Latest sports

Epic run comes to an end for Nordhoff spikers

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
The Nordhoff Lady Rangers wrapped up a long season with an overall record of 27-5 and are poised to make another run at a CIF title in 2019.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
After qualifying for the CIF Southern Section Division 7 finals, the Nordhoff High School girls’ volleyball received an invite to the 2018 CIF State Division 4 tournament featuring some of the best teams in the state. NHS entered the tournament as the No. 4-seeded team.
In round one, the Lady Rangers hosted Immanuel Nov. 6 and made quick work of the visitors, sweeping them in three sets 25-19, 25-22 and 25-18. In round two, Nordhoff hosted 12th seeded Chatsworth and battled its way to a 3-2 victory to advance to the semifinals.
In the semifinals, NHS traveled to take on the top-ranked San Luis Obispo Tigers and despite their best efforts, the Lady Rangers’ state tournament run came to an end with a 3-1 loss. The Tigers won the first set 25-22, then NHS claimed the second 25-22 before San Luis Obispo won the next two 25-23 and 25-16.
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Nordhoff girls' golf takes second in league

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This year’s Nordhoff High School golf team placed second in the Citrus Coast League. The team was made up of (left to right): Arianna Alonso, Hannah Ignacio, Molly Coker, Ella Giuliani, Alexis Kehoe and Willow Williams.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
This fall season was a productive one for the Nordhoff High School girls’ golf team that finished 14-6 against Citrus Coast League opponents. The Lady Rangers fought their way to a second-place finish and six players earned all-league honors. 
Freshman Ella Giuliani was the team’s top performer this fall. She earned first team all-league honors and qualified for the CIF Individual Tournament and was voted team Most Valuable Player. She finished her season with a 47.4 average and carded an impressive 37 at Soule Park this season.
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Nordhoff star signs with Purdue Boilermakers

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
Nordhoff High School softball star Sydney Wimpee held a signing ceremony Nov. 15 where she inked her name to a national letter of intent to play for the Purdue Boilermakers. Wimpee has been a star for the Lady Rangers since her freshman year. She caught the attention of the Purdue coaching staff a couple of years ago and had verbally committed to play for the Big 10 school. In three years of action, Wimpee has won 19 games and has struck out a mind-boggling 393 batters in those three seasons. Nordhoff fans will have the pleasure of watching Wimpee for one more season, as she leads NHS once again this spring. 

Big second half from Chadwick ends Villanova Prep's season

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Ojai Valley News photo by Holly Roberts

The Villanova Preparatory School football team hosted the undefeated Chadwick Dolphins in a second-round playoff game Nov. 9 in front of an enthusiastic Ojai crowd. Despite their best efforts, the Wildcats fell to the Dolphins 70-39. VPS managed to build a 31-27 lead after the first half of play but then Chadwick turned it on the second half and outscored VPS 43-8 as they cruised to victory. A big factor in the game was a shoulder injury suffered by Anthony Martinez (No. 28). With Martinez on the sideline, the Dolphins went on their big second-half run. The Wildcats finished the season 7-4 overall. They will only lose five seniors from this year’s squad, so the program is expected to continue to its successful run next fall.

Kirkland honored by Rotary Club of Ojai

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Rotary Club of Ojai presented its Physical Education Project Student of the Month award for November to Jesse Kirkland, a fifth-grader at Topa Topa Elementary. Rotarian Ren Adam did the honors of presenting the award.
Topa Topa teacher Caroline Stubbs nominated Kirkland for the award and said: “Jesse was selected as the Topa Topa Elementary PE student of the month for many reasons. The PE teachers describe Jesse as a bright shining star. He approaches each activity with enthusiasm and a positive attitude and is a model of good sportsmanship – he regularly provides words of encouragement to his peers. He is kind and compassionate, and his smile and sense of humor help create a fun environment during PE and in the classroom. He is a positive leader and excellent role model, and always does his best in everything he attempts.”

Nordhoff football stars earn top awards

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
Nordhoff stars Brayden Rogers (No. 33) and Manny Bautista celebrate after a touchdown against the Carpinteria Warriors earlier this season. Rogers was recently named the Citrus Coast League offensive player of the year while Bautista earned lineman of the year honors.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
Eighteen Nordhoff High School football players were recently named to the All Citrus Coast League teams. Topping the list for the Rangers was senior running back Brayden Rogers who earned offensive player of the year honors. This season, Rogers carried the ball 247 times for 1,756 yards and he scored 21 rushing touchdowns. He also threw for three scores and caught two touchdowns on the year.
Also gaining player of the year honors was senior lineman Manny Bautista who cleared the way for Rogers much of the season. For his efforts, Bautista was named lineman of the year for the newly formed league. 
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Nordhoff playoff run ends one-and-done

