Category: Athlete of the Week

Bears News · Athlete of the Week

With the conclusion of the 2018-2019 school year, it is time to announce our final two athletes of the week: Kailyn Lorberter (softball) and Johnny Gonzalez (baseball). Both athletes recently concluded their seasons, helping their teams advance to the CIF Quarterfinals and the CIF 2nd Round, respectively.

Lorberter recently wrapped up her senior season, which also marks her fourth year on the Varsity Softball team. She has been a leader on and off the field, and her competitive spirit will be sorely missed by the Bears. As Lorberter reminisces on her four years in the program, she becomes visibly emotional, clinging to composure as she attempts to answer difficult questions with strength and poise. Lorberter asserts that the 2019 team was “one of the closest teams” she has been a part of. Their relationships were tight-knit, and they fostered fantastic chemistry on the field. Lorberter was incredibly proud to be a part of this team that surprised everyone with an astonishing playoff run, all the way to the CIF Quarterfinals. Lorberter’s memories extend well beyond her senior season. From her freshmen year, she has been forging strong relationships. She affectionately recounts the seniors who took her under their wings when she was one of only two freshmen on the varsity team. As she got older, she relished the opportunities to do the same thing for the new, incoming players. She looked forward to fostering relationships and bringing everyone together–ensuring that there were not cliques within the team. Lorberter was also a tremendous leader when her team faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles. During her senior season, she found that the team often fell victim to self-doubt and self-sabotage. They often got down on themselves, and she admits that she was frequently too hard on herself. Lorberter had to set an example for her teammates, and collectively they learned to keep their heads up and never give up on themselves. At the end of such a phenomenal career, it is nearly impossible to articulate everything that Lorberter will miss. Most prominent in her mind is simply distance. She is headed to Bucknell University (Lewisburg, Pennsylvania) in order to continue her athletic and academic pursuits. She is keenly aware of just how far away she will be, and she is going to miss being so close to all of her family and friends. Moving so far away is daunting, and she is sad to leave behind all of the friendships that she has forged over the last four years. In spite of her trepidation, she has lofty goals for herself. As an athlete, she wants to continue to get stronger on the playing field. As an academic, she plans to study biology in an effort to familiarize herself with the content area and pursue a career in forensics. Before moving forward, Lorberter spent a little more time reflecting on her past four years. For Lorberter, her time on the field provided invaluable experience. She played so many different positions during her tenure, so she was able to experience everything from different perspectives. Lorberter was able to get a different sense for what everyone was looking at and how everyone was feeling because she could see everything from varied angles. This clearly exemplifies her versatility and her leadership capabilities. She puts those leadership skills to work one more time as she advises younger Bears not to be so hard on themselves. “Stick together; remembers it’s a team sport. You can’t always blame everything on yourself.” Most importantly, she reminds every up-and-coming athlete to “have fun! It’s just a game!”

Speaking of fun, our male athlete of the week–Johnny Gonzalez–is just that! He is a captivating and charismatic junior on the Varsity Baseball team. He is passionate about his team and his sport, and he could easily articulate just how much the program means to him in a way that would capture the heart and spirit of anyone who had the pleasure of listening to him speak. Gonzalez recently concluded his third season with the Varsity Baseball team, and he can proudly say that this was his most productive season thus far. He was named the team MVP, while earning the best on-base percentage, the most times on the base, the best batting average, and the most hits! For Gonzalez, these individual accolades pale in comparison to the team accomplishments. This particular team had the most chemistry. It has been the same group of guys that have played together since freshmen year. They always hang out, on and off the field. Gonzalez fondly asserts, “We don’t feel like a team; we feel like a family!” Gonzalez has incredible memories with these teammates. Although it might seem odd, Gonzalez affirms that a lot of their bonding time happened during their field work. The team has fun with the guys who are out there. “You get to know every single guy in and out; I knew everything about everybody. There wasn’t a single guy I didn’t talk to.” That brotherhood proved to be at its strongest when Gonzalez suffered a severe injury that left him hospitalized for a few days as he awaited recovery sans surgery. His teammates–his brothers–were with him every day and through every evening. At the helm of that unwavering support and unconditional love was Head Coach, Scott Pearson, who Gonzalez considers a father-figure. The moment Gonzalez was released from the hospital, where was he found? Where else? The Warren baseball field, supporting his brothers as they entered into their CIF 2nd round game. For Gonzalez, everything in the Bears’ program has been team-oriented. It has created a phenomenal atmosphere and an unadulterated love for playing with such a great group of guys. Although the chemistry on the field was completely unforced, Gonzalez has had to force his way through some other struggles–predominately his performance in the classroom. Gonzalez admits that he lacked motivation in the classroom. He “always put baseball over everything.” Thankfully, as he aged, he matured, and he realized the importance of taking care of business in the classroom. Gonzalez also had to overcome a lot of self-doubt and stigmatization. As a freshman, he was repeatedly told that he was “too skinny and too small.” He was told that he “would never play Division 1 baseball.” During these difficult moments, Gonzalez always had one steadfast bedrock of support and encouragement–Coach Pearson. The constant reassurances from Coach Pearson that he was better than he gave himself credit for and that he would receive opportunities convinced Gonzalez that he had something worth fighting for. Gonzalez attributes so much of his development to Coach Pearson and the lessons that he has learned on the field that transcend the sport of baseball. He is more prepared for the real world because of the lessons he has learned through Coach Pearson. He is disciplined, polite, respectful, compassionate, and family-oriented because of baseball. It’s not just the lessons learned that go well beyond the field, it’s also the bonds forged that go beyond baseball. Gonzalez will miss all of the seniors who recently graduated with the class or 2019. He has been playing with all of them since a young age, some as young as age 5 or 6. Thankfully, he sincerely believes that these relationships will stay strong well beyond high school. He cannot think too far beyond high school yet though because there are still some ambitious aspirations to accomplish in his senior season, namely Gonzalez wants to win a league and a CIF championship. He is confident he can still make this happen in his senior season, He and his teammates have learned to “play for one another.” For Gonzalez, that’s a change. When he was younger, he used to play for himself. He never used to be team-oriented. Since Warren, he always plays for his teammates. He will do whatever it takes to contribute to his team. As he approaches his senior season, he is prepared to be a leader for the team. He would advice underclassmen to “have fun!” “Life’s too short to be wasting time being miserable; it goes to quickly, so enjoy it!” Gonzalez is definitely one worth watching as he goes into his senior season. He knows that Warren Baseball is underrated. He sincerely believes that the Bears’ coaching staff is a group of the greatest baseball minds. The facilities are remarkable–the clubhouse, the field. “There isn’t a time that I haven’t enjoyed myself in this program.” Maybe next year that joy will culminate in the elusive CIF Championship.

