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HERicanes win Girls' ORD championship

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Earlier this month, Ashley Johnson (No. 5) helped the HERicanes defeat the Aces in a hotly contested fifth and sixth grade championship game held by the Ojai Recreation Department. Despite the stellar defensive efforts of Naya Stroud (No. 10), the HERicanes went on to win the championship game by the score of 25-9. (photo by Holly Roberts)
© Ojai Valley News, 2014

Latest sports

Ranger pride: Baseball program misses playoffs but goes down swinging

With four games left in its season, the Nordhoff Ranger baseball team needed to win at least two games against the first- and third-place teams in the Tri-Valley League to get into CIF Southern Section playoffs.
Two weeks ago, Nordhoff traveled to Malibu to play the Sharks on their scenic ball field, located on a mesa with a view of the Pacific Ocean. Nordhoff senior Waite Tucker pitched a complete game, only allowing two earned runs. Unfortunately, Malibu’s pitcher threw an effective variety, keeping most Ranger hitters off-balance. Nordhoff was shut out, 5-0, and the
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Lady Rangers can’t advance in softball playoffs

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
After finishing the regular season tied for second place in the Frontier League, the Nordhoff High School softball team earned the right to host a playoff game against Whittier Christian from La Habra. Despite racking up 12 hits against the Heralds, the Lady Rangers ended their season with 14-4 loss. NHS went 13-11 overall on the season and 7-3 in league action this season. Despite not advancing past the first round of the playoffs, the Lady Rangers and their fans had a lot to be excited about. They will only graduate three players from this year’s team and their top pitcher, Sidney Wimpee, is only a sophomore. This season, Wimpee struck out 186 batters in 126.1 innings and she racked up 10 wins on the season.

Nordhoff tops Villanova in tennis to make it to CIF play

Lucy Martin, Ojai Valley News contributor
The Nordhoff High School boys’ tennis team finished regular-season play by defeating the Villanova Wildcats, 10-8, in their second meet-up of the season.
In singles play, Victor Becker, Elias Simon and Shawn Rothermel each won a set. Sweeping doubles competition were the No. 1 team of Mikel Elizalde and Dakota Martin, and the No. 2 team of Zach Howe and Andy Sanchez, with three wins each.
The No. 3 doubles team, made up of Devyn Straede and Tony Syzerson,
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Nice to meet you: Local scores big at US Masters event

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Photo submitted 
Local swimmer Ken Umholtz explodes out of the starting blocks at the National Championship meet in Riverside. 
Ted Cotti, Ojai Valley News correspondent
Ojai’s Ken Umholtz traveled to Riverside for the United States Masters Swimming Short Course National Championships the last weekend of April. He set two personal bests at the age of 65.
Competing in the 65 to 69 age division, Umholtz recorded personal
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Ojai soccer crew transitions

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Photo by Lydia Johnson
The current Ojai Valley Crew roster includes (from left) Koby Skillern, Trevor McCarthy, Elijah Robison, coach Todd Robison, Dylan Stone, Benjamin Fabbian, Yahir Calderon, Axel Jimenez, Mason Garnsey, Arturo Hernandez, Ernesto Velez, Owen Thorpe, coach Aaron Fabbian, and Logan Johnson. Not pictured are Jagger Pena and Kevin Rajapaksa.
Looking to play year round soccer, last year's AYSO U12 all-star team, Ojai Valley Crew, recently joined the club circuit as part of Ventura Football Club (VFC).
The Ojai coaches reportedly selected VFC because of its already strong commitment to Ojai soccer.
After having only practiced for two weeks, Ojai Valley Crew decided
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Snowbarger wins fourth straight title

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ted Cotti
Scott Snowbarger watches a tee shot during the Soule Park Men’s Club Member-Guest Tournament.
Ted Cotti, Ojai Valley News correspondent
Ojai’s Scott Snowbarger captured his fourth consecutive Soule Park Men’s Club’s Member-Guest Golf Tournament title recently, teaming with Eric Murphy to card a two-day, two-man, best-ball gross total of 136.
The pair edged Matt Murphy and Devlin Thomas, who also finished at 8-under, in
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Callender Cup competition is in full swing

James Casey, Ojai Valley News contributor
The Sundowner Golf League recently completed weeks three and four of its golf season. The team of Five Guys on Grass clings to a three-point lead over the field in its quest to take home the 2017 Callender Cup.
Five Guys on Grass has been led by the play of Dustin Baxley who has the second-most points of any player on the season. He has seen his handicap drop by two shots over four weeks of play.
The league’s top team has also seen teammates Ryan Howatt, Mark Robertson and Ryan Wolf
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Ventura County Sports Hall of Famer Cal Houston dies

