Downey girls lacrosse may switch to tougher league

DOWNEY – The Downey High School girls’ lacrosse team has had a busy summer. The Lady Vikings have been practicing for the past six weeks from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the football/soccer field at Downey. 

The Lady Vikings are looking to change leagues this season. Downey has been competing in the Ocean League where they have won several league titles. The Ocean League consists of Beverly Hills, Culver City and El Segundo. 

The Lady Vikings are now looking to play in the Bay League. The Bay League consists of Redondo Union, Peninsula and Palos Verdes. Coach Mires sees the Bay League as more competitive and a better fit to prepare the Lady Vikings for postseason competition.

The Downey girls’ lacrosse program is certainly on the rise. Former Lady Vikings Ashley Guerrero and Jade Martinez have earned scholarships for their outstanding play. Guerrero is in Colorado playing at a smaller school and Martinez is in Washington D.C. playing.

This year’s group of players will be led by senior midfielder Natalie Hernandez. Other players to watch for include junior midfielder Kennedy Bates, junior defender Sara Reid and four year starting goalkeeper Melissa Gonzalez. 

The Lady Vikings will be competing in a small tournament on July 29 at the Glendale Sports Complex. Downey is scheduled to play Crescenta Valley and a club team named Scream.

The Downey girl’s lacrosse team will also be traveling to Las Vegas in October, Santa Barbara in January and San Diego during the lacrosse season. Coach Mires, his staff and players are all looking forward to the start of the 2018 season.

■ The Downey High School boys’ soccer team has been busy this summer, with practices 4-5 times each week for the last six weeks.

Coach Mires mentioned that there have been between 65-70 student-athletes participating in the summer program.

The Vikings have competed in two summer tournaments. The first tournament was the Downey Summer Classic which was held at Downey on June 18. This competition was a 7 vs. 7 which featured 16 teams and saw Downey defeat Long Beach Wilson in the final. The Vikings finished this tournament with a record of 6-0.

The second summer tournament was in South Torrance and was held June 25. This competition was a 6 vs. 6 and the Vikings defeated Cathedral in the final to win that tournament. Downey finished the South Torrance Tournament with a record of 6-1.

Coach Mires and his players are looking forward to the 2017-18 season. Some players to watch out for include senior midfielder Ignacio Licea, senior goalkeeper Ricky Guerra, senior center Nicholas Campbell, senior defender David Aguilera, senior midfielder Sebastian Perez and senior striker Nick Correa. Mires maintains that “this team has offensive firepower and will score a lot of goals.”

Downey will be hosting the West Coast Showcase in early December and will be traveling to Arizona before S.G.V.L. competition begins. The Vikings will be playing Concord De La Salle of northern California, Loyola of southern California and Hamilton of Arizona in preseason tournament play.   

Several of Mires’ players are being “looked at” to play at the next level. U.C. Riverside, Redlands, San Diego State, Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Dominguez Hills are just a few of the schools interested in Downey’s talent. The upcoming season will certainly be exciting as the Vikings look to make a run at the S.G.V.L. title as well a deep run in the C.I.F. Division One playoffs.

■ Former Warren High School standout cross country and track and field athlete Daniella Moreno will be competing as a member of the Women’s U.S.A. Long Distance Mountain Team. 

Moreno will be competing for team U.S.A. in Premana, Italy at the World Long Distance Mountain Championships on August 6. The race course will be the Giir De Mont mountain course which is 32km or 19.8 miles long.

Moreno came across this opportunity based upon her performances in the last year. Some of her notable performances were placing 4th at the U.S.A. Trail Half Marathon Championships, 2nd at the La Sportiva Cup Final as well as winning a handful of trail races overall and setting new course records.

Moreno plans to continue running well after this opportunity. Daniella sees herself working to strengthen her weaknesses and making her strengths stronger. Moreno believes that speed is a big advantage for her and she continues to work hard to get faster. Daniella plans on getting back to the track as the U.S. Olympic Trials approach. Moreno also sees a switch to Ultras in her near future.

Daniella Moreno is extremely excited for this opportunity and journey. Moreno mentioned that “if you had asked me back in high school if I thought I would ever make a U.S.A. team I probably would’ve been hesitant to say yes or even maybe.” 

Moreno concluded by saying, “if you are in high school, don’t give up on your passions, because if you pursue them vigorously you never know what may come of it.” 

Moreno’s story is inspiring and certainly deserves more attention. Part two of the Dani Moreno piece will be in next week’s Downey Patriot. Part two will focus on advice given to Moreno in high school, her U.C. Santa Barbara days and dealing with early setbacks.