National Signing Day comes to Cypress

It's official: Cypress High School football standout Quinten Pounds as he makes it official that he will be attending the University of Washington. Pounds, as well as seven other Cypress High student-athletes signed letters of intent on Wednesday, Feb. 4, formally announcing plans where they will be attending college once their high school obligation is completed. Other Cypress student-athletes to sign letters of intent included quarterback Nick Buras (Northern State University), girls soccer stars Booke Riddle (Trinity Lutheran), Kelly Kessloff (Cal Poly), baseball players Jason Bush (New Mexico State) and Brandon Alamo (Cal State Fullerton) and softball stalwarts Ashley Ross (University of Illinois) and Kristy Boghossian (University of California San Diego).

AYSO announces ‘Celebrating V.I.P. Soccer Day’

Families and friends of the ‘special needs’ community are invited to attend the third annual “Celebrating V.I.P. Soccer Day” on Saturday, Nov. 17 at Landell Elementary School in Cypress. The event, which is free, will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and includes games by local V.I.P. soccer teams, a recognition ceremony, a barbecue lunch fundraiser, prizes and a resource fair that will feature local agencies that support the special needs community.Parking is available at the school and the adjacent neighborhood.AYSO Region 154's VIP program has grown from 40 participants annually to more than 130 players, making it among the nation's largest programs for special needs and disabled athletes. Players come from Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Seal Beach, Westminster and West Garden Grove.The event is underwritten by AYSO Region 154 and supporters include CalOptima, Catering by Herak & Ara, Creative Behavior Interventions and UnitedHealthcare. The more than 15 agencies that provide services to the special needs community will be on hand. Scheduled exhibitors include AbilityFirst/Anaheim, American Red Cross, CalOptima, Challenger Basketball, Creative Behavior Interventions, Cypress Recreation and Community Services, Cypress Youth Baseball: Champions Division, Millers Children's Hospital of Long Beach, Orange County Pediatrics Dental Group, Sage Behavior Services and UnitedHealthcare.“This is a great opportunity for everyone in the special needs community to have some fun while learning about V.I.P. Soccer and connecting with others in the special needs community,” said Ben Singer, director for AYSO Region 154’s V.I.P. Soccer program. “It's all about coming together to support our players. When you watch them score a goal or run through the tunnel of family and friends at the end of a game, their smiles say it all: VIP works on many levels.”For more info about AYSO Region 154’s VIP program and the third annual “Celebrating VIP Soccer Day,” visit www.ayso154.org/vipdivision or contact Singer at 562-810-3463 or vip@ayso154.org.

Griffins two away from perfect season

Los Alamitos football team maintained its undefeated home record when it achieved a 49-6 victory over Marina High on Friday, Oct. 24.The Griffins had the victory wrapped up after the first quarter of play, which saw them put up 42 points.Griffins’ quarterback Jack Telenko threw his three touchdown passes in the first quarter of the game with his first two coming within the first six minutes of the game.The success on the night for Los Al also was due to the variety of receivers that Telenko had at his disposal.Telenko completed at least one pass to six different receivers, three of whom averaged over 30 yards per reception.Griffins’ Denzal Brantley notched home his two TD’s of the night in consecutive fashion in the first quarter.Brantley notched his first touchdown from a 14-yard reception and then his second about 3 minutes later after he forced his way into the endzone from about two yards out.Los Al’s run game rounded out their drives and opened up passing lanes for TelenkoMarina was ran over by the Griffins running arsenal, which saw eight different players get at least a carry on the nightHowever, the Vikings did not let themselves walk out of Veterans stadium in a shutout defeat as they capitalized in the third quarter on a slip up in form by Los Al.After the Vikings pressed the Griffins up to their own one yard line, Vikings’ quarterback Dominic Gonzalez rifled a pass in to Cooper Malerstein to score his sides only touchdown.A big part of Marina not scoring is also due to the Griffins dominating presence in the defensive line.Three different Los Al players sacked Gonzalez Friday night, which speaks for the sort of night the Marina quarterback had.The pressure on Marina resulted in forced mistakes and unwarranted turnovers which aided in the Vikings’ downfall.A pass early in the drive by Gonzalez in the first quarter was picked off by Griffins’ Blake Johnson and ran back for touchdown. The pick capped off a dominating display by Los Al.The Griffins will try to extend their league winning streak this week when they visit Huntington Beach High on Friday Oct. 31. The Oilers are in desperate need of a league wins as they have only tasted their first bit of success last week against Fountain Valley. Los Alamitos won last year’s meeting between the two sides and it looks like it could happen again this year.With only two more league contests left for the Griffins, this year has all the potential to be an undefeated 5-0 season for Los Al.Marina is still looking to get its first victory of the season and will be hoping it can when it visits Newport Harbor High on Oct. 3. The Sailors are coming off consecutive league defeats and will undoubtedly be roaring the get back into winning fashion against a struggling Marina side.

