Category Archives: Sports

Inside a soccer players life

If you play soccer in this valley, you know Syian Wignal. And chances are, Syian knows you too. wignal family

Syian was Born in Kingston Jamaica in the 1970’s. He started to play soccer around the age of nine years old. “I started to play soccer as an avenue to get away from the crime and violence in and around my community in Jamaica,” Wignal says. “Once you play sports, people look up to you, and respect you as someone others can follow.” Living in Jamaica in these times were hard, and that’s why Siyan turned to soccer. He lived in a very unsafe community in Jamaica.

“I’ve seen several of my friends get involved in the wrong crowd of people…Playing some form of sports in Jamaica is a safe passage to get out of the community and the country if all possible.” Becoming involved in a sport changed Syian’s life.

Years passed, and on August 17th 2004, Syian moved to California to enroll at The Master’s College. He played soccer there for four years and received his BA in Biblical Counseling.  After his years at Masters College Syian moved to Santa Clarita and never left.

“I like this valley very much because it’s a fun place to live and my immediate lives here, my wife and two kids.”

Syian has such a strong passion for soccer that he still continues to play the sport today. He came across a facebook post about an Adult league soccer team that had formed in Santa Clarita; an adult, co-ed recreational  soccer league in Santa Clarita Valley.

“I decided to play in this league because of what it stands for, no aggressive plays, no fighting, no cussing at the officials, and for once, I’m having fun while I compete. In college it was all business 24/7”.

Syian concludes that moving to Santa Clarita has changed his life. “I became a stronger man of God, I met my wife, I met a lot of new people. I work here, my son’s friends are here. I have no negative feedback at all.”

So if you ever see him around the soccer field, whether he’s on or off the field, hardly a person can’t walk by without Syian greeting them.

 

Viking Tennis: end of an era?

Santa Clarita has been a good promoter of tennis, with ten tennis courts available for public use, countless more for private and community use, along with those located in the high schools, some of which are open for public use when the school is not occupying them.

When the high schools are using them, the season is on and the undisputed champions of the Foothill League are the Valencia Vikings, until the 2014 season, where Valencia lost its bid to win the league title for the ninth year in a row to the West Ranch Wildcats. This season, the Wildcats managed to prove it may have been no fluke, as they earned another league title.

Many factors contributed to the shift in the tide on both sides. The Vikings had a stellar 2013 season, winning the Division II title at Clovis in preseason, winning league for the 8th year in a row, and making a run to the quarterfinals at CIF. The Vikings lost 6 seniors that year, with not many prospects to fill the void outside of the returning seniors.

West Ranch received an influx of freshmen for the 2014 season, specifically Noah Morrow and Quincy Waltereze, both of whom had played tournaments prior to joining the varsity team, eager to prove something on their home turf. Aside from their tournament play, the Wildcats also worked hard in the summer and in the off-season, whereas many of Valencia’s returning players didn’t play over the summer or participate in the off-season, some choosing to focus on academics instead.

Valencia also received an influx of freshman, however none at the level of the Wildcats’ freshmen. According to Darrell Peries, the junior varsity coach for Valencia, about 20 kids showed up for tryouts this year, about 6-7 were cut, and no new additions from the tryouts were added to the varsity team.

Throughout the 2014 season, the Wildcats had also bonded well as a team. Kia Areff, a sub for the Wildcats, said “we had a lot of trust in each other,” whereas the Vikings had been suffering from some internal strife, as Chad LeDuff the number one singles player for the Vikings and a junior at the time, recounts that “each individual player had a different vision for our lineup,” he said, “which resulted in the majority of the doubles players being unsatisfied and uncomfortable playing with their partner during the season.”

The 2015 season saw the same outcome, albeit for different reasons. LeDuff, now a senior and again the number one singles players for Valencia, had a different explanation for the loss year, and it was simply the team’s inexperience. “Almost none of our players participate in individual tournaments,” he said, “This rendered our team incapable of handling the high-pressure moments during close matches. Often times we entered the third and final round in a tie or even ahead but we would end up losing the match.”

The Wildcats lost a close match against the top seed in CIF this year, 10-8. At this rate, Peries believes that the Wildcats could go on to win CIF for the next three years.

As West Ranch clenches more titles, odds are that the more experienced players playing tournaments or from the Paseo Club, will be heading to play as a Wildcat, as was the case for the Vikings during its years of dominance. West Ranch had four freshmen leading the charge in doubles and with two seniors graduating, not only are more league titles inevitable, but CIF could be a real possibility. No one knows what the future will hold for both teams, but it looks as if the Wildcats may rule for a few years to come.

 

High hopes for COC’s pitcher

By: Hayven Bevan

Collin Dudley throws a no hitter
Collin Dudley throws a no hitter. Photo by Julie Dudley

The first batter steps into the box and the umpire signals the pitcher for the first pitch to be thrown. “Strike!” Yells the umpire, and the game has begun. Two more strikes and the batter is out. It is just another day on the mound for one of College of the Canyons’s starting pitchers, Collin Dudley.

The first time Dudley ever picked up a baseball was at the young age of four. His journey began when he joined Little League, and his parents gave him the choice to continue on or quit. He chose the latter and hasn’t even thought of looking back since. From Little League to the six travel ball teams Dudley competed on, he has found himself up against some of the best in the state. In high school, Dudley started off on junior varsity as a freshmen and quickly worked his way up to varsity in only a single year, competing against 17 and 18 year olds when he was just 15. He often switched between pitching and manning third base, but his skills on the mound lead him to a starting position as pitcher his senior year of high school. After high school, there was no question that Dudley would decide to continue on to play at a higher level, thus his real journey began.

“Being at COC was truly a great experience for me because it was the place where I was able to really develop myself as a baseball player,” Dudley said. Although through his determination, Dudley was able to grow and become a better player, it was not as smooth as a start as he would have hoped. His first year at COC, Dudley struggled with inter-squad games, as well as other less regulated practice games, during which he started notice a growing pain developing in his elbow that would eventually lead to surgery. In February, 2014, Dudley underwent Ulnar Nerve Transportation Surgery; surgeons moved the Ulnar Nerve from the canal in his elbow, so that the inflammation that was in the elbow could no longer pinch the nerve. After enduring a long four months of an intense physical therapy and an even longer recovery process, Dudley was able to  play summer ball and start training to get back to where he had left off. Once he returned to the team, Dudley was unsure of his position. He started off doing well in the fall season and working his way to be a relief pitcher, but it wasn’t until COC’s number one starter got injured that Dudley was given the opportunity to prove that his injury would not hold him back.

After a few demonstrations of his abilities, there was no question that Dudley was going to make an impact, and so Dudley became COC’s third starting pitcher. He performed well in the first couple games of the season, but it wasn’t until COC faced Orange Coast College, California’s defending state champs. Dudley shut them out for eight straight innings, not a single player from OCC could get a hit. “That was where my confidence really boosted and where I felt unstoppable,” said Dudley. Continuing to impress, the game against OCC wasn’t the only shutout Dudley had, he threw a no hitter against Citrus Community College, “that was one of my proudest moments at COC.” Dudley’s perseverance made him polish off his last year at COC with a 2.47 ERA, 58 strikeouts, only 15 walks in 76. innings, and a 5-2 record overall. This won’t be the last of Dudley though, when asked what his future plans were he said “I’ve been receiving a lot of phone calls and offers from different schools but I’m not deciding until after the draft.”

Being an athlete is not only physically demanding but also mentally demanding, if one doesn’t have the right support they may never reach their full potential. Thankfully Dudley is blessed with one of the greatest support systems of all, “my friends and family always encouraged me and pushed me to keep going and always compete. That love and encouragement made me who I am today,” said Dudley. His dad, Joe Dudley, who has been his biggest influence throughout his journey, has constantly pushed him, working with him almost every weekend, and always being his number one fan. “It’s not quite enough to say just how proud I am of him, I’m not sure there’s enough words to really describe how proud I am. Baseball has been a large part of our lives since Collin was four years old, I have had a front row seat in watching him develop, to see his determination to succeed grow and his toughness in difficult situations, these are also tremendous life lessons. I have also had to learn a balance in just how far to push him, I’ve seen too many Fathers push too far and their child walk away.The really interesting side for me in having played baseball myself to a high level and to witness just how much better he has become than I ever was is for a father just indescribable,” said Joe Dudley. With a support system like this, it’s hard not to want to succeed and keep making everyone proud.

From his t-ball days to deciding on what D1 university to go to, Dudley has accomplished so much in his baseball career, as well as overcoming several difficult obstacles. Though Dudley is leaving COC to further his baseball career even more, it’s safe to say that this isn’t the last we’ll hear of Collin Dudley.

 

 

 

 

Herrick’s hard work defines Cougars

Meeting up with head women’s basketball coach, Greg Herrick I was able to find out the handwork beneath the talent. Greg Herrick has been coaching for COC as the women’s head coach for 23 years and coaching for a total of 37 years. He found his love for coaching at a young age, and with hopes of becoming a lawyer only then realized that his passion was on the court coaching. Being a basketball player, Herrick understood what needed to be done to create the recipes for successful season years to come.

Coaching for the women’s program here at College of the Canyons, Herrick has won countless league titles, ended up int the final four and many other accomplishments. He has had players inducted into the hall of fame and gotten countless players scholarships to play in ranked division basketball.

Coach Herrick just recently marked a milestone with his 500th win. If anyone knowns the recipe for a successful team and season its one of the most recognizable coaches in league, Greg Herrick.

Wings for Life: Making It’s Way Back To Santa Clarita

Red Bull Wings for Life World Run returned to the City of Santa Clarita and served as the only west coast host city. Olympic athletes and even local runners came out to Santa Clarita early Sunday morning to support Wings for Life in achieving their goals. Wings for Life is a spinal cord research foundation, which funds world-class scientific research and clinical trials around the globe aimed to healing the injured spinal cord.

The Wings for Life world run is unlike any other race: 35 different cities across the globe all began with one start time on Sunday, May 3. Participants around the world all took off at 4 a.m. PST. Thirty minutes into the race, what is know as the “catcher car” moves onto the course and begins to chase the runners. Once the vehicle passes someone, his or her race is considered over.

Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn came out to show her support for the cause.

During the event Vonn said, “It’s definitely something that is very important to me and of course I want to help as much as I can”.

Jesse Billauer, professional surfer and an ambassador for the Wings for Life World run stated, ” It’s cool to put spinal cord injuries out on the map. There are a lot of people that maybe didn’t know anything about that; it could happen to anybody”.

Winners for the Santa Clarita race were Thibault Baronian at 34.3 miles and Shannon Rhalves at 29.6 miles.

Race participant Lemework Ketema won the world title after running a total of 49.7 miles in Austria. Winners are given the choice to run in any of the 32 cities for next year’s race.

