Athletes of the Year: Porter, Hunt earn top honors

The Daily News Athlete of the Year award is our way of honoring the multi-sport athlete. And no two athletes earned it more this past calendar year than La Habra’s Aaron Porter and Whittier Christian’s Kellian Hunt. Both won two area player of the year awards.

By Steve Ramirez, SGVN

In the age of specialization, La Habra High School’s Aaron Porter and Whittier Christian’s Kellian Hunt are rarities.
But this twosome does more than just play multiple sports. They do it very well.
For their efforts Porter, who was the area’s Player of the Year in football and baseball, and Hunt, the cross country Runner of the Year and track Athlete of the Year, are The Daily News 2011-12 Athletes of the Year.
“I’ve really done it my whole life,” Porter said of playing multiple sports. “There’s really nothing new.
“I’ve spent a little bit more in football. I wish I could have spent the same time in baseball. I definitely like football more. But they complement each other.”
Porter’s school year began with football. He led the Highlanders to the school’s seventh Freeway League title and earned CIF-Southern Section Southwest Division Player of the Year and area Player of the Year honors.
The versatile senior rushed for 865 yards and 17 touchdowns and had eight sacks and 23 tackles for a loss as a linebacker. Porter concluded his career with a school-record 388 tackles and 26 sacks.
His baseball season was almost as effective. Porter led the area with 34 RBIs and hit .489. He also had eight home runs to help the Highlanders win their first Freeway League crown since 2004 and advance to the CIF-SS Division 4 second round.
“I had a lot of good memories (at La Habra), great times with each team,” he said. “I loved playing with these guys and I’m going to miss them a lot. But I have no regrets.”
Porter, regarded as one of the top linebackers in the state, is expected to play multiple sports at UCLA. He signed with the Bruins in February.
“I think it’s going to be a challenge,” he said. “I’m going to give it a try and see how it goes. I’m ready to get after it.”
Hunt dominated the area in cross country in the fall and was the area’s top distance runner in track .
“I think it’s a good end to the last four years,” Hunt said. “I’ve had some real good races and memories. I’m really pleased with it.”
The senior finished her cross country season with her third consecutive trip to the CIF State championships after placing third in CIF-SS Division 4 with a time of 17 minutes, 53 seconds. She then followed with a 17:58 to finish fourth in Division 4 at the state meet.
“It was easier (this season) in a sense in that I knew what I was doing,” Hunt said of her performance in the fall. “It’s my senior year, so I knew it will be my third time there.
“I was ready for it. I knew the process and how the day worked. But there also was some pressure. I knew it was my last year, and I wanted to do well.”
She felt the same in track and came through with a pair of runner-up finishes. At the CIF-SS Division 4 championships in May, she was second in the 1,600 meters (5:04.19) and 3,200 (11:15.90).
She now will take her act to Biola University.
“I was really happy with the entire year,” Hunt said. “It went really well. We had a good finish to it. I was really happy with my time.
“My goal was pretty much to beat (my) previous best and let the places take care of themselves. I’m happy with the results and the season.”

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All-Area Swimming: La Serna’s Shew, Santa Fe’s Brandt earn top honors

SWIMMERS OF THE YEAR: Andrew Brandt, from Santa Fe, and Kiersten Shew, of La Serna were selected as the Whittier Daily News boys and girls swimmers of the year (Staff photo by Keith Durflinger)

Swimmer of the Year:
Andrew Brandt, Santa Fe, So.
Coach of the Year: Mary Ann Prutsman, Santa Fe
Mitchel Embrey, La Serna, Jr.
Sean Haramija, La Mirada, Sr.
Sean Lundin, La Mirada, So.
Kris Kohout, La Serna, Jr.
Seth Villeda, Santa Fe, Fr.
Max McCollum, La Serna, So.
Andrew Torres, Montebello, Sr.
Marcus Delgado, La Serna, Sr.
Isiah Gaytan, Whittier, So.
Kevan Brown, La Serna, Sr.
Swimmer of the Year:
Kiersten Shew, La Serna, Sr.
Coach of the Year: Erin Brown, La Serna
Alyssa Shew, La Serna, So.
Melissa Lopez, La Serna, Jr.
Gabby Pierandozzi, La Serna, Jr.
Samantha Ellis, La Serna, So.
Bertha Baca, La Mirada, Jr.
Lizette Perez, Montebello, Fr.
Gabriela Perez, Montebello, So.
Laura Jimenez, Montebello, So.
Katrina McGrath, La Serna, Fr.
Marissa Lopez, California, Sr.
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La Mirada pair Luatua, Ueli Fa’atoalia receive offers from Michigan, Hawaii

