baseball coach of the year while also being named the CIF-SS Division 2 coach of the year.
“It’s a nice honor and I’m humbled, but the best part of it is it’s a reminder to me that I have a great staff and that South Hills is CIF Champions and that sounds so good to say,” Murphy said.
Naturally, he’s been asked to compare both championships.
“Every championship is great,” Murphy said. “In 2008, it was special because Northview was all I knew. I graduated there (1990) and started coaching there after playing in college. So after 37 years it was a really cool thing to be part of (a championship) and of course it was my first.
“At South Hills, it was equally important for different reasons. You can get caught up as a coach and as a player with the past success and tradition of the program and the expectations can be as daunting as they were this year. But we embraced it and constantly addressed that (championship) as our ultimate goal. It was a grind facing those expectations, but this group of kids became a family because of it. Nobody cared who got the credit on this team and that’s when you know it’s special.”
South Hills’ final two games couldn’t of been more dramatic. The Huskies beat neighboring Damien 4-1 in front a packed house at South Hills, then after blowing a 2-0 lead in bottom of the sixth to Redlands East Valley to fall behind 3-2 with three outs left in the seventh, the Huskies dug down to score two in the top of the seventh to pull out a 4-3 victory with the game ending on a double-play with REV’s tying runner at third.
“The Damien game was a championship atmosphere and a game that we will never forget and the last two innings of the CIF championship was straight Hollywood,” Murphy said. “I wouldn’t trade that last half hour of baseball for anything.”
South Hills finished 26-7 and was ranked 14th in state by Maxpreps.
Pitcher: Nick Lodolo, Damien, Sr.
The Baseline League and CIF Southern Section Division 2 first team selection is a Texas Christian University signee who has a big decision to make after being selected 41st overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in this month’s Major League Baseball draft. The 6-foot-5 lefty had a great season, finishing 8-2 with a 1.97 ERA with 83 strikeouts in 65 innings to help the Spartans to a league title and Division 2 semifinal appearance.
Pitcher: A.J. Woodall, Bonita, Sr.
The Bearcats’ ace was sensational, finishing 9-1 with a 1.64 ERA with 57 strikeouts while surrendering just 14 walks all season. Opponents managed just 14 earned runs off Woodall in 26 innings and he was a big reason the Bearcats finished second in the Palomares to league champ South Hills, who went on to win the Division 2 title. The UC Santa Barbara signee also was a Palomares league first-team selection.
Utility: Ricardo Reyes, Sierra Vista, Sr.
The infielder/pitcher did it all for the Montview League champion Dons, who finished 21-3 after advancing to the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 second round. Reyes, named the Montview League most valuable player, batted .439 with 20 RBIs, four doubles, two triples and a home run. And he was just as dangerous when asked to pitch, finishing 4-0 with a 0.43 ERA in 32.2 innings, allowing just two earned runs with 39 strikeouts.
Catcher: James Free, Damien, Sr.
The Baseline League first-team selection was a rock behind the plate for the Spartans, and big reason they advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division 2 semifinals. Free was not only great defensively, he was a monster at the plate, batting .443 with 32 RBIs, two home runs, ten doubles and two triples.
Infield: John Dearth, South Hills, Jr.
The San Diego State commit had an incredible season for the Huskies, earning Palomares League most valuable player honors and named to the CIF Southern Section Division 2 first team after playing a huge role in helping the Huskies claim the Division 2 title in a 4-3 win over Redlands East Valley. Dearth, who played first base, batted .402 with two home runs, 15 doubles, 22 runs scored and 25 RBI’s.
Infield: Tommy Delgado, Bonita, So.
The Palomares League first-team selection was one of the best power hitters and run producers in the area. In addition to batting .388, Delgado belted five home runs with seven doubles, five triples and 25 RBIs. Among his homers included two grand slams in wins over Claremont and Glendora.
Infield: Brennan McKenzie, Walnut, Sr.
The 6-foot-2, 215 pound first baseman was a rock for the Mustangs, earning Hacienda League player of the year honors while leading his team to the Hacienda league title, which they shared with Charter Oak. McKenzie, who is committed to Cal Poly, Pomona, batted a whopping .463 with five home runs, 12 doubles and 27 RBIs.
Infield: Jacob Amaya, South Hills, Jr.
The Huskies’ shortstop and Cal State Fullerton commit is not only great defensively, he swings one of the best bats in the San Gabriel Valley, batting .385 with seven doubles and 13 RBIs after becoming eligible midway through the season after a transfer from Northview. Ayala was named to the CIF Southern Section Division 2 first team and was named to the Palomares League first team.