Santa Clarita native, Super Bowl champ Shane Vereen given key to the city

Historic firsts continue to blaze trails in Santa Clarita as Shane Vereen, Super Bowl Champion and SCV resident par excellence, was presented the key to the city during a luncheon hosted by the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.

A celebration of accomplishment, arising with Vereen’s success as a Santa Clarita young scholar athlete with a 4.0 grade point average at Valencia High School to obtaining a degree in Media from Cal Berkley, and forging ahead to become the first SCV resident to win a Super Bowl Championship.  It is a victory in sports history, Santa Clarita history, and Santa Clarita African-American history.

“Not many communities have hometown heroes and Santa Clarita certainly has a lot of them, but he’s our first Super Bowl winner.  Not only is he a great athlete but he’s also a great human-being, and he was a great scholar,” said Terri Crain, CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Hundreds attending the luncheon represented a healthy cross-section of Santa Clarita’s richly diverse population, which focused on family, integrity, excellence, education, and hard work as a game plan for success.  Vereen attributed much to his parents for instilling the ethics that have culminated in his achievements.  First cousin to actor, Ben Vereen, Shane was born and raised in Valencia. He attended Valencia High School maintaining a 4.0 GPA while excelling in football, basketball, and track. In college, Vereen chose a Media major to help prepare him for a career after the NFL. According to Vereen, his future plans fluctuate but says his plans will be sports related.

“A lot of times people use the term “NFL – Not For Long” and I kind of took that to heart. My mother took that to heart more than anybody,” said Vereen.

Patriots’ Super Bowl victory behind him, Vereen now heads to the New York Giants.  His younger brother, Brock, also raised to excel, returns to the Chicago Bears. His mother, Venita Vereen offers advice to young sports families:

“Remember that kids are kids. Sports are fun but it’s not supposed to be their job at this young age. Let them be kids, let them play all sports, and remind them school is far more important than any sports they are playing,” she said.

Shane Vereen also champions the fight against childhood cancer by donating proceeds to L.A. Children’s Hospital from events, such as the luncheon and by hosting a football camp.

Curt Sandoval, Weekend Sports Anchor for KABC7, described his own recent experience with cancer and the efforts to raise money for local resident, Connor Coughenour, of the Warriors league.  It was Connor’s first time hearing Vereen speak. What did he like most?

“Just when he told you to believe in yourself,” said Coughenour.

There is an online donation page for Team Connor at http://www.gofundme.com/love4connor.

“We can all be very proud of our young people here in Santa Clarita as is evidenced by Shane and his accomplishments,” said Marsha McLean, Mayor of the City of Santa Clarita.

 

Cougar Baseball: More than just a game

Cougar baseball players live by the definition of team — a group of people with different skills and tasks who work together toward a common goal with meshing functions and mutual support.

When picking their dream teams fans usually choose Hall of Famers including Cy Young, Babe Ruth, Mike Schmidt, Honus Wagner and Jackie Robinson.

The Cougars have had a dream team of their own this season, with JC Cloney, Roy Verdejo, Dylan Freyre, Jose Haros, and Colton Burns working within the roster.

Reaching their dreams hasn’t always been easy.

After fracturing his spine in his junior year at Valencia High School, second baseman Colton Burns spent a year away from baseball, but didn’t let the injury keep him away from the game.

“Coming back from (the injury) and knowing that I could still play the game, and pushing through that to make sure I know that I can come back from anything,” Burns said, referring to his recovery as one of his biggest accomplishments in baseball.

For others, the success this season was unforeseen. Enter freshman right fielder and Saugus High School alum Roy Verdejo.

“I didn’t expect it,” Verdejo said. “I expected myself to hit maybe like a normal freshman right now, but coming up with seven homeruns was a big surprise for me, even for my family, just because it was my first year.”

While these Cougars may be young, they have excelled in the game so far and have much to be proud of.

Dylan Freyre, another Saugus High alum, was a two-time 1st Team All-League selection when he played for the Centurions, was named to the 2014 All-Western State Conference Team, in addition to being named a Golden Glove winner at third base last year.

As for shortstop Jose Haros, he was the three-time 1st Team All-League selection when he played at San Fernando High School. He was drafted in the 40th round by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2013, straight out of high school.

Despite how well their season is going, as a team, they know there is always room for improvement, case-in-point being Burns, who started the season as the number nine hitter and worked his way to the number one slot.

As for Freyre, he continues to make strides toward improving his craft.

“There are a lot of things I can improve on, like the way I field ground balls,” he said. “You can’t really be perfect, but I’d like to think so.”

Focused on speed, Verdejo looks to make corrections on hitting and swinging.

Baseball is more than just a single game for these athletes. For starting pitcher JC Cloney, who was introduced to the game by his older brother at the age of four, baseball defines life.

“It’s like a getaway,” Cloney said. “It’s my own little paradise. You come out here, you don’t really think about life much.”

Clooney uses the sport as his outlet, often channeling daily frustration into drive.

“If you’re having a rough day, you come out here and play some ball and you’re happy by the time you’re leaving the field,” he said. “We’re out here six days a week. If you’re having a bad day, this is where you come to make that day better.”

For Haros, whose first language was Spanish, baseball encouraged him to communicate in English.

“It was important to me to be fluent in English so I can talk with and communicate with my teammates,” Haros said.

No matter how far baseball has brings them, these athletes are still chasing their dreams.

Each player hopes to play through college, preferably for Division I or Division II schools with scholarships.

Don’t be surprised, however, if one day you buy a jersey with their name on it.

“My dream when I was a kid was to make it to Major League Baseball, make it to the major leagues, or right now it’s just go in baseball as high (a placement) as you can,” Verdejo said.

Looking back on their careers thus far, these Cougars have words of encouragement for young aspiring athletes.

“Always work hard rather than take days off,” Cloney said. “My dad used to tell me you’re either getting better or you’re getting worse — you’re never staying the same. So I think everyday you should do something to get better at baseball, no matter what it is.”

Haros’s advice: “Work hard, work hard at your position. Don’t take anything for granted, practice, as well. Focus in school because that’s going to be a part if baseball doesn’t work out, school can be there, as well.”

“Baseball is a game of failure, you just have to keep working at it and, I mean three out of 10 times in baseball is really good so you just have to keep working at it. No matter what, keep chasing it,” Freyre says.

For an update on the baseball team’s standing in conference, watch the Cougar News Sports Update, Wednesday, April 22, at 9:00 p.m., streaming live here on cougarnews.com.

Foothill League teams battle, Valencia increases league lead

In Foothill League action last week, Saugus nearly held their own against West Ranch, a major play gave Valencia the win over Canyon, and Hart pitched their way to victory against Golden Valley.


Saugus vs West Ranch (click for highlights)

The West Ranch Wildcats snuck by Saugus on Friday with a two-run home run by senior Jagger Rusconi, giving the Wildcats a 6-5 victory.

Saugus struggled early on as West Ranch would strike first with an RBI from senior Ryan Beddeo. The Wildcats would score again after a defensive error by Saugus to make it 2-0 at the end of the first inning.

Saugus junior Tyler Grissom would even the score up 2-2 in the second inning with a two-run single.

West Ranch would take back the lead with a single from junior Blake Baumgartner, and West Ranch would close the inning with a 4-2 lead.

Saugus struck back hard in the sixth inning however, with senior Troy Williams getting a two-run single to give the Centurions a 5-4 lead.

Rusconi’s home run would be the difference in the top of the seventh, giving the Wildcats a 6-5 lead, setting up A.J. West for his first save of the season, improving West Ranch to 2-2 on the Foothill League season.

With the loss Saugus falls to 2-2, their second straight loss after going 2-0 to open the Foothill League season.


 

Valencia vs Canyon (click for highlights)

A three-run home run from their pitcher would give Valencia a win over the visiting Cowboys with a score of 10-7.

Taking on the Cowboys with a 2-2 Foothill League record on their home turf, the 4-1 Vikings started off strong in the first inning, with senior Cole Kleszcz hitting a double to bring in junior Scott Ogrin and make it 1-0. Senior Anthony Lepre would later hit a two-run single, and give the Vikings a 3-0 lead. Lepre would then score himself after a catcher interference call on the Cowboys to make it 4-0.

Canyon would be held down until the 5th inning, where senior Blake Leidholdt would hit a 2-run RBI single and reduce Valencia’s lead to only two points. Senior Makana Gnomes and junior Danny Cuevas would then score to tie the game at 4-4 during the fifth inning.

The Cowboys would take the lead for the first time in the sixth inning, with a three-run RBI double from sophomore Daniel Cervantes; making the score 7-4.

Valencia answered right back with a three-run home run from senior pitcher Kevin Chandler to give the Vikings the lead at  8-7. This would lead the way for Valencia to win the game. Junior Trevor Eichman would hit an RBI triple, and senior Jacob Silva would get his own RBI to give Valencia the win at 10-7.


Hart vs Golden Valley

Hart would breeze by Golden Valley in their Foothill League matchup, with senior pitcher Jack Ralston allowing only one run from the Grizzlies, while the Indians managed to score eight times for a final score of 8-1.

The first score of the game wouldn’t come until the fourth inning, where Hart senior Nick Hand would drive an RBI to give the Indians a 1-0 lead.

Hart would have a big fifth inning, scoring four runs to further their lead 5-0. The major play of the inning belonging to junior Robert Reeves, who managed a two-run RBI triple.

Golden Valley would finally strike back in the fifth, with Andrei Carballo’s RBI single to make the score 5-1.

That would be the only time Golden Valley would score for the rest of the game.

Hart on the other hand, would score three more times in the 6th inning. One of them, a solo home run from junior Jake Lewis.
The Indians would go on to win 8-1, and improve their Foothill League record to 3-2, while Golden Valley now maintains a 1-3 Foothill League record.

COC baseball season in full swing

With an eye on challenging Mission College for the conference title and a loftier goal of the state title, the COC baseball team has hit the halfway mark of the season 7-5.  Cougar News reporter Andrew Gold caught up with one of the Cougar’s starters, J.C. Cloney who discussed the team’s ambitions and progress with more than half the schedule remaining.

 

How budget cuts affect COC’s sports programs

College of the Canyons athletics have suffered from budget cuts over the past years, causing major headache for student-athletes to raise money for their sports programs.

Proper funding for these programs help provide student-athletes attending COC with basic necessities that don’t require these students to pay out-of-pocket, as they struggle to support themselves while juggling school, a possible job, and maintaining their responsibility to the team.

Many coaches respond differently to the new financial strain, as each program is run differently in contrast to each other.

“We are more conscious about how we spend our money and when we spend it, such as the gear we purchase for our athletes,” according to women’s basketball coach Greg Herrick. “We haven’t been able to invest in certain sportswear for them due to budget cuts such as new basketball bags but we’ve been able to get by with the ones we’ve had for a few years now.” 

