Pali High Football Practice Begins
By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
When he gathered his team in a huddle Monday for the first official practice of the 2015 season Palisades High football coach Tim Hyde asked a simple question: “How do you want to be remembered?”
Indeed, the script has yet to be written but as he enters his third season at the helm Hyde can’t help feeling optimistic – and anxious to get started.
“This team hasn’t gotten a first down, it hasn’t scored a touchdown and it hasn’t won a game,” Hyde reminded his enthusiastic group. “The past means nothing. As of right now, we’re focused on Game 1 and that’s it.”
Players seemed to take their coach’s message to heart, engaging in a spirited two-and -a-half hour practice full of fun but challenging drills designed to better their blocking, reflexes, strength and agility.
Though the Dolphins lost several of their best offensive weapons to graduation, including wide receivers Dhaamir Lomax, Quincy Cowherd and Herbert Acosta, tight end James Mann and running backs Brandon Joseph and Desmond Box, the cupboard is hardly bare.
Returning are quarterback P.J. Hurst, the Western League Offensive MVP last season, running back Innocent Okoh (who was called up to varsity at midseason last fall), fullback Willy Rosenfeld and speedy wide receiver Ryan Ashmore.
“This is the fastest team I’ve had,” Hyde said.
Former Dolphins quarterback Ray Elie, now the team’s wideouts and defensive backs coach, agreed: “How good are we? It’s too early to tell, but we’re way faster than last year and these kids are like sponges. They absorb everything you tell them. They want to learn.”
With new players on both lines, the challenge for Hyde will be finding where his players fit best.
“We have six guys who are interchangeable and could play both ways,” Hyde said. “The 11 guys on the field are the starters – period. Whoever’s playing is what matters.”
Rounding out the receiving corp will be Pierre Kaku, a standout on junior varsity last season, and tight end Gerson Osorio.
Anchoring the defense will be All-City linebacker Alec Simpson, safeties Jake Taitelman and Eddie Burd and cornerback Justin Mason.
One thing Hyde stressed to the defense was taking away the inside seam and protecting the ‘A’ gap – something the Dolphins were unable to do late in losses to Hamilton and Arleta last season.
“We had to get stops and they were able to run the clock out on us,” Hyde said.
Hyde has high expectations for the junior varsity program, especially since head coach Ray Marsden and assistants Kelly Loftus (dean of students) and Tony Ryan (also the head track coach) all work on campus.
“The talent is there,” Ryan said. “Right now, conditioning is the focus. The goal for JV is development so that when they get to the next level they’re a finished product.”
Rayne Camden, Noah Karp and Jared Dodson will compete for the starting quarterback spot while wide receiver/defensive back Cameron Bailey and running back/linebacker Dakota Hamilton will be key returners.
“We had over 30 kids today and we expect to have 45-50 by the start of the season,” Ryan said. “Half have never played before.”
Balmoral Farm Riders Ribbon
Sisters Maci and Sadie Anderson Are Champions at Showpark Racing Festival
By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
Maci Anderson’s mom Jennifer insists the first word her daughter spoke was “horse.” Neither knew it then, but it was no coincidence for the 10-year-old Palisadian had horseback riding on her mind and in her heart long before she ever climbed into a saddle.
“When I was very little I went to my great grandpa’s house and he had horses and I really loved them,” Maci remembered. “My mom let me ride one and I’ve loved it ever since.”
Last weekend at the Showpark Racing Festival in Del Mar, Maci won an over fences class, emerging as champion for the first time in the Modified Children’s Hunters division – much to her own surprise – on a new horse named “Cadbury.”
“I’ve been training on him for a couple months,” said Maci, who lives in Marquez Knolls and has ridden for Balmoral Farm since her seventh birthday. “No I didn’t think I’d win. It takes a couple of weeks to bond with your horse. I like to compete but I get nervous.”