Centurions give strong effort in CIF title game

The run is over. It was a good run for the Cypress High School girls soccer team. However, back-to-back losses-in the CIF title game and in the first round of the Southern California regional playoffs-has effectively ended the Centurions season. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. The Centurions, however, would rather have had that ending taking place somewhere after the state championship game.After falling short to West Torrance in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 championship game, the Centurions lost out to Torrey Pines in the first round of the 2015 CIF Southern California Regionals Girls Soccer Championships. The Centurions can still hold their heads high for what they've accomplished this season no matter what the outcome turned out to be in the postseason.The Cypress girls soccer team achieved something that no other Centurion squad had accomplished in the history of the school when they met up with West Torrance in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 championship game on Saturday, March 7 at Warren High School in Downey. The Centurions didn't just have a great run this season, they had a spectacular one.After experiencing some hiccups at the beginning of the season, the Centurions went on a roll when they became the first squad in school history to play in a girls soccer title game. The Centurions blew by their Empire League opponents on their way to an undefeated mark and had not lost a contest since January when they took the field against the Warriors.That would be 14-game span that Cypress had not experienced defeat. That streak came to a tearful end when West Torrance handed Cypress a 2-0 shutout loss. The euphoria of being the first Cypress team to advance all the way to the CIF title game had to feel a bit surreal for the Centurions. The 2-0 defeat to the Warriors was a tough one to swallow as tears fell continuously on the cheekbones of Cypress players as they accepted their second place trophy. West Torrance jumped out an early 1-0 lead in the first period of the game as Cypress struggled to get something going offensively. The Centurions could muster only mild scoring threats as the Warriors bottled up Cypress star Jemna Degas. The second period offered nothing different as the Centurions posed little pressure on West Torrance's goalie to score. It was one of those games where the offensive flow was somewhat clunky for the Centurions to move the ball.Despite the tough loss, the Centurions played well and still can still bank on having the greatest season a girls soccer program ever had.