Congratulations, again, to our final 2018-2019 Athletes of the Week–Kailyn Lorberter and Johnny Gonzalez.

Boys Varsity Swimming, Girls Varsity Swimming · Athlete of the Week

The Warren Athletic Department is proud to announce our next Athletes of the Week: Emily Galindo and Lorenzo Edwards. These two student-athletes are both integral members of the Varsity Swim Team. Their seasons recently wrapped up with standout performances and CIF Division 3 qualifying times.

Galindo is a senior who has been representing the Warren Varsity Swim Team for four years. Galindo’s swimming career started well before her time at Warren High School. She began taking swimming lessons at age 7 through the Roosevelt pool. After only two years of swimming lessons, she dedicated herself to the sport and joined the club swimming ranks with the Lynwood Marlins. She has been swimming for 10 years with the Marlins, and she continues to train with this team even though her competitive career is coming to a close. She has remained loyal to one club because they have become family to her; she has forged bonds with her coaches and teammates that are simply irreplaceable. Galindo’s prolific career notched a few highlights this year. It was a challenging season because she found herself plateauing for most of the meets; however, she peaked at just the right time. Galindo secured PR’s (personal records) at the San Gabriel Valley League Finals in both the 500 free (5:45.20) and the 100 fly (1:07.63). Not only were these her best times, but they were also CIF consideration cuts. For Galindo, other fond memories also include working with Coach Tse and Coach Villa to get advice that eventually helped her secure these top times. Now that Galindo’s high school swimming is coming to a close, she reminisces about her best memories over the course of her 4 years. It has been about the relationships as much as it has been about the actual sport of swimming. Galindo asserts that her high school teammates have grown into a family. The boys’ and girls’ swim team have fostered strong bonds–training together and supporting one another. They get excited for one another’s triumphs, and they support one another through the struggles. Galindo knows a thing or two about struggles. Not only does she compete in a physically challenging double (100 fly followed by the 500 free), but this year, she also had to deal with the mental struggle of repeatedly hitting the same times in those events. Galindo maintains that the struggle actually helped to push her more. She had the opportunity to try other events that she does not typically swim (in an effort to break the monotony and the rut). She also faced the struggle of balancing academics and athletics, as she maintained her position in AVID and athletics through all four years. Again, this struggle paid off, as Galindo will be the first in her family to advance to college. Galindo is now looking forward to attending college, pursuing a teaching credential (specifically in elementary education), and advancing to the heights of high school and/or club swim coach. She might eventually like to coach for her club team–the Lynwood Marlins–or return to her alma mater in order to coach the Bears. It’s odd that the swim season is coming to a close for Galindo because she cannot imagine her life without swimming. She is saddened to think that she will not see the friends with whom she has forged such strong bonds on a daily basis. The friendships fostered on the pool deck are now facing rougher waters as Galindo and her teammates prepare to part ways and set out on their respective collegiate adventures. No matter what happens, Galindo is proud of her time with the Warren swim team. She believes that it helped her to become a more dedicated, collaborative, hard-working, and independent person. Swimming has strengthened her personal development, and she will surely use those skills as she embarks on her collegiate pursuits. If she could offer some advice to the underclassmen, she would affirm, “Be involved! Be active in campus life!” As far as athletics, she recommends, “Be engaged in all aspects of the athletic department. Learn from other athletes; support other athletes. Learn to manage your time and use your sport as a positive and productive outlet.”

Edwards is a junior on the Varsity Swim Team. This concludes his third season earning a varsity letter. Edwards has been swimming for 10 years, first learning at the Santa Fe Springs Aquatic Center before moving to the Norwalk Aquatics Center. Edwards still trains at Norwalk, concluding his 5th year with the program. His specialties are the 200 IM and the 100 back, in which he earned PR’s this season at just the right time–San Gabriel Valley League Finals. After a season of plateaued performances, everything clicked for Edwards at league finals as he turned in his best times of his career: 2:05.98 in the 200IM and :57.00 in the 100 back. These times were strong enough to secure CIF cuts, which is great because some of Edwards fondest memories take place with the boys’ and girls’ swim teams at CIF. He loves to compete, but he also loves spending time with his teammates in practice and outside of practice. Akin to Galindo, this season presented its challenges because Edwards recurrently matched the same times; however, he found his breakthrough performances when it mattered most. He also had to balance a full load of honors and AP courses, so managing his time wisely and prioritizing his workload with his training became a critical challenge. Edwards found that everything came together for him the moment he donned his fastskin, so all of those challenges paid off. Now, he is extremely excited to continue into his senior season with his teammates and friends. He has some lofty goals for his senior year–first and foremost, Edwards hopes to win league finals as a team. He also intends to drop more time in his individual events. He knows that these goals will be difficult, but he believes that they are attainable if he and his teammates resolve themselves to “never give up.” “Keep training; give yourself the chance to beat the best!” Edwards is looking forward to his senior season because he cannot imagine his life without athletics. When he isn’t competing in swim, he is competing for the Bears’ cross country team, so he would always be an athlete even if he did not swim. He does not know what life would be like for him outside of athletics. He would always want to find a way to be involved in high school sports. After high school, his priorities might change as he hopes to focus on engineering in college, but for now, he will continue to look forward to what he hopes will prove to be a dominant senior season.