Maci rode five events on Saturday and Sunday – four over fences and one flat – and finished with the highest combined score when points were added up.
“I love almost everything about horses,” Maci said. “I love to ride them, I love to groom them.”
Although she’s fallen off “a lot of times” she’s never been afraid and has never gotten seriously hurt.
She’s going into fifth grade at Village School but already Maci is an accomplished rider – the product of countless hours in the stirrups. In the summer months she rides six days a week (Monday is her horse’s day off) and during the school year she rides four times a week.
Maci’s normal mount, with whom she’s competing next week at the USEF Pony Finals in Lexington, Kentucky, is a British riding pony named “Merlin the Magnificent.”
“He’s chestnut color and he’s not so easy to jump,” said Maci, who plays volleyball and basketball at Village. “You have to kind of steer him.”
Riders have to attain a certain number of points to qualify for the national event and Maci is very excited that her pony qualified over the winter to attend. She typically goes to 10 shows a year for Balmoral and enjoys the ambiance of equestrian sports.
Asked what she wants to be when she grows up, Maci said: “I want to be a trainer and have my own barn.”
Maci wasn’t the only one in the family to walk away with a ribbon last weekend.
Younger sister Sadie, a second-grader at Village, was champion in the Walk-Trot-Canter and cross-rail division aboard “Social Butterfly,” affectionately known around the barn as “Suki.”
Sadie also rides for Balmoral Farm and has been in her age division longer. It was the first time she was champion in that division.
“It was a good day at the Anderson house,” Jennifer said.
Meanwhile, fellow Palisadian and Balmoral Farm rider Kaitlyn Van Konynenburg won the 2015 U.S. Junior Hunter National Championship (West Coast) on her horse “Wish List.”
The 17-year-old, entering her senior year at Pacifica Christian High in Santa Monica, accumlated marks of 86, 85 and 84 in the Handy round to move into first place overall with a score of 245.5.
Van Konynenburg has had “Wish List,” a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding, for about a year and a half and the two earned top indoor accolades at the National Horse Show last year.
Training under Balmoral Farm owners Traci and Carleton Brooks, Van Konynenburg went to Calvary Christian School and played other sports growing up. She began horseback riding in second grade and it’s been her passion ever since.
At last year’s Del Mar National Horse Show she won three Junior Hunter Classes and this year was Overall Grand Circuit Champion of the HITS (Horse Shows in the Sun) Desert Circuit Overall in Junior Hunters 16-17 years old. She also won the Sportsmanship Award at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show.
In April, the Riviera resident won titles on three different horses, riding her new mount Comissario to victory in the Small Junior Hunters, riding “Homestead” to victory in the Large Juniors and riding “Wish List” to the Reserve crown.
Next week she’ll travel north to the Menlo Charity Show, where she won the High Point Horse Award last summer, then head to a show in San Diego after that.
Palisades Still Home for Clippers’ Jordan
By NOAH FRIEDMAN | Palisadian-Post Intern
At the start of NBA free agency, center DeAndre Jordan made it his priority to go through the process of figuring out his basketball future carefully. Two teams came knocking on his door.
Multiple sources confirmed to the Palisadian-Post that Jordan lives in Pacific Palisades.
According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLA.com, Jordan was about to be signed, sealed, and delivered to the Dallas Mavericks upon one last pitch meeting from owner Mark Cuban and forward Chandler Parsons. The two went to Jordan’s Palisades home where the veteran made a verbal agreement to sign with the team.
Little did Cuban and Parsons know that Jordan was having second thoughts and a few days later would re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers for four years and an estimated $87 million, the team announced.
This change of heart from Jordan came with intense media coverage. For an entire day, a plethora of Clippers players as well as Coach Doc Rivers and owner Steve Ballmer stayed with Jordan at his home in Houston (where he lives in the offseason) in the waning hours of the league’s moratorium period on July 8 until he was finally allowed to sign on the dotted line at 11 p.m. CST.
