Category: Athlete of the Week

Boys Varsity Football, Girls Varsity Cross Country · Athletes of the Week

Warren Athletics is proud to announce the Athletes of the Week: Christopher Venegas (Varsity Football) and Nadine Gomez (Girls Varsity Cross Country). Both athletes have had standout seasons individually, and they have both led their teams to tremendous overall performances–7-3 in football (2nd place in SGVL competition), 10-0 in cross country (1st place in SGVL cluster meets). Venegas and Gomez are not done yet, as Venegas prepares for CIF Round 1 versus Crescenta Valley on Friday, Nov. 2 and Gomez prepares for the SGVL Finals on Wednesday, Oct. 31.

Nadine Gomez is a junior on the Girls Varsity Cross Country Team. She has been a member of the Varsity team all three years in both cross country and track. Gomez’s older sister, Trinity, was a sensational standout in the Warren cross country and track programs. The talent literally runs in the family, as Trinity introduced Nadine to the sport. Gomez has already amassed so many accolades that it is difficult to remember that she is only a junior. As she reflects on her successes, she would contest that her best memories came during the Stanford Invitational because it was a fun experience, bonding with the team and learning about the university. She is such a team player that it required more probing to get her to discuss any of her individual accomplishments. Her performance at Mt. Sac was definitely one of many standout races, as she finished 19th overall in an 18:53. Most recently, Gomez ran a sub 18 at the Apache Invitational (Arcadia High School). This was only the second time in her storied career running under 18 (the first time came as a sophomore at the Woodbridge Invitational). Her experience within the cross country program has truly been a meteoric rise. Gomez still fondly remembers her first time competing as a freshman at the Woodbridge Invitational; she ran in the 19’s and earned a Varsity spot. It was her first taste of success, and it proved to be a precursor to the tremendous accomplishments that would follow. Again, Gomez recurrently refers back to the team. Her best memories were competing in CIF Prelims as a freshman then advancing to CIF Finals as a sophomore. Those team accolades resonate with her more than the individual accomplishments, so it took more questioning for her to embrace her personal successes, such as her back-to-back league championships in the 3,200m in track.

Gomez has proven that she can handle any of the pain and discomfort that inherently comes with the sport because she has had to endure far worse adversity in her young life. Sadly, during her sophomore year, Gomez’s father passed away unexpectedly. His passing happened the day before the Warren/Downey track meet. Most individuals would not have the resilience to fight through such tragedy, but Gomez found comfort, strength, and fortitude through her mother, her sister, Coach Waldron, and her teammates. It’s the bond that formed with her teammates who have seen her through such a tumultuous and tragic time in her life that solidifies her love for the team. When she thinks about what she is going to miss most about this program when it is all said and done, she unhesitatingly asserts that it is the friendship and camaraderie that have formed through their training and competition. Thankfully, she does not have to think about the end just yet, as her season still has pivotal moments ahead. Her goals are to PR at league finals and advance through CIF prelims and finals. She even goes so far as to admit that she hopes that this is the year that the team will qualify for the state meet. She credits the cross country program for helping her to learn how to work with her teammates and run with one another. More importantly, she maintains that the program helped establish and shape her identity through running. “Cross Country helped me figure out who I am.” The team has seen her through the greatest hardships, and she can proudly assert that they are a second family, especially when she needed one most. “It’s like I got a second family.” She now would advice others coming up in the program to stick with it even through pain. “Don’t give up; always push through, even when you feel like it hurts the most. In the end, it will be worth it and it will make you stronger as a person.”