Again, congratulations to our Athletes of the Week–Emily Galindo and Lorenzo Edwards!

Boys Varsity Volleyball, Varsity Cheer · Athlete of the Week

We are excited to shine the spotlight on our next two student-athletes: Amir Abboud and Heidi Greilach. Abboud is a senior on the boys’ varsity volleyball team, and Greilach is a junior on the varsity cheer team. The boys’ volleyball team is nearing the end of their season and vying for a CIF berth; meanwhile, the cheer team competed in the inaugural year of CIF Championships this past season. Both Abboud and Greilach are integral contributors to their teams’ successes.

Abboud has been a member of the varsity volleyball team since his sophomore year, which was his first year ever playing the sport. Clearly displaying natural talent, Abboud was immediately placed on the varsity team after his basketball coach, Zaiid Leflore, encouraged him to join volleyball in order for him to improve upon his vertical leap. Abboud instantly fell in love with the sport. As his junior season approached, Abboud chose to leave basketball in order to concentrate solely on volleyball. He poured all of his attention into the game for which he had developed a love. After his junior season, his intensity heightened, and Abboud began playing club going into his senior season. He started showing tremendous improvement and progress in a relatively short time. Although there are occasions on which he misses playing with the basketball team, he remains steadfast and confident in the decision to focus on volleyball. His senior season has proven to be a bit of an emotional roller coaster. He has enjoyed the opportunity to get to know his teammates better and forge strong bond with his peers. He knows that even though they may struggle, they will always rise above those obstacles. Abboud is confident that when the team’s chemistry is clicking, they shine as a unit! They’ve faced their fair share of hardship as well. They have changed lineup rotations regularly, which has left some uncertainty as to who was playing which position. They have not had as much practice time throughout the season, so they have had to learn how to capitalize on and maximize the practice time that is allocated for them. They need to be ready to practice at their best from the moment they enter the gym, and that has not always been the case–often gelling into finest form only within the last 15 minutes of practice. It has been a learning opportunity for the team, as they have had to adjust to starting strong and uniting mentally in order to perform at their best at all times. They always need to support one another, as volleyball is a sport of “bettering the ball, being scrappy, and showing your will to win at all times.” When they team has maximized their time and delivered quality over quantity, they have found success. Abboud fondly remembers the 2017-2018 team, which he affirms may have been the best team that he’s had the opportunity to be a part of. They had a successful regular season and made a deep run into the playoffs (3rd round). Although this year’s team is significantly younger and less experienced, Abboud still has extremely high expectations for the team. He still believes that the team can make a playoff run, especially if they come together and win out in these final league matchups. He is never going to give up on himself or his teammates. This season is far from over. That competitive mentality is exactly what Abboud needs to maintain as he serves as a role model for the younger athletes. He places a lot of pressure on himself to lead by example and help the younger athletes navigate the difficult transition from JV to Varsity. He relishes the opportunity to watch and facilitate the growth and improvement of the younger athletes, helping them nurture their passion at young age. He is excited to see the underclassmen continue to develop, but he is sad to leave his high school playing days behind. He is going to miss being around the people and the program. Being able to play every day with his peers and close friends brought a joy to his athletic tenure that he otherwise would not have experienced. The relationships he established with his teammates were genuine friendships, these were guys with whom he truly wanted to spend time. He has loved the memories that he has been able to make with long-time teammates and newer teammates. Representing Warren has been “bigger than volleyball.” He affirms, “It’s the things you learn–how to succeed, how to overcome various obstacles.” He is going to miss those learning opportunities because they have truly shaped the young man he has become. It’s not time to consider the end just yet; Abboud still has goals for his senior season. He expects his team to come together and reinforce their collective mindset. He wants them to reinforce their bonds and reestablish their chemistry so that they can defeat the next few teams and earn a CIF playoff berth. Abboud is hopeful that they can earn redemption during post-season play. They are not going to wallow in their losses; rather, they have every intent to rise up and be better. After a difficult defeat to Paramount (losing in 4 sets), the team regrouped at IHOP the following morning to unite and push forward. They want to show fortitude and determination even in the face of hurdles. It’s these moments, trivial as they may seem, that have helped shape Abboud’s character. “I don’t know if I would be the person I am today [without volleyball].” The different people he has met, the good times he has shared, the lessons he has learned…all of those have helped to shape his identity on and off the court. “When you struggle together and bounce back together, it’s a defining experience. It changes who you are in the best way.” If Abboud could pass along some words of wisdom to the young, up-and-comers, he would advise them to be ready for anything that comes their way. “Always be aggressive, be ready, be attentive, and be willing to put in the extra hours. You can’t just practice during school, you have to be willing to put in time outside of school. Take the initiative. Join a club. Do more! Prepare yourself. Know what you are doing, and be confident in that. Outwork everyone else!” This is pretty good advice for young athletes to heed. Abboud recognizes that you have to work hard, but you also have to enjoy every moment. “Appreciate the moments you have now.” Time flies, so work hard every day and don’t take any moments for granted.