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown 
Nordhoff senior Nick Cansler (left) does all he can to wrap up a Simi Valley ball carrier. The Ranger defense gave up 467 yards in total offense in the playoff loss. 
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
Playing in the postseason for the first time since 2014, the Nordhoff High School football team hoped to make a run deep in the CIF Southern Section Division 10 playoffs; but despite their best efforts, the Rangers fell to the visiting Simi Valley Pioneers, 41-27.
Nordhoff got off to a rough start when on its first possession of the game, sophomore quarterback Leeram Stoneman left the pocket and was stripped of the ball. Simi Valley’s Ian Roca was in the right place at the right time and he scooped up the fumble and returned it 15 yards for the score. After a failed conversion, the Pioneers had an early 6-0 lead before the home crowd was settled in their seats.
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OVS girls claim Condor championship

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Members of Ojai Valley School’s Condor League championship team celebrate after their victory. From left to right: Caspian Ellis, Avery Colborn, Angela Qu, Jolene Fan, Stephany Nostrant, Paige Muller and Bella Slosberg.
Avery Colborn, Ojai Valley News contributor
For the second time in the past four years, the Ojai Valley School girls’ cross-country team has been crowned Condor League champion, putting together a dominating performance in the final league meet.
After a long season of hard work, the OVS girls demonstrated their toughness on the flat, fast Dunn School course, earning seven of the top 10 places at the league final. Each of the girls took home a Top 10 medal and the team finished first overall, qualifying for CIF preliminaries for the second year in a row.
Freshman Paige Muller ran her best race of the season. She led the three-mile race from start to finish, earning a gold medal and the title of Condor League champion. Muller is the fourth Condor League champion from Ojai Valley School in the past eight years.
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Local tennis youths compete

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Ojai Valley News photo by Holly Roberts
Luca Falvo continued his winning streak of five tournaments in the United States Tennis Association Boys’ 12 Open Division Oct. 27 at the Ojai Valley Inn Tennis Center. He dominated play over seven other county players. Another Ojai native, Eric Schmidt, finished third in the tournament when he lost in a playoff tiebreaker, 7-5, for the finalist trophy. This photograph was taken in early 2018 during the annual Ojai Valley Tennis Club Holiday Tennis Challenge fundraiser.

Lady Rangers fall in CIF Southern Section Finals

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Ted Cotti, Ojai Valley News correspondent
The Nordhoff High School’s girls’ volleyball team returned to the CIF Southern Section Finals for the first time in 26 years Saturday — only to lose three games-to-one to No. 1-ranked Linfield Christian of Temecula in an entertaining and spirited match in front of a big crowd in the NHS gym.
The visiting Lions (the second-place team from the Ambassador League, entering with a record of 32-4), prevailed in an intense, two-hour battle 31-29, 23-25, 25-19, and 25-21 to garner the program’s first CIF Southern Section title in 32 years. Nordhoff has won four titles, its last in 1992.
“I’m disappointed we lost, but I am so proud of this team,” said Nordhoff head coach Rene Nakao-Mauch, whose squad has garnered an invitation to the CIF State Tournament, which began this week.
“These were two evenly matched teams, and that Nordhoff bunch fought like no one we’ve ever seen,” said Linfield head coach Eric Hous. “We really tried to serve them tough because their passing is just so good.”
Nordhoff, now 24-3, came into the match not only unbeaten in the last two months, but also having not even surrendered a single game since August.
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Nordhoff girls' volleyball wins state opener

Ted Cotti, Ojai Valley News Correspondent
The Nordhoff High School girls’ volleyball team rebounded from its loss in the CIF Southern Section Division 7 Finals to win its CIF State Division 4 playoff opener Tuesday, defeating visiting Immanuel Christian from Reedley three-games-to-none.
Head coach Rene Nakao-Mauch’s Lady Rangers, the No. 4-ranked team in the division, improved to 26-3 on the year, rallying from early deficits in each of the three games.
“I think we were a little off because of the 6 o’clock start,” said Nakao-Mauch. “But our passing was good, and when it counted, we got to balls, and that’s what saved us.”
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Villanova football advances to second round

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
The Villanova Preparatory School football team is getting hot at just the right time. The Wildcats are riding a three-game win streak after defeating crosstown rival Thacher on Nov. 2 in the opening round of the playoffs. The 41-14 win over the Toads improved Villanova’s record to 7-3 on the season and they will now take on the undefeated Chadwick Dolphins Nov. 9 on the road.

Former Ranger standout hits game winner for Minutemen

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Photo courtesy of UMass Athletics
Former Nordhoff High School football star Cooper Garcia helped the University of Massachusetts (UMass) football team to a triple-overtime victory over Liberty University Nov. 3. The game ended when Garcia kicked a 22-yard field goal, giving his team the 62-59 victory. The former Ranger is having a stellar season for the Minutemen and is the team’s second-leading scorer. This season, he has made six of seven field goals and is a perfect 34 of 34 on extra point conversions.

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