“It wasn’t a hostage situation,” Jordan said to reporters when he was reintroduced as a member of the Clippers on July 21.
Jordan has a neighbor who is near and dear to his heart.
Last May, Clippers superstar Blake Griffin purchased a house in the Riviera neighborhood for $9 million. The proximity between Griffin and Jordan could have played a part in Jordan’s decision to rejoin the Clippers.
“They hang out a fair amount,” Shelburne said to the Palisadian-Post in an email. Many Palisadians have seen both players at local entities like Ralphs and the Palisades Recreation Center.
When asked by TMZ if his friendship had anything to do with Jordan returning to Los Angeles, Griffin said, “I know that he has a lot of friends here… I’m happy to have him back.”
Nonetheless, Jordan’s decision to stay in Los Angeles instead of moving to his native Texas was impactful in that Griffin is one of his closest friends both on and off the court. One reason for their growing friendship stems from playing against each other in college (Griffin at the University of Oklahoma and Jordan at Texas A&M) when the schools were in the same conference.
Now, for at least the next three years while their current contracts play out, the two friends can share at least one more common bond: living in the Palisades.
By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
When he was hired as head football coach at Palisades High three years ago the first person Tim Hyde called to join his staff was his mentor Chris Hyduke, his defensive coordinator when he played at Redondo Union.
“He wasn’t just the d-coordinator, he was my position coach,” said Hyde, who played nose guard and left tackle. “We’ve coached together and we’ve talked a million times. He retired [from teaching] last year and agreed to help me coach this year so I’m excited to have him here.”
Hyduke will help with the defense (primarily the linebackers) and recalled having Hyde in his history class at Redondo.
“He was sitting in the front row with his basketball gear on and I convinced him to come out for football. He really excelled and made All-League. We’ve now come full circle and it’s nice to see one of my former players having so much success as a coach.”
Hyde last coached with hismentor at South Torrance in 1999 when the Spartans reached the CIF semifinals.
Hyduke began coaching at Loyola High in 1974, before stints at St. Francis and Crespi (where he helped coach the Celts to a CIF title). He was Redondo’s defensive coordinator from 1985-89 and the head coach from 1989-96. He then spent 15 seasons at South Torrance, where he coached future USC stars Johnny and Chad Morton and Chauncey Washington.
“Today the game is more like basketball on grass,” Hyduke said. “It’s faster, more wide open. Tim has adapted to this modern style well.”
Yost to Compete in Heptathlon at Junior Olympics
Palisades High senior-to-be Whitney Yost has been invited to compete in the heptathlon at the 48th annual AAU Junior Olympic Games at Norfolk State University in Virginia this Saturday and Sunday.
Yost won the varsity 100 hurdles in 17.13 seconds at the Western League finals meet and leaped 4-8 to finish ninth in the varsity high jump at the City Section finals in May. She tripled in the shot put (28-10), high jump (4-6) and long jump (14-5) at Fairfax in April.
The heptathlon is a two-day competition consisting of seven track and field events: the 100 meters, high jump, shot put and 200 meters on the first day and the long jump, javelin and 800 meters on the second day. Athletes accumulate points from each event and the competitor with the most combined points at the end is the winner.
Westside Aquatics Water Polo Team Comes Up Bronze at Junior Olympics
By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
Three boys teams from Westside Aquatics participated in the USA Water Polo National Junior Olympics earlier this week in Orange County and one of them took the bronze medal by taking first place in the Classic division.
The 18U squad, coached by Kirk Lazaruk and consisting of Zach Senator, Gabby Feizbakhsh, Lucas Silva, Mitchell Kim, Brandon Epp, Jacob Lazaruk and Kian Lotfi, opened pool play with a 9-6 loss to C Cal, routed Moose Water Polo 17-2 in its second game, lost 11.6-11.5 in a shootout to Redlands Renegades, then beat San Diego Shores (12-9), Viper Pigeon South (14-3) and CA Republic SCB (10-4).
