News from around the Ojai Valley

Pair of Ojai skaters take on world’s best

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Photo by Peter Day
Cash Kenton, practicing at the Ojai Skate Park, will skate in the biggest competition of the year, the Vans Pool Party. This event typically brings together the biggest names in the sport. The competition is by invitation only and skaters come from all over the world, including Brazil, Mexico, China, Germany. Kenton has made it to finals every year he has participated and hopes to get himself a place on the podium this year. Jordan Lee, also of Ojai, will be skating in this year’s contest. The Vans Pool Party will take place Oct. 14 and a live webcast can be seen by visiting www.vans.com.

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Three from Villanova Prep earn All-CIF football honors

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
Raegan Mang splits defenders to haul in a 2017 playoff game against the Orcutt Academy.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
After a season that saw them go 11-1 and make it to the CIF Southern Section Eight-Man Division I football semifinals, the Villanova Preparatory School (VPS) Wildcats had three members of this year’s team earn All-CIF Team.
Senior Raegan Mang finished his season with video-game statistics. Mang rushed for 1,424 yards and 30 touchdowns. As a receiver, he was equally as deadly as he caught 44 passes for 983 yards and 19 touchdowns. In total, Mang scored 55 touchdowns on the season and was one of Villanova’s best players on defense and special teams.
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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
Villanova junior Anthony Martinez makes a cut to the outside for a big gain against Orcutt.
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Local high school sports on hold after Thomas Fire

Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
After the massive Thomas Fire, youth and high school sports have come to halt in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. At Nordhoff High School (NHS), all indoor and outdoor winter sports are on hold without a definitive restart date.
“All indoor activities have been canceled on our campus due to smoke damage. The classrooms and gym need to be clean and the air ducts need to be serviced before we are allowed back into the buildings,” said Nordhoff High School athletic director Rene Nakao-Mauch. “As for our outdoor sports, the air quality is still too bad for practice or competition so we are on hold until next week until we can reassess the situation.”
Nordhoff will not start classes again until Jan. 2, which means teams may be in a holding pattern for what will be nearly a month when all is said and done.
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Lady Rangers looking to rebound

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Photo by Tom Moore
Nordhoff High School’s Stella Moore (left) talks strategy at midcourt with teammate Morgan Mays at the Bishop Diego High School tournament.
Nordhoff High School’s girls’ varsity basketball team opened its 2017-2018 campaign Nov. 29 through Dec. 2 by going 2-2 at the Bird Cage Classic on the Bishop Diego High School campus in Santa Barbara.
Junior forward Courtney Abraham earned all-tournament honors, averaging a double-double (10 points and 10.5 rebounds).
Abraham tallied 17 points and 10 boards in the Rangers’ 39-20 win over Coastal Christian and 18 rebounds in the team’s 23-21 victory over Coast Union.
Fellow junior Stella Moore was the star of the latter contest, notching 18 points, including 14 in the final 10 minutes to help Nordhoff overcome a double-digit deficit.
The Rangers' two losses came at the hands of Santa Maria and Orcutt high schools.
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Ranger gridders earn 17 All-Tri Valley League honors

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
First team All-Tri-Valley League player Brayden Rogers picks up yards against Santa Paula.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports reporter
After a brief rebuilding period, Nordhoff high School (NHS) football head coach Lance Wiggins has the Rangers on track to be one of the best small-school football programs in Ventura County.
This fall, the Rangers missed the playoffs but finished their season with a winning record (6-4), placing third in the competitive Tri-Valley League.
For their efforts this fall, the Rangers earned a number of all-league honors. Headlining the postseason awards was Wiggins who was named the 2017 Tri-Valley League Coach of the Year. 
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Ojai water polo stars shine in tri-county all-star game

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Photo by Ben Edwards
Finnegan Edwards (center) catches the ball on a counter attack before one of his five goals at the 2017 Ian McPherson Tri-County Senior All-Star Water Polo game.
Two Ojai Valley water polo players took part in the Tri-County All-Star game Dec. 3 at Dos Pueblos High School and helped lead the South Team to a 14-11 victory.
The Ian McPherson Tri-County Senior All-Star features the best senior water polo players from high schools across the tri-counties. 
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Team Ojai hopes to qualify for sectional championships

Photo submitted
Team Ojai is comprised of (from left) Shawn Rothermel, Victor Becker, Mikel Elizalde, coach Dan Martin, Daniel Ortiz, Dakota Martin and Elias Simon.
Lucy Martin,Ojai Valley News contributor
Team Ojai, of the United States Tennis Association’s Junior Team Tennis (JTT) League, continued its winning ways by defeating Dark Horse, of Oak Park, 45-17 Dec. 3. The victory brings Team Ojai’s fall season record to 5-1.
The team is part of the boys' 18 and under advanced division and is currently in second place in the Ventura County League.
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Nordhoff softball steps up to help Ojai community

