Sports Briefs: Cross country teams prepare for season

DOWNEY – The Downey High School boys’ and girls’ cross country teams have been meeting on the track at Allen Layne Stadium for several weeks now in preparation for the start of their cross country season this fall. According to Assistant coach Lenin Dolmos, “the Vikings consistently have between 70-90 runners attending workouts daily.” Other runners are participating in “other sports camps on campus this summer.”

The Vikings are meeting at 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday and are running to various locations. Practices run until 9:30 a.m. on lighter days and until 10 a.m. on more intense days.

Downey cross country runs to Furman Park, Rio San Gabriel Park, Wilderness Park and uses the San Gabriel Riverbed regularly for training. Other off-campus sites are used in preparation as well.

The first three weeks of the summer represented the C.I.F. mandated “dead period” where athletes and coaches could not train together. With the “dead period” over, Downey can now turn their attention towards training for the start of their season.

Downey is looking to improve from last season. Cross-town rival Warren’s boys’ and girls’ cross country teams were both San Gabriel Valley League champions a year ago. Coach Gleason, Coach Overgaauw, their staffs and runners are looking forward to the start of the 2014 cross country season this fall.


The Warren High School girls’ cross country team is busy preparing for their fall season.

The Lady Bears are meeting early each day at Warren and are running “to” and “at” various locations. The Lady Bears have run to Furman Park, at Signal Hill, at Griffith Park, at Cantral Park and at Bolsa Chica Beach. Warren currently has 100 girls participating in the cross country program.

The Lady Bears have two running trips scheduled this summer. The first trip will be to Lake Tahoe and is scheduled July 31st to August 6th and the second trip will be to Big Bear at the end of August. Gahr High School will host their annual summer cross country competition later this month on the campus at Gahr. The course will be approximately two miles long and will feature some of the best runners in the area. Warren’s first season competition will be the Laguna Hills Invitational the first weekend in September.

The Lady Bears return several key runners from last season’s team. Senior Marissa Pluma, junior Janeane Hernandez, junior Gwendolyn Hurtado, junior Samantha Tabares, senior Sofia Ramos, sophomore Trinity Gomez, senior Sadie Encinas and junior Anayansi Rodriguez all return with more experience and skill.

A key to this season will be whether or not Gwendolyn Hurtado can run. According to Bear head coach Jay Waldron, “Hurtado had surgery last week on both of her lower leg anterior compartments in an attempt to bring relief to a rare condition that she has been plagued with (exertion based compartment syndrome).”

Assistant coach Eric Nilsen concluded by saying that, “only time will tell if she will be ready for this upcoming season.” Coach Waldron, his staff and runners are all looking forward to the start of their cross country season this fall.


The Downey High School girls’ basketball team has had a busy summer. The Downey High gymnasium has been closed for renovations so all teams needing to use the gym have found off-campus sites. The Lady Vikings moved their Monday/Wednesday summer league to First Baptist Church, St. Matthias, Norwalk, Glenn and Bellflower High Schools. This past Wednesday marked the last day for this arrangement.

Downey played in two summer leagues. The Downey summer league and the Cantwell summer league. The Lady Vikings have also played in the John Burroughs and Arroyo tournaments. Downey started the Best in the West tournament yesterday.

Coach Harris said that the “highlight of the summer so far has been the Arroyo Tournament.” In this tournament, the Lady Vikings were missing two starters, Ayla Pruneda and Vanessa Freeman. Despite being shorthanded, Downey defeated Mira Costa in the semifinals to get to the championship game. Downey fell in the final to Bishop Amat.

Key players for the Lady Vikings this summer include junior guard Isabel Coss, junior guard Ayla Pruneda, sophomore guard Lynette Garcia and junior post Vanessa Freeman. Junior guard Amber Martinez has made nice contributions as has junior forward Dalia Makhlouf. Another player to keep an eye on is senior guard Alexis Novoa. Novoa was out last season with an ACL injury and hopes to be cleared in September.

Coach Harris, his staff and players are working hard to get ready for the start of their basketball season this fall.



The Warren High School baseball program is hosting youth summer mini camps. Camps are open for kids 9-14 years old at Warren High School’s baseball field.

Mini camp sessions are offered three times a week. Each session consists of two days (five hours each day, 10 hours per session) from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The dates for the next camps are July 29-30, July 31-Aug. 1 and Aug. 2-3. The cost is $130 per player for a two day session and team rates are encouraged.

Warren’s youth baseball camps are different from other camps because there are no more than 15 players per session. According to camp director Miguel Mendoza, “this allows us to provide more individualized coaching.” Mendoza continued by saying “individualized coaching that focuses on proper fundamentals and techniques required to play at the next level.” Mendoza further said that “we utilize video analysis to dissect and identify areas of improvement.” Coach Mendoza concluded by saying, “these camps are for future high school baseball players that are ready to commit to improving their game and are eager to learn and grow.”

Coach Miguel Mendoza is a former Warren High School baseball player who played for current Bear head coach Scott Pearson. Mendoza played at Cypress College, Chico State University and professionally in Texas, Indiana, and northern California. He currently serves as the Warren High School hitting coach and was featured in the movie “Moneyball” with Brad Pitt as Ricardo Rincon.

Coach Miguel Mendoza can be contacted at or by phone at (530) 321-9171 with further questions.



Published: July 24, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 15