Some caches though, including the school’s football defensive coordinator Dan Corbet, have to take on extra responsibilities just to keep their programs afloat. “Since there is not enough funding from states for our schools, coaches must teach more classes to make more money because of budget cuts-which cuts away from more jobs from other teachers,” said Corbet.

“Another drawback from these budget cuts has been no increase in stipends (the extra salary coaches receive for their extra time spent coaching) for about fifteen years,” according to the defensive coordinator.

“Budget cuts and salaries are not related for my department but there has been no raise in coaching salaries for years,” said Herrick.

The effect of this economical disadvantage has helped stimulate a sense of community work, engaging student-athletes with the people and businesses of Santa Clarita. These student athletes go around looking for sponsors, while in return the sponsors name becomes advertised on the playing grounds such as the football field or the gym for basketball games during season.

“We fundraise a lot, such as the first month back from summer break we had the girls go around and raise at least two hundred dollars in sponsors anywhere from twenty five dollars to two hundred dollars….We also participate in game shows as a team where we get paid per show which has financially helped us a lot, we get donations, and we sell banners,” according to Herrick.

“We try our best to fundraise; we sell spirit packs, and we try to get businesses to buy signs to advertise themselves on the field as an effective way to try and raise as much money as we can to help provide our men with proper gear and necessities they need to be successful,” said Corbet.

Making the decisions on how the money is divided amongst each sport and how much each sports program is funded is solely dependent on the athletic director, Chuck Lyon. Although the money funded to each sport is divided, funds such as revenues help run the athletic program by financially creating more stability.

“A schools attempt to cut budgets are usually aimed at the athletic department first which is why the athletic departments are hit the hardest with reduced spending and funding cuts that not only effect us coaches but our teams. We have to find other methods of transportation while managing our financial problems,” said Herrick.

“Our program brings in about a couple thousand dollars each year through revenues, ticket sales, and fundraisers which has helped us drastically to help provide for our athletes transportation, athletic gear, meals, tournament fees, and other expenses.”

However there is a silver lining in recent history, as a slightly upward-trending economy helped create something that hasn’t happened in almost a decade.

“With budget cuts we have had less classes to teach, but after 7 years our department faculty just got a raise,” said Corbet.

Hopefully their next raise in pay doesn’t take another seven years…

 

Youth Baseball In Santa Clarita Valley

With warm weather all year, a plethora of knowledgeable and experienced coaches, and hundreds of eager kids, Santa Clarita is a powerhouse for youth baseball in southern California. It’s no wonder why people get drafted to play professional baseball from the SCV year after year.

From age five, children have the opportunity to pick from many local leagues. Beyond those leagues, there are many opportunities for children to play on club teams that travel to tournaments as far away as Cooperstown, New York.

Michelle Bodeau, auxiliary board director at Hart baseball believes t is great to have kids involved in youth sports such as baseball because, “it gives them something productive to do. They’re not hanging out on the street.”

The Santa Clarita Valley has a reputation of breeding talented young ballplayers who play the game hard. Thanks to the abundance of coaches with college and professional playing experience, kids get the opportunity to learn the true nature of the game of baseball.

Although teaching kids the game of baseball is the goal, it is not the most important thing the kids will learn. It’s all about making friends, and learning some valuable lessons along the way. These include discipline, hard work, honesty, accountability, and responsibility.

These young ballplayers will learn a great deal about the game of baseball during their youth careers. Some great memories and lifelong friendships are sure to be made along the way.

COC dives into Spring

The College of the Canyons Spring Board Diving Team is looking for full-time students who are interested in learning and improving their spring board diving skills to take a step forward and join the team this Spring Semester.

If you are interested in learning Spring Board Diving and/or competing for COC this Spring you are encouraged to sign up for Kinesiology 280A Intercollegiate Swimming for the Spring Semester.  This class meets from 6:30am – 8:20am, Monday – Friday, at the COC Valencia Campus indoor heated pool.  (This is a 3 unit class with grading based on attendance and participation.)

“This is a great opportunity whether you are a novice just starting out or a skilled diver, trampolinist or gymnast to enrich your college experience with the training skills, self-discipline and motivation you will be  developing through daily training on the diving boards at College of the Canyons, ” said Head Coach Dan McCann.

All of the diving students who are able to learn and perform a basic 6 dive skill list have the opportunity to perform at several dual meets as well as the Conference Championships which are fun and exciting as well as a great opportunity for meeting new friends.

Each of the last 4 seasons College of the Canyons Spring Board Dive Team has produced at least one athlete and several times two who have qualified for the final State Championship competition at the beginning of May.  In 2012 College Of the Canyons own Joe Harries took 2nd Place in the California Community College State Championships on the 3 meter spring board.  A huge accomplishment for a student with a solid gymnastics background but with no experience on a diving board before the Fall 2011 COC Dive Training class.

The team hopes to continue the tradition of success for COC Diving in the Spring 2015 Season.  All that is needed are students who are ready and willing to get up in the morning and flip into the pool and learn.

If you have any questions you can contact Assistant Swim Coach Dan McCann at danmccann@sbcglobal.net or (818)437-7067.

COC men’s cross country wins state title

The COC men’s cross country team completed what could be considered the triple crown of the sport; winning the WSC, SoCal, and state titles all in one season.

The men completed their state championship run on Nov. 22, winning the title by a final score of 86-79 over the three-time defending state champions American River College. The championship is the first state title for COC cross country since 1975 and second overall.

Head coach Linde Kane became the first female coach to win the CCCAA men’s state cross country title in history. Sophomore Grant Stromberg earned JC All-American honors with a time of 20:26, finishing in seventh place to lead the Cougars.

On the women’s side, the Cougars finished second in the state coming in just behind Mt. San Antonio College for the title.

The trip to Fresno concluded a successful season for all of COC cross country as they had three runners named to JC All-American teams (Stromberg, Dominique Dowell, and Shalyn Mabritto) in addition to the state championship.

Vikings stunned, Hart comes from behind, Canyon blown out

Valencia Vikings stunned in first round by Rancho Cucamonga

One week after a thrilling come from behind victory over rival Hart to win the Foothill League title for the sixth year in a row, the Valencia Vikings fell flat against Rancho Cucamonga in their first round playoff matchup losing 52-20.

The number three team from the Baseline League got out to an early lead over the Vikings and were able to hold on to the lead on the strength of six touchdowns by quarterback Angel Matute.

A trio of six foot tall Cougars receivers, Malik Sheppard, Chase Stephens, and Blake Fisher, all caused problems for the Vikings all game long, each hauling in a touchdown reception in the victory.

The Vikings Cole Parkinson had a pair of touchdown passes to Jay Jay Wilson and Riley Herrera, but the Viking defense just could not solve the attack of Rancho Cucamonga.

Hart comes from behind to defeat Edison

The Hart Indians needed a second half comeback to dispatch the Edison Chargers 32-20 in their CIF SS West Valley Division first round playoff matchup.

The Indians, fresh off a loss the week before which they let a fourth quarter lead slip away to rival Valencia, showed their character in a come from behind victory of their own.

Quarterback Brady White threw for 394 yards and four touchdowns, including three in the second half to help the Indians come from behind.

Nelson James, Isaac Dominguez and C.J. Sioussat each had touchdown receptions in the comeback. The Indians will host Upland in the second round on Friday, November 21st at 7:30PM.

Canyon gets bounced out of playoffs in a first round blowout

Canyon needed nothing short of a perfect game to have a chance to win their first round matchup against Southwestern #1 Vista Murrieta.

Unfortunately for the Cowboys the Broncos proved to be too much as they lost 56-28 Friday night.

Vista Murrieta quarterback Kyle Williams was a handful for the Cowboys as he ran for 110 yards and three touchdowns on only six carries to lead the Broncos. He also threw for 150 yards and a touchdown pass, all of this coming in just the first half as he was lifted for the entire second half of the game with the Broncos holding a 42-6 lead at halftime.

Canyon had a few highlights as Miles Fallin showed that, despite the constant pressure from the broncos defense, he has the potential to be a top notch quarterback, throwing for 398 yards and four touchdowns in a loosing effort.

Valencia dominates, Hart avoids scare, Canyon slips by

Heading into week three of Foothill league action, Valencia and Hart stood atop the standings with records of 2-0 while Canyon and Saugus were still very much in the hunt at 1-1.

This weeks match-ups pitted Valencia against West Ranch, Hart against Golden Valley and Canyon against Saugus.

Valencia shuts out West Ranch in dominating performance

The Vikings looked strong once again on Friday night as the dismantled the West Ranch Wildcats, winning 41-0.

The Vikings built a 27 point first half lead on the shoulders of QB Cole Parkinson who threw for 193 yards and two touchdowns on 16-22 passing on the night at the Vikings improved to 3-0 on the season..

Valencia also got contributions from Jay Jay Wilson and Matthew Pham who both ran for touchdowns in the ballgame.

The Wildcats, who fell to 0-3, struggled all around as they were shorthanded, missing Brando Phillips and Nathan Bultman.

West Ranch will next play Golden Valley while Valencia will have what is likely to be their toughest test of the season against the Canyon Cowboys.

Hart pushed by Golden Valley, able to overcome pressure in victory (Highlights Here)

Hart didn’t need a second half comeback to win this week, but still were given a tough test by Golden Valley, escaping with a 38-24 victory.

Hart built a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on touchdown passes from Brady White to Dominic Carillo and Trenton Irwin, but Golden Valley would not roll over.

The Grizzlies pulled within seven when Victor Corona found Julian Torres in the end zone to make it 14-7.

Hart would struggle on offense despite putting up 31 points, turning the ball over two times in the first half and another time in the second to allow the Grizzlies to hang around.

Hart would eventually win out on defense when Trent Irwin iced the game with under 3 minutes remaining on 37 yard interception for a touchdown, giving the Indians a 38-24 victory.

Despite three turnovers, White showed he is still a force on offense, passing for 336 yards and three touchdowns on 18-28 passing while rushing for 112 yards on 19 carries.

The 3-0 Indians will next play Saugus while Golden Valley will go head to head with West Ranch as both teams look for their first wins of the season.

Canyon slips by Saugus, stays one game back of Valencia and Hart(Highlights Here)

In what turned out to be a penalty filled affair with the teams combining for 31 penalties for 286 yards, the Canyon Cowboys were able to improve their record to 2-1 and stay in contention for the Foothill League championship.

Neither team had any rhythm due to the penalties forcing the game to come down to the final moments.

After a poorly called fake punt to turn the ball over, the Canyon defense was able to stop a driving Centurion offense when Louis Eusebi’s pass when through his recievers hands right into Dorsley Virgio’s, icing the game for the Cowboys.