Oxford Academy wins first basketball tournament in school history

The Oxford Academy Lady Patriots girlsbasketball team finished in first at the Liberty Christian Winter Showcase tournament which occurred Dec. 18-21.The tournament championship was Oxford’s first ever in basketball for either the boys or girls team in the fifteen year history of the school. Oxford won 4 games in the Liberty Christian tournament and improved their record to 9-3 and helped catapult the team to a #3 rank team in the CIF Southern Section Division 5AA. “It feels great to earn the first basketball championship for the school and start to get some recognition for our accomplishments, but right now it’s time to enjoy the holidays then start to get ready for Academy League play on Jan. 5th,” Oxford Coach David Clifton said. The Liberty Christian tournament featured some of the top teams from Division 4A – 5AA including undefeated Rock Academy of San Diego, plus Academy League rivals Calvary Chapel Downey and Brethren Christian. Two weeks ago the Lady Patriots finished 2-2 in the Ocean View tournament while battling big South Orange County schools El Toro, Irvine, El Modena and Dana Hills. Oxford’s strong showing at Ocean View gave the team confidence going into the Liberty Christian tournament as the Lady Patriots would be paired up against schools similar in class.Going into the tournament, The Lady Patriots offense has been clicking with the team averaging 56 points a game, while defensively they have averaged holding opponents to fewer than 46 points a game. In the first game, Oxford met up with The Rock Academy from San Diego who came in with a record of 5-0.The game was tight as The Rock held Oxford’s front court to 5 points, but the Lady Patriots still managed to lead at halftime 23-21.In the 3rd quarter, Oxford broke the game open with tough defense leading to transitions baskets and outscored The Rock 15-3 in the quarter.Oxford coasted the rest of the way ending with a 46-36 victory. The difference in the game was tough defense that limited The Rocks playmaking opportunities.Jessica Pham provided a defensive spark off the bench for the Lady Patriots and they also got solid defensive efforts from Debrah Graver who secured some key rebounds early in the game, Sophia Chan with 6 steals and Serena Ing who had 3 steals.The Lady Patriots had balanced offense output led by Angie Gagnon who led all scorers with14 points,Austyn Masuno scored 12 points and gathered 13 rebounds,Sophia Chan had 11 points, andMylee Madrazo scored 8 and dished out 4 assists. Next up for the Lady Patriots was Academy League rival Calvary Chapel Downey.Oxford came out strong right out of the gate and took a first quarter lead of 22-10.Austyn Masuno was on fire as she scored 10 points, grabbed 4 rebounds, had 4 steals and dished out 2 assists in the first quarter alone.Masuno ended up with a game high 23 points for the contest and the Lady Patriots downed the Grizzlies 50-24.Sophia Chan added some strong perimeter shooting and knocked down 3 – three point shots and finished the game with 11 points, while adding 4 assists to her stat line. Point Guard Mylee Madrazo scored 10 points and also had a huge contribution on defense where she had a game high 9 steals for the Lady Patriots.Oxford got solid front court play from Claire Alcanar who grabbed some important boards and from Debrah Graver who pulled in another 6 rebounds for the Lady Patriots. In the 3rd game, Oxford met up with Connolly, the college prep Catholic high school for girls in Anaheim.The Lady Patriots dominated from start to finish and beat the Koalas 59-21 and earned a berth into the tournaments championship game.Connolly had no answer for Austyn Masuno who scored 26 points and had 12 rebounds. SophiaChan scored 12 and had 8 steals.MyleMadrazo had a balance stat line scoring 6 points, grabbing 4 rebounds and dishing out 4 assists.Both Debrah Graver and Jocelyn Lopez kept the Koalas off the boards and picked up 6 rebounds each. In the championship game, Oxford paired up again against Rock Academy.Mylee Madrazo was a spark plug that got the Lady Patriots going as she scored 7 of the team’s first 10 points as Oxford jumped out to a 16-4 point lead at the end of the first quarter.The Rock Academy was focused on stopping center Austyn Masuno via physical defense and held her scoreless in the first quarter. The Rock got back into the game and outscored Oxford 18-12 in the 2nd quarter as the Lady Patriots turned the ball over 9 times allowing the Warriors to close the lead to 28-22 at halftime.In the 2nd half, Oxford played solid basketball and limited their turnovers to just 3 and Masuno took over the game.She went to the line 15 times and made 11 and ended the game with 21 points.Madrazo added the knockout blow scoring six 4th quarter points to finish off the Warriors 52-42, and launching the Lady Patriots to their first ever tournament championship. Madrazo earned player of the game honors with her outstanding stat line of 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, plus she played stifling defense against The Rock backcourt. In the 3rd place game, Connelly took on Calvary Chapel Downey and the game was tight as it was tied at 33 after the 3rd quarter.However, in the first 90 seconds of the fourth quarter, Connelly went off on an 8-0 run and The Koalas never looked back as they outscored the Grizzlies 18-6 in the 4th to earn a 51-39 victory and finished in 3rd place. Winter Showcase Top Performers Over the four game tournaments, Oxford averaged scoring over 52 points a game.Center Austyn Masuno averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds. Point guardMylee Madrazo averaged 10 points and 3 assists.Sophia Chan dropped 9 points a game and averaged 6 steals.Angie Gagnon averaged 7 points a game and had six 3 points field goals.Jocelyn Lopez averaged 4 points and gathered 6 rebounds a game. Oxford Academy is now 9-3 on the season and will be back in action when Academy League starts on Jan. 5.The Lady Patriots travel to Newport Coast to take on the Sage Hill Lightning at 6p.m. Oxford Academy Lady Patriots Basketball Enter Academy League Riding High Oxford Academy Lady Patriots Girls Basketball competes in the Academy League, which is made up of college prep schools and includes Oxford Academy, Whitney (Cerritos), Sage Hill (Newport Coast), CreenLutheren (Irvine), St. Margarets (San Juan Capistrano), Brethren Christian (Huntington Beach), and Calvary Chapel Downey.Oxford only won 6 games last year but the team is off to a great start this year and believes they can compete for a league title, something the school has not won in its fifteen year history.