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Photo submitted
For the last 10 years, the Nordhoff High School softball team has stepped up to assist with the Help of Ojai food drive. The food drive collects donations to help families throughout the Ojai Valley and the Lady Rangers remain one of the most active groups when it comes to collecting donations. “To this date, my team is the largest one-time contributor to the food bank,” head coach Don Rodarte said. “This year, it is estimated we collected over 2 tons of food. I am very proud of my girls. They participate not because I ask them to, but because they care and have a willingness to give back and volunteer to be a productive members of our community.”

Toads second fastest in state

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Photo submitted
Thacher’s Colin Kirkpatrick (right) and teammate Ford Sharper compete in the CIF State Cross Country Championships.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
The Thacher School boys’ cross-country team made school history by placing second in the CIF State Cross Country Championships Nov. 25 in Fresno. The second place finish was the best by any Thacher boys’ team and the Toads nearly came away with the team title, but in the end University High School (San Francisco) took the title and the Toads brought home the second-place trophy.
“Our guys ran tough and have a lot to be proud of,” said Thacher head coach Fred Coleman. “Our overall team time was actually 18 seconds faster than University, but they managed to win based on cross-country scoring. University finished with 100 points while Thacher was 20 points behind with 120 once all of the runners crossed the finish line.
After mile one, Thacher was sitting in second place as a team while University sat well back in the pack at 14th overall.
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Lady Wildcats kick off season with a win

Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
The Villanova Preparatory School (VPS) girls’ basketball team is off to a 1-1 start this season. In their opening game of the season, the Lady Wildcats dominated DeToledo, 56-17.
“It was a good opener for us, it is always nice to get off to a good start and our girls are working hard,” said head coach Dan Mercer.
Leading the charge for VPS was junior Madison Fabbian who scored a game-high 17 points. Freshman Grace Wells added 11 points and nine rebounds while fellow freshman Mackenzie Hicks had a monster game on the boards as she collected 20 rebounds on the night.
In their second game of the season, the Lady Wildcats lost a close game to Coastal Christian of Arroyo Grande, 39-34. “We outscored them 26-23 in the second half after being down 16-8 at half,” noted Mercer. 
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Rowers have heavy medal weekend

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Photo by Wendy Gillett
The Casitas Rowing Team competed in the San Diego Fall Classic  Nov. 25 and Nov. 26 and took the competition by storm. The Casitas team picked up four golds, three silvers and a bronze. Finishing in the medals were (from left) Siena Hager, Lauren Combs, Kristi Shinn, Carly Froelich, Greta Griffen, Audrey Taylor, Mia Monsour, Caroline Dickenson, Hailey Malinovsky, Leah Lechman, Lulu Hottinger, Vivian Gaggia and Sydney Hahn.

Nordhoff hoop crew tops Fillmore

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
The Nordhoff High School boys’ basketball team tipped off its season with a commanding 72-41 win over the Fillmore Flashes in the opening round of the 75th annual Nordhoff Varsity Tournament. Thanks to aggressive play from players including Jake Williams (center), the Rangers are off to a 1-0 start. Trevor Solano led the Rangers with 16 points while Jon Achee had 14 and Wyatt Simms added 13. NHS will face a tough Rio Mesa team Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. That game will be played at Nordhoff High School.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
After a rough 2016-2017 basketball season, the Nordhoff High School (NHS) boys’ basketball team is hoping to fare better this year. According to Nordhoff head coach Matt Murphy, the Rangers will lean on a strong senior class this winter.
“We have six seniors on the team this year and they put in a lot of work this summer. They will be our leaders on the court,” said Murphy.
Last season, the Rangers went 6-18 overall and 2-10 in Tri-Valley League play.
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All-League award announcements coming soon

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
Local high school athletes, like Jesse Kuehn (No. 3) from Nordhoff High School, have transitioned from fall sports to winter competition, but are still awaiting the announcement of fall all-league and all-CIF teams. See next week’s Ojai Valley News for a summary of local athletes and coaches who received postseason recognition.

Youth swimmers host home meet

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Ojai Valley News photo by Holly Roberts
The Ojai Heat Waves hosted a swimming competition at the Ojai Valley Athletic Club pool Nov. 18 and turned in a number of spectacular performances. Isabella Stogo (from left) Zoe Penot and Dahlia Bates power to the finish in a close race. Ojai hosted youth swim teams from Camarillo, Montecito, Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez. 

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