Sports Briefs: Rodriguez, Vaaulu return to Bear campus

DOWNEY – Warren High School is currently holding “open gym” on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon for current Bear college players. Several former Warren Bears who are currently in college were participating in various skill drills and games. University of Utah standout guard Danielle Rodriguez was there as was Utah State standout forward Franny Vaaulu. Danielle is now entering her junior year and Frannie is entering her senior year.

Rodriguez was selected to the PAC-12 Honorable Mention Academic Team for her 3.5 G.P.A. She will major in Business and has narrowed down her specific interests to Marketing and Operations.

Rodriguez plans to play internationally in Italy or France after graduating. She also has an interest in obtaining her Master’s degree in Business after playing overseas, and has shown an interest in playing for Mexico in the 2016 Olympic Games.

Vaaulu is a four-year starter for the Lady Aggies. She has a 3.0 G.P.A. and is majoring in Sports Psychology and Coaching.

Vaaulu would like to play internationally as well and may have an opportunity to play in the WNBA via draft or tryout. Vaaulu stands at close to 6 ft. 4 and is a presence on the block. She would like to be a college basketball coach once her playing days are over.

Rodriguez and Vaaulu are two student-athletes who continue to give back to their community and embrace being role models for younger kids.


The Warren Bear girls’ cross country team returned from Lake Tahoe on Wednesday.

The Lady Bears were gone for several days and ran between four to eight miles per day at an altitude of 7,500 feet above sea level. The Lady Bears will run in Big Bear next week in preparation for the start of their 2014 cross country season.


The Warren High School girls’ basketball team has had a busy summer. The Lady Bears participated in the Vanguard University Tournament in late June and the San Diego Tournament in mid-July.

Warren also competed on Mondays and Wednesdays in the Ocean View summer league. The Lady Bears finished the Ocean View summer league with an 11-1 record.

Coach Palmer also mentioned that the Warren High School Lady Bear Basketball Camp had 28 freshmen and close to 50 sophomores, juniors and seniors in attendance earlier this summer. The Warren girls’ basketball team is currently observing the C.I.F. mandated “dead period” from July 27 through Aug. 18.

Coach Palmer currently has an “open gym” where players from Warren High School, both boys and girls, can come play. Tuesdays and Thursdays are open for current Bear players and Wednesdays are designated for current Bear college players. The gym is open between 10 a.m. and 12 :00 p.m. during these three mid-week days.

Coach Palmer is excited about the coming season. The Lady Bears will be led by seniors Denise Gonzalez, Vivian Hernandez, Genesis Jara, Taylor Gallo and Kimberley Ball. Juniors Janeane Hernandez and  Melanie Gonzalez will also play key roles for the Lady Bears. Sophomore Brandy Calderon and freshmen Cyrena Chavers and America Garcia look to play important minutes as well.

Coach Palmer, her staff and players are looking forward to the start of basketball season and it’s still summer.


Downey High School junior pitcher Randy Labaut is currently playing in the Area Code Games, a baseball showcase taking place Monday-Friday of this week at Blair Field in Long Beach.

The Area Code games also feature two other local talents in Long Beach Wilson’s catcher Chris Betts and Lakewood’s third baseman Brendon Davis. This is Betts’ second opportunity to play in the Area Code Games.

At the time of this writing, Labaut’s Brewer team defeated the Ranger squad 5-4 on Monday. In that win, Labaut pitched a scoreless fifth inning where he held on to a one run lead and had two strikeouts. The Brewers (and Labaut) played the Yankees Wednesday (score unavailable at press time).

Labaut committed to the University of Arizona in June and has an excellent opportunity to improve his draft situation with a strong performance this week. Labaut finished his junior season as a Viking with a 5-1 record and an ERA of 2.10. Labaut had 53 strikeouts in 40 innings of work and opposing hitters only had a .208 batting average against him.

As a hitter, Labaut played in all of Downey’s 29 games. Randy hit .360 in 100 plate appearances. Labaut also scored 18 runs, had 31 hits, 20 RBI and three doubles to help lead the Vikings to the 2014 S.G.V.L. title. Labaut will help lead Downey next season, as a senior, because senior standouts Gabriel Llanes and Tyler Tungate have both graduated and will be playing baseball at Fresno State and UC Riverside, respectively.

Downey head coach Jess Gonzalez is extremely proud of Randy’s opportunity to play in the Area Code games and even advised Labaut “to have fun and enjoy your time there.”


St. John Bosco football standout quarterback Josh Rosen (UCLA) gets a lot of attention as being the offensive leader of a national championship team.

However, Brave junior running back Sean McGrew will once again play a key role for St. John Bosco’s success. Last season, McGrew ran for 2,076 yards and scored 21 touchdowns. McGrew’s efforts helped lead Bosco to their 16-0 record and numerous local, state and national accomplishments.

This season McGrew returns ten pounds heavier due to his strength program in the Brave weight room. McGrew, who measures 5’8 in stature, also got faster. Last month, McGrew ran a 4.37 in the 40-yard dash. McGrew has turned into a leader of the team this off-season and has embraced his new role. McGrew says that “he knows the offense like the back of his hand” and is mentoring younger players.

St. John Bosco will play St. Louis High School of Hawaii on August 22 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu in both teams’ season openers. Coach Jason Negro, his staff and players are looking forward to the start of the football season. Negro maintains that his young team has the fire and embraces the challenge of defending their league, state and national titles.

Bosco will have a bye on August 29 and will travel to Excelsior High School to play Norwalk on September 5. The Norwalk Lancers finished last season 13-1 and their only loss was to La Serna in the C.I.F. Southeast Division championship game.

Lancer standout running back Rashaad Penny has graduated and is now playing college football at San Diego State.



Published: Aug. 7, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 17