News from around the Ojai Valley

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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Nordhoff High School girls’ soccer team makes playoffs

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Photo submitted
The Nordhoff High School (NHS) girls’ soccer team recently capped a solid season with a third-place finish in the Frontier League after going 9-3-1 in league action. NHS qualified for the postseason, but lost to Grace Brethren in the opening round. The leading goal scorers for the Lady Rangers this season were seniors Kaydin McKay and Kaitlyn Rogers. This year’s team was comprised of: (back row from left) Maggie Rogers (assistant coach), Kaydin McKay (captain), Isolde Marx (captain), Ester Ruvalcaba, Dianna Gonzales, Sonya Vallen, Maria Ruvalcaba, Ella Furguiel, Claire Hankins, Kelly Tucker, Lizzeth Gomez, Kira Pupa, Matt Wilson (head coach); (front row from left) Kaitlyn Rogers, Hailey McKay, Reese Royle, Diana Murillo (captain), Vanessa Andrade, Leslie Perez and Jenni Ruiz (team manager).

Local all-star baseball team gets new sponsor

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Photo submitted
The Rancho Grande Prospects, at the mural-decorated field at the Beach City Baseball Academy, include: (back row from left) Jesse Schaffer, Aidan Schindel, Roman Malher, Beckham Rutherford, Ben Fabbian, Willem Rutherford; (front row from left) Riley Dalto, Rudy Aldana, Makel Aglietti, Conner Jones, Kaleb Garcia and Luke Wells. Not pictured is Caleb Sebek.
The Ventura County Bulldogs, a team of 11U baseball players in the Camarillo Pony Advanced Baseball League (ABL), just got a shot at enhanced coaching and regional tournament play as the Rancho Grande Prospects.
Richard Murad, owner of the Beach City Baseball Academy in El Segundo and the 200-acre Rancho Grande in the Los Padres National Forest east of Ojai, has reached out to sponsor the team and offer them access to his Beach City Baseball Academy coaching
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Baylor’s Boyd earns first career victory

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Photo by Baylor Photography 
Former Nordhoff High school standout Luke Boyd got his college baseball career off to a solid start Feb. 20 when he made his first career start against the University of Nevada Wolf Pack (1-3). Boyd picked up the win after going five innings without giving up a run. He did surrender three hits and three walks in the process, but managed to power the Bears to victory. "Luke Boyd mostly pitched tonight like we know he has the ability to,” said Baylor head coach Steve Rodriguez. “He got himself into some tough jams early, but he was able to compete through it. I think there's still some things he can work on, but what's great is that he was able to get through five innings and be able to do some really good things.” Baylor is off to its best start (4-0) since 2012.

Pool party: Epic season comes to an end for Villanova

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Ojai Valley News photo by Holly Roberts
Villanova Prep sophomore Kyla Lenehan was great in goal for the Lady Wildcats this season. Lenehan will lead a core group of returners next season.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
After finishing its 2016 season 7-13 and out of the playoffs, the Villanova Preparatory School (VPS) water polo team rebounded in 2017 and finished the season 16-11 overall and the Lady Wildcats added a Tri-Valley League title to their trophy case this winter.
With their league title, the Lady Wildcats advanced to the CIF Southern Section playoffs and
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Blue ribbon ride put in by Ojai’s Misisco

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Photo submitted
Sofia Misisco, who attends the Lighthouse School, recently won at HITS Thermal Horse Show in Palm Springs. Misisco competes in the jumper class and won against 40 other riders.

Fitz, McGhee leave their mark on NHS basketball

Nordhoff High School's girls' basketball team won its last three games of the season — defeating Cate twice and Villanova —but still missed making the playoffs. The team finished fifth at 6-8 (8-16 overall) just behind The Thacher School in the Frontier League.
The Lady Rangers will graduate two players: Kristin Fitz, who was lost for the year to an ankle injury in early January, and Mikyla McGhee.
Fitz was averaging 6.8 points and a Ventura County-best 16.7 rebounds per game when
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Two teams tie in senior golf play at Soule Park

Terry Starr teamed with Pete Shedlosky, while Mike Grant partnered with Joe Garcia to win the most recent Soule Park Senior Men’s Club partners’ aggregate tournament.
In this format, both players' scores are counted and their handicaps are subtracted. The two teams tied with a 143 total.
In the second flight, Dick Sebek partnered with a blind draw to shoot a net 142. Jerry Glanville and Fred Line scored a 10-shot victory over their nearest competitors by shooting a 136 total to capture the third flight.
The Soule Park Senior Men’s Golf Club hosts different weekly tournaments every Monday morning at Soule Park beginning at 8:30 a.m.