La Mirada tight end Tyler Luatua received a scholarship offer from Michigan Wednesday, while Matadore offensive lineman Spencer Ueli Fa’atoalia received an offer from Hawaii.
Luatua’s offer count is now up to 17 and the list includes USC, UCLA Cal.
Luatua, whose older brother, Isaac, is at Alabama, had 23 receptions for 251 yards and a touchdown last season.
Matadores’ quarterback Kevin Dillman has eight offers, including Fresno State, UCLA, Cal, Colorado and Louisvile, while defensive lineman Koa Kaleopaa has offers from Arkansas, Cal and Arizona.
La Mirada, which was 8-5 and advanced to the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division semifinals last season, begins the 2012 campaign at home against St Paul. The Matadores schedule also includes Bishop Amat, La Habra and St. Francis.

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ALL-AREA TRACK: La Serna’s Fabela, Whittier Christian’s Hunt rise above the rest

ATHLETES OF THE YEAR: La Serna’s German Fabela and Whittier Christian’s Kellian Hunt earned area track athletes of the year. (Staff Photo by Keith Durflinger)

Athlete of the Year:
German Fabela, La Serna, Sr.
Coach of the Year: Sylvia Elliott, El Rancho
Field: Adam Aguirre, Cantwell, Sr.
Field: Lucas Bedolla, Santa Fe, Sr.
Distance: Aaron Mora, Whittier, Sr.
Kevin Ramirez, Santa Fe, Jr.
Sprint: Anthony Jones, Santa Fe, So.
Distance: Cristian Garcia, Santa Fe, Sr.
Field: Taelin Webb, La Mirada, So.
Sprints: Keiyon Reyna, La Mirada, Sr.
Hurdles: George Romo, Montebello, Sr.
Eric Reyes, St. Paul, Fr.
Athlete of Year:
Kellian Hunt, Whittier Christian, Sr.
Coach of the Year: Joe Jordan, La Serna
Distance: Justine Romo, California, Jr.
Distance: Taylor Jones, La Mirada, Jr.
Field: Katelyn Rogers, La Habra, Jr.
Sprint: Amber Munoz, Whittier, Sr.
Distance: Bailee Henry, El Rancho, Jr.
Field: Tomei Johnson, La Mirada, Sr.
Field: Lina Arreola, Whittier Chr., Sr.
Distance: Michelle Reed, La Serna, Fr.
Sprints: Emerald Rivera, California, So.
Field: Sabrina Moreno, Whittier, Sr.

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Are you ready for some football? Whittier area to be represented in SGV Hall of Fame Game

ONE FINAL TIME: St. Paul’s David Crabral will be one of nine
area players who will take part in tonight’s SGV Hall of Fame
All-Star football game tonight at West Covina High School.

June and July are usually reserved for summer passing leagues. But some real football will be played tonight when West Covina High School hosts the annual San Gabriel Valley Hall of Fame All-Star football game.
Tonight’s game, which consists most of the top graduated football players from San Gabriel Valley high schools, will also feature nine players from the Whittier area.
The East squad will feature St. Paul’s David Cabral and Marcus Garcia; Whittier Christian’s Daniel Abernathy and Ryan Wallace; Whittier’s Mark Hartnell; Cal’s Lance Hludzik and La Serna’s OJ Medina. Playing for the West are Montebello’s Jorge Romo; Schurr’s Chris Aguilar and Cantwell’s Corey Collins, Miguel Garcia and Francisco Gutierrez.
I will cover the game for the newspaper group and will provide quarter scoring updates via

What: San Gabriel Valley Hall of Fame Game
Who: East vs. West
Where: West Covina, High School
When: Tonight, 7:30 p.m.

