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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VPS water polo wins its first CIF game

Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
The Villanova Preparatory School (VPS) girls’ water polo team continues to make history this season. After claiming the Frontier League championship last week, the Lady Wildcats entered the CIF Southern Section playoffs and hosted Saddleback Feb. 14. They came away with their first-ever CIF postseason victory.
The first quarter ended in a 1-1 tie, but then VPS started to pull away and went on to win 8-4. 
“We had great crowd support and it was a great environment for the girls to play in,” said head
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Two NHS wrestlers headed to finals

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Photo submitted
Mikaya Miles (center) will head to the CIF finals with a 39-1 record.
Nordhoff High School wrestlers Mikayla Miles and Esmeralda Zamudio recently qualified for the CIF State Championships, to be held Feb. 24 and Feb. 25 in Visalia. There were 155 schools and 436 girls represented in the CIF Southern Section girls’ championship wrestling tournament at which the pair qualified.
Miles went 5-0 defending her Southern Section title from last year. 
“She was outstanding, not giving up a single point in four of the five matches she wrestled on Saturday,” said NHS coach
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Ojai Classic raises $13,700

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Local runner David Kille won the 90-to-99-year age group again this year in the 2017 Ojai Classic Heart and Sole 5K race.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
The 2017 Ojai Classic Heart & Sole 5K/10K, benefitting the American Heart Association, was a huge success according to event officials. It raised more than $13,700 to help combat heart disease in the Ojai Valley. This was the 27th annual event and all have been chaired by Dr. Fred Fauvre.
In the 5K race, Brenda Guerrero ran away from the field and finished in 21:55, well ahead of second-place finisher Robert McDonald.
In the senior divisions, 94-year-old David Kille again reigned supreme while Ruth Milner ran a 47:04 to win
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Laver to be honored at Ojai Tennis Tournament

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Photo courtesy of Tennis Australia
Rod Laver (right) presents Roger Federer with a trophy at the Australian Open. Laver will be the 2017 Ojai Tennis Tournament honoree.
Considered by some to be tennis royalty, Rod Laver has been named the 2017 Ojai Tennis Tournament Honoree.
The only men’s player to ever win two calendar year grand slams (1962 and 1969) the Australian Laver was known during his playing days as “Rocket”
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Thacher, Besant Hill cruise to first-round wins

Ted Cotti, Ojai Valley News correspondent 
Senior Pierre Weil nearly recorded a triple-double to lead The Thacher School’s boys’ basketball team to a 77-47 CIF-SS first-round playoff victory over Laguna Blanca School Feb. 15 in Ojai.
Weil finished with 25 points, eight steals and sesven assists despite playing just three quarters — sitting out the final minutes of the second quarter and almost all of the fourth with things well in hand.
“Pierre’s off ball defense is incredible,” said Thacher head coach Jason Carney, whose squad improved to 13-5 on the year
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18 Weil students commit to NCAA schools

Weil Tennis Academy and College Preparatory School Academy founder and director Mark Weil announced that 18 of the school’s seniors have either signed early national letters of intent or officially committed on academic and/or athletic scholarships to continue their education and tennis careers at NCAA schools around the nation.
The students include Alexis Alvarez (Uruapan, Michoacán, Mexico) University of Washington, athletic scholarship; Brandon Lam (Westlake Village, Calif.) Indiana University, athletic scholarship; Connor Reardon (Orinda, Calif.) Linfield College (Oregon), academic scholarship; Hazuki Ogino (Ashiya, Hyogo, Japan)
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Father-son team wins fishing tournament

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Photo submitted
Local anglers Marc and Corbyn Mitrany took first place in the American Bass Association (ABA) tournament, held Feb. 4 at Lake Casitas. The father-son combination won the first-place cash prize despite Corbin being the youngest competitor in the field. The duo finished their day with 18.20 pounds of bass to outpace 20 other boats. The ABA will host five additional tournaments this spring and summer at Lake Casitas.

Matilija Lady Eagles basketball players finish strong

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In October, tryouts began for another season of Matilija Junior High basketball. The girls’ program had more than 30 athletes come to the two-day tryouts. With such a large number of players, the program thought it might have to make some tough decisions surrounding cuts, but that concern was put to rest as volunteer coaches stepped up and three teams were formed including a “development” team for some of the less-experienced kids who “just wanted to play.” Longtime coach Jack Smith volunteered to lead the developmental team. The Lady Eagles “A” team or varsity, had a tough start to the season, losing most of its games. But as the team jelled and played some great defense, the tides began to change. The Eagles won four of their last five games and made the playoffs. Decisive games against bigger schools from Ventura and Oxnard made the difference and two games were won by only three points. The playoffs ended last week with strong efforts in two games. The Lady Eagles nearly battled back in the fourth quarter against Balboa Middle School.

Lady Rangers seeking golfers

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Ojai Valley News photo by Holly Roberts
The Nordhoff High School softball program will be host its annual golf outing Feb. 19 at Soule Park with a 9 a.m. shotgun start. The cost is $125 and will feature beer from Topa Topa Brewing; lunch will be provided after the event at the Ojai Beverage Company. For more information, contact head coach Don Rodarte at 797-2147.

Villanova Prep soccer nets two wins over Bishop Diego

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Ojai Valley News photo by Holly Roberts
Villanova’s Iain Coyne (No. 10) splits a pair of defenders in a game earlier this season.
Sean Salomon, Ojai Valley News contributor 
The Villanova Preparatory School (VPS) boys’ soccer team made history Jan. 30 by recording its first league win in four years with a 5-3 victory over the Bishop Diego Cardinals.
The Wildcats ended a league losing streak that had lasted since 2013 when they recorded  a 3-0 win over Santa Clara.
Bishop Diego scored two goals early on in the first half, but a goal from senior Iain Coyne
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Nordhoff freshmen boys capture league title, go 17-3 overall

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Photo submitted
The future of Nordhoff High School boys’ basketball appears to be in good hands. Led by head coach Mike Probyn, the Rangers’ freshmen team finished its 2016-2017 season with a 17-3 record. In its two final regular season games, NHS beat Malibu, 59-37, and Carpinteria, 68-36. The Rangers ended Tri-Valley League play with a 9-1 record, with their only loss to St. Bonaventure. The two teams split their season series and will share the TVL freshmen championship.

Thacher shares basketball title with Foothill Tech

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Ojai Valley News photo by Holly Roberts
Thacher’s Pierre Weil goes to the hoop in a recent league game against the Cate Rams.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
The Thacher School boys’ basketball team won a school record nine games in a row before dropping its regular season finale Feb. 8 to Foothill Tech.
The Toads’ playoff future will be determined Feb. 12 when the CIF Southern Section postseason
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Lady Toads score upset win

Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
The Thacher School girls’ basketball team recently logged solid wins against Nordhoff High School, Cate and Grace Brethren to improve its overall record to 12-6 and 9-4 in the Frontier League.
The Lady Toads downed neighboring Nordhoff in a thriller, 39-36. In that game Thacher outscored Nordhoff 16-12 in the final quarter to win the back-and-forth game. Senior Jordan Perry led the charge for
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