Christopher Venegas is a 4-year member of the Varsity Football Team. He is an all-around phenomenal athlete, competing on the Baseball Team as a freshman and on the Varsity Track and Field Team as a sophomore and junior. Venegas’s game through the air is a thing for the highlight reels, but his game on the ground is equally impressive. His speed outside of the pocket is unmatched, as evidenced by his multi-sport athletic prowess, competing in the 100, 200, 400, 4×100, and 4×400 in track. Akin to Gomez, Venegas never focuses on the individual accomplishments; rather, his team mentality resonates through every response. For him, the highlights are not in his stat lines; they are in the overall team performance. Starting the season-opener with a win over St. Anthony was an integral accomplishment for Venegas and the team. “Once we got that first win as a team, it showed how good we could be!” This team has undeniable potential. Beating Downey (for the first time since 2015 and the first time at Downey since 1998) in a commanding fashion was a huge boost to the team’s confidence, especially as they approached playoff season. Now it’s time to see that potential all the way through to fruition. All of Venegas’s best memories center on the bond he has fostered with his teammates who have been with him since freshmen year. They have grown up as friends, but they have forged a relationship that is more like a brotherhood. Venegas cannot emphasize enough how special it is to him to be so close with his teammates outside of football and then have that chemistry transfer onto the field. It’s that chemistry and that brotherhood that allow the team to fight through obstacles and maintain their composure in high-stakes situations, like the 2-point conversion to win the game against St. Paul (2017 season) or the defensive stop of the 2-point conversion to win the game against La Serna (2018 season).

Individually, Venegas has faced personal hardship. Between his sophomore and junior seasons, Venegas had to endure a lot of criticism. “You’re not worth it,” the nay-sayers and critics asserted. Venegas exemplified the fortitude and resilience to use that criticism as motivation. Those voices of doubt inspired him to give every ounce of himself in practice and to get better each and every single day. “All my life I’ve been told something I couldn’t do.” Those doubts never infiltrated his mind; Venegas lives for the opportunities to prove the critics wrong. There is no denying that he is an undersized quarterback, but he never allows himself to use that as a crutch or an excuse. “We’re all different, it’s good to be different! I love to be short because I love being in the position where I can prove someone wrong.”  Not only does Venegas cherish the obstacles and adversity, he also embraces failure as an opportunity for future success. When he thinks about what he is going to miss most about Warren football, his answer is seemingly bizarre–body builders (also known as burpees). When originally considering that response, Venegas seems to be a masochist. For him, the response sounds odd, but it’s not about the pain; rather, it’s about being in the position to learn from mistakes. He cherishes every opportunity to learn and grow with his teammates. Venegas sincerely believes that through failure, athletes can learn to succeed. The conversation leaves most adults questioning how one young athlete can embody such tremendous maturity and integrity. If Venegas is asked, he will proudly assert that his character is defined by his mom. She is a single mom who has raised two tremendous kids. She gets very little support, and she works tirelessly to provide every opportunity for her children. She has put in countless hours to ensure that she is raising a man of upstanding character, a young man who proudly upholds the duties as the man of the house. Venegas proudly boasts that his mom is the hardest worker; she makes no excuses, she never whines. She just wants to ensure that her children always have the best. Venegas would be remiss not to give credit where credit is due, and his mom is without question the biggest influence in his life.

Venegas’s season still has quite a few unfulfilled goals. He hopes to win a CIF championship as a team; he wants to lead the team to that title. He also plans to continue to work hard academically to put himself in the best position possible for his future. By the time February comes, he hopes to sign with a school that will give him the opportunity to further his academic and athletic pursuits. Venegas is proud to represent Warren High School; proud to be a Bear. He takes immense honor in representing “the school and the spirit that comes with it–that’s something special that this school has.” For all those hoping to follow in his footsteps, heed his advice. “Do not take anything for granted; 4 years goes by really fast. Learn and listen—you’ll become a better athlete and a better person at the same time.”

Again, congratulations to our Athletes of the Week–Nadine Gomez and Christopher Venegas!


Boys Varsity Water Polo, Girls Varsity Tennis · Athletes of the Week

Warren Athletics is proud to announce the Athletes of the Week for the first week of October (Oct. 1-5): Edson Alvarado (Boys Water Polo) and Kailyn Lorberter and Ximena Ramos (Girls Tennis).