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All-Area Softall: Esparza earns second Player of the Year award to lead first team selections

AREA’S BEST: La Habra High’s Maleena Esparza is the Whittier Daily News’ Softball Player of the Year June 12, 2012. (Leo Jarzomb/Staff Photographer)

Player of the Year: Maleena Esparza, La Habra, Sr.
Coach of the Year: Frank McCarroll, La Habra
Pitcher: Vanessa Ciocatto, La Habra, Jr.
Pitcher: Trisha Trujillo, California, So.
Catcher: Lisa Perez, La Mirada, Sr.
Infield: Breana West, St. Paul, Sr.
Infield: AJ Carrasco, La Serna, Sr.
Infield: Mandie Perez, Whittier Christian, Sr.
Infield: Shanin Thomas, La Habra, Sr.
Outfield: Racquel Manzo, La Habra, Fr.
Outfield: Annie Dipillo, La Mirada, So.
Outfield: Valerie Aguilar, Montebello, Sr.
Utility: Krystal Gutierrez, St. Paul, So.
Pitcher: Evelyn Hernandez, Montebello, So.
Jamie Ramirez, El Rancho, Sr.
Cami Jacob, La Habra, Sr.
Infield: Amanda Akles, La Habra, Fr.
Infield: Christina Pantages, California, Sr.
Infield: Mercedes Gasparovic, La Mirada, Jr.
Infield: Hope Moreno, La Habra, So.
Outfield: Jacklyn Zacarias, Schurr, Jr.
Outfield: Taylor Pierce, La Habra, So.
Outfield: Emily Sanchez, Schurr, Jr.
Utility: Katelyn Wagner, Whittier Christian, So.

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All-Area Baseball: Porter carries football success to the diamond, earns Player of the Year

AREA’S BEST: La Habra High’s Aaron Porter not only is an outstanding football player
but quite proficient on the baseball field as well. (Leo Jarzomb / Staff Photographer)

By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
Most outsiders viewed La Habra High School’s Aaron Porter as a football player who likes to play baseball during the spring.
The senior showed otherwise this season.
Porter proved to be not only the best player on arguably the best team but also the area’s best.
For his efforts, Porter is Daily News Baseball Player of the Year.
Porter is joined on the All-Area first team by teammates Josh Staumont, who earned a spot as a utility player, and infielder Zack Ferreira. Also on the first team are California’s Jimmy Olguin (pitcher), Michael Davis (infielder) and Michael Esparza (outfield); La Serna’s Jared Wight (pitcher) and Alex Garcia (infielder); El Rancho’s Frank Vargas (catcher); Whittier’s Johnny Salgado (infielder); La Mirada’s Ali Anthony (outfield) and Montebello’s Silvestre Sanchez (outfield).
California’s Tony Nieto is Coach of the Year.
But this was the season of Porter, who after earning Daily News Player of the Year honors in football showed his prowess on the baseball field, which proved to be just as impressive.
The senior, who plans to play football and baseball at UCLA, led the area in several key offensive categories, including batting .489 with 34 RBIs. He also scored 26 runs, had 11 doubles and was second in the area in home runs with eight. Porter also was lights-out as a pitcher. He didn’t give up an earned run and struck out 14 in 12 innings.
Porter was one of three area players to earn All-CIF-Southern Section accolades, joining teammate Staumont and St. Paul’s Jared Paderez.
“Aaron’s our guy,” La Habra coach Paul Caffrey said earlier this season about the senior, “Obviously, we’ve rode him all year.
“To get him (in a key situation), he was going to make (the opposition) pay. In that spot, he just gets it done.”