Despite the penalties, Cowboy QB Miles Fallin continued to show his strength, passing for two touchdowns on the night, one to Travis Reiner and the other to Isreal Cabrera.

With the loss Saugus drops to 1-2 and puts themselves into a tough position heading into the final three weeks, looking to secure the third and final Foothill League playoff spot in the CIF Southern Sections West Valley division.

Flyers gain momentum with sweep of Las Vegas

The Valencia Flyers came into their three-game weekend series against the expansion Las Vegas Storm looking to gain some traction in the very tough Western Division of the Western States Hockey League.

With a series sweep the Flyers did just that, winning by scores of 6-0, 5-2 and 5-1.

None of the games were ever really close as the Flyers seemed to impose their will from start to finish in each.

Friday night, the Flyers got out to a hot start when Jared Waldman made a spinning pass in the neutral zone to spring Ray Wilson and Blake Aguilar on a two-on-one. Aguilar and Wilson took care of everything from there with some quick touch passes resulting in a wide-open net goal for Blake Aguilar, his second of the season and first of four on the weekend.

Minutes later, the Flyers would capitalize on a power play when Tyler Lazarek would score from behind the goal to make it 2-0 Flyers – a lead they would take into the locker room after the first period.

The second started with more scoring, this time by Jared Waldman on the power play after a nice setup from Nik Giers and Aguilar to make it 3-0. The Flyers would score three goals to close the third with Aguilar and Lazarek netting their second of the game and Wilson getting into the action as well as they Flyers would cruise to a 6-0 victory.

The Flyers would out shoot the Storm 58-15 in the game as Ole Nilsen picked up his first victory of the season – a shutout win.


Saturday night resulted in more of the same at the start when the Flyers would score four minutes into the first period. Giers would take a pass from Chase Thesman and dance around the goaltender before sliding the puck home to make it 1-0 Flyers.

They would make it 2-0 on a Jason Hart slap shot that was deflected in off a Storm defender just three minutes later.

Las Vegas would charge back in the second, putting up their only resistance of the weekend scoring twice in a minute to tie the game at 2-2.

However, that would be as close as Las Vegas would get over the entire weekend as Aguilar would score four minutes into the third to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead. Evan Johnson would give the Flyers some insurance three minutes later when he beat the Storm goaltender five-hole to make it 4-2. Thesman would add an empty-netter with 14.4 remaining to give the Flyers a 5-2 victory as Silvan Delb would pick up his second victory of the season between the pipes.


Sunday, the Flyers scored again early in the first, this time just over five minutes in when Thesman would skate a puck through neutral ice, cut to the middle and then take a shot from the left circle, beating the Storm goaltender over the glove hand and breaking the water bottle on the back of the net in the process to make it 1-0 Flyers.

Lazarek and Hart would add goals as the first period continued giving the Flyers a 3-0 lead going into the first intermission.

It took the Flyers nearly all of the second period to make it 4-0, but they eventually would with 1:50 remaining in the period on Aguilar’s team leading fifth goal of the season, and fourth of the weekend.

Luc Whyte would score his first of the season with just 10.3 left in the second after Johnson made a superb play in the neutral zone to take a hit and spring Whyte into the Storm zone, where he beat the goaltender between the legs to make it 5-0 Valencia.

The Flyers would cruise through most of the third period, even after allowing a Storm goal early on, but would ultimately win the game 5-1, out-scoring the Storm 16-3 over the weekend. Sander Berg would pick up his first victory of the season on Sunday stopping 22 of 23 shots.

Valencia will next play on Halloween night, Oct. 31 when they host the division-leading Ontario Avalanche. Game time is 7:15 p.m. at Ice Station Valencia.

Saugus and Valencia lose, Golden Valley picks up 3rd win

With the Foothill league season fast approaching three teams had another chance for one last tune up before starting the difficult conference schedule.

Valencia vs. National Ranked #18 Centennial Corona

The Vikings came into the game against the number #18 ranked team in the nation, Centennial Corona, with little expectations of winning.

Centennial dropped 21 points on the Vikings before the midway point of the first quarter showcasing their well balanced offense.

The Vikings defense struggled allowing 490 yards in the first half alone to the powerhouse out of Corona.

The Vikings did have some encouraging things happen in the game, including a 320 yard, 22-29 passing game by junior quarterback Cole Parkinson.

In all, the game was a route as the Huskies dropped 72 points on the Vikings, the most Valencia has allowed in its 20 year history, in a 72-42 Huskies victory

Saugus vs Camarillo

The Centurions fell short in their bid for their second victory of the season on a blocked last second field goal.

Saugus played without their starting quarterback Chris Hamilton and were forced to rely on place kicker and back-up quarterback Louis Eusebi.

Eusebi did a phenomenal job filling in for Hamilton, posting 299 total yards (178 rushing and two TD’s on 20 carries, 121 yards and two TD’s on 10-19 passing).

The Centurions just could not find enough stops or offense to beat the Scorpions, dropping to 1-4 on the season.

Golden Valley vs Chatsworth Charter

Golden Valley was able to grind out a win on the ground, 29-24 over Chatsworth Charter school at Canyon’s Harry Welch Stadium.

The Grizzlies Shane Tamura ran for 136 yards and a touchdown in what proved to be a well fought affair by both teams.

The teams were even early as they traded touchdowns before Golden Valley broke out to a 26-17 lead.

Chatsworth did have a final chance to take the lead when trailing by five with under two minutes remaining. However, the Grizzlies defense stood tall, forcing a turnover by knocking the ball out of David Valladares’ hands to secure their third victory of the season.

Cougars turn the ball over five times, fall to Lancers

Cougar Football had a rough Division opener on Saturday night, turning the ball over five times in route to a 20-12 loss to the Pasadena City College Lancers.

The teams were evenly matched to start as neither team could score through the first half, both moving the ball for a few drives before being forced to punt after stout defense from both teams.

The second quarter was where the Cougars struggles on offense first started to show. With the Cougars inside their own 20 yard line, a Daniel Bernard fumble would be picked up by the Lancers, giving them the ball on the Cougar 25 yard line and a short field to work.

Pasadena would not miss their opportunity when Timothy Jones would punch the ball into the Cougar end zone from 6 yards out to give the Lancers the first lead of the ballgame, 7-0.

The Cougars would continue to turn the ball over in the second quarter, both Devon Dunn and Tony Dawson would lose fumbles in the quarter, with the Dawson fumble ultimately resulting in a 42 yard field goal to give Pasadena a 10-0 lead at the half.

The Cougars looked like they might have cleaned up the turnovers in their first two drives of the second half, both of which resulted in touchdown runs by Da’John Gaines from 5 and 6 yards out respectively.

Neither Gaines touchdown would be completely positive results for the Cougars as both PAT attempts went south. The first attempt by Eric Kreitz resulted in a blocked kick that was returned for two points by Robert Morgan of Pasadena, giving the Lancers a 12-6 lead. Kreitz’s next PAT attempt was missed wide right, resulting in a tie score at the end of the third quarter.

Pasadena would not let the blown lead get to them as they would score after another one of the Cougars five turnovers, this time an Earl Johnson fumble. The first true Lancers play from scrimmage on the next drive would result in a touchdown after a beautiful 44 yard TD pass from Dejon Williams to Turner Jackson to give the Lancers an 18-12 lead.

Pasadena was not happy with just 6 points though, as they would line up for two, ultimately converting after Williams and receiver Amad Springer switched places, with Williams tip-toeing into the corner of the end zone to extend the Lancers lead to 20-8.

The game would not end without a little bit of controversy. On the Cougars next drive they would march down the field, and on fourth and 17 from the Lancers 29 yard line, Dawson connected on a pass in the end zone with Anthony Fowler that looked as though it resulted in a touchdown. The official had a different idea though, ruling that Fowler was out of bounds on the play, signaling that he never got a foot down during the catch, resulting in a devastating turnover on downs for the Cougars.

COC would get one more chance to even the game, after converting two 4th and long situations, they would get the ball inside the Lancers 40 one last time. This time a Dawson pass intended for Tony Claxton was intercepted by Marlon Dobbins, effectively icing the game handing the cougars a 20-12 loss.

The game was broadcast live and free on cougarnews.com by the Cougar News staff, their first regular season football broadcast in 2014.

Cougar Ice Hockey drops first two games of a 4 game weekend

Cougar Ice Hockey hosted Santa Rosa Junior College Thursday and Friday night in its first two of only six home games on the teams regular season.

The Cougars, who were only the second Junior College team ever to win the ACHA National Championship back in 2011, have had a rough couple of season since the magical 2011 campaign and were hoping that 2014 would start off on a good note.

Thursday night did not start off as planned though, as COC fell behind 3-0 early on in the first after getting themselves into penalty trouble. Santa Rosa scored first on a fluky bounce of the skate of Josiah Nickel to take a 1-0 lead. The SRJC Bears would score two more goals in the next six minutes, one with an extra attacker during a delayed penalty by Blake Johnson, the other on the ensuing power play by Jackson Waldron to push the Bears lead to 3-0.

COC would try and start a comeback early in the second of a beautiful shot by Matthew Hoover to make close the gap to 3-1, however Santa Rosa would not give in as they would score three more unanswered goals, one in the second and two in the third, rolling to a victory on a 20 save performance by Dominic Jones to spoil the Cougars opening night.

On Friday the Cougars looked to reset and exact their revenge against Santa Rosa in the second game of the weekend series.

At the start it looked like the Cougars might get their chance as they took a 1-0 lead early in the first of a wrist shot by Sam Taferner the snuck through Jones pads, Taferner’s first collegiate goal in his young career.

Santa Rosa would show some resilency though, scoring on a 5 on 3 power play after a blast from the middle of the ice by Blake Johnson beat Erik Alvarado over the glove hand, evening the score at 1-1. Santa Rose would score again with less than a minute remaining in the first period when Matt Katicich sniped one past Alvarado to give the Bears a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.

Santa Rosa would push the lead to 3-1 before Danny Bello was able to find Tucker May in the slot, beating Jones for the second Cougar goal of the night, closing the gap to 3-2.

From there on it would be all Santa Rosa as COC would find themselves in penalty trouble for the rest of the game, allowing Santa Rosa to score 5 unanswered goals in route to an 8-2 victory over the Cougars.

COC Hockey travels to Arizona Saturday and Sunday to take on ACHA Division II Arizona State in a two game series.

Hart, Valencia and Golden Valley explode on offense in victories

Hart vs Santiago Canyon (Played at COC)

Hart’s offense continued to roll as they extended their winning streak to three games, after coming from behind to beat Santiago Canyon 52-35.

Brady White passed for seven touchdowns on the night, tying his own school record.

Nelson James ran for 201 yards and a touchdown while also catching three touchdowns for 51 yards.

With the win the Indians move to 3-2 on the season, .150 percentage points behind first place Valencia in the Foothill league standings.