In the semifinals, Westside prevailed over La Mirada Splash, setting up a championship showdown against SC Tritons Red. Westside won 12-7 to take first place in the Classic (bronze) division.
Westside’s 14U squad, coached by Adam Blakis and Greg Outcalt and consisting of Maximo Speiser, Oliver Grant, Andrew Outcalt, Zeke Ramirez, Theo Trask, Stuart Brien, Earl Brien, Ben Schiff, Mikail Safragina and Zach Wunder, dropped its pool play opener to Elite 14-5, beat C Cal 10-5, lost to Gold Coast Aquatics 13-9, beat Academy 15-9, beat West Coast Aquatics 18-11, beat Pacific Polo 10-9 and won a rematch against West Coast Aquatics 10-6 in the semifinals.
The Classic (bronze) division final pitted the local squad against the Silicon Valley Outlaws. Westside rallied to tie the game in the fourth quarter but ultimately lost in a shootout.
Westside’s 16U squad, coached by Bart Gawboy and consisting of locals Will Schwerdtfeger, Sammy Speiser, Orson Spence, Matt Affeld, Quinn Godfredsen and Isai Elias, opened with a 14-12 victory over San Diego Shores, lost to Foothill Black 13-7, beat Trojan Gold in a shootout 8-5-8.4, lost to FLO 15-6, beat South Bay United (10-3), Del Mar (9-1) and CC Sharks (8-5) before falling to Elite 14-5 in the quarterfinals.
Westside fell to CHAWP Blue 12-7 in the fifth-place game of the Invitational division.
Will Rogers Junior Guards Compete at Taplin Relays
By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
Junior Lifeguard programs from 12 Southland beaches sent their best to compete in the annual Taplin Relays last Friday at Dockweiler Beach in Playa del Rey and when the sand settled Will Rogers had placed in the top five in all three age divisions.
The local program sent two co-ed teams in each of the three divisons (A, B and C), with each team consisting of 18 guards (six runners, six paddlers and six swimmers).
Will Rogers’ first C team (ages 9-11) took fifth, the first B team (ages 12-13) was third and the first A team (ages 14-17) also took third.
Will Rogers also sent two A- level all-girls teams, each consisting of two runners, two paddlers and two swimmers. One of them, consisting of , was the runner up.
The Night Taplin for A level guards will be Saturday at 7 p.m. north of the Hermosa Beach Pier.
Season Ends for PPBA All-Stars
BY STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
It is difficult to defeat a good team three times in one season and the Pacific Palisades Baseball Association’s Mustang 10U All-Star team was trying to do just that Tuesday in the last game of the PONY Section Tournament at the Field of Dreams.
Troy Winkenhower hit a solo home run to tie it 1-1 in the bottom of the first inning, but East Long Beach took control from that point and earned a berth in the Super Region playoffs with a 9-4 victory — its first win in four tries against Palisades this season.
“We played pretty well the first couple innings, but we didn’t get enough bats on the ball today and we made a few mistakes,” head coach Jim Ford said. “We got a lot better. We couldn’t beat that team last year and this year we beat them twice and tied them another time. That team won the World Series as 8-year-olds.”
Julian Orozco pitched all six innings and Owen Gott hit two homers for East Long Beach, which joins Section winner Torrance American at the Super Region tournament in San Marcos.
Davis White singled to score pinch runner Julian Milner and Caden Abraham singled to score White to cut Palisades’ deficit to 8-3 in the fourth, but East Long Beach added a run in the fifth.
After Sean Nguyen made a diving catch in right field to end the top of the sixth inning, Palisades mounted a rally in the bottom half.
After Abraham reached base on a dropped third strike, Jack Richman walked and Tommy Farmer doubled to score Abraham.