VPS water polo wins its first CIF game

Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
The Villanova Preparatory School (VPS) girls’ water polo team continues to make history this season. After claiming the Frontier League championship last week, the Lady Wildcats entered the CIF Southern Section playoffs and hosted Saddleback Feb. 14. They came away with their first-ever CIF postseason victory.
The first quarter ended in a 1-1 tie, but then VPS started to pull away and went on to win 8-4. 
“We had great crowd support and it was a great environment for the girls to play in,” said head
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Two NHS wrestlers headed to finals

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Photo submitted
Mikaya Miles (center) will head to the CIF finals with a 39-1 record.
Nordhoff High School wrestlers Mikayla Miles and Esmeralda Zamudio recently qualified for the CIF State Championships, to be held Feb. 24 and Feb. 25 in Visalia. There were 155 schools and 436 girls represented in the CIF Southern Section girls’ championship wrestling tournament at which the pair qualified.
Miles went 5-0 defending her Southern Section title from last year. 
“She was outstanding, not giving up a single point in four of the five matches she wrestled on Saturday,” said NHS coach
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Ojai Classic raises $13,700

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Photo submitted
Local runner David Kille won the 90-to-99-year age group again this year in the 2017 Ojai Classic Heart and Sole 5K race.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
The 2017 Ojai Classic Heart & Sole 5K/10K, benefitting the American Heart Association, was a huge success according to event officials. It raised more than $13,700 to help combat heart disease in the Ojai Valley. This was the 27th annual event and all have been chaired by Dr. Fred Fauvre.
In the 5K race, Brenda Guerrero ran away from the field and finished in 21:55, well ahead of second-place finisher Robert McDonald.
In the senior divisions, 94-year-old David Kille again reigned supreme while Ruth Milner ran a 47:04 to win
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Laver to be honored at Ojai Tennis Tournament

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Photo courtesy of Tennis Australia
Rod Laver (right) presents Roger Federer with a trophy at the Australian Open. Laver will be the 2017 Ojai Tennis Tournament honoree.
Considered by some to be tennis royalty, Rod Laver has been named the 2017 Ojai Tennis Tournament Honoree.
The only men’s player to ever win two calendar year grand slams (1962 and 1969) the Australian Laver was known during his playing days as “Rocket”
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Thacher, Besant Hill cruise to first-round wins

Ted Cotti, Ojai Valley News correspondent 
Senior Pierre Weil nearly recorded a triple-double to lead The Thacher School’s boys’ basketball team to a 77-47 CIF-SS first-round playoff victory over Laguna Blanca School Feb. 15 in Ojai.
Weil finished with 25 points, eight steals and sesven assists despite playing just three quarters — sitting out the final minutes of the second quarter and almost all of the fourth with things well in hand.
“Pierre’s off ball defense is incredible,” said Thacher head coach Jason Carney, whose squad improved to 13-5 on the year
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18 Weil students commit to NCAA schools

Weil Tennis Academy and College Preparatory School Academy founder and director Mark Weil announced that 18 of the school’s seniors have either signed early national letters of intent or officially committed on academic and/or athletic scholarships to continue their education and tennis careers at NCAA schools around the nation.
The students include Alexis Alvarez (Uruapan, Michoacán, Mexico) University of Washington, athletic scholarship; Brandon Lam (Westlake Village, Calif.) Indiana University, athletic scholarship; Connor Reardon (Orinda, Calif.) Linfield College (Oregon), academic scholarship; Hazuki Ogino (Ashiya, Hyogo, Japan)
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