Valencia @ Santa Monica

The Vikings picked up their third win of the season to put them on top of the Foothill league with a 35-0 shutout of Santa Monica.

Quarterback Cole Parkinson threw for a pair of 40 plus yard touchdown passes while Jay Jay Wilson added two rushing touchdowns to help Valencia overwhelm Santa Monica.

Brandon scored what was ultimately the game winning touchdown on an opening drive 17 yard TD rush as the Vikings never looked back.

Valencia will look to hold on to their Foothill league lead with a tough test against Centennial next week.

Golden Valley @ Hawthorne

Golden Valley snapped their two game losing streak with a 28-0 drumming of Hawthorne.

The Grizzlies improved to 2-2 on the season after the big win on the road, improving to 2-0 away from Harry Welch Stadium this season (Golden Valley plays all home games at Canyon High).

Golden Valley will look to improve their record further and pick up their home win against Chatsworth Charter next Friday.

Canyon @ St. Francis

Canyon looked to win its third game in a row, but faced a stiff test from #25 ranked St. Francis on Friday night.

The Cowboys would get out to an early 6-0 lead, but the St. Francis offense would light up the scoreboard in the second quarter with three touchdowns, putting Canyon behind 28-18 at the half.

The teams would trade blows for the rest of the game, with St. Francis ultimately coming out on top 49-32, stopping the Cowboys two game winning streak.

Miles Fallin threw for 309 yards in the loss for the Cowboys.

West Ranch vs Oxnard (Played at Valencia HS)

West Ranch couldn’t quite recapture the magic from a few weeks ago, dropping their second straight game, this time in a close one to Oxnard.

Both teams scored on their opportunities, with the game ultimately coming down to the wire,  as West Ranch came from 14 down at one point to make it close, but Oxnard would win the game 28-21, dropping West Ranch to 2-3 on the season.

The Wildcats will look to end their two game slide in its first league game of the season against the Saugus Centurions on 10/10.

Cougars volleyball sweeps Long Beach City College in 3 sets

In their third-to-last preseason game of this season, The Cougar Girls volleyball team swept Long Beach City College with scores of 25-15, 25-19, 25-13.  Throughout the match, the collective team had 39 kills, and only 9 errors. Sophomore Serena Leduff, contributed 12 of those kills.

Next Friday the Lady Cougars will be playing at Ventura, and the following Wednesday Oct. 3, the girls will be having their last preseason game at home against Allan Hancock at 7 PM.

Canyon, Hart, Valencia show offensive power

Canyon puts up 35 points to drop former Foothill League foe

The Canyon Cowboys and Burbank Bulldogs brought some nostalgia back to the Santa Clarita Valley in an original Foothill League matchup.

Canyon got off to a fast 7-0 start, scoring on their third play from scrimmage on Isreal Cabrera’s 50-yard catch and run.

The teams would trade blows heading into the half, knotted at 14 points apiece.

Canyon got a huge lift to start the second on Markeill Taylor’s interception which cleared the way for a Liam Cabrera touchdown catch — his first of two for the night.

Miles Fallin had three touchdown passes while Myron Mcafee added a late touchdown run to lift the Cowboys to a 35-21 victory.

Valencia offense scores at will against Highland (Click for Highlights)

The Vikings looked strong from start to finish in a big 42-12 victory over Highland.

Stone Jackson rushed for a touchdown, aiding Valencia in a game to control the clock as they pushed themselves to a 2-1 record on the young season.

The Vikings positioned themselves nicely before Foothill League play starts in October.

Hart shows well-roundedness in Muir route (Click for Highlights)

The Indians continued to show off their strong offense and defense with a 40-7 drumming of Muir High School.

Nelson James led the Indians offense with two touchdowns during the game as a stellar defense picked up speed after allowing an early Muir touchdown.

The defense eventually shut them out for the remainder of the game.

The Indians face another stiff test next week as they take on Santiago (3-1) at College of the Canyons.

Saugus struggles on both sides of the ball against Ventura (Click for Highlights)

The Centurions were looking to get back to .500 before handing Ventura their first loss of the season, but things did not go as planned.

The game started as a back-and-forward affair, but Ventura eventually took over, putting up 48 points while stalling the Saugus offense in route to a 48-14 victory.

West Ranch attack goes dry in loss to Thousand Oaks

Thousand Oaks would defeat their second Foothill League team of the season, this time in a very low-scoring 14-0 game over West Ranch.

The Wildcats offense failed to amount much of an attack — to the disappointment of fans — after putting up 43 points against Knight a week earlier.

The road may get slightly easier for the Wildcats though as next week they take on Oxnard (1-1).

Valencia falls to Chaminade; Hart, Saugus, West Ranch, Canyon roll

Valencia vs #7 Chaminade
The Valencia Vikings traveled down the 405 to take on the #7 Chaminade Eagles Friday night.

The Vikings started the night off strong, scoring on their opening drive as quarterback Cole Parkinson ran to plow his way into the end zone from seven yards out.

That was the closest Valencia came to winning as Chaminade put up 28 unanswered points including two touchdown runs from Okalani Langi, carrying the Eagles to a 38-20 victory.

Paraclete vs Hart
Brady White and Blake Fall gave a big performance for the Hart Indians as they took on Paraclete at College of the Canyons.

White and Fall connected for two touchdown passes to help Hart out to an early lead.

White passed for an additional touchdown late in the fourth quarter lifting the Indians to a 49-17 victory.

Knight vs West Ranch
Jackson Clark filled in well for starter Chase Killingsworth, passing for two touchdowns during the Wildcats 43-12 victory over Knight.

Tyler Mouw and Kyle Klippenstein scored touchdowns for the Wildcats, while the defense held Knight to zero points during the first half.

Other Foothill League Scores

Canyon defeats Eastside, 28-7

Saugus defeats Buena, 63-35

Crescenta Valley defeats Golden Valley, 48-27

COC Diving program interested in new students

COC’s Spring Board Diving program is looking for more students interested in learning to flip and twist from 1 and 3 meter spring boards into the pool this current Fall Semester, and then join the competitive team in the Spring Semester.

Any full time students with prior experience in diving, trampoline, gymnastics or tumbling are encouraged to sign-up for the current Fall Semester Swim/Dive Intercollegiate Training Class KPEI 280B from 12:50pm to 2:10pm, and start practicing at the COC indoor heated pool on the Valencia Campus.

Last year, College of the Canyons had two freshman divers, Peighton Hall and Luke Wesselhoff, qualify and compete for COC at the Conference and State Championships.

For those interested in more information, stop by the COC pool located in the West Physical Education Building Monday through Thursday between 12:50pm and 2pm or contact Assistant Swim Coach Dan McCann at danmccann@sbcglobal.net or (818) 437-7067.

The deadline to add the class is this Friday.

Spotlight: Baseball! The Exhibition

Come out and relive baseball’s history with Baseball! The Exhibition currently on display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum while you can.

The exhibition celebrates the great American pastime by showcasing artifacts- including the first balls, bats, gloves and uniforms ever used- to bring the history of the game to life right before your eyes.

This 12,000 square foot exhibition with over 700 artifacts, including some of the rarest, historic, and iconic baseball memorabilia from the largest known private collector in the U.S., as well as rare artifacts related to Ronald Reagan and baseball from his days calling Chicago Cub games featured, will only be on display until September 4, 2014.

“However, if it looks like the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to the World Series there is a consideration we might try to keep it open longer,” says Andrew Wulf, curator at the Ronald Reagan Library.

With some of the most iconic pieces of baseball history that guests will not find anywhere else in the world, such as Joe DiMaggio’s record setting ball that drove his 56 game hitting streak and Babe Ruth’s 1939 uniform from when he coached the Brooklyn Dodgers for a year to the rarest and most valuable of all baseball cards, there is something for everyone to enjoy regardless of which team you call your own.

However, there is a special section featuring the history of the Brooklyn Dodgers and their legacy in Los Angeles.

“One of the most special aspects of this exhibition is a very large section on the history of the Brooklyn Dodgers, how they started as originally the Trolley Dodgers- that was their original name because people had to cross the trolley tracks to get to Ebbets Field and it was very dangerous- all the way up until their move to Los Angeles in the late ‘50s,” says Wulf.

The Dodgers have always been innovators of the game since their days in Brooklyn. In 1939, the Brooklyn Dodgers were the first televised team. In 1941, they were the first to use batting helmets for safety reasons, and they were the first team to move to the West Coast in 1958. Yet, most historically, they are known for being the first team to field the first African-American Major League ballplayer, Jackie Roosevelt Robinson, in 1947, thus ending sixty years of segregation in baseball.

Wulf notes, “One of the main themes we wanted to address… was the history of segregation in baseball, and also the history of integration in baseball. We do have very robust sections in the exhibition on the Negro Leagues and other leagues that were not connected to Major League Baseball but were filled with Major League players who, some say, were better than MLB players. And the Jackie Robinson section shows the transition from the segregation of baseball and then integration, where a lot of these other leagues disappeared because all these great players were now playing with each other and against each other at the same time.”

Baseball fans of every age, die-hard or not, will enjoy the exhibition. “It’s a great place to visit, you’ll see baseball material you won’t find anywhere else, even in Cooperstown, New York.”

A ticket into the museum will get you in to see all that the Ronald Reagan Museum has to offer, and includes Baseball! The Exhibition. The Reagan Museum is open seven days a week, 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. every day. For ticket pricing and more information log on to www.reaganfoundation.org.

The man behind Top Out Climbing Gym

By Shannon Leopold

Rock climbers have a reputation for humility. Alex Honnold, one of today’s greatest free soloists has been dubbed by fellow climbers as Alex “no big deal” Honnold for his overwhelming modesty. George Mallory, one of the first men to climb Mt. Everest, replied with a shrug and a “because it’s there” when asked why he wanted to make the summit in 1922. Howard Konishi, owner of Top Out, Santa Clarita’s first and only climbing gym, is no exception.

Howard, or “Howie,” as he’s affectionately known around the gym, has single handedly brought together a community of climbers within Santa Clarita. He’s based his entire management of the gym around it’s slogan, “Where Climbing and Community Come Together,” and it’s clear that Top Out has a special way of bringing people together because, in just one year, it’s membership has grown to more than 400 climbers.  Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 9.07.53 AM

Konishi grew up in West Garden Grove of Orange County, but it wasn’t until he was a student at UC Irvine in the late 90’s that his climbing really took off. After taking a beginner’s class with a friend, he was determined to improve. “Whatever I do, I obsess about getting better at it. So rock climbing was just one of those things.”

Rock climbing is often described as a cerebral sport. So, climbers are often quick thinkers, and don’t shy away from a mental challenge. So it’s no surprise therefore, that Konishi would once earn a living playing professional poker. “I did that for just over four years. I was playing over the internet.”