Palisades started the tournament strong thanks to birthday boy Abraham, who pitched 5 2/23 innings with six strikeouts and hit two doubles in last Thursday’s 7-3 victory over Lynwood.
Winkenhower homered to left in the first inning, Abraham stole home in the third and Winkenhower scored on a line drive to first base.
In the fifth, Abraham scored on a fielder’s choice, Jake Grossman scored on White’s RBI single and Winkenhower scored on an errant pick-off throw.
Palisades was forced into a rematch with East Long Beach after falling to Torrance American 12-2 in five innings in the winner’s bracket final Sunday night.
C.W. Ford walked to load the bases and Abraham scored Palisades’ first run on a ball in the dirt. In the fourth, Richman scored from third on an errant pick-off throw Henry Wendorf and Finn Johnson also got hits for Palisades.
Led by Nate Aguilar, who hit 18 homer runs in the regular season, Torrance outscored its three opponents 35-3 to take first place.
Perhaps the most exciting game of the tournament was Palisades’ 6-4 semifinal triumph over East Long Beach.
Winkenhower, who walked his first three times up, blasted a towering two-run walk-off homer to left field in the sixth.
“I was just trying to get my bat on the ball and advance the runner,” said Winkenhower, who played for the Orioles in the regular season and attends Corpus Christi School along with Brendan Gardner. “I saw a high pitch, I liked it, I hit it and it went out. I knew I got all of it.”
Abraham and Richman hit back-to-back doubles to give Palisades a 2-1 lead in the second, Grossman singled to score Finn in the third and Winkenhower’s bases-loaded walk forced home James Rockwell to give Palisades a 4-2 lead in the fourth.
Hosting two tournaments simultaneously is hard enough, but bad weather Saturday and Sunday made getting all the games completed even tougher for PPBA Commissioner Bob Benton and his maintenance crew.
“Who could’ve ever predicted we’d get this kind of rain in the middle of July?” he lamented.
Benton said heavy rains the night before left the fields unplayable Sunday and games might have been postponed if not for the efforts of Ford, Dan Johnson, Wink Winkenhower and 12U head coach Joe Collins.
“Jim drove over to Harvard-Westlake [in Studio City] early this morning to get a truckload of dry dirt,” Benton said. “Otherwise, the infields would’ve been too muddy to play on.”
When play resumed, Palisades’ 12U squad took on Cheviot Hills in an elimination game and fell behind 10-0 before rallying for six runs in the final two innings of an 11-6 defeat.
“Maybe we didn’t play our best this weekend but this is the strongest West Region I’ve seen in eight years — these were all good teams,” said Collins, whose squad finished the all-star season with a 17-4-1 record. “We made some errors today and came back, we just dug too deep a hole.”
Jack Hassett scored on a groundout by pinch hitter Chris Stimming, then Alec Morrison belted a two-run homer to left field in the fifth. In Palisades’ next at-bat, Lane Johnson scored on a fielder’s choice by Cooper Morrow and Stimming hit a two-RBI single down the right field line.
In its opener last Wednesday, Palisades needed only six innings to beat Norwalk 16-6.
Norwalk took a 3-0 lead in the first inning but Palisades answered with three of its own in the top of the second on Jake Moore’s bases-clearing double to the center field fence.
In the third, Charlie Collins singled to score Hassett, Cooper Robinson doubled to score Collins and Morrow hit a sacrifice fly to give Palisades a 6-3 lead. Collins and Johnson had RBI hits in the fourth and Joe Grode doubled to score Connor Colao in the fifth. Grode scored on an error, Robinson doubled to score Hassett and Robinson scored on an error to make it 13-5.
Morrison had an RBI single, Grode had an RBI double and Ryan Kennedy had an RBI single in the sixth to close the scoring.
Colao had four strikeouts in three innings and Griffin Milner pitched the last three innings, striking out the side in the fifth.
In the semifinals of the winner’s bracket, Palisades fell 9-7 to eventual champion East Long Beach. Both teams scored four runs in the third inning.