Team Legends Soccer GU12 place first in Spring Select Cypress AYSO Region 154

Team Legends Soccer of AYSO Region 154 Cypress went 9-0-1 to claim first place during the Spring competitive soccer season in North Orange County. Coaches Daniel Jojola and Ed Ebel have coached many of these girls during the 2014 Fall Season, earning first place in all-star area play, and competing in the finals representing Cypress and North Orange County in Section playoffs.These two experienced coaches are in the process of continuing their hard work with Team Legends and guiding them to the next level of club soccer.Coach Ebel is excited about what he sees.“There is lots of talent at this age group and with the excitement of the Women’s World Cup this year for the National Team USA, more interest is expanding for the next level in serious commitment from players whom enjoy competitive soccer,” Ebel said.Players interested in expanding their skill and commitment to soccer can contact coaches Ebel 714-421-3388 Jojola 714-931-2042.GU13 Fall 2015 Pacific Soccer Club “PSC.”Team Legends was sponsored by Realty Executives International Alliance, families and friends.

Cypress residents win rings

Two young Cypress residents won championship rings in a recent Huntington Beach baseball tournament.Jaylin Cannon and Patrick Shanahan played for the L.A. Rockstars Travel team that captured the 10-U Extreme Diamond Sports Baseball Championship. The Rockstars went undefeated in the Early Bird Classic, defeating the Huntington Beach Broncos, Dynasty Baseball of Corona, the Southern California Monsters and in the championship game outscored Ventura County's Oak Park Junior Wave 6-4 at the Huntington Beach Sports Complex. Cannon, who joined the team two years ago, played shortstop and second baseman. Shanahan, who joined when Cannon asked, pitched and played first base.The Rockstars are based out of Culver City and coached by Erikk Aldridge.Both players helped the team win the title. Shanahan pitched four strong innings, allowing just one run in the semifinal game to get his team to title game.“I was so excited to get the win and give my team a chance to win a championship ring,“ Shanahan said after the game. He switched gloves and headed over to first for the title game.Cannon did damage with his bat, going 2-for-3 in the final game. He also shined on defense and made a great over the shoulder, diving catch in the final inning.“Trophies are cool, but I’ve always wanted a championship ring,“ Cannon said.

