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Latest sports

Ruvalcaba, Wilson take top honors

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
Thacher’s Zanna Gulick-Stutz (left) and Nordhoff’s Natalie Rainwater race towards a loose ball in a Frontier League game this winter. Both players earned postseason honors. 
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
The Nordhoff High School (NHS) girls’ soccer team enjoyed a terrific winter season and captured the Frontier League title after going 11-2 in league play.
For their efforts, junior Maria Ruvalcaba was named co-offensive Player of the Year along with Fillmore High School’s Andrea Marruffo.
NHS head coach Matt Wilson grabbed Coach of the Year honors. 
Earning first-team All-Frontier League spots for the Lady Rangers were Ester Ruvalcaba, Leslie Perez and Sonya Perez.
Nordhoff’s second-team honorees include Ofelia Navarro, Carla Rodas, Elsa Callahan and Natalie Rainwater.
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Gem by Johnsen doesn’t result in win for Rangers

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
Nordhoff High School pitcher Parker Johnsen fires a pitch to the plate against Channel Islands in a non-league contest.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
After giving up an early earned run March 9 against the Channel Islands Raiders, Nordhoff High School (NHS) senior Parker Johnsen was able to right the ship and pitched a great game. Still, the Rangers were unable to capitalize and remain winless on the season.
With the final score 2-1, the Rangers had their chances.
“We left 12 runners on base and made some early season mistakes, but Parker pitched a heck of a game. After giving up the early run, he really settled down and the other run was unearned,” said head coach Lance Wiggins. 
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Walker and fellow tracksters compete at Ventura Invite

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Photo by Carl Huffman
Nordhoff High School’s Adrielle Walker competed in the varsity girls’ shot put event at the Ventura Invitational March 10 and helped her team to a 10th-place finish. Walker recorded a toss of 26 feet, 7 inches.

Senior men’s tournament winners named

Al Gross, Lonnie Gibson, Larry Memel and Bob Soares won their respective flights in the Soule Park Senior Men’s golf club’s annual memorial tournament.
The tournament is played the first week of March to honor all of the seniors who have played and been members of the club during its 50-year history.
In flight one, Gibson finished with a round of 66 while Earl Whetsell carded a 67 for the second-place finish.
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Ojai junior tennis players thrive in Claremont

Ojai junior tennis players and other local players from the Weil Tennis Academy performed well at the fourth annual Ramada Junior Satellite Championships in Claremont, Calif. March 3 and March 4.
In the girls’ 14-and-under draw, Sweden van Houten, of Ojai, survived a rain-delayed first-round match before upsetting the tournament’s top-seeded player in the semifinals, 6-1, 7-5.
She then defeated Sophie Thoring, of Pismo Beach, in the finals, 6-2 ,6-3.
In the girls’ 16-and-under draw, Justice Martin, also of Ojai, defended her No. 1 seeding by defeating the second-seed, Anaheim’s Charlize Panganiban, 6-1, 6-4, in the finals.
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Sundowner Golf seeking players

The 2018 Sundowner Golf League begins play in late April.
The storied Ojai league plays nine holes each Tuesday throughout the summer in a team format. Limited space remains.
Interested players can contact James Casey at 798-5252.

Melsness, Mang headline Villanova Wildcat baseball

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Ojai Valley News photo by Holly Roberts
Villanova’s Reagan Mang fires a pitch against the Carpinteria Warriors last season.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
This spring, the race for the Frontier League is wide open and Villanova Preparatory School (VPS) Wildcats plan to throw their hats in the ring according to head baseball coach Carson Brown.
“Bishop Diego and Foothill Tech were the top teams last year, but they both graduated a number of players, so it looks like the title is up for grabs and we’ll be right in the thick of things,” said Brown. 
This season, VPS has 20 players on the roster — eight of whom are freshmen — so they will be relying on their returning players for leadership and on-field production. 
“Reagan Mang and Ryan Melsness will be our top two pitchers and they will rotate at short stop. They are also our best hitters, so we’ll be relying on them pretty heavily this year,” explained Brown. 
Keon Moore and William McColgan also figure to be big contributors this spring for VPS. 
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Nordhoff softball squad hopes slow start will not last

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
Nordhoff High School softball standout Sidney Wimpee (No. 19) looks to make contact with a pitch in a game last season for the Lady Rangers.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor 
Despite getting off to a slow start this season, the Nordhoff High School (NHS) softball team is hoping to get on a roll once Frontier League action gets under way.
“We got off to an 0-and-2 start and then we’ve had four games canceled due to the rain, but the biggest issue we are dealing with is injuries,” said NHS head coach Don Rodarte.
According to Rodarte, the Nordhoff program is up in terms of numbers of players and they do have enough to field a junior varsity team, but they have four varsity-level players who have been sidelined by early season injuries.
“It’s been a little tough, but we have a great group of kids. We’ve also been forced to play some girls out of position, which has been difficult, but the good news is we’ll have a versatile team as the season goes on. It will be great to get everyone back on the field, though,” said Rodarte. 
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Local track squads all feel they are in the running

