Jones Crowned King at Canyon Springs
Pali High Wrestlers Place 11th out of 64 Teams in Raul Huerta Memorial Tournament
Before he took the mat for his final match Saturday at the Canyon Springs Tournament in Moreno Valley, Palisades High senior wrestler Kenny Jones knew next to nothing about his opponent. Nor did he care.
Instead, Jones concentrated on what he had to do to win and several minutes later he had his arm raised in victory after pinning top-seeded David Eubanks of Lake Elsinore Temescal Canyon late in the second period to take first place in the heavyweight division.
“It was like that the whole weekend – I didn’t study the draw, I didn’t talk to anyone,” Jones admitted. “In the finals I was trying an ankle pick but it didn’t work. I got him in a half nelson and did a pretty good job keeping him down. I found out later he was [ranked] 13th in the state. I’ve improved my technique a lot since last season.”
The upset capped an impressive run for Jones, last year’s City Section runner-up. He won all of his matches by fall and led the Dolphins to 11th place out of 64 schools at the two-day meet.
Brad Boorstin shook off sickness to finish fourth at 170 pounds, David Rheingold took sixth at 113 pounds,and Erik Miranda (106)and Kevin Rosen (138) each went 4-2 and just missed placing.
Palisades finished seven spots ahead of reigning City champion San Fernando, thanks in part to Miranda’s 9-3 decision against the Tigers’ Albert Del Toro.
“That meant more to me than winning the whole tournament,” Miranda said. “He beat me in overtime at the Rosemead Tournament but I’ve watched a lot of his matches and this time I stuck to what I knew. I got a bunch of takedowns and turned him on his back to make it 5-0.”
Rheingold won his first two matches Friday (the second by technical fall), then won 10-7 and 5-3 decisions to reach the fifth-place match.
Boorstin, seeded second, won his first three matches by fall before dropping a 4-3 decision to third-seeded Travis Shumway of Canyon Springs.
The Dolphins sharpened up for next Tuesday’s first round of the City Dual Championships against Carson by outscoring a combined team from West Adams, Fremont and Dorsey in last Thursday’s final Coliseum League meet at West Adams.
All but two of Palisades’ 10 wins were by fall. Jake Carpenter won by pin at 106, Miranda won did the same at 113, Rheingold followed suit at 120 and Matt Au won by pin at 126.
Lance Santelices lost by fall at 132, Daniel Radyuk pinned West Adams’ Juan Telles at 138, Rosen won by pin at 145 and Anthony Teitelbaum won by techincal fall (16-0) at 152.
Sam Reedy lost 3-2 at 160 pounds, Marcelo Maya won by fall at 170, Boorstin pulled out an 8-7 win over Dorsey’s Durell Johnson at 182, Hanzah Alsaudi won by pin at 195, Aria Mahinfar pinned Dorsey’s Eric Smith in the third period at 220 and Jones pinned Fremont’s Avel Zavala at heavyweight.
“I’m really comfortable with my weight and I look at this as a warm-up for City,” Jones said about Canyon Springs. “I’ve improved my technique a lot. I’m working on my outside singles but my added strength is helping.”
Palisades is ranked No. 2 in the City behind El Camino Real and Coach Aldo Juliano is trying to round his team into form before the finals Feb. 21 at Roybal Learning Center.
“I’m just trying to keep them focused on what they know, sticking to their technique and not worrying so much about where they’re ranked,” he said.
Griffin Voted All-Star Starter
Los Angeles Clippers forward and Riviera resident Blake Griffin has been voted a starter for the Western Conference in the NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 15 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
As of Tuesday, Griffin was averaging 22.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and a career-high 5.1 assists per game this season for the Clippers (31-14), who are currently in second place in the Pacific Division. Griffin scored 38 points last year in the East’s 163-155 victory.
Griffin was voted a West starter along with Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, Golden State guard Stephen Curry, New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis and Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol.
Coaching the West squad will be Palisades High alumnus Steve Kerr, who is off to the best start by a first-year head coach in NBA history, guiding Golden State to a league-leading 36-6 mark through Monday.
Kerr is the Warriors’ first All-Star head coach since Don Nelson in 1992 and the first coach to coach the All-Star game in his first season since Indiana’s Larry Bird in 1998.
Pali High Girls Hoops Continues Win Streak
As good as his team looks right now, Palisades High girls basketball coach Torino Johnson believes the Dolphins will be even better by the time the playoffs start.
