DOWNEY - Former St. John Bosco standout wrestler Aaron Pico has made some headline-grabbing news recently.Pico, as a freshman last season, was the California state wrestling champion at 132 pounds, dominating his competition en route to an impressive 42-0 record. Pico is no longer wrestling at Bosco but has turned his attention to Olympic freestyle wrestling and earning a spot on the 2016 U.S. national team. To be clear, however, Pico is still enrolled at St. John Bosco and will be taking online classes when necessary. Pico's decision to forego his eligibility comes from his desire to wrestle freestyle. Freestyle wrestling, according to the wrestling community, is practiced everywhere overseas and in the Olympics. High School and collegiate wrestling is folkstyle. On New Year's Eve Day 2013, Pico sat down with his parents and signed a professional contract with the MMA agency Zinken Entertainment. As part of the contract with Zinken, funds will be set aside for Pico to attend college at a later time. Pico also signed with the MMA apparel line Dethrone. By signing the contract, Pico now is a professional athlete at age 17. Pico will follow in the footsteps of other young athletes such as Michael Phelps (swimming) and Michelle Wie (golf). Phelps and Wie turned professional at ages 16 and 15, respectively. Aaron Pico and his parents did significant research on young athletes turning professional at such an early age and unanimously decided to pursue it. Perhaps this is the future of young athletes wanting to compete sooner on a bigger stage while at the same time, securing a future in their sport of choice. ** The Downey High School boys' basketball team currently has an overall record of 17-4 and are 4-0 in San Gabriel Valley League play. The Vikings have won seven games in a row and nine of their last ten. Downey's last loss came against Anchorage Christian of Alaska in overtime, 77-70, on Dec. 30 in the Max Preps Holiday Classic. Downey defeated cross-town rival Warren 62-49 on 1/17, defeated non-league opponent Ventura 60-47 on 1/20, defeated Gahr 84-72 on 1/22 and defeated Paramount 71-60 on 1/24. The Vikings played at Dominguez on Wednesday (score unavailable at press time) and travel to Lynwood tonight for the rematch of their first game. Downey defeated Lynwood at Downey 58-46 on 1/15. The Downey High School girls' basketball team currently has an overall record of 11-9 and are 2-2 in San Gabriel Valley League play. The Lady Vikings have won two games in a row and six of their last ten. Downey was defeated by Lynwood 34-18 at Downey on 1/15, was defeated by Warren 33-26 at Warren on 1/17, defeated Gahr 54-44 at Gahr on 1/22 and defeated Paramount 53-30 at Downey on 1/24. The Lady Vikings traveled to Dominguez on Wednesday (score unavailable at press time) and will travel to Lynwood tonight for the rematch of their first game. In the first game, Downey's zone defense held Lynwood's potent offense to 34 points. After tonight's games, both the Downey boys' and girls' basketball teams only have four league games remaining. Things are starting to take shape as both squads begin their respective runs toward the C.I.F. Division 1AA playoffs. ** The Warren High School boys' basketball team currently has an overall record of 5-14 and are 0-4 in San Gabriel Valley League play. The Bears were defeated by Gahr 68-57 at Gahr on 1/15, were defeated by Downey 62-49 at Warren on 1/15, were defeated by Dominguez 48-46 at Dominguez on 1/22 and were defeated by Lynwood 59-38 at Warren on 1/24. The Bears hosted Paramount on Wednesday (score unavailable at press time) and will host Gahr tonight. After tonight's game, Warren will only have four league games left. The Bears continue to work hard and are looking to finish out the season strong. The Warren High School girls' basketball team has an overall record of 10-9 and are 3-1 in San Gabriel Valley League play. The Lady Bears had won six straight games until they lost to Lynwood 52-28 at Warren on 1/24. The Lady Bears defeated Aliso Niguel 74-44 on 12/30, defeated Torrance 64-59 at Torrance on 1/8, defeated El Rancho 63-42 at El Rancho on 1/10, defeated Gahr 55-32 at Gahr on 1/15, defeated Downey 33-26 at Warren on 1/17, defeated Dominguez 57-25 at Dominguez on 1/22 and were defeated by Lynwood 52-28 at Warren on 1/24. The Lady Bears traveled to Paramount Wednesday (score unavailable at press time) and will host the Gahr Lady Gladiators tonight at the "Cave." After tonight's game against Gahr, the Lady Bears only have four league games left. Warren will travel to cross-town rival Downey next Wednesday for their much anticipated rematch. Things are starting to shape up in league play and the Lady Bears are gearing up for the C.I.F. Division 1AA playoffs. ** The Warren High School girls' water polo team competed in the America's Finest City Tournament in San Diego this past weekend and won four out of five games they played in. For their efforts, the Lady Bears finished in ninth place. The Lady Bears currently have an overall record of 14-6 and are 3-0 in San Gabriel Valley League play. Warren defeated Rancho Bernardo of San Diego 5-4 in their first game. The Lady Bears scored three goals in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Destiny Hernandez scored two goals while Stephany Velazquez scored the other. Natalie Manzanares finished with five blocks and Destiny Hernandez had four steals. Warren was defeated by Carlsbad 12-11 in overtime of their second game. Kayla Casas scored six goals, Jocelyn Castro had two goals and Destiny and Justine Castro scored a goal each. Natalie Manzanares had five blocks in net and Justine Castro led the Lady Bears with five steals. Warren defeated divisional and league foe Cerritos (Division 5 #5) 15-7 in their third game. The Lady Bears then defeated Los Osos (Division 3 #1) 10-6 in their fourth game. Warren concluded the tournament with a gutsy win over King of Riverside 15-10. The game against King was rough. Coach Cordero said, "it was a very physical game that saw 14 exclusions and penalty shot. Our girls kept their cool and took control early on." The Lady Bears led King 6-4 at the end of the first period and 9-8 at halftime. Warren never gave up the lead and led 12-10 at the end of the third quarter. Johanna Najera, Kayla Casas and Justine Castro added three goals on power plays to seal the win. Jocelyn Castro had three field blocks down the stretch and Jojo Najera had three steals to lead the Lady Bears.
********** Published: Jan. 30, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 42