Staff photo by Leo Jarzomb
By Red Williams
WHITTIER – It wasn’t even close.
The California High School’s wrestling team took a firm grip on the Del Rio League leadership with a dominating 47-11 victory over visiting La Serna on Wednesday.
The series between these neighborhood rivals has been decided by 10 points or less in the last eight years, and most of the sizeable crowd expected the same.
This time, however, Cal (5-2, 4-0) won the first six matches to take a commanding 27-0 lead and put the meet out of reach for the Lancers (8-4, 2-2).
Included in that onslaught was a pin in the second match (132 pounds) by the Condors’ Nate Espinoza. He had a 4-0 lead over Brian Gracie and finally earned the fall at :29.4 in the second period.
Teammate Omar Lopez was even quicker for the Condors at 154 pounds, where he pinned Matt Mendoza at just 53 seconds of the first period.
In all, California had four pins in the match. Anthony Espinoza dispatched Niko Swengart at 162 with 1:14 left in the second period, and Chris Garcia pinned Gerardo Valenzuela at 115 with just 32.8 seconds left in the first period.
“Our kids stepped up with some heart,” California coach Doug Loo said. “This is the best we’ve performed all year.
“A lot of matches could have gone either way. This was rewarding because our coaches and kids have been really working hard.”
Charles Willig, who has more than 25 years experience coaching high school football, including assistant stints at St. Paul and Salesian, is Pioneer’s new football coach, principal Monica Oviedo announced today.
Willig played for and coached under legendary St. Paul coach Marijon Ancich. He recently coached at St. Anthony in Long Beach and also owns and operates a sports academy with his brother, Greg, who will be his offensive coordinator.
“I am more than pleased with our selection,” Oviedo said in a statement released by the Whittier Union High School District. “(I) have every belief that, with coach Willig’s experience and positive work with kids, we will soon see a major constructive shift in the culture of athletics at Pioneer.”
Willig replaces Ramon Juarez, who was 65-88-1 in 15 seasons with the Titans. He was fired after the Titans went 1-9 this season.
“I have watched Dr. Oviedo and the administration do amazing things to improve Pioneer’s academic standards and the school’s infrastructure,” Willig said in a statement released by the district. “I am looking forward to offering my experience to Pioneer’s student-athletes in order to help build a winning tradition on the field and champions off the field as well.
“I believe that our staff of coaches, the parents, alumni and the Pioneer community will be proud of the character and enthusiasm, which we will bring to our football program. We want everyone involved to think, train, act and play like champions.”
Staff photo by Keith Durflinger
Here are this week’s area rankings. There was no movement at the top of each sport, although there has been some shuffling beneath.
DAILY NEWS RANKINGS
1. Cantwell (18-3) — Rolling in Camino Real
2. La Habra (14-8) — Hall providing spark
3. California (13-7) — Took a step back vs. Santa Fe
4. Whittier (11-9) — Share’s DRL with Cal
5. La Mirada (13-9) — So far, so good in Suburban
1. Whittier (18-3) — Two steps above the rest
2. La Habra (15-5) — Big week lies ahead
3. Santa Fe (12-9) — Won 4 of its last 5
4. St. Paul (13-8) — Free falling in Del Rey
5. La Serna (8-10) — Here come the Lancers
1. El Rancho (15-0) — One of the nation’s best
2. Montebello (10-4-4) — Setting the pace in Almont
3. La Serna (10-3-4) — Looked good in loss to Dons
4. La Habra (9-3-6) — Team to beat in Freeway
5. Whittier (5-5-1) — Stating a case in DRL
1. La Serna (10-5-4) — Getting offensive
2. La Mirada (11-5-3) — Rematch with Mayfair looms
3. Santa Fe (8-8-3) — Gets La Serna on Thursday
4. El Rancho (8-4-1) — Lost its last two
5. Montebello (7-6-3) — Rolling in Almont
Staff photo by Leo Jarzomb
LA HABRA – Whittier Christian High School knew all about Los Angeles Baptist’s quickness, athleticism and pressure defense.
That didn’t make stopping the Knights any easier Tuesday night.
Senior Monet McNally scored 26 points and had seven steals and L.A. Baptist forced 24 turnovers en route to a 68-56 victory over the host Heralds in an Olympic League girls basketball game.
The Knights, ranked No. 6 in CIF-Southern Section Division 4A, improved to 17-2 overall and 4-0 in league play. Los Angeles Baptist also got 10 points from Jaime Schuster and 16 rebounds and five points from Katelyn Ortiz.
Whittier Christian, getting 23 points from Angelina Arreola and 12 from Jaden Louie, slipped to 12-10 and 2-2. The Heralds are ranked No. 13 in Division 4A.
“Whatever we countered with, (McNally) is such a really good athlete and she was able to get her hand on the ball and create some easy layups for them,” Whittier Christian coach Richard Villeza said. “That was the key – our turnovers off their press and they got easy baskets with them.
“If you take that away, it’s a good game. But we couldn’t counter that.”
I just got the official word that Whittier has hired Visko Ancich, as its new football coach, succeeding Walter Scott, who retired from coaching at the end of the season.
Ancich is the son of area legend Marijon Ancich, who retired from St.Paul this past season. Visko was his offensive coordinator for the Swordsmen, who went 7-3.
Whittier rebounded from an 0-10 season in 2010 to finish 5-5 and just miss the playoffs.
I’m off this week, but we will have a story from our SGVN football writer Aram Tolegian.