Sports briefs: Warren High's CIF run ends in Fresno

DOWNEY - The Warren High School boys' cross country team traveled to Woodward Park in Fresno last Saturday to compete at the C.I.F. California state cross country championships.After defeating perennial power Arcadia and winning C.I.F. the previous week, the Bears finished fourth. Arcadia won the state meet with a score of 59, Madera South finished second with 88, Dana Hills finished third with 132, Warren finished fourth with 145 and Loyola finished fifth with 172. The Bear cross country season is now over. Only the top two teams advanced to run at the national level. The Bears will, however, return four varsity underclassmen runners to run again next season, including their top runner Benjamin Gonzalez. Although the Bears did not qualify for the national cross country championships this year, things are certainly looking good for next year. Coach Miranda is proud of his runners and how hard they have worked this season. The Bears were led by junior Benjamin Gonzalez, who finished seventh overall in a time of 15:25. Senior Michael Hernandez finished 18th overall in a time of 15:45 and junior Andres Barragan finished 19th overall with the same time of 15:45. Junior Jonathan Rodriguez finished 37th overall in a time of 16:00 and senior Miguel Cabada finished 64th overall in a time of 16:17. The top five runners times were scored to produce the winner. The Bears finished with an overall team time of 1:19:12 and an average runner time of 15:51. State champion Arcadia finished with an overall team time of 1:17:28 and an average runner time of 15:30. Sophomore Matthew Sanchez was the sixth Bear to finish and Senior Faustino Diaz was the seventh Bear to finish, respectively. Sanchez finished 65th overall in a time of 16:18 and senior Faustino Diaz finished 156th overall in a time of 18:51. Diaz had his shoe stepped on early in the race and was at a disadvantage trying to play catch up. Diaz was the fifth Bear runner to cross the finish line last week when the Bears defeated Arcadia to win the C.I.F. title at Mt. SAC. Senior Tal Braude of Torrey Pines won the race in a time of 15:02 but his team finished 13th overall. Bellarmine finished sixth with a score of 206, De La Salle finished seventh with a score of 231, Clovis North finished eighth with a score of 241, Davis Sr. finished ninth with a score of 257 and El Toro finished tenth with a score of 280. ** The Warren High School girls' water polo team has been preparing for the start of their 2013-14 season. Kayla Casas, Destiny Hernandez, Jocelyn Castro and Justine Castro all return with more experience and skill. Coach Cordero also expects Kim Shepherd, Marilyn Briseno and Melanie Weyers to step up and play key roles for the Lady Bears. Cordero maintains that these players "will be the key to developing the depth of this team." The Lady Bears defeated last year's C.I.F. Division 4 finalist La Serna 12-11 on Tuesday and played divisional opponent Redlands East Valley Wednesday (score unavailable at press time). Cordero maintains that these games are a "good measuring point for all of us to see where we are this early in the season." Next week the Lady Bears will play in the Villa Park tournament. This is the first year Warren will be playing in this tournament. Cordero has seen the brackets and is impressed with some of the teams playing. Such teams as Montebello, Los Alamitos, San Marcos and Mater Dei are all entered to compete. Coach Cordero and her team are anxious for the season to get going. Cordero maintains that her squad's focus right now is to work hard and get better. Cerritos looks to challenge the Lady Bears for the S.G.V.L. title. Cordero believes that her team has the "experience and talent to do well and thinks this team is going to find out quickly just how good they want to be." Cordero concluded by saying that her season ended a game early last year and fell short because her team "failed to find a way to win." Cordero said "it was terribly disappointing because we knew the way we played wasn't to our potential. I don't want history to repeat itself. The seniors cannot take anything for granted, and neither can the underclassmen." Cordero has adopted a quote for this season, "I'm not telling you it's going to be easy, I'm telling you it's going to be worth it." When this year's team really understands the meaning behind this-they're going to be a great team. ** The Downey High School boys' soccer team is gearing up for the 2013-14 season under new head coach Marvin Mires. Mires is excited for this opportunity and welcomes assistant coach Ian Mcfadyen to his staff. The Vikings started out well last season but struggled in league play down the stretch and did not qualify for the C.I.F. Division 2 playoffs. The Vikings had a busy summer preparing for the upcoming season. Downey held practices during the summer and participated in Bellflower's summer league and the Watts Summer Games. The Vikings defeated Bell in the final to win Bellflower's summer league and also defeated Crespi in the final to win the Watts Summer Games. Ernesto Patino earned MVP honors at the Watts Summer Games. Downey will be competing in two tournaments this season. The first tournament will be the Aliso Cup in Aliso Viejo and the second will be the Southern California High School Classic in Oceanside. These tournaments will provide valuable preseason experience for the Vikings and give Coach Mires a better idea of what his team needs to work on once league play starts. Coach Mires believes his team has the talent to play with anyone. Mires maintains that his players understand they will have to be ready mentally to attain their goal of winning C.I.F. Mires said that "discipline on the field will play a big factor." Mires also said that "each player understands they have a role to play. The objective has been set and the players know they will have to work hard day in and day out and sacrifice for each other." Mires further said that "the team is unified and excited for the season to start." Mires continued by saying that, "as coaches, we will play a big role as well." Mires concluded by saying that "Coach McFadyen and I must make sure we are tactically ready for each opponent and be able to maximize the output of each player. We both look forward to seeing our team continue to grow and achieve our objective." ** The Downey High School girls' basketball team is getting ready for the start of their 2013-14 season. Senior forward Bukky Adefeso, senior post Angel Gonzalez and senior guard/wing Nona Carter all return with more experience and skill under their belts. Adefeso is a returning all-league player. Coach Harris said that Adefeso "is an outstanding defender and rebounder and this year will be a bigger scoring threat." Harris further said, "Gonzalez was a backup last season but is now a key contributor on our team both defensively, rebounding, and providing scoring in the post." Harris said, "Carter is a returning starter who brings intensity on the defensive end." Coach Harris is expecting junior forward Diana Acholonu and senior guard Kimberly Peraza to step up. Acholonu was the Co-MVP of the JV team last year. Harris said that "Acholonu is very long and has the ability to score around the basket. She also brings a great deal of energy to our team." Harris said that Peraza "is a good ball handler and a great outside shooter. We are looking for big contributions from her this year." Downey opened the season in the 36th Annual Downey Classic with a 69-25 win over Cabrillo last Friday. The Lady Vikings lost to Sunny Hills 43-39 last Saturday and beat Kennedy 40-37 on Tuesday. Downey played in the 5th place game yesterday against Lakewood (score unavailable at press time). The Lady Vikings will play next week in the Norwalk/Glenn tournament and start by playing Long Beach Jordan at Norwalk. Over Christmas break the Lady Vikings will travel to Palm Springs for the Maxpreps Holiday Classic. Downey will open up against Bellevue, Washington. Last season Bellevue had a freshman who averaged 19 points per game. That same player returns as a sophomore with more experience and skill. Coach Harris believes Lynwood will once again be the team to beat in San Gabriel Valley League play. Harris also expects cross-town rival Warren to be tough again this year. Harris said that Warren "lost their best player Justene Reyes from last year but they return several good guards, including Priscilla Gaxiola, who was all-league last year." Harris further said that "Gahr lost their best player, Jewlynn Sawyer, who now plays at Long Beach State. Gahr will be very competitive led by Ra'Vyn Bowser. Bowser is an athletic guard who can score from outside or driving to the basket." Harris also said that he expects Paramount to be improved and compete as well. Harris concluded by saying that he likes his team's depth and hopes that "we will continue to improve and play our best basketball during league."

********** Published: Dec. 5, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 34