Warren High School is proud to announce our first three winter Athletes of the Week–Lesly Gonzalez (Women’s Soccer), Tremond Johnson (Men’s Basketball), and Jahveon Medearis (Men’s Basketball). These three student-athletes truly embody the “We over Me” mentality, always supporting and celebrating their teams. Their efforts, whether recent or over the course of the past four years, have provided our programs with a strong foundation from which to continually pursue excellence on the field and the court.
Lesly Gonzalez is a four-year starter on the Women’s Varsity Soccer team. During her tenure as a Bear, she has amassed tremendous accolades. As a freshmen, she earned the honor of becoming the Bears’ Freshman of the Year. As a sophomore, she was recognized for her value added to the program as the recipient of the Coach’s Award. She has also earned notoriety beyond her program achievements, earning 1st-Team San Gabriel Valley League (3 years in a row), Long Beach Press Telegram Dream Team (2 years in a row), and All-CIF (1 year). In spite all of these individual honors, Gonzalez is still adamant about the fact that the team comes first in everything she does. As a senior, she has found a renewed and reinvigorated motivation. Her focus now is to share that same inspiration with her team. She wants to encourage her teammates to be the best versions of themselves, both on and off the field. As she reflects on her 4 seasons with the Bears, it is not the accomplishments that resonate with her; rather, it is the connection she has formed with her teammates that has left the most indelible impression on her life. Gonzalez has been fortunate to establish real friendships on and off the field. She fondly remembers team bonding activities and late nights at teammates’ houses, embracing the friendships that were forged on the pitch. Those relationships only strengthened as they learned to overcome adversity together. Gonzalez does not shy away from obstacles; she recognized that the team has faced their fair share of injuries, but they have never given up. They have always shown their cohesion and fortitude as they have learned to grind even when the team doesn’t have all of their pieces in place. As she reflects on the culmination of four years with the Bears, she articulates herself in the most simple way. “I’m going to miss everything! It’s the coaches, the friends, the teachers.” Gonzalez has never shied away from hard work, as she readily admits that she is going to miss 6th period. “I look forward to practice every day; working hard with my friends.” In the midst of the toil, she and her teammates always found a way to laugh. This season is not over yet though, and she still has some ambitious goals for the team. She hopes to finish league undefeated. She wants to hold our rivals scoreless as they look to secure the second crosstown victory of the season. Most importantly, she wants to remain healthy and wish health for all of her teammates; she does not want to see anyone else sidelined by injury. Gonzalez has goals that go beyond high school. She also hopes to do well in college, more specifically to earn a starting spot at the center mid position. She is prepared to be more determined and more focused than ever before in order to “earn her place.” Soccer has meant more than wins and losses to Gonzalez. She has become a more confident young woman through sport. She has surrounded herself with people whom she loves and who love her. They make her a happier person because they give her something to look forward to every day. “My teammates and friends make me value myself more for who I am!” As she embarks upon the end of her senior season and thinks about the legacy that she wants to leave, she would advise all young athletes to love yourself and love others. “Never forget where you came from! Never give up. If you want something, try your best to get it; if you have a goal, do everything you can to reach it. Life is short, so enjoy every minute of it!”