Colao scored on a single by Grode, Morrison and Grode scored on a single by Hassett and Hassett scored on a single by Johnson. In the fifth, Palisades scored on a balk and Johnson hit a solo homer in the seventh.
Eleven players on the 12U roster, along with PPBA Bronco Will Lawrence, will travel to New York Aug. 1-7 for the Cooperstown Tournament.
While the PPBA’s 10U and 12U All-Stars were hosting their Section tournaments, the Bronco 11U squad was in Whittier for the Super Region Tournament.
Coached by Bruce Wallin, the team consisted of Jack Gurevitch, Jack Bowden, Dylan Tatum, Wylie Wallin, Skyler Chang, Marty Kaplan, Holden Gering, Lucas Herman, Alex Denham, Henry Roth, Owen Roy, Andrew Citron and Truman Pauley.
In its first game, Palisades had 12 hits in a 12-8 loss to Simi Valley. Herman ad Citron each had had three hits, Herman and Gurevitch each had two RBIs and Pauley had five strikeouts on the hill.
Facing elimination, Palisades was unable to get the bats going in Saturday’s 7-3 loss to Newport Harbor.
Pauley had two strikeouts in five innings and Gurevitch had two RBIs.
Santa Monica United Soccer Club Celebrates 40th Anniversary
The Santa Monica United Soccer Club will celebrate its 40th anniversary from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, August 9, at West LA College in Culver City.
SMU alumni, coaches, staff and their families are invited to attend. There will be a historical club exhibit, an auction, music, food, games and activities, a raffle and a friendly game between SMU’s coaches.
Many Palisades High players past and present have played for SMU, including 2015 graduates Caroline Gluck (Bard College), Elizabeth Goodman (USC), Sydra Gianassi (Cal Poly SLO) and Caitlin Bremner (San Francisco State).
Pali High girls on SMU’s U17 and U18 teams are Lauryn Wilson, Zoe Capanna, Bella Escobedo, Colette Noghreian, Lauryn Wilson, Melissa Bell, Ashley Conte and Meghan Jones.
Pali High boys playing for SMU include 2015 graduates Gabe Von Ruden, Dash Dennerline, Matthew Gorlick and Byron Whittle. Current Dolphins in the program are Jonah Jacobson, Mateo Weniz, Zachary Jones, Jack Vinetz, Isaac Payne, Sammy Darvish, Nick De Robbio, Bryce Lozinski, Kevin Headrick, Rolan Panza, Jamin Bay, Alexander Siliezar, Rudy Tovar and Max Turner.
Pali High Girls Hoops to Play Elite Schedule
Palisades High girls basketball coach Torino Johnson isn’t one to shy away from a challenge. He thrives on competition and once again his team will play one of the toughest schedules in California in 2015-16.
The Lady Dolphins open the season hosting the 12th annual Palisades Beach Invitational, running Nov. 23-28, which will feature many of the top programs in the state. Last year, Santa Ana Mater Dei and Chaminade of West Hills met in the finals — the same two teams that played for the Southern California Regional championship several months later.
Palisades placed eighth in last year’s tournament, which also included Southern Section powers Windward, Gardena Serra, West Torrance and Fullerton Troy along with perennial Central Section power Bakersfield Garces.
The Lady Dolphins then play in the St. Monica Tournament (Dec. 8-11), the West Coast Jamboree (Dec. 28-30) and the Legacy Tournament (Jan. 4-8).
The nonleague schedule also includes games at CIF Open Division state finalist Mater Dei (Jan. 2) and Stockton St. Mary’s (Jan. 18).
Palisades won 20 consecutive games on its way to going undefeated in the Western League and capturing the City Section’s inaugural Open Division title in March to earn a berth in the CIF state Open Division playoffs, where the Dolphins lost in the first round to Mater Dei.
Johnson has led the program to three City titles.