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News from around the Ojai Valley

Ranger soccer team makes history

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Nordhoff won its first-ever CIF-Southern Section championship in boys’ soccer last week. They have also claimed three consecutive Frontier League titles. (photo by Ashley Wilson)

Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
After winning Nordhoff’s first-ever CIF-Southern Section title in boys’ soccer last Saturday, the Rangers were selected to take part in the CIF Southern California Division III tournament. In their first-round game, NHS faced a tough Sun Valley team and lost on penalty kicks.

The Rangers trailed 3-1 late in the game, but fought back to tie the game at 3-3. Head coach Robert Garcia said, “We thought we were the better team, but we had to play shorthanded after Conor Daly got his second yellow card. Our boys really played hard and fought back, but we lost a lot of steam late in the game because we were down a player.”
According to Garcia, the second call on Daly was a questionable one based on the physical style of play by both teams. “I have to stand up for my player and say that I thought the second call was not a good one. I felt bad for him and really think we would have pulled it off with him in the game.”
Despite the loss against Sun Valley, Garcia and company are not losing sight of the fact they had an amazing season. He added, “I woke up this morning and just thanked God for allowing me to finally win a CIF title. I am so happy for the boys and the school and the boys did not want this to end. When we were getting off the bus after our last game, they asked if we could still practice the next day. I think that says a lot about those kids.”
This season got off to a rocky start for the Rangers, who lost two key starters during the season due to academic issues. Without them, it took NHS some time to find its groove. “Losing those early games was hard but we just kept our heads up and then once league rolled around, we started playing well,” added Garcia.
This season, Nordhoff faced the following schools during the regular season: Buena (loss), Carpinteria (loss), Ventura (loss), Oxnard (loss), Rio Mesa (loss), Pacifica (loss), Camarillo (loss), Fillmore (loss), Oaks Christian (loss), Rio Mesa (loss), Palmdale (loss), Cabrillo (loss), Santa Clara (win), Grace Brethren (win), Villanova Prep (win), St. Bonaventure (win), Bishop Diego (loss), Santa Clara (win), Grace Brethren (win), Villanova Prep (win), St. Bonaventure (win), and Bishop Diego (win). In the postseason, the Rangers caught fire and faced: AGBU (10-0 win), Saint Monica (5-1 win), Southlands Christian (9-1 win), Sierra Canyon (3-0 win), and Vistamar (3-0 win).
Nordhoff was so dominant during their championship run that they outscored their opponents 30-2 en route to their CIF-SS crown.

 The Rangers outscored their opponents 30-2 en route to their first-ever CIF-SS title.
The final scores were: AGBU (10-0), Saint Monica (5-1), Southlands Christian (9-1), Sierra Canyon
(3-0), and Vistamar (3-0).

When asked what he wanted the Ojai community to know about this year’s championship team, Garcia said, “I want the Ojai Valley to remember this team and to realize how they went through ups-and-downs to get to the title. This team knew they could be good and they went out and earned the school’s first ever title. In my heart, I know this is one of the best, if not the best, soccer team to ever come out of the Ojai Valley and I want people to know that.“
The postseason accolades are sure pile up for the Rangers in the days to come, but Garcia noted that Oscar Ortiz was named the Frontier League’s Goalkeeper of the Year while Augie Andrade was the Frontier League Defensive MVP and Daly was the Frontier League Offensive Player of the Year.

Nordhoff High School soccer team roster

Augie Andrade
Conor Daly
Alex Torres
Dustin Boynton
Roberto Robles
Beto Carbajal
Oscar Ortiz
Diego Vasquez
Marcos Diaz
Ra'ad Abasi
Max BieLicki
Jules Pasco
Mike Robles
Finn Matte
Hudson Handel
Jay Inman
Garrett Woll
Coaches: Robert Garcia, Juan Maya and Cesar Gonzalez 

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Latest sports

The journey begins: Lady Rangers on the road to state wrestling championship

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Photo submitted
Michaela Howe (right), with coach Robert Hastie, made her tournament debut as a Nordhoff High School wrestler and claimed tournament MVP honors.
The Nordhoff High School (NHS) girls’ wrestling team kicked off its season Nov. 26 traveling to Carter High School in San Bernardino, where more than 300 wrestlers were in attendance.
“All three of our wrestlers to compete there are returning veterans trying to reach
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Nordhoff wins battle of Ojai against Thacher on Zaucha buzzer beater

Ted Cotti, Ojai Valley News correspondent
The Thacher boys’ basketball team did not trail for the game’s first 31 minutes and 58 seconds, but Nordhoff senior Josh Zaucha drilled a 24-foot jump shot with two seconds remaining to lift the host Rangers to a dramatic 58-56 non-league victory Dec. 6.
“It’s a set we’ve run a lot, and it’s always worked well, so I thought I’d be open,” said Zaucha. “Jon (Achee) set a good screen, Jake (Williams) drew the defense and I just had to knock it down.”
Thacher led by as much as 14 points in the first half behind the play of seniors Pierre Weil
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Wiggins, Nordhoff football looking ahead to 2017