Tremond Johnson and Jahveon Medearis only recently started playing together on the Men’s Varsity Basketball team, but their friendship dates back to their youth. Their instant on-the-court chemistry is a true reflection of that long-standing friendship. Johnson has been a 4-year member of the Men’s Varsity Basketball team, earning a place as a starter since his sophomore season. Although playing since the young age of 7, Medearis only recently began playing for the Bears and has had an immediate impact on his teammates. Johnson and Medearis are now a dynamic duo on the court, facilitating for teammates and working together to bring the best out of all of the guys on the court! Johnson has a long history with the Bears, so he can fondly remember rivalry games that are replete with passion, intensity, and electricity. He thinks back on this season and last season when rivalry games came down to wire to determine who was going to secure the crosstown victory. These are some of the moments that have left a lasting impression. Akin to Gonzalez, Johnson doesn’t simply relate everything to the big wins or tough losses; rather, he hones in on the relationships. After four years of developing bonds, the things he will miss most are the friendships that have been fostered. Johnson emphatically asserts that he will miss Coach Z, pre-game meals, and trips to San Diego with his his teammates. He also looks back on defining moments, like watching his older brother nail the game-tying 3 at Downey, and he is filled with immense pride. Most importantly, it’s the goodbyes that always resonate the most. Every senior night has been extremely emotional for Johnson because he is saying goodbye to the brotherhood that has been forged through basketball. These difficult times are not something from which Johnson shies away; quite to the contrary, he embraces the obstacles. Johnson said that one of the most challenging adversities the team has faced this year was losing two games in a row in league (falling to Paramount and Gahr in the first round). Those losses showed the grit and determination of the team because the team proved that they will never give up; they rebound quickly from loss and come back swinging harder than ever before. One of those losses, the nail-biter versus Paramount, hits Johnson even more personally because he missed the potential game-winning layup. As he reflects on that moment, it taught him that he simply needs to keep trying to do whatever is necessary to help his team secure the wins. It’s that maturity and resilience that are going to prepare him for the next level, which is exactly what he hopes to do after high school–continue playing basketball at a division 1 school.
Johnson was reunited on the court this year with Medearis who was ecstatic to bring his talent and athleticism to the Bears. He grew up with a lot of his teammates; he knows this community from youth. As a young athletic phenom, he played in a DJAA league at Apollo Park where his teams were always undefeated, whether in basketball, baseball, or flag football. As he got older, he honed in on basketball, putting all of his efforts into the sport he truly loves most. For Medearis, this return to the community in which he grew up has been about more than the x’s and o’s, it’s been about the relationships. “This goes beyond basketball. It’s always fun to play with your friends from childhood, friends for life.” Medearis is looking to make those friends as good as can be on the court. After losing in the 2nd round of the playoffs with his previous school, he learned that it was going to take even more to win out. He brings that commitment to Warren, using his renewed passion and motivation to inspire his teammates. He feels an obligation, as the point guard and the consummate teammate, to facilitate for others. He readily accepts the responsibility of doing whatever he can to make those around him better. His game elevates others’ games and vice versa. He recognizes that it won’t always come easily, especially as he works to fit into the fabric of the Bears’ team. He acknowledges that one of his largest obstacles is getting to know his personnel on the court. He has to figure out how each of his teammates play so that he can know how to best facilitate for all of his teammates. Just as he hits his stride with his new teammates and rekindles old friendships on the court, he also has to brace himself for more goodbyes. When he thinks about what he is going to miss most when this season comes to an end, he unabashedly asserts that he will miss the seniors. Losing those relationships is the biggest challenge because again it goes beyond basketball. For now, the Bears cannot focus on the goodbyes; instead, they have to make the most of what they have left together.
Although the season is rapidly coming to a close, both Johnson and Medearis have lofty and honorable goals for the team. Johnson wants to win league and hopefully continue on to win CIF. Medearis’s goals align with that sentiment, and he knows that in order to do that, they need to win out and stick together as a team and trust their coaches! For both athletes, basketball has been about the relationships, the friendship, the brotherhood. Johnson has learned not to take the easy way out, to remain loyal, to stick it out and stay here through everything. Johnson put it on himself to change the culture and establish a winning tradition. Medearis is committed to that goal as well because basketball is his everything. “It’s all I got! This is what I love to do.” They both have profound words of advice for those young athletes who aspire to follow in their footsteps. Johnson keeps it simple and maintains a grounded perspective: “Have a good attitude and be ready to work hard. If Coach Z is yelling at you, he wants the best. Persevere through it because it’s only making you a better person.” Medearis echos the sentiment of being a better person as he advises, “Don’t be like me, be better than me.” If you want to get there, here is the simple truth: “Work every day, before school, after school, go to sleep, get up, do it again. It has to become a routine.”
For all of these athletes, excellence has become a part of that routine. Congratulations to Lesly Gonzalez, Tremond Johnson, and Jahveon Medearis–Athletes of the Week!