However, in February of 2011, the U.S. government shut down online poker sites on a day that would become deemed “Black Friday” by professional players. This forced Konishi to play the casino circuit for a few months only to decide that he didn’t like the atmosphere of casinos, and knew he wanted to be surrounded by positive people.

He decided then to focus on his love of the outdoors and began leading backpacking trips through Yosemite. “It grew on me that I really liked to expose new things to people.”

It wasn’t until July of 2011 that the idea of opening his own gym occurred.

“At the time, I had a membership at Rockreation in Costa Mesa and I knew that the market for climbing gyms was still growing. The demand of it just didn’t meet the supply.”  So Konishi took out a map and plotted all the points within a three-hour driving radius where there were existing gyms, searching for pockets that may have potential. Santa Clarita was one of those pockets.

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 8.23.02 AM“Santa Clarita is very athletically minded, and it’s far enough away from metropolitan areas. There’s not as much stuff to do here for young adults, which is my main demographic,” he said. “It’s also nice that there are so many colleges around the area. From COC, which is one of the largest growing community colleges in the state, to Master’s College and Cal Arts, as well as Cal State, Northridge, which is only 15 minutes away,” he said. Knowing students would be using the facility, Konishi has implemented special pricing for students. Students can get a one-day pass for $14, $2 dollars off the regular price of $16 and a monthly membership for $65, down from $75. Top Out also offers a $7 matinee price Monday through Friday before three.

Konishi wanted to be able to provide Santa Clarita with a large facility that would be accessible to everyone and could last for years. “That was really my goal here, to create something long term and cultivate a community. I’m in it for the long haul.”

Konishi recognized that there wasn’t an existing climbing community and had big ideas on how to change that. “The thing with rock-climbing gyms, is that you don’t find success in catering to existing climbers. The whole secret for climbing gyms is to bring people in and then turn them into climbers. Which is ultimately what I wanted to do.”

Even with big ideas for the community, as a business, Top Out has exceeded Konishi’s expectations. “I figured that it would probably take a few months to break even. My projection was really within three to four months we might break even. However, we broke even our second month and haven’t had a losing month since.”

Beyond numbers, Top Out’s real success comes from Konishi’s unwavering determination. “Whenever I go for something, I just go for it, and I will not stop.” It’s with this mindset that Konishi has been able to build something great and truly the first of it’s kind within Santa Clarita. Of course if you ask him his secret, he’ll reply with a shrug, a smirk and tell you “It was just a matter of trusting my instincts, looking at my data, and just making the decision to go for it.”

 

 

 

 

Spotlight: Michael Hamilton

After suffering a rotator cuff tear in his right shoulder, Santa Clarita native Michael Hamilton decided to change his dream of pursuing pro-baseball for becoming a deputy in the Sheriff’s Department.

Hamilton started playing baseball at an early age when his father first signed him up to play, and he stuck with the sport in high school all the way through college.

It wasn’t until college that Hamilton started playing the position of pitcher, and scouts for the professional teams started to take an interest in his abilities.

“It was pretty cool to think that I was actually good enough to be looked at by a scout for the pros,” he said.

Originally he started playing for Valley College in Burbank and later transferred closer to home to play for College of the Canyons until he got injured.

After his right pitching arm healed, Michael was recruited to play for Mission College, where he ended up playing his remaining years of baseball.

It was then that Michael decided to apply for the Sherriff’s academy. “I went in there prepared, did my research, talked to people who had been in the academy before, so I knew what to expect. I knew how to prepare myself, mentally and physically.”

At 24 years old, Hamilton recently graduated from the academy at the top of his class. As for his future in law enforcement he says he is “not sure yet, whether it’s going down the path of staying deputy or whether it’s going into a different field in the Sheriff’s Department. Maybe I may want to be a crime scene analyst.”

Hamilton is proud of how far he has come and believes success can only be achieved by working hard. His advice for others is to make sure “you actually did something with your life, you didn’t sit around and let life pass you by.”

Amgen Tour races from Newhall to Mountain High

Colombian Esteban Chaves conquered the mountains and the 100 degree temperatures to win stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California as Sir Bradley Wiggins retained his overall race lead.

The 99.4 mile leg began in Newhall before turning north toward Palmdale, and  finished at the Mountain High ski resort.

Tomorrow the race begins in Santa Clarita for a second straight day and ends in Pasadena.

Temperatures which have hit 100 or higher the past three days are forecast to cool to 86 degrees on Saturday.

 

Valencia swims to 1st ever Foothill League title

For the first time in school history, the Valencia boys and girls swim teams won the Foothill league title today with an historic sweep of Hart.

The Valencia boys outpaced Hart 513 to 501 while the Viking girls walloped the Indians 513 to 437.5

Although Saugus never challenged the top of the standings, Abby Weitzel broke two meet records in the 100 free (49.11) and 100 back (54.98).

Weitzel was named girls swimmer of the meet, while Valencia’s Jessie Kim and Hart’s Matt Johnson shared the honor.

 

 

Lil’ Kings make hockey fun at Ice Station Valencia

Since the Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup championship in 2012, hockey has once again been on the rise in Southern California.

With that rise in popularity, the LA Kings Fan Development Department saw an opportunity in 2013 to grow the game of hockey even more, introducing the Lil’ Kings learn to play hockey program.

The program was started in six rinks with 180 kids participating and, in just one year, has grown to 14 Southern California rinks with over 500 kids participating.

“It’s great for the kids, they have a blast out here,” says Ice Station Coach Larry LeVasseur. “They learn a lot, keep out here playing hockey and we love it.”

Along with the program’s growth, its sponsorship has also grown as Los Angeles Kings Captain Dustin Brown, along with CCM and Hockey Monkey, all have pitched in to help. Each participant is provided with equipment from CCM and is fitted at the Hockey Monkey retail store in Corona, California before heading out for the first of six practice sessions at his or her local rink.

In the case of the Ice Station, the Junior A Valencia Flyers also pitch in to help, providing players to come out and help teach the kids.

“It’s a lot of fun helping out these kids learn the game that I love,” says Luc Whyte, center for the Valencia Flyers.

“They are all learning how to skate and it’s pretty fun,” says Flyers Captian Austin Ehrlich.

The kids do have fun, so much in fact that they cannot wait to get back to the rink each Saturday morning.

“He is so excited,” said Xiomara Murtishaw about her son. “He gets up every Saturday and wakes his daddy up and asks if he can go to hockey.”

That is what the LA Kings’ plan was from the start, to get kids excited for hockey and make hockey fans for life.

Indy car series visits Southern California

Start your engines! On April 11-13, Long Beach will host the 2014 Indy car series Grand Prix.  The 40th edition of the Long Beach Grand Prix will offer spectacular racing events over the weekend, including racing, family fun, and live concerts.

Those in attendance will be able to experience the Indy Car Series from Honda and Chevrolet driven cars by famous Indy car drivers Marc Andretti, the son of the  legendary Mario Andretti, and Helio Casttroneves.

Racing fans will also witness The Celebrity Race, a ten-lap charity race featuring Hollywood movie and television stars.   Celebrities such as American Sprinter and Olympian Carmelita  Jeter, actor Adrien Brody and model actress Tricia Helfer will take to the track for the charity race to benefit the Miller Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Along with this will be the Tudor United SportsCar Championship.

The experience at the Long Beach Grand Prix also features various showcase. The Lifestyle Expo will have more than 150 displays showcasing products for entertainment, automotive, recreation and travel.  The Green Power Prix – View will display cutting edge technology such as hybrid, electric and biodiesel cars.  Another showcase is the “Mothers Exotic Car Paddock” , where cars from companies such as Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Lotus will be displaying the newest in high-tech exotic cars.

Not only will you experience everything from cars and racing, but later in the evening, you will be able to enjoy some live performances. The Tecate Light’s Fiesta Friday concert will have performances by the latin-based band called “Kinky” from Monterrey, Mexico.  The Saturday performance will have Bad Company’s Paul Rogers, famously known for selling multi-platinum albums with hits like “Shooting Star” and “Can’t Get Enough” through the band.

In addition, the The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will offer an array of great food. Fans will we able to choose their meals from Food Trucks that will offer gourmet food, McManis Wine Bars created by the McManis Vineyards and Club Patron, who will be serving the Tequila drinks over the weekend.

If you’re looking to have some additional family fun, then you won’t want to miss the Family Fun Zone.  This is a section where you can experience all sorts of things like racing simulators, rock climbing walls, video games, action sports and go-kart racing.

 

 

5 might be COC men’s golf lucky number

The College of the Canyons men’s golf team is really making a statement this season.

The team is currently number one in Southern California and number one in the Western State Conference with a 40-2 record. COC men’s golf team has won the WSC four consecutive years in a row. Coach Gary Peterson along with the team has no doubts that this year will make it number five.

“We’re very confident we have the right players, we just have to peak at the right time,” coach Gary Peterson said.

Golf has prospered in Santa Clarita Valley for a long time and that has fed the team from the beginning. With the men’s golf team progressing throughout the years it has truly allowed the program to shine and become well known in many countries.

“The variety of international players with the local players is absolutely wonderful,” Peterson says.

Sidney Wolf the team’s number one player with an average of 72.4 with his best score of the season being a 67, shot at Santa Maria Country Club. Wolf is an international player from France with hopes to join the PGA Tour.

The team with travel to Marshall Canyon Golf Course for the seventh conference tournament Monday, April 7.

Feature: Sarah Ehrsam

College of the Canyons is well known for its top notch athletic programs. With volleyball, football, basketball, soccer, softball, cross country and golf all winning conference back in 2013, it is proven that COC sets its standards with highly competitive student athletes.

Competing at such a high level, it is necessary for athletes to put hours into practice and conditioning to ensure that they are as game ready as possible.

Although the athletes at COC have received recognition for their outstanding achievements on the field, their achievements could not have been done without the help of the people working off the field or in the training room: the athletic trainers.

Sarah Ehrsam is head of the athletic training department at College of the Canyons. Sarah is responsible for the medical care of every athlete at COC.

“I work daily to prevent, assess and treat injuries when they occur,” Ehrsam said.

“I develop and oversee rehabilitation programs for injured athletes, educate athletes concerning their injuries, decide on participation restrictions for injured athletes, as well as determine when it is safe for them to return to full participation.”

Ehrsam also talks with coaches and doctors regarding the athletes’ injuries and participation status, applies athletic taping and bracing before practices and games, sets up water on fields and courts as needed, provides practice and game medical coverage, manages and treats emergency situations as they arise and supervises her athletic training students as they practice the clinical techniques they are learning in her class.

Although injury can be devastating, taking an athlete from their point of injury, developing a treatment plan and seeing them return and excel on the court or field is the most rewarding part about being an athletic trainer, according to the department head.

Ehrsam loves working with her sports medicine students to figure out if this is what they want to do.