Former GG resident runs despite cancer and one lung

On Saturday, July 28, Cypress resident Elena Starkey, 54, who lived in Garden Grove for about a decade, performed a courageous feat. The Cypress resident ran in the Cypress 10K/5K Run and Walk with one functional lung, cancer and an uncertain amount of time left to live.“I really want to do this,” Starkey said. “It means so much to me to be able to run again.”In 2008, Starkey discovered a lump in her nose. She initially ignored it, but when it began to obstruct her airflow and bleed, she had it checked out. The diagnosis: Mucosal Melanoma, an untreatable and rare form of cancer that affects one out of 25 million people. Nobody knows what causes it and no treatment exists other than to cut it out.Starkey has since undergone a grueling treatment regimen and multiple surgeries.To remove the lump from her nose, surgeons cut all the way from the base of her skull to the roof of her mouth, which Starkey said “revealed a large and invasive affected area, resulting in 20 biopsies.” Additionally, the loss of cartilage caused the collapse of her nose, which she can’t reconstruct until the bone completely heals. If that weren’t enough, Starkey has experienced side effects, including a painful bone infection and “osteo-radionecrosis” in her mid-face, partial loss of hearing and taste, and total loss of smell.To make matters worse, the cancer metastasized, and Starkey, who underwent chemotherapy in 2009, developed breast cancer, which forced the removal of her left breast. She also lost 2/3 of a lung, but despite the countless injections, medications, and scans every three months, the cancer managed to spread into the lymph nodes of her neck.“Once this metastasizes, there’s really nothing to do,” said Starkey, who will not undergo another operation because of the damage it might cause.She could take what’s called immune therapy and additional chemotherapy, or participate in a clinical trial at UCI, but that would essentially serve as a band aid.Rather than dwell on it, Starkey, who remains positive and gracious, has continued to go about her life.“I am not happy to have it,” she said. “It’s been painful and very hard sometimes, but I am not going to speculate, and I’m not depressed or living in fear. I just have so much joy that I can continue to do the things I love.”For example, she’s still working.In June, she finished her 13th year at Grace Christian, where she teaches Spanish to middle school students and helped establish a program that allows them to learn the foreign language as early as kindergarten. She will even return to work in the fall.“I just love teaching and love kids,” she said. “I am so looking forward to it.”She’s also looking forward to running this weekend, a pleasant surprise considering she had the lung surgery in January. This will mark the third time she has participated in the Cypress 10K/5K, which she debuted at 24 years ago.“I have really been so blessed,” said Starkey, who used to run at other local events like the Race on the Base. “I really want to do this and feel like this is a gift.”Prior to the lung surgery, Starkey ran six miles a day – no problem. Though she now breathes much harder and must exert more energy, she can still match that distance.“I guess my body adapted,” she said.Starkey set the pace with Sweeney, a cashier at the Ralph’s Grocery Store in Cypress, as well as her friend Laurie Laurie Beighton. She was also joined for the first time by both of her daughters: Megan, 25, and Allison, 19.“We have practiced together, but never ran in a race before,” said Starkey, who also has a 23-year-old son, David. “This is really a special thing.”Starkey grew up in Los Alamitos, attending Oak Junior High, where she ran track and played the school’s orchestra. She later went to Los Alamitos High, graduating in 1976, and then to Smith College in Northampton, Mass., where she double majored in English and music.“Nobody has ever heard of it,” said Starkey, who plays the flute and piano. “Well, nobody out here.”While in college Starkey met her husband, David Starkey, who she married in 1980. That same year the couple returned to Southern California, originally settling in Garden Grove. Starkey worked as a secretary at SeaCoast Church in Cypress and taught piano lessons while her husband embarked on a career in water damage treatment.The couple eventually moved to Cypress to raise their children, who have done extremely well; Megan earned a master’s degree in archaeology, Allison just finished her second year of nursing school, and David works as a computer tech.“I love spending time with all of them,” Starkey said. “They have all been so great.”In her spare time, Starkey enjoys reading, playing piano, cooking, and going to the beach. Additionally, she attends Bethany Church in Long Beach. In fact, Starkey credited her Christian faith and relationship with God as the source of her strength.“God is so amazing and beautiful,” she said. “I can’t begin to tell you enough about my faith, and I know everything will be alright because I’m going to heaven.”Starkey also supports cancer foundations. She even donated money to benefit cancer victims while registering for the Cypress 10K/5K.“I don’t think that was offered the last time I ran,” Starkey said. “I don’t know for sure if it’s new, but I think it’s really great.”Those who know Starkey, such as Sweeney, say the same thing about her.“She’s a hero,” Sweeney said. “She’s an inspiration to all women.”Oh, and as far as her time? Rather unimportant in the big scheme of things. Who wouldn’t agree she’s a winner?