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
The Nordhoff High School football team only won two games this fall, but team officials are optimistic that more wins are in their short-term future.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
For Lance Wiggins and the Nordhoff High School (NHS) Rangers football program, the 2016 season was not what they were hoping for in terms of wins and losses. After his first season as NHS head coach, however, Wiggins thinks the program is headed in the right direction.
“We had a very good exit meeting with the players and the administration and I think we came
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McArthur leads senior league turkey shooters

Dick McArthur recently shot a 64 to capture the low-net prize in the annual Soule Park Senior Men's Golf Club Turkey Shoot event.
Pinky Throckmorton (68) and Pete Shedlosky (78) were runners-up.
In other November tournament action, Dietmar Mages (69), Don Gluyas
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McNeil medals in World Games

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Photo submitted
John McNeil, of Ojai, stands on the winner’s podium with Joan McNeil after competing recently in the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah. McNeil, who competed in cycling, earned three silver medals. The Ojai resident competed in a 20K time trial, and raced around a 1-mile flat course at altitude. A total of 325 cyclists competed in the cycling events in various age groups. McNeil raced in the 75- to 79-year-old group. In total, more than 10,500 athletes from 34 different countries took part in the games. McNeil expects to ride in the World Senior Games again in 2017.

Nordhoff freshman hoop squad wins top prize in Ventura Tournament

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Photo submitted
The Nordhoff High School freshman basketball team, coached by Mike Probyn, won the Ventura County Classic Tournament Dec. 3 and Dec. 4. The Rangers defeated host Ventura in the finals to claim the championship. This year’s freshman squad includes (front row from left) Bailey Thompson, Shane Garcia, Edger Turcios, Christian Garcia, Chase Plott and Korey Stevens, (back row from left) Probyn, Henry Wilson, Carson Gross, Grant Booher, Matthew Rosen, Nikolai Mannes and Chase Gorell.

Weil Academy brings in Italo to launch track-and-field program

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Photo submitted
Weil Academy founder Mark Weil (from left) is joined by his new track and field team members Angie Ruiz, Molly Harrold, Tess Edwards, Claudia Adelman and head coach Ed Italo.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
In July, former varsity sprint and middle distance coach at Nordhoff High School (NHS) Ed Italo, joined Weil Tennis Academy as head track coach. Italo’s task was to add an
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Nordhoff hosting varsity basketball tournaments

Ted Cotti, Ojai Valley News correspondent
Nordhoff's boys' and girls' basketball programs will be hosting their annual varsity tournaments during the next two weekends. 
The 74th annual Nordhoff varsity boys' tournament opened Nov. 30 and continues
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Softball clinics offered

Six local high school softball players have been selected to be part of a national team that will travel to Italy for a series of games next summer.
Villanova Preparatory School (VPS) players are Tessa Bartholio, Rebecca Saucedo, Grace Davis, Sidney York and Annie Hyndman.
Representing Nordhoff High School will be Taylor Erickson.
In order to help pay for the trip, Team USA will host
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Youth softball sign-ups under way

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Photo submitted
Lexi Kehoe, Willow Williams, Hannah Ignacio and Marley Loza enjoy a break between softball games during last year’s Ojai Valley Girls’ Softball Association (OVGSA) action. The 2017 softball season is right around the corner and interested players can register at www.OVGSA.org or in person between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Dec. 3 at Sarzotti Park.

Thacher harriers take sixth in state meet

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Photo by Doug Kirkpatrick
Thacher runners Rico Lopez (from third from left), Ford Sharper and Colin Kirkpartick attack the Woodward Park cross-country course at the CIF state meet Nov. 26.
Ted Cotti, Ojai Valley News correspondent
Despite losing its top two runners from the group that finished seventh at State Cross Country Championships in 2015, The Thacher School boys’ team found a way to improve
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Thacher cross-country runners make a dash for state meet

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Photo submitted
Thacher junior Rico Lopez (right), shown here last season, helped propel the Toads to the State Championship Cross-Country Meet. Thacher continues to be one of the most successful distance running programs in California.
Ted Cotti, Ojai Valley News correspondent
The Thacher's School boys' cross-country team recorded the fastest team time in school history (81 minutes, 34 seconds) in Riverside Nov. 21, and the team placed fourth in its CIF-Southern
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Matilija volleyball crew achieves perfect season

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Photo by Tom Moore
The Matilija squad celebrates a point in late-season action.
The Matilija Junior High School volleyball program finished a perfect season by winning the championship of the Oxnard Recreation seventh- and eighth-grade girls’ volleyball league.
The final game of the tournament was a hotly contested match, played
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December 2016 Student Union

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Music Makers concert program - Bruce Hornsby
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Music Makers concert program
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