Palisades defeated host Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies 87-54 on Monday to extend its winning streak to 10 games and improve to 5-0 in the Western League. The Dolphins haven’t lost since a 62-46 setback against La Jolla Bishop’s at the Santa Ana Shootout on Jan. 3.
Bianca King led the way with 29 points, 10 rebounds, six steals and three blocks against the Unicorns. Guards Kayla Merrill-Gillett and Chelsey Gipson each added 18 points.
Last Wednesday the Dolphins opened a 46-9 halftime lead on their way to a 69-26 rout of visiting Venice. King had 20 points and Merrill-Gillett and Gipson added 16 apiece.
Yesterday the Dolphins hosted reigning City Section Division I champion Fairfax in a battle for first place in league. The Lions lost to Palisades in the finals of the Fairfax Tournament on Jan. 10
FC Pali Takes Pony Express
It was a near-perfect weekend for FC Pali, a local AYSO girls U14 Extra team, which took first place last Sunday at the Pony Express Soccer Tournament in Corona. Anchored by goalkeeper Colleen Baskin and center back Caroline Flintoft – both Palisadians – the squad won all six of its games, outscoring the opposition 18-0 en route to the championship.
Pacing FC Pali’s offense were Palisadian Ava Button and Malibu’s Collette Aldrich, each scoring four goals and one each in a 2-0 finals victory over host Corona.
Coached by Gary Truman and Jeff Marks, the team displayed excellence at every position. In addition to Baskin and Flintoft, the impenetrable defense included Palisadian Sadie Bernstein, along with Karen Lopez, Dulcie Morris, and Rivers Redclay.
Controlling the midfield were Nina Gonzalez, Tessa Luini, Jenna Marks, and Sarah Rosenblood. Joining Button and Aldrich up front were Tess Feldman and Lailee Connell. Nine players scored at least one goal in the tournament.
Simpson Makes All-State Squad
Palisades High junior linebacker Alec Simpson has been named to the Cal-Hi Sports all-state football second team.
Simpson led the Dolphins with 115 tackles (15 for losses) along with four sacks, one pass deflection and one interception and he was an All-Western League first team and All-City Division I first team selection in the fall. In August he was offered a full scholarship from the University of Nevada.
Simpson has been invited to the Nike Football Opening Regionals on March 8 at Redondo Union High and Rivals Camp on May 10 at Fullerton College.
After earning Western League Offensive Most Valuable Player and All-City Division I first team honors, Pali High junior quarterback P.J. Hurst has earned invitations to the Elite 11 Camp and the Rivals QB Challenge on Feb. 21 at Fullerton College.
Hurst completed 117 of 185 passes for 2,220 yards, 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions for a 128.6 rating last season. He also rushed for 309 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games.
Balmoral Farm Riders Are Enjoying Success in Saddle
Several Palisadians, riding for Balmoral Farm, were champions at the HITS Thermal Horse Show last week in the Coachella Valley.
Kaitlyn Van Konynenburg was champion in the Large Junior Hunters 16-17 Division on her horse “Wish List” and was reserve champion in the Small Junior Hunters 16-17 Division with “Now How Z.”
Maci Anderson and her pony “Merlin the Magnificent” got ribbons over fences in the Children’s Pony Hunters Division, Emily Beutner was champion in the Beginner Division aboard her horse “Toby,” and Sadie Anderson (with “Social Butterfly”) and Savannah Strome (riding “Little Rascal”) were winners of the Walk-Trot and X-Rails divisions, respectively.
ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Luke Economou
Luke, a 7th-grader at Calvary Christian School, is the captain of the Cougars’ basketball team, which just wrapped up an undefeated regular season in the Pacific Basin League. Luke has been the team’s leader in points, assists and steals per game. He came to Calvary Christian two years ago after moving to the Palisades from New Jersey. Outside of school, Luke plays for the Earl Watson Elite 13U team, one of the top AAU programs in the country.
To nominate your favorite Palisadian for Athlete of the Week, email email@example.com.
First Cal-Hi/Gold Medal Excellence Speed Camp Saturday at Pali High
For football players interested in improving their speed for the upcoming spring combine and camp season, plus spring sports athletes, Cal-Hi Sports and its partners at Gold Medal Excellence speed training will host the first Southern California Speed Camp this Saturday, Jan. 31, at Palisades High.
