All-Area Boys Track and Field: Cal’s Jorge Zapien is Athlete of the Year

California’s Jorge Zapien, who won finished first in the at the Arcadia Invitational, is the Whittier Daily News boys track and field athlete of the year. (Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News)

California’s Jorge Zapien, who won finished first in the at the Arcadia Invitational, is the Whittier Daily News boys track and field athlete of the year. (Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News)

By Keith Lair
Jorge Zapien was Mr. Consistent while on the pole vault runway this season.The California High School senior won nearly every competition he was in, and if not, he was on the podium. The result was a berth in the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet and Daily News Athlete of the Year honors.“I did so much for myself and my coaches did so much for me,” he said of the season. “I can’t ask for anything more. All this (postseason competition) was extra.”Zapien won two invitational competitions, the Jim Polite Invitational in Walnut and the Friday competition of the Arcadia Invitational.That Arcadia win was a big weekend and the telltale sign of things to come. The day before Arcadia, he cleared a then-season-best 14 feet, 8 inches in a dual meet against La Serna. On the first day of the prestigious Arcadia Invitational, he bettered 15 feet for the first time, jumping 15-3, an improvement by 7 inches. He then finished sixth in the Saturday morning portion of the Arcadia Invitational.The next big step was the CIF-SS Division 1 finals. Zapien cleared 15-6 to finish second in the meet.“I was just trying to go to the Masters Meet,” he said after that finish. “I could have not asked for anything more. If I had no-heighted at 13-6, I would have been content.”

COACH OF THE YEAR
Mando Padilla, California
FIRST TEAM
Samuel Bautista, California, senior (1,600, 3,200)
Nick Capranica, Schurr, senior (100, 200)
Josh DeFrancesco, St. Paul, senior (long, triple jumps)
Mark Diego, California, junior (shot put)
Aleksie Dominguez, St. Paul, senior (800, 1,600)
Christian Duran, La Serna, senior (1,600)
Andrew Hernandez, Montebello, senior (discus, shot put)
Da’Juan Massenberge, Santa Fe, senior (100, 200)
Thomas Medina, Santa Fe, senior (200, 400)
Ricky Rodriguez, California, junior (110 hurdles, high jump, triple jump)
SECOND TEAM
Lance Babb, Schurr, freshman (100, 200, 110 hurdles)
Kedrick Conner, El Rancho, senior (100, 200, long jump)
Vincent Cuevas, El Rancho, junior (110 hurdles)
Miguel Fuentes, St. Paul, junior (100, 200, triple jump)
Joe Gallardo, St. Paul, junior (discus, shot put)
Landon Jones, La Mirada senior (100, high jump, long jump)
Eric Lancaster, La Habra, junior (110, 300 hurdles)
Matthew Marshall, La Serna, sophomore (100, 200)
Craig Rogers, Whittier, junior (110, 300 hurdles)
Garrett Silva, California, sophomore (pole vault)
HONORABLE MENTION
Donald Brown, El Rancho, sophomore (1,600, 3,200)
Ben Lyzenga, La Habra, senior (1,600, 3,200)
Abraham Roman, La Habra, junior (800)
Nick Martin, Schurr, senior (300 hurdles)

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All-Area Girls Swimming: Sonora’s Taylor Ault is Swimmer of the Year

Swimmer of the year, Sonora''s Taylor Ault in La Habra, Calif., on Friday, June 12, 2015. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

Swimmer of the year, Sonora”s Taylor Ault in La Habra, Calif., on Friday, June 12, 2015. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)


By Stephen Ramirez
Taylor Ault entered the 2015 season as arguably the top swimmer in the area, and she lived up to the billing.The sophomore improved on a stellar freshman season, adding two more CIF-Southern Section titles to the lone one she won in 2014 while also leading the Raiders to the Freeway League title.For her efforts, Ault is the Whittier Daily News Girls Swimmer of the Area.“My goal (coming to Sonora) was to try an win (a CIF-SS) title all my four years of high school,” Ault said. “It was reassuring to win my sophomore year. I was real happy with that.”