She helps them create a plan to achieve their goals, which includes helping them get into an accredited athletic training education program.

“The type of student that will excel in athletic training is someone who enjoys sports, perhaps is a little competitive themselves and finds the body and medicine fascinating,” Ehrsam said.

“Athletic training is a fast-paced, results-oriented profession. It’s a lot of fun, but definitely not for everyone.”

Valencia baseball coach placed on leave

Long time Valencia Vikings baseball coach Jared Snyder has been placed on leave according to Hart District Public Relations Officer Gail Pinsker.

“The Hart School District confirms that Valencia High School assistant baseball coach, Michael Killinger has assumed the Valencia High School head baseball coaching responsibilities while Coach Jared Snyder is on leave,” a statement released Friday afternoon said.

Killinger will assume responsibilities for the remainder of the seasons after being an assistant under Snyder for the past 11 years.

Snyder has been the coach at Valencia since 1998 and has been instrumental in making the program one of the most respected in the CIF Southern Section. Under Snyder the Vikings have won eight Foothill League championships and been nationally ranked four times.

The story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Cougars bats come alive in 16-7 victory

COC Baseball has been on a hot streak lately, having lost only one game in their last eight outings prior to taking on the Bakersfield Renegades on Tuesday afternoon.

The Cougars jumped out to an early lead, something they would maintain throughout the game, with four runs on only one hit in the bottom of the first inning.

Bakersfield would keep it close until the bottom of the fifth when Justin Russell got his only hit of the ball game, a three run double to the left center gap past a diving Jake Verdugo, breaking the game wide open at 8-3 COC.

The Cougars would then put it out of reach in the bottom of the sixth inning with 8 runs after Roberto Ramos, Jose Harros, Chris Devery and David Oppenheim all drove home runs in the inning making the score 16-3.

Ryan Cruz worked six strong innings for the Cougars, allowing only three runs on seven hits while striking out seven in his fourth win of the season.

The Cougars will next head out on the road to take on league opponent Glendale on Thursday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.

Former College of the Canyons star football player released

NFL free agency is alive and well. Some players get signed to big contracts and get fresh faces with new teams, while others get released and search for a new team to call home.

The New England Patriots have released veteran defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga. Sopoaga was a former College of the Canyons star defensive tackle.

The 2011 inductee into the College of the Canyons Athletic Hall of Fame, transferred from Samoana High School in Pago Pago, American Samoa where he was a three-sport athlete. He lettered in football, basketball, and baseball.

In his sophomore season at College of the Canyons, in 2000, he recorded 31 sacks, which still stands as the single-season record in California community college football. In addition, he was named player of the league, which is unheard of from a defensive tackle.

His former Head Coach Chuck Lyon Said that “ when Isaac came to College of the Canyons, he was just learning how to play the game”. Lyons went on to say, “ he has really grown as a player and a person.”

Sopoaga transferred to the University of Hawai’i before being drafted in the 4th round by the San Francisco 49ers in 2004.

The move was was expected as the 32 year old defensive tackle was inactive for the team’s final two 2013 regular-season games and had only appeared in 6 games with 2 starts and was scheduled to earn a base salary of $3.5 million.

Sopoaga will still receive a $1 million guarantee for 2014 as part of the contract that the Patriots inherited when they acquired him from the Philadelphia Eagles On Oct. 29, 2013.

Lyon added that he hasn’t spoken to Sopoaga since his release but he expects him to be on a training camp roster for a team.

Community shows their support for Ballard at school board meeting

The sudden dismissal of Saugas Basketball Coach Derek Ballard has stirred an uproar within the community.

Dozens came out to voice their opinion on the matter Wednesday night at the Hart District School Board Meeting.

The school board stayed quiet and tried to contact Saugus High School to get any comment from them and Principal Bolde, but we were sent to voicemail with no response.

Mixed day for Cougar baseball and softball

Dylan Freyre connected for a grand slam in the 5th inning, to propel COC to a 10-4 win over West L.A. Thursday afternoon.

Robert Ramos also collected 2 hits and an RBI in the win.

Joseph Cloney earned his 3rd win of the season as he struck out five in 7 innings and allowed just 2 unearned runs.

COC improves to 9-8-1 on the season. The Cougars are on the road Saturday to take on L.A. Mission College in Sylmar.

In women’s softball action today, Citrus pounded COC 9-1.

Karlee Bickford’s  RBI single in the 5th to bring home Milana Casil was the Cougars lone highlight.

COC plays a doubleheader with Bakersfield next Tuesday.

Special Olympics to have two Santa Clarita athletes in USA Games

Saugus, Calif. – The Santa Clarita Valley is known to produce many athletes in a wide variety of sports. Whether it’s Matt Moore and Shane Vereen in the National Football League, Major League pitcher James Shields, or Olympian Allyson Felix, the foothill area has their fair share of athletes coming through town.

But two you might not know about have been practicing on the Saugus High Track in early spring for one of the biggest events around the world – the Special Olympics.

28 year-old Blaine palmer and 18 year-old Keegan Clark are members of the Santa Clarita chapter’s Track team for the Olympics, and have just been invited to the USA Games in New Jersey this summer. The invitation also is a preparation for the International games to be held in 2015 in the greater Los Angeles area.

The two will be performing in the 50M, 100M, and the 4 x 100M relay races, as well as the shot put.

While the stage may be big, Track coach Becky Sill knows that Palmer and Clark will be successful when the time comes.

“They’ll feed off of each other and really motivate each other,” said Sill on their preparation for the games. She also noted that the two will be in different age groups, which will double the excitement for the chapter when the two athletes represent Southern California.

Of course the news of being invited was an absolute thrill, especially for Blaine’s family.

When  the invitation became official, Blaine’s mom Adele Shoustal described the moment as “just [being] so excited” and that the family “couldn’t believe the opportunity. It was wonderful.”

If you have any questions regarding the Special Olympics local chapter, people can e-mail Becky Sill at becky@beckysill.com or look at the website at www.sosc.org/santaclarita.

Behind in the Count

Screen shot 2014-03-04 at 11.24.40 PMIn statistics, we are taught that numbers tell a story, and those numbers tell it like it is, because numbers never lie. However, sometimes the numbers on the surface don’t tell us everything we need to know. To find out the real story behind the 2014 Cougars baseball team, the numbers on the surface won’t tell you much.

Now, no matter how you break it down, 4-8 doesn’t bring the term “title contender” to mind, but this College of the Canyons team has played arguably the toughest schedule in the Western State Conference, and has lost those games by a combined average of 3.6 points.

“I think the guys will get the sticks going.” Said sophomore pitcher Ryan Cruz. “I know we have talent offensively, and at least we know we have one phase of our game going, and thats defense. So once we start heating up, we should be OK.”

Similar to last season, COC’s tough non-conference schedule cost them a strong early start, but managed to bounce back in conference play with a 12 game winning streak. With a strong and experienced pitching staff, the team seems to be a swing of the bat away from a turn around. Literally.

Like it is said, numbers do tell a story, and the story the Cougars numbers seem to tell is that they simply don’t hit well. Similar to their average margin of defeat, in their 8 losses, the team is averaging 3.2 points per game, with a .313 on base percentage, and just a .233 batting average.

“We’re not proud of the way we’re swinging the bats, but hey, it is what is.” Said sophomore center-fielder Nick Vigo. “We can’t expect to turn things around the way we did last year if we don’t start getting some runs. Last year our problem was pitching, and that improved midway through the year, and we got hot.”

Screen shot 2014-03-04 at 11.28.50 PM

Even in the teams conference opening win against Glendale College, the Cougars managed only three runs, and if it hadn’t been for Ryan Cruz’ solid pitching, a 3-2 win probably would not have been feasible. However, it is known in baseball that hitting is a lot easier to fix than pitching, and for COC, they know there is no need to panic with their current pitching staff. Currently, signs are pointing to yet another turnaround, and so is their confidence.

As they start heading into the meat of their conference schedule, the numbers will start to tell us their real story. While they may be 4-8-1, they are in fact 2-0-1 in conference play, a WSC title is still a possible outcome. However, the poor start will affect their seeding if they are to make the playoffs.

 

College of the Canyons debuts new Athletics website

 

College of the Canyons Athletics created a new website that focuses just on COC’s athletics department. This is the first time in school history that COC has created a new website that focuses just on their athletics department.

On this website you can find highlights of many Cougar athletes as well as links to YouTube where the school has its own channel.

The website showcases dates and time for upcoming events as well as the results of past games. For example users will see that the Cougar baseball team tied Allan Hancock 7-7 after 11 innings Thursday.

To see what COC athletics has done in the past there are YouTube videos you can find on the website.

The website also provides information on the athletic department, academics, history, recruiting, donations, who to contact, and lastly how to purchase athletic apparel.

There is  just about anything on this website about College of the Canyons athletics.

The website was created by Celina Baguiao, the Sports Information Director at College of the Canyons.  She is currently updating it everyday to make it an awesome website for the COC athletes to get recognized.

“College of the Canyons fans will have more access to their favorite teams than ever before, with the spring sports season right around the corner, now is the perfect time to become a College of the Canyons supporter”, said Baguiao.

 

Learn to play hockey in Santa Clarita

With ice hockey thriving in Santa Clarita, the Valencia Ice Station is offering a free program highlighting the fundamentals of the sport.

The Station currently offers a house youth hockey league consisting of different levels: a high school hockey league, a travel team and a junior level team — all of which can be a future career choice for those who start in the Hockey 101 program.

“Our goal with this program is to get more youth interested in ice skating and playing hockey enough to come back and join our other programs,” said Station Administrator Matt Robinson.

After signing up for Hockey 101, each player completes four weeks worth of lessons focused on ice skating, puck handling, passing and shooting.

This program is open for all ages, and is primarily aimed at skaters age 10 and under.

“There are usually 15 to 20 skaters at each lesson, between the ages of 4 to 8,” Robinson said.

USA Hockey certified coaches will lead the lessons Saturday mornings at 9 on the smaller pond rink.

Hockey 101 coaches are credentialed under USA Hockey’s Coaching Education Program, in which they complete age-specific training focused on the level of play they are coaching.

All equipment necessary to play will be provided on a loaner basis, along with a complimentary jersey.

A $150 security deposit will be the only requirement for the loan, which can be a bargain with the average price of new ice hockey equipment climbing as high as $800.

“Most of the equipment that we offer for the skaters taking part in Hockey 101 is donated from the youth players in our pewee level league who have grown out of their equipment,” Robinson said.

Robinson says skaters purchase the loaned equipment a better price, and the equipment is always in good shape for beginners.

Upon completing Hockey 101, a recommendation will be made of an appropriate level league for each player to join.

The recommendation “depend on the skill of the skater,” Robinson said.