Greilach has been a proud member of the cheer team since her freshmen year. Prior to high school, she had performed and competed as a dancer, so it was a natural transition for her to tryout for the cheer team when she entered high school. After only one year of cheer, Greilach was named the captain of the JV cheer team as a sophomore. Going into her junior year, she was promoted to the Varsity squad. Greilach has relished every opportunity that has been afforded to her through cheer. She embraces every challenge as an opportunity to improve and better herself. This year, she was asked to move from a base spotter to a flyer. In relatively short notice, she was tasked with serving as a flyer at the team’s Nationals in Las Vegas, Nevada. Most student-athletes might see this as an insurmountable obstacle, but Greilach attests that this was one of the highlights of her season. She embraced the change because she knew that her team was relying on her. She also readily accepted the challenge to improve upon her tumbling. She has now mastered her back-tuck. Her goal is to continue to improve upon her tumbling and assist her teammates as they learn tumbling so that next year’s squad can compete in the tumbling division of the CIF Championships. Greilach speaks fondly of her time with Warren Cheer, but as she reflects on this year, which is readily coming to a close, she can distinctly identify some of her best memories. It started with the team’s summer camp trip to Palm Springs. She enjoyed the opportunity to bond with her teammates and foster strong relationships with her peers. She was also afforded the opportunity to train and compete with students from other schools, which helped her to broaden her athletic network and expand upon her competitive experiences. As for sideline cheer, there has been no experience that truly compares to the feeling of jumping off her stool at the end of the Warren/Downey football game in celebration of the Bears’ victory! This was an excitement that still resonates with her today. Greilach has loved participating in both sideline and competitive cheer. Her other top memories revolve around the competition team’s trip to Las Vegas for the Nationals. She enjoyed traveling with the team and reinforcing the bonds that had been established earlier in the year. Every difficult time is transformed into a fond memory, as Greilach recounts waking up at 5:00AM to train after a poor performance in the early stages of Nationals. She enjoyed getting up with her teammates, working hard, and earning a pre-performance nap before finals at Nationals. All of these proud memories have been balanced by a few daunting obstacles. As a freshman back-spotter, Greilach’s flyer broke her arm while practicing the performance choreography. Moments like those reminded her of how much her teammates were relying on her and the magnitude of what was at stake for her teammates who were sacrificing their bodies for their sport. She also had to overcome the hurdle of transitioning from a back-spotter to a flyer, which is an especially demanding challenge considering she is one of the taller girls on the team.  All of these obstacles were worthwhile for Greilach because she was able to help her team find further success. As this year rapidly comes to a close, she reminisces about the relationships that she has formed with her teammates. She is going to miss the seniors because she has fostered sincere friendships with the seniors, especially one of the senior captains–Marissa Padilla. Greilach will be extremely sad to see them leave. She has to focus on the positives though, so she is excited about the prospect of becoming even more competitive during the 2019-2020 season. She is looking forward to winning more competitions and earning a spot in the tumbling division of those competitions. Personally, she is challenging herself to throw more tumbling passes at games during sideline cheer. Cheerleading has been so much more than merely tumbling passes and stunts; rather, it has enabled Greilach to become highly involved and invested in campus life. It has afforded her opportunities to attend more sporting events than she otherwise would have attended. She has established great relationships with a diverse cross-section of Warren’s large campus. She has fostered connections with most of the student-athletes, especially through the brother/sister program with the football team. Cheerleading has been an outlet to keep her engaged with the entire campus community. Suffice it to say, it has been an incredibly worthwhile endeavor for Greilach, and she would impart some advice onto incoming freshmen. “Be confident and have fun with it.” As a cheerleader, it’s much easier to be authentic if you are truly enjoying yourself. The joy should be genuine and sincere, then you can truly shine. Have fun with anything you try because you will be able to make the most of it. She affirms, “Remember high school for more than just the homework, studying, and all-nighters; make memories because these are times you cannot get back.”

Congratulations, again, to our next installment of athletes of the week: Amir Abboud and Heidi Greilach!

Boys Varsity Golf, Boys Varsity Tennis · Athlete of the Week

The Warren Athletic Department is proud to announce the first two spring sport Athletes of the Week: Christian Crosbie (Boys’ Tennis) and David Gutierrez (Boys’ Golf). These remarkable young men both excel in the classroom and in their respective sports. Both students are competing at a high level while also challenging themselves in the most rigorous honors and AP courses. Crosbie is nearing the end of his senior year. He is currently ranked 6th in the graduating class of 2019, and he is wrapping up his third season on the Varsity Tennis Team. Gutierrez is well underway in his junior season with the Varsity Golf Team, and he is leading his team to a dominant season thus far.

