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San Antonio students win Quickstart tennis event

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Willow Williams launches a forehand at “The Ojai” as part of the QuickStart Challenge last week. The event attracted 30 youth tennis players from local Ojai elementary schools. (photo by Holly Roberts)

The 114th Ojai Tennis Tournament was the perfect setting for the sixth annual Ojai Quickstart Tennis Challenge. The draw of 30 enthusiastic third-, fourth- and fifth-grade elementary school students participated in the 10-and-under match play.

Participants in last week’s event  represented several local schools, including San Antonio Elementary School, Ojai Valley School, Montessori School and Topa Topa Elementary  School.
Challenge participants played 10-point doubles matches. Winners advanced to the main draw, while runners-up moved into the consolation draw with single elimination thereafter. Every Challenge player left with a tennis bag, wrist band and a T-shirt, compliments of Gina Havelka and the Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA). The Ojai Valley Tennis Club provided trophies and two new Wilson tennis racquets for the winners of the main draw.
• Main draw winners: Roman and Belladora Moga (San Antonio)
• Main draw finalists: Kadin Mouderres and Jayden Winbury (Montessori School)
• Consolation draw winners: Ryan Farrell and Hayden Houseman (Ojai Valley School)
• Consolation draw finalists: Kevin McDonald and Matthew Bertin (Topa Topa School)
Funded through a grant received from the 2009 United States Tennis Association’s “Best Tennis Town” award, the Ojai Recreation Department now offers a free QuickStart Tennis program at schools across the Ojai Valley during the academic year. With additional financial support from the Ojai Valley Tennis Club — and help from volunteer coaches — the QuickStart program continues to encourage a love of the game by creating early success using age- and size-appropriate racquets, low-density balls, smaller courts and lower nets.
 “I want to thank the wonderful team of volunteers who helped organize this challenge including Kathleen Rogers, Jakob Vos and Leslie Gache and all the other volunteers who donate their time year round,” said Philippe Gache, Ojai’s QuickStart coordinator.
 For more information about the QuickStart Tennis Program, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (310) 651-0405.
© Ojai Valley News, 2014

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Deason finding his groove down the final stretch

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Photo courtesy of University of Arizona Athletics
Ojai native Cody Deason and the Arizona Wildcats are gearing up for another run at a College World Series championship.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports reporter
Cody Deason and the Arizona Wildcats baseball team appear to be rounding into postseason form and that is bad news for other Division 1 baseball teams. The Wildcats recently swept perennial powerhouse Arizona State for the first time since 1992 and it was Deason who earned the win May 20 to close out the series.
The former Nordhoff High School star went six innings, giving up eight hits while only
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Century ride coming June 3

Ojai Valley Rides Inc. will hold its 14th annual Ojai Valley Century June 3. Cyclists from all over Southern California will converge in Ojai for the ride that rolls through the Ojai Valley, Rose Valley and Lake Casitas and up the coast to Carpinteria and Montecito. The ride is open to the public and begins and ends in Ojai. Cyclists have several route options including a full century, half metric, double metric, metric and hammerhead century.
“Having ridden most of the 100-milers up and down the coast, this is the best century in California!” explained John Somerville, cyclist and longtime local Boy Scout leader. “The Boy
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Finding Nemo first in JTT

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Photo submitted
The 36th season of Junior Team Tennis found Nemo as champions after they ended with a 7-1 record. Nemo included (from left) Jules Thompson, Michaela Boydston and Xochil Zarate pictured with league organizer Rick Thompson.
Nemo finished a near-perfect season, beating We Are, 19-15, to finish 7-1 and capture first place in the 36th, and possibly final, season of Junior Team Tennis.
Jules Thompson, in her 14th and final season before she moves to
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Valley Strong teams live up to their name

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Photo submitted
The Valley Strong basketball program recently took teams to the Seaside Tournament in Ventura. After a tough first game against Team Edge, the eighth-grade team earned wins against The Kiddz 14U, 51-30, and VC Elite, 44-36, setting them up against Valencia Vanguard for second place. The game went back-and-forth and came down to a buzzer-beater floater by VC who won, 49-47. The eighth-grade Valley Strong team took third place. The seventh-grade team had wins over Rising Stars, 33-28, and the Conejo Quakes, 48-24, getting it to a second-straight championship game against Big Picture Athletics (BPA). The game was close until a late run by BPA resulted in a 47-33 final. The seventh-graders took second place. The teams were coached by Matt Murphy and Andy Flores. “We are very proud of the boys,” Flores said. “They worked, hustled, fought, but most importantly, never quit playing hard.”

Millie's Duffers make a move

James Casey, Ojai Valley News contributor 
The team of Millie's Duffers shot the highest point total of any team May 23 in the Sundowner Golf League to take a huge leap forward in the standings. The Duffers had struggled during the first four weeks of the season, but shot themselves into playoff contention by scoring a team-total 66 points.
The Duffers were led by the play of Robin Williams, who had four birdies on his way to shooting a gross round of 4-under-par 32. Williams birdied the first two holes and never looked back. His round was the lowest gross total of any player this year and earned him 22 points.  
Adrian Frape played his best golf on the season to match Williams' point
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Tennis pro honored for 21 years of service

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Ojai Valley News photo by Holly Roberts
Rick Thompson (right), the Ojai Recreation Department’s (ORD) head tennis pro, was given an encased tennis ball featuring the 117th Ojai Tennis Tournament logo. Thompson was recognized at this year’s event because he is leaving Ojai after 21 years. Thompson has been an integral part of Ojai’s tennis community, influencing many youths and adults. He was recognized and honored by Jakob Vos (left), chair of the Youth Tennis Committee of the Ojai Valley Tennis Club, and Sophocles Cotsis, ORD recreation manager. 

Spring practice gets under way for NHS gridders

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
Nordhoff High School football coach Lance Wiggins led his team onto the practice field May 22 as the Rangers kicked off their spring practice season. According to Wiggins, the team looks good so far and the program is gearing up for a successful 2017 season. In addition to the kickoff of spring practice, the Rangers will host their annual four-person scramble golf tournament fundraiser June 10 at Soule Park Golf Course. The cost is $125 per golfer and all proceeds will go to support the Ranger football program. For more information or to register a foursome, call event organizer Mike Dawkins at 340-1057.

Ojai Valley School stars in Quickstart Challenge

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Ojai Valley News photo by Holly Roberts
The 10th annual Quickstart Tennis Challenge took place during the Ojai Tennis Tournament. “We had 40 students from different schools including Sunset School, Montessori School, Oak Grove School, Ojai Valley School and Topa Topa School, it was very competitive and everybody had a lot of fun,” said volunteer Philippe Gache. This year’s winners were Austin Haase and Andrew Little from Ojai Valley School. Finalists included Hugo and Lucas Loewe, also from Ojai Valley School.

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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