Infield: Jayson Gonzalez, Bishop Amat, Jr.
The Vanderbilt commit is also part of the USA Baseball youth player pool and turned in a fantastic season, resulting in being named the Del Rey League most valuable player after leading the Lancers to the league title and the CIF Southern Section Division 3 quarterfinals. The shortstop batted .434 with 36 RBIs and 12 doubles, and was clutch throughout the season.
Outfield: Chris Moya, South Hills, Sr.
It was Moya’s sacrifice fly in the seventh inning that scored Jacob Dominguez and broke a 3-3 tie that allowed the Huskies to go on and beat Redlands East Valley 4-3 to claim the CIF Southern Section Division 2 title. Moya, a USC signee, was named to the CIF-SS Division 2 first team and Palomares League first team. He batted .360 with 32 runs scored and 15 RBIS.
Outfield: Isaiah Paige, Damien, Jr.
The Baseline League first-team selection was a key part of the Spartans’ league championship squad in the outfield and on the hill. Offensively, Paige batted .411 with 21 RBIs. When he was needed in relief, he was 2-1 with five saves and a 1.78 ERA in 32 innings with 33 strikeouts.
Outfielder: Brandon Bradshaw, Bonita, Sr.
The Bearcats outfielder earned Palomares first-team honors with an impressive .408 batting average that ranked among the area’s best. But he also could hit for power, belting two home runs with five doubles and finished among the area leaders with 33 RBIs.
Pitcher: Diego Barrera, Bishop Amat, So.
Pitcher: Christian Longoria, Walnut, Sr.
Pitcher: Hayden Petrovick, South Hills, Sr.
Pitcher: Matthew Amrhein, Damien, Sr.
Utility: Aaron Fong, South Hills, Sr.
Catcher: Jesse Garcia, San Dimas, Sr.
Infield: Caleb Watkins, Glendora, Sr.
Infield: Karlos Morales, South Hills, Jr.
Infield: Harrison Spohn, Damien, Jr.
Infield: Adrian Cardenas, Sierra Vista, Sr.
Infield: Clarence Cotter, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Outfield: Griffen Herrera, Glendora, Sr.
Outfield: Daniel Benedict, Damien, Sr.
Outfield: Torreahno Sweet, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Isaiah Saavedra, South El Monte, Jr.
Alfonso Guzman, Mountain View, Sr.
Robert Owen, Charter Oak, Sr.
Frank Villanueva, Bassett, Sr.
Gino Manzani, Diamond Bar, Sr.
Matt Rodriguez, Wilson, Jr.
Moises Cortez, Bassett, Sr.
Julian Valera, El Monte, Jr.
Corey Frutos, Covina, Jr.
Luis Huizar, Rowland, Sr.
Isaac Esqueda, Bishop Amat, Jr.
Josh Guzman, Northview, Sr.
Derrick Zavala, Los Altos, Sr.
Nick Juarez, Los Altos, Jr.
Bret Clemetson, Charter Oak, Jr.
Sean Lewison, Covina, Sr.
Mario Huizar, Sierra Vista, So.
Andre Alvarez, Walnut, Jr.
Lorenzo Llorens, San Dimas, Jr.
Andre Henson, Charter Oak, Sr.
Dante Palacio, San Dimas, Jr.
Nick Peifer, Bonita, Jr.
Quinn Cotter, South Hills, Sr.
Jacob Dominguez, South Hills, Jr.
Kalani Matton, Damien, Jr.
Andy Garriola, Damien, So
Joseph Bahna, San Dimas, Jr.
Pablo Valenzuela, Nogales, Sr.
Christian Arteaga, Azusa, Sr.
Dylan Zavala, Walnut, Jr.
Alex Orellana, West Covina, Sr.
Final Top Ten
1. South Hills (26-7)
2. Damien (17-11)
4. Bishop Amat (19-13)
5. Walnut (18-11)
6. Sierra Vista (21-3)
7. San Dimas (15-13)
8. South El Monte (16-8)
9. Charter Oak (15-12)
10. Glendora (16-14)
Del Rey: Bishop Amat
Hacienda: Charter Oak, Walnut
Mission Valley: South El Monte
Montview: Sierra Vista
Palomares: South Hills
Valle Vista: San Dimas
Damien 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.”
BOYS SWIMMER OF THE YEAR: Jerry Chen, Walnut
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)
TOP REPORTED 2016 TIMES
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
GIRLS 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.”
COACH OF THE YEAR: JANET POLLARD, GLENDORA
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
TOP REPORTED TIMES
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