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Photo submitted
Nordhoff High School senior Jillian Powell throws the shot during last year's CIF-SS prelims. Powell is one of the top returners for the Lady Rangers, who are hoping to repeat as league champions.
Ted Cotti, Ojai Valley News correspondent
According to Greek philosopher Plato, “There is no harm in repeating a good thing.”
As such, Nordhoff High School (NHS) boys’ and girls’ track and field teams are excited about the challenge before them — to repeat as league champions.
Meanwhile, Thacher and Villanova — whose squads are not nearly big enough to score enough points to compete with the public schools more than twice their size — look forward to preparing individual athletes to win league titles and qualify for CIF.
“We’ve got a strong contingent of hurdlers, throwers and distant runners on the girls’ side,” said Nordhoff co-head coach Dave Settem, “and we’ve even got a couple of girls vaulting, so we’ll get some points there, too, which means we’re looking pretty good.
“Of course,” Settem continued, “Fillmore always is tough, but Cate may be closest with some super-fast kids, but I think we’ll get them (as well as Thacher and Villanova) with our depth.”
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Unity and chemistry driving NHS tennis success

Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
Nordhoff High School (NHS) boys’ tennis coach Todd Dickey is excited about this year’s team and for good reason. Through its first two matches this season, the Rangers are undefeated.
NHS topped Oxnard, 16-2, and then came back and dominated Channel Islands by the same score a day later.
“This is the deepest team I have had since 2011 and that year we won the league title,” said Dickey. “We have lots of great leadership and I think our biggest strength is that our kids have been playing together for a number of years. They know each other and trust each other.”
Most of the players in the NHS program came up playing World Team Tennis and Junior Team Tennis through the Ojai Recreation Department and that has laid a solid foundation for high school success noted Dickey.
The Rangers have been led by seniors Victor Becker and Mikel Elizalde, who are serving as co-captains for the team this spring.
A trio of sophomores in Shawn Rothermel, Elias Simon and Dakota Martin are emerging as major contributors for the Rangers. 
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Junior golf clinic slated for Soule Park

Soule Park Golf Course will host a junior golf clinic April 3 through April 5, which happens to be during spring break for the local public schools.
Boys and girls ages 8 through 13 are invited to learn the game from Soule Park golf professionals Bob Garza, Jenny Davis and Jim Coldren.
"It's important (for young people) to have professional instruction when you are just starting because you want to develop good habits," said Garza. "Kids feel pressure (to please) when they learn from parents, but this is going to be a very relaxed, social, group setting.
"Kids usually sign up two, three, four at a time," Garza added, "but even kids who sign up as singles will have made new friends in a very short time."
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Kenton puts up huge numbers in championship game

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Photo submitted
Chanel Kenton (right) recently led her Ojai Recreation basketball team to a championship with a monster 27-point, 21-rebound performance in the title game. The rest of the championship roster included Lela Rogers, Jimena Vazquez, Jayleen Garrett and Kylee Lucero. The team was coached by Ryan Gaston.

Stringer concludes season at CIF Masters wrestling meet

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Photo submitted
Nordhoff’s Nick Stringer (left) gets ready to lock horns with his cousin, Victor Atherton of Arroyo High School, in the CIF Southern Section Masters competition.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
Nordhoff High School (NHS) wrestler Nick Stringer advanced to the CIF Southern Section Masters meet at Temecula High School in hopes of qualifying for the CIF state finals.
Unfortunately for the NHS sophomore, he was matched up against the top-seeded wrestler in the 106-pound division. 
That wrestler was Victor Atherton, of Arroyo High School, who just happens to be Stringer’s cousin.
“They wrestled once before last year and Nick got pinned. He wrestled a much tougher match this time around and it was 4-2 Atherton going into the last period, but Atherton got an escape and a takedown and near fall with 30 seconds left to make the final score 9-2,” said NHS head coach Paul Clementi.
In his second match of the tournament, Stringer lost a heartbreaker to Jose Hernandez, of Villa Park High School, 4-3.
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Special publications

2018 Mind, Body & Spirit
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2017 winter Ojai Valley Visitors Guide

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2017 Best of the Ojai Valley
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October 2017 Student Union

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2017 Senior Living Guide
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2017 Women of the Ojai Valley
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2017 Ojai Tennis Tournament magazine

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