Edson Alvarado is a senior on the Boys Varsity Water Polo Team. His offensive dominance has been a catalyst for the team’s tremendous performance in SGVL play. Alvarado scored a game-high 6 goals against Paramount, in an 8-2 victory for the Bears. In fact, that game produced some of his best memories because of his stellar performance, capitalized by a beautiful backhand goal off the strong-side post. Besides the incredible memories made in the water, he also fondly recalls some of the best moments happen outside of the water with his teammates–post-game tournament team meals and bus rides to/from the games. These are the bonding opportunities that have allowed him to forge such strong relationships with his teammates. Alvarado has proven his resilience and tenacity within the sport as our Water Polo Team has faced a number of changes during his tenure with the Bears. As a sophomore, the team did not have a pool, so they had to use the Downey High School pool for practice and competition. More challenging was facing each new season with a different coach, as Alvarado has been with 4 different coaches in 4 years. He has stayed true to his sport through these personnel changes, adapting to new coaching philosophies, styles, and systems. As Alvarado approaches the latter portion of his season, he looks ahead to his future within the sport. He hopes to continue to play water polo and swim at the collegiate level. He is not ready to walk away from the sport. For Alvarado, getting into the water is the highlight of every day. “It’s the only thing I looked forward to throughout the day. During class, I looked forward to getting in the water.” Beyond the sport, he also credits his time with the team for helping him land his first job as a county lifeguard. He hopes to inspire young athletes. “Do more than what’s expected. Help your teammates be better. As the saying goes, ‘You are only as strong as your weakest link.’ Help make those around you better.”

Kailyn Lorberter and Ximena Ramos have had a dominant season thus far, leading our Girls Varsity Tennis Team to an undefeated record in San Gabriel Valley League action. The Varsity Tennis Team is currently 11-0 in league and 13-2 overall. Lorberter and Ramos have played together for two seasons, earning honors as the 2017 Doubles League Champions and the 2017 Doubles League Tournament Champions–a feat they hope to repeat during this 2018 season. Although this season has been filled with numerous highlights, for this dynamic duo they most fondly remember defeating the #1 doubles team from Lynwood (6-3) in the second round after dropping that game in the first round of league play. Beyond their own performance, they are also proud of their team as a whole for exemplifying cohesion and solidarity both on and off the court. As they approach the end of their senior seasons, they look back on their storied careers as Warren Tennis players. They are most proud of their SGVL championship performance last year (2017), which enabled them to represent the Bears at CIF. Both girls are fiercely competitive, which has clearly proven to their advantage throughout the season; however, when they consider obstacles they have had to overcome, they would also suggest that this competitiveness can be a double-edged sword. When their fiery spirit gets the best of them, they usually take it out on each other–giving each other attitude on the court when things are not going their way. That being said, they are always quick to laugh it off and move forward. They have found solace in each other, especially as they deal with the mental challenges of the sport. After two years together, they are going to miss playing with each other. They have been a force to be reckoned with, only losing twice in the 2017 season and following suit during this 2018 season. Their season is not quite over yet, and they still have lofty goals for themselves. They hope to win both the league title and the league tournament again, they want to make a further run into CIF, and they hope to garner the SGVL League Championship as a team (which is looking all but guaranteed at this point, with only one match remaining). As for the future, Ramos hopes to attend San Francisco State or UCI where she plans to focus on her studies as a political science major. Lorberter looks to have a strong senior season in softball and prepare for her collegiate playing days at Bucknell. As a two-sport athlete at Warren, she hopes to continue her successful performance balancing academics and athletics at the collegiate level. Before they leave the Bears’ program, they took a moment to reflect on the value of their time with the Tennis Team. Both girls agree that this sport makes athletes mentally tough. They are extremely hard on themselves and the sport can be mentally draining, so they have had to learn how to handle those challenges and exemplify resilience. As they move forward, they would advice young athletes to “try to participate in athletics. It’s a good experience; everyone should test the waters and see what interests them.”–Ramos. Both girls agree that the value of the sport lies in the relationships just as much as the win/loss record. “You make different connections to people through your sports.”–Loberter. “Athletics creates safe zones where you can comfortably be yourself.”–Ramos.

Congratulations to all of our Athletes of the Week!