Christian Crosbie is a motivated young man in every aspect of his life–academics and athletics. When he originally joined the Tennis Team, he thought it might be a fun activity. Prior to high school, he had enjoyed playing tennis as a recreational sport. Once he joined the high school Tennis Team, he became completely “infatuated with the sport.” He strives to be the best at the things he loves to do, and tennis is one of those endeavors. The love he has developed for the sport while playing with the high school team has inspired him to want to continue to play in college. He has amassed a very successful career during his tenure at Warren High School. This year alone, some of the highlights include defeating Gahr (for the first time since 2015). Every win is critical, but this victory carries immense weight because it is a true testament to the hard work and dedication the entire time has invested into their games. This is a reflection of the vast improvement the team has made, losing pretty handily in his first three years with the program. Crosbie is truly proud of the dedication and determination that each of his teammates have exemplified. The team is undefeated in league thus far, and he is so impressed by the commitment to the craft that each teammate has shown. As a unit, their motivation and dedication is unparalleled. Crosbie has fond memories that date back well beyond his senior season. As a sophomore, he and his doubles partner (Robert) became known as the “tiebreakers” because seemingly every game was forced to conclude in a tiebreak. Their most memorable victories, like a 13-11 win over Schurr, wrapped up in a tiebreak. He is also incredibly proud of some of his toughest matches, like his victory over the #1 singles player from Downey during his junior season, when he upset their top player with a 6-3 win. It was during this victory that Crosbie began playing at another level–a heightened version of tennis that he had yet to attain until he was challenged by the best. These tough contests do not always end in wins, but he has learned a lot from each challenge. This year, Warren lost to La Serna 9-9 (75-87 in games), but Crosbie was incredibly proud of the fight the team displayed because they had fallen to La Serna 4-14 in the previous season (2018). As evidenced by all of his responses, Crosbie takes immense pride in improvement and progress. The win over Downey as a junior was sweetened by the fact that Warren had lost in such devastating fashion the previous two seasons. All of this improvement has not come without obstacles. There was a coaching shift at the start of Crosbie’s junior season. Working with a new coach forced the athletes to adapt to a new style, new philosophy, and new training regimen. Through these changes, the team had to keep themselves motivated and inspire one another to try to perfect their games. As Crosbie thinks about the fact that he is more than halfway through his senior season, he reminisces about what he will miss most. Simply stated, “The feeling of competing for Warren.” There is the possibility that he will play in college, but he is cognizant of the fact that there is nothing that will compare to high school tennis. It was through high school tennis that Crosbie really developed his love for the sport. There is a “nostalgic feeling” that floods him as he considers the fact that each time he plays could be his last time. Warren High School will always be home to the place at which he left his lasting footprint. It’s a hard reality to know that he will be leaving behind his teammates, leaving behind the underclassmen. He won’t get to see their continued progression; he won’t be present every day to inspire and motivate. That being said, he still has goals for which he needs to keep himself motivated–ideally, nothing less than the team CIF Championship for Division 4. He knows that he and his teammates are willing to put in the extra hours to attain that goal. They want to boast an undefeated season in league play, which would be the first time in four years. Crosbie believes that it would be the perfect way to pay homage to the last CIF championship team, to be able to put another banner in the Warren gym as his final mark on this campus. For Crosbie, high school tennis has been more than merely a sport. It is through his athletic experiences that he has witnessed firsthand the rewards that result from the effort he puts into things. “It makes you want to work harder and accept your mistakes. Instead of finding excuses for yourself, you accept/own your mistakes and try to improve yourself.” Crosbie is always trying to make himself a better version of himself than he was the day before. There’s also the mere fact that high school was more fun because of tennis. If he could give advice to those underclassmen who have looked up to him, he would tell them to never give up. “No matter how many losses you take, no matter how many shots don’t fall your way, you have to keep practicing to better yourself.” He also reminds everyone that confidence is key; don’t be timid–play with the skill and the confidence that you know you have. “Don’t redirect the blame; own your mistakes. Use your mistakes to learn and grow.” Finally, Crosbie focuses on the intrinsic love he possesses for the game. “If you love the sport, don’t let anyone or anything prevent you from performing in the sport that you love!”

David Gutierrez has been playing golf “ever since [he] was able to hold a club.” He chose to play golf in high school, giving up other sports (baseball and soccer) in order to focus on his golf game. There is a sense of hardship in golf that always keeps him coming back eager to improve. Gutierrez began taking the game seriously at around the age of 12, and that passion has only intensified since entering into high school. He was initially nervous when he began high school competition, but now he has become a leader on the team–taking pride in teaching the freshmen who may be experiencing the same apprehension that he once felt. He has an unparalleled commitment to the sport, vowing to himself to never take a day off. Gutierrez has experienced tremendous success in high school golf. One of his greatest triumphs was his tournament at the early part of the season in which he finished 3rd in his flight. He is currently helping the team earn a 2-0 start in league. He believes that the team is looking good this season, and he has high aspirations for the unit. Gutierrez is also boasting his best season thus far, shooting 1 over or even every round. He aims to keep his game consistent. He also wants to serve as a leader and role model for his teammates, taking pride in leading by example. Gutierrez was the individual league champion as a sophomore, a feat he hopes to accomplish again this season. He remembers every detail of every game, such as the 30-ft put he sank to secure the birdie in the final round and the last hole of league championships! The roar he heard from the crowd in that moment leaves an indelible impression on his mind because the reward was so worth all of the effort that preceded it. Prior to the season starting, Gutierrez finished 1st place in a tournament with a 32-competitor field. This finish gave him the confidence boost he needed going into season. Now with that confidence, he carries lofty goals. He looks forward to taking another league championship. He wants to secure the title of team MVP. He hopes to shoot as low as possible, and he expects the same for his senior season. Beyond the game, he intends to be a leader for the underclassmen. He will try to be the best version of himself and make a name for himself so that he can give himself the best opportunity to play in college and beyond. These impressive goals necessitate an immense amount of dedication and discipline. One of the biggest obstacles Gutierrez faces in his sport is mentally balancing the demands and rigor of academics and athletics. He has to maintain his priorities and manage his time. Golf is a mental game, so he has to be committed to not being stubborn and opening himself up to the advice and suggestions from the experts. As he moves toward the latter half of this season, he reminisces about this particular team. He will miss this group of guys because they are a particularly fun team. This season, he has truly looked forward to the opportunity to help the freshmen progress. He is going to miss working with those underclassmen. When it’s all said and done, he will miss the atmosphere of high school golf. “It was something [he] felt compelled to do and make something out of it–set [himself] up for the future.” He loves being an integral part of the Warren Golf Team. Gutierrez relishes the opportunity to feel important and to feel needed. He knows that he is in a position to capture colleges’ attention, so he wants to dedicate himself to performing well at the highest possible level. Gutierrez knows that if he can excel, then he will also serve as a leader for those around him. He takes pride in representing the Bears, and he feels that he is the most qualified to do so. As he thinks about the future Bears, he offers some critical advice: “Keep communicating with one another. Act like a team because everyone matters. Treat one another with that exact mindset.” He also passes along the knowledge that the more experience you get, the better you get. “Celebrate progress and improvement! Every shot matters; every shot is an opportunity to better yourself.” Considering golf is such a mental game, he also advises younger players to stay resilient and never give up. Gutierrez is very grateful for what he’s been given. He is especially thankful for those who are close to him–specifically his family and friends–for their sacrifices on behalf of his golf game. He looks forward to making it worthwhile for all of those who have invested so much time, energy, effort, and resources into his game’s development. He hopes to gain eventual success, not only for himself but as a show of gratitude to those around him. To the rest of his teammates and classmates, he wants to make sure one message resounds, “Golf is a sport! It takes a lot of effort.” The effort that Gutierrez is putting in right now proves that he is willing to do what it takes to become successful in the game he loves. He will stop at nothing to prove all of the doubters and naysayers that he can make a name for himself in this sport.