COACH OF THE YEAR
Todd Jacobsen, Sonora

FIRST TEAM
Sarah Stacer, Sonora, Sophomore
Lavonna Harper, Sonora, Freshman
Bianca Preciado, California, Freshman
Sarah Albright, La Mirada, Junior
Prescilla Cobian, La Mirada, Sophomore
Faith Palmer, Whittier Chr., Sophomore
Becca Ayers, Sonora, diver, Sr.
April Martinez, Sonora, Sophomore
Isabella Osuna, La Serna, Junior
Carissa Perez, La Serna, Sophomore

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All-Area Boys Swimming: Sonora’s Simon Lamar is Swimmer of the Year

Swimmer of the year, Sonora's Simon Lamar in La Habra, Calif., on Friday, June 12, 2015. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

Swimmer of the year, Sonora’s Simon Lamar in La Habra, Calif., on Friday, June 12, 2015. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

By Stephen Ramirez
First impressions go along way, and no one in recent years had an opening impression like Lamar did in 2015.Lamar’s adaption to high school competition included winning a CIF-Southern Section individual title and leading the Raiders to a top 20 finish in Division 2. For his efforts, Lamar is the Whittier Daily News Boys Swimmer of the Year.“I really didn’t know what to expect,” Lamar said. “I’ve just tried to swim as hard as I could. Once league came around, I was still a little bit skeptical about my races, but I (set personal records).“This season overall was pretty fun. I was really glad that I could swim well.”

COACH OF THE YEAR
Todd Jacobsen, Sonora
FIRST TEAM
Alex Deweese, Sonora, Senior
Ben Blevins-Boor-Sonora, Sophomore
Seth Villeda, Santa Fe, Senior
Adonis Rivera, Santa Fe, Sophomore
Bryan Perez, Santa Fe, Freshman
Sean Ward, La Serna, Freshman
Christian Park, La Mirada, Junior
Trent Beauchamp-Sanchez , La Mirada, Senior
Andrew Huerta, Sonora, diver, Sophomore
Elyas Yepez, La Serna, Senior

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Redemption! La Serna rallies to win Division 3 softball title

La Serna celebrates their 5-4 victory during CIF Championship softball between La Serna and Grand Terrace High Schools Friday June 5, 2015 at Bill Barber Park in Irvine. (Mike Mullen Photo)

La Serna celebrates their 5-4 victory during CIF Championship softball between La Serna and Grand Terrace High Schools Friday June 5, 2015 at Bill Barber Park in Irvine. (Mike Mullen Photo)

By Stephen Ramirez

IRVINE — Redemption!The La Serna High School softball team had waited all season for a second shot at a CIF-Southern Section Division 3 title, and the Lancers didn’t waste the opportunity Friday, and doing so in exciting fashion.Mel Madrigal capped a two-run rally with a line-drive single to center field and the Lancers secured the title with a 5-4 victory over top-seeded Grand Terrace at Barber Park.Dominique Mejia also had two RBIs and Jamie Wren limited the Titans to two hits over the final four innings for La Serna, which finished 26-6, winning the school’s fourth softball division title, and first since 2008. The Lancers lost to region rival St. Paul last season.Danielle Rico had a two-run home run and Destini Peck had two RBIs for Grand Terrace, which finished 26-4.

“After three years, it’s been so insane,” Madrigal said. “We just wanted it so bad. Right now, we just want to get on the bus and not think about anything, except for us. It’s fantastic.”
La Serna, which cut a four-run deficit to 4-3 after scoring two runs in the fourth and one in the sixth, didn’t get out in the seventh.
Jelli Lopez led off with a single before a throwing an error on a sacrifice bunt by Sydney Saucedo put runners on second and third. Tori Ayala, one of the stars in a come-from-behind victory over Redondo in the quarterfinals, followed with a single to tie it at 4.
That left it up to Madrigal, who singled to win it.
“I just knew my team was behind me and I had to make something happen, either a base hit, or something and get the run in,” Madrigal said. “It happened. My team came at me with open arms and we dogpiled. It was a great moment for us.”
Wren, who finished the season 24-3, kept La Serna in it after struggling early.
Grand Terrace took a 2-0 lead in the first after opening with back-to-back singles before scoring two runs on a fielder’s choice and throwing error.
Rico then made it 4-0 in the third with a two-run home run to left field.
But Wren shut the door the rest of the way, limiting the Titans to two hits over the final four innings. She finished with a six-hitter and struck out three.