“It’s amazing when you go to a combine and watch kids run the 40-yard dash,” said Chris Asher, a Hollywood-based speed coach who will be directing the camp and has coached for USA Track & Field. “More than half of them have never been coached how to do it and all of them could do better.”
Asher has worked with NFL players (he got Arizona Cardinals defensive back Antonio Cromartie down to 4.32 seconds in the 40 last summer) and once coached a United States 4×400 relay team to a world junior championship.
Saturday’s camp will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Stadium by the Sea and is for athletes grades 4 through 12). Drills will include first-step quickness, 3-point stance starts, running and sprinting technique, dive phase, 40-yard dash training and 60-yard dash training. Instruction is aimed at helping all athletes improve their speed. A sign-up page already is up and running for the event on the Cal-Hi Sports website: www.calhisports.com.
The track at Stadium by the Sea is named after nine-time Olympic gold medalist and former Palisadian Carl Lewis. Pali High is where standout prep quarterbacks Jay Schroeder, Perry Klein and David Koral once played.
Each camper at the event will be presented a t-shirt and more takeaways. Early registration and general admission are over. Late registration is now available at $60 per camper and signups may go up to $70 on the day of the event.
Now an assistant at UCLA, Asher coached five NCAA Individual national champions and has privately coached over 100 collegiate scholarship athletes in a variety of sports.
Pali High Boys Basketball Bounces Back in League
For the first 10 minutes of Monday’s game against Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies the Palisades High boys basketball team looked sluggish and out of sync.
Ron Artest III changed that with a two-handed slam dunk to bring the home fans to their feet and gave the Dolphins momentum they would never relinquish in a 70-56 victory.
Joseph Robinson scores 19 points, Shane Williams had 13 points and four steals, Michael Fry had 10 points and five rebounds and Will Johnson added eight points and four steals for Palisades, which improved to 12-8 overall and 3-2 in the Western League heading into key games at Fairfax and Westchester.
“These last two games were important to get our confidence back,” said Robinson, who scored 24 points in last Wednesday’s 65-54 victory at Venice.
Artest III finished with six points, seven rebounds and two blocks and George Brown’s dunk put Palisades ahead 41-28 with 4:21 left in the third quarter. Evan Battey had 19 for the City Section Division IV champion Unicorns, who were outscored 23-10 in the second quarter and trailed 32-21 at halftime.
“We’ve come together as a team the last two games,” Brown said. “We have to continue to play hard from beginning to end. Our guards, our bigs, our bench — if everyone’s into it we should come out with a win.”
On Wednesday the Dolphins got their first crack at Fairfax, which entered the game undefeated and ranked in the top 10 nationally. The Lions dealt Westchester its first league loss 54-49 Monday.
“I like challenges so I look forward to those kinds of games,” Robinson said of playing Fairfax. “We’ve had trouble finishing games off but if we play like we did the first three quarters against Westchester, we can win.”
Palisades travels to Westchester for a 6:30 p.m. tip-off Friday. The Comets beat the Dolphins 58-45 in the first round of league play Jan. 14.
Soccer Squads Stay on Top
As it began the second round of Western League play the Palisades High girls soccer team was right where it wanted to be: in first place and in control of its own destiny.
There was no let up Monday as the Dolphins got goals from Hannah DeSilva, Kaitlyn Parcell and Annika Lundeberg to shut out host Venice 3-0. Palisades improved to 8-1 overall and 7-0 in league.
Last Wednesday, the Dolphins blanked LACES 6-0 at Stadium by the Sea behind two goals from Parcell, one goal and three assists from DeSilva and one goal apiece from Haydn Peffer, Kiana Ferguson and Lulu Adams.
Palisades hosted Fairfax yesterday and hosts Hamilton tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the boys squad is also rolling through league and not even pouring rain could dampen the Dolphins’ spirits Monday against Venice. Palisades got a pair of goals from Dash Dennerline and Joob Sanchez and one each from Barron Chavez and Bill Batbayar to beat the Gondos 6-0 at Stadium by the Sea.
“We’re playing well and the key is not to overlook anyone,” co-captain David Grinsfelder said. “We have to bring the same intensity every game.”
Sanchez scored three goals and co-captain Kavi Kashani netted two more in a 5-0 win at LACES last Wednesday. The Dolphins (7-1, 7-0) traveled to Fairfax yesterday and travel to Hamilton tomorrow.