“Sometimes they will need more practice on fundamentals and will join other lessons with coaches that are available.

“Some skaters will have learned quickly enough to join our squirt or pewee level house leagues.”

The Valencia Ice Station contains two indoor regulation-sized ice rinks and one smaller pond used for youth levels and practices.

The Station sports three ice rinks, roomy locker rooms with showers, as well as individual stalls and stations to fill water bottles.

Parents with children interested in learning to play hockey should call (661) 775-8686 or email hockeydepartment@icestation.net to reserve a spot in the program.

Indians to advance to the 2nd round in tournament play

The 2014 Foothill League Champion Hart Indians hosted the visiting Beckman Patriots from Irvine.

After finishing 8-0, the Foothill League champions were looking to keep their winning streak “alive with pride.”

The Patriots traded baskets with the Indians most of the first half, but it was Lewis Stallworth’s 18-point first half that contributed to the Indians 10-point surplus at the top of the second half.

Beckman’s Michael Yee drained five three-point shots in the game, but it wasn’t enough to slow down the Indians.

Stallworth and teammate Myles Franklin combined for 41 of the 92 points the Indians scored.

The Indians won with a final score of 92 to 61.

With the win, Hart advances to the second round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs. They host the Kaiser Cats Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Special needs hockey players skate in Santa Clarita

The Special Needs Athletes and Peers Valencia Flyers hockey team caters to the special needs community in the Santa Clarita Valley.

There are over 20 athletes involved in the program, each one learning at their own pace, but as much apart of a team as any normal athlete would be.

They skate out of Ice Station Valencia, across from Valencia High School, practicing on Saturday afternoons and playing games against other local special needs teams. There are a host of volunteers at practices and games, including local youth teams and the Junior A Valencia Flyers, from which the team takes their name.

The team is apart of the American Special Hockey Association, a group that provides both therapeutic and competitive hockey to over 60 programs around the United States.

The players are a dedicated bunch, making sure they work hard and listen to their coaching staff, while also attending developmental skating classes held during the week, simply because they love to play.

Each player develops something more then skill in the game, they develop a deep seeded passion for ice hockey that they can share with every single person that has every been involved in hockey, and that is something that can’t be measured.

Valencia goes on 15-0 start, blows out Canyon 81-49

It’s hard to watch your favorite team play when they are down. It’s even worse when it’s an 81-49 blowout.

For Canyon fans in attendance at the Valencia High gym on Tuesday night, the looks of sadness said it all. The scoreboard also said it too, especially in the third quarter when the Cowboys were down 75-46.

It was by all means a disappointment as the Valencia Vikings basketball team made the game against Canyon look like a practice.

An early run by the Vikings made it difficult for the Cowboys to catch up. However, the Cowboys came back to make it 18-10 in the first quarter. That was bout as close as they would get.

The Vikings would end the noght shooting 14 three-pointers, and were led by upperclassmen Nick Cromidas, Dakota Abbott, and Jaleel Howard. A combination of open looks from behind the arc, transition fast breaks, and ggod communication led

Valencia (16-4, 3-0) will face the Hart Indians and will be broadcasted on SCVTV late Friday night.

The Cowboys (18-2, 2-1) will host Saugus at home on Friday.

Valencia Girls Basketball cruises past Canyon 53-27

The Valencia Vikings Girls Basketball team looked to continue where they left off last year as Foothill League champions.

A dominating 53-27 win over the Canyon Cowboys did just that.

Freshman Kayla Konrad led the way with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists as Valencia remained undefeated in Foothill League action. Senior Sandra Ikeora also performed well with 11 points and eight boards off the glass.

The lady Vikings started off hot and could not be stopped. Missed rebounds by the Canyon squad caused for quick transitions and uncontested threes for Valencia, resulting in a 48% field goal shooting percentage for the purple and yellow.

The Cowboys were not so fortunate. Although captains Kali Vittallo and Delaney McCann performed well, it was not enough to dig themselves out of the hole caused by turnovers and communication errors.

The Vikings ( 13-6, 3-0) will host crosstown rival Hart this Friday, and the Cowboys ( 17-4, 2-1) will face the Saugus Centurions.

Hart of a champion

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Brady White is currently a senior at Hart High School, and 19 years of age. White is currently a junior at Hart High School and is 17 years old. It also stated that White received scholarships from 13 universities. White currently has two full scholarship offers. The rest are universities that have expressed an interest in him. This article has been updated to reflect those corrections.

Brady-WhiteHart junior quarterback Brady White has shown a lot of upside to college scouts. Enough upside that programs like Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, Cal, Stanford, Colorado, Washington, Oklahoma State, Florida, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, and Penn State have all shown a strong interest in him, and both Colorado State and San Jose State have already offered him full scholarships.

Choosing the right school is never easy. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration, and with so many schools keeping White on their radar, it seems like a lot of decision making for a 17-year old. But this isn’t your typical 17-year old high school junior. Along with his 103 overall QB rating, he holds a 4.0 GPA. And rather than sit back and fiddle through his long list of letters from one prestigious university after another, White was busy trying to capture his school’s ninth CIF championship. He did just that, but it took a more circuitous route than expected.

College scouts have already seen White’s ability to play the quarterback position at a high level.  There’s no doubt he can read defenses, fit throws into tight windows, launch bombs downfield, and move well in the pocket. But what remained to be seen was his ability to handle adversity, and lead a team to its pinnacle. As California’s No. 6 ranked team, there was no doubt this team’s pinnacle was a CIF championship. However, hopes for even a league championship deteriorated, when the team stunningly fell to rival Valencia 24-19, followed by an even more stunning 45-38 loss to Canyon.

“That was tough. Simply because we’re just not supposed to lose games like that. Big time teams don’t lose big games. And when they do, they know how to bounce back,” White said. “We didn’t do that. It was like the ultimate failure. You have an opportunity to assert your dominance [and] you come up short, and then lose the next week when you have an opportunity to show your resilience. It hurt.”

Rather than sulking, Hart had to set the knob to postseason mode the following week, and barring their disappointing regular season finish, the Indians were still one of the heavy favorites to win the city crown.

Brady White and company showed their resilience by winning their first three playoff games against Paso Robles, Palos Verdes and West Torrance, by an average of 25.6 points. In those three games, White threw for five touchdown passes, two interceptions, and a combined 554 passing yards.

In fact, in week two, White managed to throw for 490 yards, along with 7 touchdown passes, and 0 interceptions against powerhouse Chaminade. But this postseason wasn’t about statistics, it was about Hart following the leadership of their junior quarterback to a CIF title.

la-sp-sondheimer-football-20130726-001The trend continued in the CIF final in what turned out to be a rematch against league rival Valencia. For Hart, it was more than an opportunity to be named CIF champions, it was an opportunity to assert their dominance in the Foothill league. It was an opportunity for a scripted ending, not only for Hart, but for Brady White.

It has without question been an illustrious high school for the 6’2″ junior quarterback thus far, and apart from four interceptions, White managed to lead his team to a vengeful CIF championship, beating Valencia 28-21, with two touchdown passes, and 250 yards. Each of his interceptions seemed more costly than the next, but what he showed was his maturity to bounce back from each mistake.

The fifth-ranked quarterback prospect in the country has another year to add to his already high stock, and given the number of schools expressing their interest in him as a junior, he could be facing a long decision making process in the near future.

Peko overcomes junior college bias to flourish in NFL

By Kelly O’Linn

Playing football at a junior college once carried a stigma, but with about 100 players being drafted to the NFL from junior colleges around the country since 2006, that stigma has been overcome.

With NFL players like Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton playing ball at Butte-Glenn and Blinn (Texas) College before transferring to a university, recruiters are more willing to recruit JC kids than ever before.

There are several former Cougars that have made their way to the NFL. One is Domata Peko, starting defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Coming off a season as one of the leading interior tacklers in the NFL, Peko came into the 2013 season as a team leader with one goal in mind: the postseason.

In 2008, with two years still remaining on his original contract, Peko signed an extension with the Bengals through the 2014 season worth $30.3 million with $8.5 million guaranteed.

 

Former-Cougar, Domata Peko
Former-Cougar, Domata Peko

Since 2008, the Bengals have been a Top 10 ranked defense and continue to make big plays with Peko in the middle. With an opportunity opening up this year, Peko has also been seeing increasing time on the offensive side of the ball as a fullback. With Peko’s versatility on both sides of the ball, the former Cougar continues to make strides in the NFL.

NFL prospects were once looked down upon if they played at a junior college instead of playing their entire career at a four-year NCAA institution. “The stigma is that when a player leaves high school and goes to a community college first, that there’s something wrong with them,” said Chuck Lyon, athletic director and former head coach of Peko at COC.

“The stigma is maybe they’re not big enough, maybe they’re not strong enough, maybe they don’t have the discipline to handle the Division 1 program right out of high school, and a lot of them are just flat out not true.”

Peko was big, fast, strong and he played mean, all of which made him a stand out player.

As COC continues to work hard to produce top-notch junior college athletes, Peko is just one from a group of former Cougars that made it to the NFL. The list of players, former and current, is in the double digits. Some of the notable players include: JJ Arrington (Arizona Cardinals), Jonathan Fanene (Bengals), Jason Pierre-Paul (New York Giants), Mychal Rivera (Oakland Raiders) and Isaac Sopoaga (New England Patriots).

Peko was born in Los Angeles and started playing football in the third grade.  After moving to Samoa at a young age, Peko played various sports, mainly rugby and basketball. Before his senior year, Peko decided to put the other sports aside and play football.

After a strong year in Samoa and no offers from a four-year institution, Peko moved to California to attend COC. With friend and future NFL teammate Jonathan Fenene attending COC the two years prior, COC was not a hard choice to make. “We had some Samoans on the team at that time and we had a coach that is from a Samoan background, there really was no recruitment process, he just kind of showed up,” said Lyon.

“Domata came in as a weak, 230 pound lineman and left as a very strong, 295 pound athlete who could run like a linebacker. We knew he would be as dominant at the next level as he was at our level when we played for a state title his sophomore year,” said Robert dos Remedios, head strength and conditioning coach at COC.

While at COC, Peko was an All-American and was selected as one of the nation’s Top 50 junior college players. He recorded 62 tackles as a sophomore and led the Cougars to an 11-1 record. Peko finished the 2003 season earning first-team All-Western State Conference honors and was selected as Western State Conference Northern Division Player of the Year.

Peko was a two-year starter at COC before transferring to Michigan State. In 23 games at Michigan State, Peko recorded 67 tackles and earned All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention.

The Bengals selected Peko in the fourth round of the 2006 draft and with hard work, Peko has become one of the better nose tackles in the NFL.

“I know the conditioning coaches who train him in the off-seasons and they tell me he is one of the hardest working pros they work with. Never misses a session and is always trying to better himself for the next season,” said dos Remedios.