Multiple Teams · Athletes of the Week

Warren Athletics is proud to announce our Athletes of the Week for the final week of September (09/24/2018-09/29/2018): Antonio Munoz and Jennine Dahdul.Antonio Munoz is a senior on the Boys Cross Country Team, competing on the varsity team for 3 of those 4 years. This past weekend, Munoz had the opportunity to compete at the Nike Pre-Nationals in Portland, Oregon. He had a spectacular race, finishing 5th place overall in the Varsity Division 1 race. His performance helped the team secure the Varsity Division 1 Team Championship. Munoz epitomizes a coach’s ideal athlete, always placing the team above the individual. When asked questions about his individual performances, he always referred back to the team’s accomplishments. For Munoz, developing close relationships with his teammates and leading the team to work cohesively as one dominant unit is the greatest achievement. He takes tremendous pride in leading the team and serving as a role model for his younger teammates. At the first San Gabriel Valley League Cluster Meet (Sept. 20), his individual performance was secondary to the commanding team performance–all 6 runners finishing in the top 10. Occasionally, his favorite moments do not even involve him. At the Woodbridge Invitational (Sept. 15), he got the most joy out of witnessing the dynamic duo of juniors–Owen Franco and Fabian Gomez–work together to follow in his footsteps. Most recently, he was incredibly proud to see how much the team had improved, as they took the top spot on the podium at the Nike Pre-Nationals, and they did so in a decisive fashion while only running with the 5 scoring athletes. As he looks toward the latter half of his senior season, he does so with fond memories of cross country camps every summer. He is going to miss being able to run with his friends every day. “You can really see what a person is like when they’re running through pain; you get really close to people.” He is going to miss being with his friends every day and starting his days off right with early morning runs on the weekends. Plus, he is going to miss the nerves and adrenaline rush that he gets every time his toes hit the starting line. Thankfully, the season is only at the midpoint, and there is still a lot to look forward to. He wants to see the team overcome the fear of competing against the top-ranked teams in the CIF Southern Section and the nation. 2018 will be the season that the team will get past the CIF Prelims, and Munoz is going to do everything in his power to ensure that happens. He will take the initiative to run more aggressively and set an example that the younger teammates can follow. Personally, Munoz looks to earn a ranking in the Southern Section and break 15:00 (current PR being 15:06 at the Woodbridge Invitational). The Boys Cross Country team means a lot to Munoz because it has shaped his character, making him more independent and more social. His coaches are tough on him and hold him accountable, in turn, he rises to the occasion. For future athletes and younger teammates, the advice is brilliant: “Always believe in the people around you. Always surround yourself with the people who will make you better. If you are the best, bring everyone else up with you!”

Jennine Dahdul is a junior on the Girls Volleyball Team. She is a standout two-sport athlete, a 3-year varsity letterman in both volleyball and basketball. Her dominant offensive performance has been demonstrated all season with her remarkable hitting. Dahdul has proven her versatility by playing all three positions in the front row. She has shown her prowess on both sides of the game, as her blocking has helped to anchor our defense. Dahdul has amassed phenomenal stats, leading the team in kills and blocks. This season, the team has overcome adversity, and Dahdul takes immense pride in the team’s ability to re-establish cohesion and play for one another in spite of the hardships they have faced. One of her fondest memories from the season was the motivation the team received from Coach Palmer (Head Women’s Basketball Coach), inspiring the girls to embrace their eagle mentality. This encouragement was the catalyst for the team’s first win of the season (a 3-0 victory over Norwalk on Aug. 23). As the 2018 season comes to a close, Dahdul reminisces about the memories made and prepares to say goodbye to the seniors with whom she has enjoyed sharing the court. Thankfully, she still has one more year, and she has set some lofty goals for her senior season. Her ambitions are to win a CIF Championship in Girls Volleyball and earn a scholarship to continue playing volleyball at her dream school (Denver). Dahdul is grateful to the Girls Volleyball team and Coach Lane for shaping her high school experience. “If I didn’t play volleyball, I wouldn’t be the person I am. Coach Lane has high expectations for me, and his high expectations push me to be a stronger person with a stronger mentality.” As a role model for younger athletes, she would advise the underclassmen to “never give up because there’s always light at the end of the tunnel and more time/opportunities to accomplish their goals.”

Congratulations to both of our Athletes of the Week!