Again, congratulations to Christian Crosbie and David Gutierrez on being named the Athletes of the Week. Best of luck in the latter half of the season!

Boys Varsity Wrestling, Girls Varsity Wrestling · Athlete of the Week: Salvador Alvarez and Coralia Montalvo

The Warren Athletic Department is proud to announce the next installment of Athletes of the Week–Salvador Alvarez (Boys’ Wrestling) and Coralia Montalvo (Girls’ Wrestling). These two student-athletes had phenomenal senior seasons, finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively in CIF. Alvarez and Montalvo both captured San Gabriel Valley League titles in their weight classes. After tremendous CIF performances, both student-athletes qualified for the CIF Masters Meet. Montalvo even serves as the lone Bear to represent Warren at the CIF State Meet this coming weekend.

Salvador Alvarez joined wrestling as a freshman. He knew absolutely nothing about the sport, but he simply thought it would be fun. As a freshman, he was merely a backup for the Frosh-Soph team, but by his sophomore year, he had earned a starting spot on the Varsity team. Every year, his work ethic and tenacity intensified. Going into his junior year, Alvarez began training with a club team in the off-season and  training with renewed passion and vigor during the regular season. His commitment and dedication paid off, as he qualified for the CIF Masters Meet as a junior, which was a huge milestone for him. Alvarez takes the sport seriously, dedicating 100% of himself to his craft. Alvarez always wanted to be able to say that he tried the best that could. He knew what was important to him, so he prioritized and sacrificed in order to give all of himself to his sport. In turn, the sport gave a lot of phenomenal memories back to him. He fondly recalls traveling with the team and eating meals with the coaches after weigh-ins. He savors those moments with his coaches and teammates. Because of those close relationships, his personal accolades are even more gratifying, such as earning a San Gabriel Valley League Championship and CIF Runner-Up placement in his senior season. Even matches in which Alvarez lost proved to create fond memories. He proudly recounts facing off against the reigning state champ in the Downey/Warren dual during his junior season. Everyone expected him to get pinned, but Alvarez takes immense pride in the fact that he kept the match competitive, succumbing by only 4 or 5 points. Tough matches like that also make earning that elusive SGVL title during his senior season that much more satisfying.  As is probably true for any student-athlete who competes in wrestling, the biggest obstacle for Alvarez to overcome was learning the discipline for making weight. He had to teach himself to portion his diet, make sacrifices, and watch closely what he put in his body. Alvarez embraced all of these challenges because this was part of the equation when giving 100% of himself to the sport. Now that his senior season has come to a conclusion, he reflects on what he will miss most about Warren Wrestling. “I am going to miss my coaches, all of them. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. How they coached me made me a better wrestler.” Alvarez clearly became tongue-tied as he was trying to put into words his appreciation for Coach Brogden, struggling to be able to articulate just how much his Coach has meant to his development. “The tough love was exactly what I needed to get where I am.” Although it might never be the same, wrestling is not over for Alvarez. He has aspirations of continuing his wrestling career at a community college. He hopes to eventually earn an offer to continue wrestling at the four-year college/university level. He is always willing to try, and he believes that he might one day obtain that elusive ring. He’s not ready to walk away from a sport that has given him so much. Warren Wrestling has made him more open and outgoing. “It helped me not to be afraid of anything any more. It helped me to become more relaxed and more confident.” Alvarez is well-aware of the takeaways that he has gained from wrestling, so now he offers some advice to the underclassmen within the sport. “No matter how tough it gets, just keep on going. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It was hard; I wanted to give up so many times. But, I stayed, and I enjoyed the outcome!”