Los Alamitos High teams fall in playoffs

It’s all over. The winter season came to an end at Los Alamitos High without a CIF champ – at least in regards to team sports – this year.The Los Alamitos High boys’ basketball squad advanced to the second round of the CIF Division-IAA playoffs, where they fell to Inglewood in a 46-44 heartbreaker on Feb. 25. They previously defeated Jordan (Long Beach) in the first round.Top scorer Khalid Washington did most of the offensive damage against Inglewood. He tallied 17 points. He did the deed with five field goals and went 7-for-10 from the free-throw line.Additionally, senior Chris Powelson shot 67 percent from behind the arc, draining a pair of 3-pointers to end with 8 points. Junior Jack Kaub notched 9 points, Bryan Igboke earned 5 points and Ryan Kusch contributed 3 points.Inglewood essentially took sophomore EyassuWorku, who has averaged 13.7 points per game, out of the game. It held him to just 2 points.The Griffins ended with a 24-5 overall record and their ninth Sunset League title in 10 years.Inglewood qualified for the semifinals. It will battle Long Beach Poly in that round.The Los Alamitos High girls’ basketball team fell to Vista Murrieta, and in the second round of the CIF Division-IAA as well. The final score of this contest didn’t accurately convey the closeness of this battle, which unfolded on Feb. 26 at Los Al High’s gymnasium.The Griffins ended the first quarter locked in a 4-4 tie and kept the deficit to one possession at the end of the first half, which ended with them behind 19-16. However, Vista Murrieta took control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring Los Al by the score of 18-10.They topped Crescenta Valley in a road matchup in the first round with a 45-41 victory and finished the season with a 17-12 overall record.In boys’ soccer action, Los Alamitos lost to Aliso Niguel, which posted a 2-1 victory in the first round on Feb. 20. The opposition’s Charlie Wehan notched two goals. He put the Griffins in a 1-1 hole at the end of the half and pushed them ahead with his second score in the second.John Herron notched the only goal for the Griffins.The Los Alamitos High girls’ soccer team fell to San Clemente by the score of 2-0 in the second round of the playoffs. It had previously knocked off Brea Olinda by being on the opposite end of the same score.Los Alamitos, which trailed 1-0 at the halftime break, ended with a 9-7-6 overall record.The Los Alamitos High girls’ water polo team did the best. It went all the way to the semifinal round, eliminating some big schools before Laguna Beach ended the team’s season with a 12-5 win on Feb. 26.The Griffins trailed 2-0 after the first quarter and 7-2 at the half. They then refused to go quietly in the third, matching the opposition’s two goals, but got outscored 3-1 in the fourth.BeccaCorb led the Griffins with a pair of scores. Also, Karley Kraft, Sarah Siepker and Ella Weber all ended with one goal each.The Griffins year concluded with a 22-9 overall record.

Cypress volleyball tops Magnolia

Cypress Girls Volleyball kicked off their pre-season schedule with a win against Magnolia High School on September 8. Led by seniors Erica Cantley, Kaycee Perez, Katie Ashman, Amanda Lai and Kelci Lopez, the Centurions breezed past the Sentinels in three games. Cypress begins regular season play on Thursday, Oct.1 against Pacifica High School. The Centurions are looking to repeat their performance last year as champions of the Empire League.