“We knew with Jamie in there pitching, she’d keep us in the game,” La Serna co-head coach Mike Reed said. “We knew these girls would just battle. They are outstanding young ladies who know how to play the game, and they did their job today.”
La Serna chipped away at the deficit.
Mejia had a two-run single in the fourth to make it 4-2 before a Taylor Becerra RBI single made it 4-3 in the sixth.
The Lancers looked like they wasted their best chance after stranding the tying and go-ahead runners in the sixth when Melanie Olmos induced a ground out and fly out. But the Lancers rallied for the winning runs in the seventh.

“It feels unreal,” said Wren, who has played a pivotal role in getting the Lancers to the past two Division 3 title games. “I’m glad I did it with this group of girls. They are an amazing group. It’s a great way to end the season.”

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La Serna seeks redemption, faces Grand Terrace for D3 Softball title

 Can La Serna get redemption? Lancers go for D3 softball title Friday in Irvine. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)

Can La Serna get redemption? Lancers go for D3 softball title Friday in Irvine. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)


By Stephen Ramirez
La Serna High School’s day of redemption has arrived.A year ago, the Lancers believed they left a championship on the table when they lost the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 softball title to region rival St. Paul. Now, after using that setback as motivation all season, La Serna gets its second chance when it faces top seed Grand Terrace for the Division 3 crown Friday at 4:30 p.m. at Barber Park in Irvine.La Serna is seeking its fourth CIF title. The Lancers won crowns in 1996, 2001 and 2008.“Obviously, this is what they’ve been working for all year,” La Serna co-head coach Mike Reed said. “This has been their goal. They are extremely excited and can’t wait to get back up there and see what we can do.“Grand Terrace is a well-coached, a very good team. They’re ranked No. 1; we’re ranked No. 2 and we’ll see what happens.”
The Titans are 26-3 and have won 16 consecutive games. They are led by sophomores Morgan Parsons and Eliyah Flores, who have 40 and 31 RBIs each, respectively. Melanie Olmos is the star in the circle at 18-3 with a 1.46 ERA. She also has 28 RBIs.
“I know how they play,” Reed said of Grand Terrace, who advanced with a 4-3 victory over Gahr in the semifinals. “They are a very good team. I know a lot of their girls from travel ball and know their two coaches very well. (But) likewise, they know us.”
La Serna (25-6) counters with senior Jamie Wren, who is 24-3 with a 1.10 ERA. She also leads the team with 34 RBIs and is hitting .464.
But the Lancers strength is depth and it includes one of the deeper lineups in the division. They also feature sophomore Dominique Mejia, who is hitting .396 and 25 RBIs, and junior Jelli Lopez, who is hitting .315 with 20 RBIs.
“It should be a good game,” Reed said. “If we can get to them early and work them over, then we’re going to come out on top. We’ll see what happens.
“Jamie, right now, is at the top of her game. She’s throwing better than she has all year long. She keeps improving and getting stronger and stronger.”
La Serna comes into the title game battle-tested, advancing to the finals after winning one-run games over Redondo (3-2 in 12 innings) and Bishop Amat (1-0) in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. The Lancers rallied back from a two-run deficit to beat Redondo before getting the shut-out from Wren vs. Amat.
“I think (the last two games) shows what type of integrity the girls have, the desire to win and do what they do best,” Reed said. “They are basically the same team we had last year, minus the three girls (who graduated). The girls who stepped into their place have stepped up.
“We just have to go out there and battle, do what we do best.”

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