Coralia Montalvo has been a part of Warren Women’s Wrestling since its inaugural year (2016-2017). As a sophomore, Montalvo completed her cross country season then learned that Warren High School would be introducing a Women’s Wrestling Team. She knew nothing about the sport, but she was instantly intrigued by the opportunity to be a part of the program. She was willing to try something new, and she was especially captivated by the opportunity to be a part of a physical sport. Immediately, she fell in love with wrestling. After her inaugural season with the Bears, she made a decision to focus solely on wrestling. Montalvo dedicated herself entirely to her sport, showing unparalleled discipline and work ethic over the course of her junior and senior seasons. Those years did not come without disappointment. As a junior, Montalvo failed to qualify for the CIF Masters meet. Instead of caving to that disappointment, she used it as a catalyst to work harder and attain greater success as a senior. In her final season, she not only qualified for the CIF Masters meet, but Montalvo also proved to be the first Bear in the 2018-2019 school year to qualify for a CIF State Meet. As she reflects on the successes of this season, Montalvo attests to the fact that earning a league championship (after finishing 2nd as a junior) was a definite highlight. She competed at the 111 weight class for her SGVL title, but Montalvo later showed tremendous dedication and discipline by dropping to the 106 weight class for CIF competition. She was willing to make the sacrifices needed for this adjustment in order to give herself the best opportunity at being competitive; thankfully, it all paid off in dividends. Montalvo’s memories do not all center on her personal accolades; rather, as she reflects on her three seasons with the team, she fondly recalls all of her memories being with her teammates. They have had so many good times together. “Whether we win or lose, we always have each other. It doesn’t matter what happens, we are always there for one another.” Their team cohesion has to be strong considering the sacrifices they each have to make for their sport. Montalvo said some of the most challenging obstacles that she had to overcome centered on making weight–struggling with her eating habits, learning how to maintain her weight, and displaying discipline to monitor her diet closely. Montalvo has a remarkably positive attitude, so she manages to convert every obstacle into a springboard for improvement. Just as when she did not qualify for the CIF Masters Meet as a junior, she made a conscious decision to work even harder. Wrestling has taught her to be more positive and more confident. “I know that no matter what happens, everything is going to b okay. I just need to know how to fix things and be better in those areas.” As Montalvo’s final season comes to a close, she admits that more than anything, she will miss her coaches. Without fail, they are always there for her whether she wins or loses. They are always in her corner, and she is going to miss their support. She is also going to miss the adrenaline rush that accompanies every match and tournament–the excitement and the nerves, knowing that she is going to leave it all on the mat. She encapsulates it best when she affirms,” I am going to miss wrestling for Warren!” Her season is not over quite yet, and Montalvo still has goals for her senior season. She wants to win at least one match at the CIF State Meet. Making it to the State Meet is a huge accomplishment for her; this was the goal at the beginning of the season. Now that she has accomplished this goal, she wants to make the most of this opportunity. She simply wants to give it her all and have fun with it; there is absolutely nothing to lose, so she is ready to go for broke. Wrestling has given her that confidence. She reflects on her personal transformation through wrestling. “I wasn’t in the right mindset as a freshman and a sophomore. I have made so many friends, and I have fostered such strong connections with these coaches, especially Brogden. He’s like another father.” This close bond that gives her so much confidence is rooted in a very unique tradition. Before every match, Montalvo gives Coach Brogden a dime to hold. As Montalvo is about to take the mat, Coach Brogden gives her the dime, and she places it in the bottom of her right shoe. During her matches, she feels his mojo and energy through that dime. “It’s like he’s with me on the mat.” She cherishes this tradition with her coach, and more than anything, she simply wants to make her coaches proud. Montalvo’s competitive psyche is truly inspirational, and young athletes can look to her for motivation. She would advise all up-and-coming athletes to “stay positive not matter what happens!” “When you lose, that’s the most crucial time to remain positive.” Montalvo knew that every loss was an opportunity to come back even stronger. Every loss was not the end; rather, it was just the beginning. “Everything happens for a reason. No matter what, something better will come out of it in the end. You won’t improve if you’re just sulking and feeling sorry for yourself’; find places of improvement when you lose, and make sure that you do everything in your power to win the next time out!”

These two student-athletes exemplify the competitive spirit that we are so proud to tout as an athletic department. Again, congratulations to Alvarez and Montalvo for being named the Athletes of the Week!

Boys Varsity Soccer, Girls Varsity Basketball · Athlete of the Week

The Warren Athletic Department is proud to announce the next installment of winter athletes of the week–Juan Hernandez (Boys’ Soccer), Halle Sii (Girls’ Basketball), and Frances Potts (Girls’ Basketball). These athletes have recently concluded their regular seasons, and the girls are preparing to enter into playoffs and defend their 2018 CIF title! All three of these athletes had phenomenal regular seasons, and we are thrilled to honor them as our Bears’ Athletes of the Week!