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Photo submitted
Cal Houston (center), a longtime Ojai resident, helped transform sports in Ventura County and was elected to the Ventura County Hall of Fame for his efforts. 
Ted Cotti, Ojai Valley News correspondent
Longtime Ojai resident and Ventura County Sports Hall of Fame inductee Cal Houston died last week. He was 98.
“He’d slowed down the last couple of months,” said his son and former Ojai resident, Kent Houston, “but he wasn’t sick or anything. It was just flat-out old age.”
Cal died just a few months after his wife of 77 years, Dot, passed. She was 95.
“He’d taken care of Dot the last couple of years but died with all his faculties,” said
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Nordhoff’s track teams both end regular season with titles

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ted Cotti
Nordhoff High School’s Koby Pfonner clears a personal best 5-foot-6-inch attempt in the Frontier League championship track and field meet.
Ted Cotti, Ojai Valley News correspondent
Nordhoff High School’s girls’ and boys’ track and field teams earned the 2017 Frontier League titles at Ojai Valley Community Stadium May 4. The efforts were led by freshmen Carla Rodas, Jasmine Ramirez, Angelo Sorrentino and Koby Pfonner and juniors Jesse Kuehn, Harrison Gregory, Adam Budlong and Jillian Powell.
“For the girls, Jasmine took care of business as usual,” said Nordhoff head
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Ojai Rebels face off against AAU national champs

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Photo submitted
The Ojai Rebels prepare to tip off against the Amateur Athletic Union national champions from San Fernando.
The Ojai Rebels girls’ basketball team played in the Spring Fling Basketball Tournament at Moorpark High School April 22 and April 23. The girls went 1-3 on the weekend and played TVT, the defending Amateur Athletic Union National Champions  from San Fernando Valley.
The game was 12-6, with TVT leading at halftime. “It was by far the best half of basketball the girls had played to date,” said coach Mike Sedlak. TVT was led by center Mama Cece. The Rebels’ Kailey Lagos gave
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Mira Monte’s Velez honored by Rotary

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Photo submitted
Ernesto Velez, a sixth-grader at Mira Monte Elementary School, was recently recognized by the Rotary Club of Ojai as the Physical Education Project Student of the Month for April. His teacher, Peter Cable, nominated Velez. “Ernesto has been a model student all year,” Cable said, “always setting an example for his fellow students when it comes to sportsmanship and hard work. His calm demeanor and strong sense of integrity have made him a quiet leader amongst his peers. I don't doubt that we will be seeing great things from Ernesto in the coming years, both on the field and in the classroom.” For his efforts, Velez was awarded a certificate and a $200 award from Rotarians Bill Hatch, Marc Whitman and Ren Adam. Velez said a few words of thanks to the Rotarians and urged them to get out of their chairs and be active on a regular basis.

Weil Academy players make an impact at ‘The Ojai’

Tim Tuttle, Ojai Valley News correspondent
Weil Tennis Academy’s Fernando Fonseca, in boys’ 16 singles, and Takeyasu Seiguchi, in the boys’ 14s, were runners-up in the 117th Ojai Tennis Tournament during the last weekend of April. Seira Shimizu, in girls’ 18s, and Scout Mathews, in girls’ 16s, were semifinalists, making these four the top-performing Ojai players in the annual event.
Fonseca, a 16-year-old Brazilian, in his first Ojai tournament and first year at Weil, defeated Steven Ferry, of Corona del Mar, 6-4, 6-3, in the first round. He went on to best Eddy Yang, of Calabasas, 6-2, 6-1, in the second; Daniel Papacica, of Carmel, in the round of 16; Nadim Motaghedi, of Cerritos, 6-4, 7-5, in the quarterfinals and Henry Lovett, of
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117th ‘Ojai’ is in the books

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Photo by Holly Roberts courtesy of the Pac-12
With the Topa Topa mountains in the background, a USC player prepares for a match during the 117th edition of “The Ojai.” 
Tim Tuttle, Ojai Valley New Correspondent
USC’s Brandon Holt and UCLA’s Gage Brymer had divided their opening two sets and were preparing to play the third. It would decide the Pac-12 men’s team championship at the 117th Ojai Tennis Tournament April 30.
Logan Staggs had kept the Bruins alive, defeating Jack Jaede, 3-6, 7-5, 6-0, to make it 3-3. The only match remaining was between the No. 1 players for USC and UCLA. Holt, a freshman, had won the first set, 7-5. Brymer, a senior, took the second, 6-3. They were playing in front of a full house at the tournament’s iconic
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