Player of the Year – Aaron Porter, La Habra
Coach of the Year – Andy Nieto, California
First Team
Pitcher: Jimmy Olguin, Cal
Pitcher: Jared Wight, La Serna
Infield: Johnny Salgado, Whittier
Infield: Michael Davis, Cal
Infield: Zack Ferreira, La Habra
Infield: Alex Garcia, La Serna
Outfield: Michael Esparza, Cal
Outfield: Silvestre Sanchez, Montebello
Outfield: Ali Anthony, La Mirada
Utility: Josh Staumont, La Habra
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All-Area baseball, softball and boys tennis slated for this week

The first of our all-area teams will be released this week. Baseball comes out on Wednesday, followed by softball on Thursday and boys tennis on Friday. Track and swimming will be announced next week, June 27 and 28, respectively. Also of note, Friday will be the annual San Gabriel Valley Hall of Fame Game, which will feature seven Whittier area players. Playing for the East squad will be Whittier Christian’s Daniel Abernathy and Ryan Wallace; Whittier’s Mark Hartnell; Cal’s Lance Hludzik and La Serna’s OJ Medina. Playing for the East are Montebello’s Jorge Romo; Schurr’s Chris Aguilar and Cantwell’s Corey Collins, Miguel Garcia and Francisco Gutierrez.

If you are one of the following, please email me at, or call at 626-962-8811, ext. 3061:

El Rancho coach Sylvia Elliot
Adam Aguirre, Cantwell
Cristian Garcia, Santa Fe
Bailee Henry, El Rancho

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You want some football? Here’s a pre-summer look at the area top five and lucky 13 rankings

The opening of the football season is still just over two months away, and with the spring season over, what a better time than to look at who should be the teams to beat in the 562/714/323 this coming fall. Can St. Paul, with a new coach and a new philosophy out duel La Habra, which has been the top dog in this parts over the last decade. And what about the Del Rio League teams, with four new coaches? Here’s a brief look of our rankings, which might change a bit by the end of the summer:


1. St. Paul – The Swordsmen are already one of the top programs in the area. But this year can be special with first-year coach Elijah Asante, who has replaced legend Marijon Ancich. Asante has won wherever he’s coached, and most believe that will not change in Santa Fe Springs. He’s already attracted some top-notch transfers, including former Charter Oak running back Kurt Scoby. The newcombers combined with last season’s holdovers, including quarterback Paul Telles, gives St. Paul the early edge. The schedule is challenging, but look for this team to improve from week-to-week.
2. La Habra - The Highlanders, who saw their four-year reign atop the CIF-Southern Section Southwest Division end in the semifinals, were hit hard by gradutation, including the losses of Division i-bound Aaron Porter (UCLA) and Brett Bartolone. But there is still some good nuggets in the cupboard, including quarterback Sean Sparling. La Habra has always had the ability to simply reload, and this season is expected to be no different.
3. La Mirada – The Matadores were one of the top teams in the area by season’s end, and that progress is expected to improve with some key returners back, including quarterbacks Gerry Myres and Kevin Dillman, tight end Tyler Luatua and running back Johnny Hills. The schedule is challenging with Bishop Amat, La Habra, St. Paul and St. Francis on the schedule. But this is a team that will again be the favorite in the Suburban League, and make a solid run at the Southeast title.
4. La Serna – The Lancers made history the past two seasons, reaching the divisional semifinals and finals in respective seasons. La Serna will enter the 2012 season as the favorite in the Del Rio League. The main reason being junior quarterback Frankie Palmer. But La Serna’s strength lies in numbers, and the Lancers, who lost linebacker Craig Jones and running back OJ Medina to graduation, return a strong nucleus that could find their way back to the division finals.
5. Cantwell – The Cardinals big problem last season was inconsistency. That might be a thing of the past with the return of seniors Tim Walsh at quarterback and Jared Gonzales at running back. But Cantwell did suffer some big losses, including standouts Corey Collins, Adam Aguirre and Jacob Alaniz, all keys to the Cardinals up-tempo passing attack. If consistency becomes a trait, look out!
THE REST: 6. Whittier, 7. Whittier Christian, 8. Santa Fe, 9. Schurr, 10. California, 11. Montnebello, 12. El Rancho, 13. Pioneer.

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