Juan Hernandez is a four-year member of the Warren Boys’ Soccer Team. He was moved up to varsity during his sophomore year, as the Bears began their playoff run. He has been a fixture on the varsity field since, serving as the team’s captain in his senior year. For Hernandez, there is nothing more rewarding than donning his Warren jersey and representing the Bears on the pitch. His love for soccer began well before his playing days at Warren. When he was only 4 years-old, his dad gave him a ball. “It felt natural!” Hernandez has been inseparable from the game ever since that introduction to the sport. Hernandez is going to remember his senior season fondly. He recalls the trip to Arizona for the showcase because it brought the team together as one. More than the score on the board at the end of the game, Hernandez places the most value in his time with his teammates. “I wouldn’t want anything else–just to be with my team.” He takes immense pride in representing Warren and showing their cohesion as a unit. “Every day, I just love going to soccer. 6th period is a happy place for me!” As his time at Warren comes tantalizingly close to an end, he recounts some of his favorite memories from within the program. One highlight occurred last season (2018) when the Bears knocked off the #1-ranked team in CIF Division I (Servite High School). He reminisces, “Looking in my teammates’ eyes and knowing that we were not going to lose this game then celebrating the win; it just felt so good.” It’s not just the big games that leave a lasting impression; rather, it’s also the smaller moments that have a deep influence, like practicing in the rain with his teammates and watching his team match the intensity of the pouring rain. He sincerely loves being with his teammates when everything falls into rhythm. All this joy also comes with its fair share of obstacles. Hernandez recognizes that it was a challenge playing with younger players and teaching the underclassmen the ways of varsity. As the captain, he took a lot of ownership of the team, trying to help his young teammates understand the pace and intensity at the high school level. Every year, Hernandez had to adapt to playing with different personnel. Regardless of the obstacles faced, Hernandez is going to miss waking up and knowing it’s game day! Nothing will match the feeling of “knowing that you’re going to play for Warren High School.” He only has the best memories of “putting on that jersey and knowing that [he’s’] going to play for Warren Soccer!” It’s hard for him to wrap his mind around the fact that his time is over. His soccer days will not end with the bears though. He has goals to continue to play soccer at the next level. He wants to continue to improve every day. Hernandez plans to play at a community college in hopes that he will receive a good scholarship to play at the 4-year university/college level. “No matter what, soccer is going to be my pain reliever. Playing soccer, I can forget about everything and just have fun!” His time with the Bears’ program has enhanced his high school experience. Being able to play in the stadium and on a big stage has been a privilege for him. Hernandez recognizes that not everyone has these same opportunities; he knows how fortunate he is to have trainers, a stadium, a weight room, and more. These are just more contributing factors for why he is so proud to represent the Bears. “I wouldn’t want to change it for any other school; it felt good being here!” As he prepares for his next steps, he leaves the future Bears with some advice: “Work hard, every day! Don’t take criticism the wrong way; coaches want to see you get better! Be a helpful person on the field; don’t be scared to help your teammates.” He knows he could not have done this without his teammates. He also knows that there were other major contributors to his success. Hernandez specifically wants to thank his parents (mom and dad),  his brothers, and his coach–Miguel. “They’ve pushed me to my limits; they’ve pushed me to be the best that I can be every single day, and I just can’t thank them enough!”

Frances Potts (junior) and Halle Sii (freshman) play together on the Girls Varsity Basketball Team. Their chemistry on the court is electric, but their chemistry off the court is equally dynamic. They feed off of each other’s energy and enthusiasm. Potts has been seriously committed to basketball for the past five years. She was an integral member of the 2018 CIF Championship team, and she earned 1st Team All-CIF honors. She has a storied tradition of winning, as she fondly recalls winning rec ball championships under her father’s direction. Sii has been playing for 11 years and flourishing with her travel team, most recently playing at the travel ball Junior NBA World Championship. Both girls relish the opportunities to put up big numbers and assist their teammates in dominating the game as well. Potts and Sii are both averaging high numbers, with high-point totals of 22 and 27, respectively. When you’re playing at such a high level, the details matter. Potts fondly remembers knocking down a step-back three against Gahr, and Sii proudly reminisces about nailing a buzzer-beater against Orange Lutheran. The girls take immense pride in these details because they know that each moment contributes to the total success of the program. Potts has amassed three years’ worth of incredible memories with Bears’ Basketball. She speaks proudly of winning the 2018 CIF Championship. That being said, she cares about the relationships as much as she does the titles. Her memories are based on meeting new people and better players; she has loved getting to know sincerely nice people who genuinely care about her. Returning to Warren this year helped her remember how much pride she takes in representing the Bears with her teammates. Sii has not had as much time to build those memories, but she also appreciates the bonds that have formed. She recalls team bonding opportunities, such as the Big Bear trip and the Arizona tournament. “Every day is an adventure with my teammates.” That adventure has definitely included its fair share of obstacles as well. Potts has had to deal with injuries. When she is not dealing with personal setbacks, she has to adjust to the new personalities each year. Sii similarly has to adapt to the personnel on the court. As a freshmen, she recognizes that it is imperative that she build trust with her coaches and teammates. Both girls admit that it is difficult finding a balance among all of the different players and personalities, but this year’s team is extremely tight-knit off the court and dynamic on the court. Their season is not over yet, but they are already aware that they will soon have to say goodbye to their favorite seniors. They know that they are going to miss being so close with their teammates because everyone cares about one another so much. They’ve grown so close and they’ve matured as a team. The dynamic will simply never be the same. Before they can face the prospect of the season’s conclusion, they must first achieve some of the goals that remain outstanding. Potts and Sii both want to win a CIF Championship (#2 for Potts). They both want to win league and earn a playoff berth every season. They also want to ensure that everyone stays healthy, trains hard, lifts with intensity, and continues to better themselves every season. They understand the value of basketball that goes well beyond the court. For both girls, basketball has enhanced their relationships. They’ve met new people and established friendships that otherwise would not be afforded to them. As they think of their younger teammates who will be looking up to them as role models, they also offer some sound words of wisdom. Potts help strengthen others through adversity as she affirms, “Never give up in tough situations. Always see the light in the dark tunnel.” Sii celebrates the joy of sport as she attests, “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; play–don’t worry about trying to make everyone happy, you play for your team…just ball!” The girls know that their success is their team’s success. They give a special shout-out to their teammates and their coaching staff. They also have to extend the gratitude to the boys’ team and send a little love to Coach Z!

Again, congratulations to our Athletes of the Week–Juan Hernandez, Frances Potts, and Halle Sii.

Boys Varsity Basketball, Girls Varsity Soccer · Athletes of the Week

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!

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!