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2016 HMG-COMMUNITY NEWS FALL ALL-AREA TEAMS Valley Christian football top highlight of fall season for area teams

By Loren Kopff

@LorenKopff on Twitter

It was a championship fall season for the Valley Christian High football and girls volleyball team. On the gridiron, the Crusaders won their second straight Olympic League crown, then took home the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section Division 9 title. It was the school’s third CIF-SS football championship. On the court, the Lady Crusaders won their first league championship since 2001 and had their seventh straight non-losing season. Cerritos, Gahr and Norwalk high schools also had strong seasons indoors. Here are the recipients of the 2016 HMG-Community News Fall All-Area Teams.



QB-Isaac Joseph (Valley Christian)

RB-Jordan Benoit (Artesia)

RB-Gianni Hurd (Valley Christian)

RB-Latrell Stearns (Gahr)

WR-Alonzo Davis (Gahr)

WR-Quory Smith (Valley Christian)

LT-Tevita Makaafi (Valley Christian)

LG-Robert Chatman (Valley Christian)

C-Zach Krosschell (Valley Christian)

RG-Sam Range (Valley Christian)

RT-Eric Schoonover (Valley Christian)


DL-Austin Minnema (Valley Christian)

DL-Eric Schoonover (Valley Christian)

DL-Jordan Thomas (Norwalk)

DB-Ryder Eddy (Cerritos)

DB-Josh Martinez (Norwalk)

DB-Isaiah Mays (Gahr)

DB-R.J. Van Kampen (Valley Christian)

LB-Josh Cruz (Cerritos)

LB-Darian Green (Valley Christian)

LB-Jalen Hines (Valley Christian)

LB-Xavier Yoakum (Artesia)


QB-Robert Frutos (Gahr)

RB-Raylind Butler (Norwalk)

RB-Kaliq Hatcher (Cerritos)

RB-Chris Shakir-Ricks (Gahr)

WR-Carlos Manriquez (John Glenn)

WR-Erik Spurlin Renfroe (Gahr)

LT-Brandon Logan (Artesia)

LG-Walter Burgueno (Artesia)

C-Joshua Paul (Gahr)

RG-Jaden Alejo (Artesia)

RT-Jymel Johnson (Cerritos)


DL-Robert Chatman (Valley Christian)

DL-Stanley Monis (Artesia)

DL-Robert Rodriguez (Norwalk)

DB-Travys Davis (Artesia)

DB-Brandon Gibbs (Gahr)

DB-Andrew Navarro (Norwalk)

DB-Dominic Paul (Valley Christian)

LB-Marquise Alexander (Gahr)

LB-Jake Leue (Valley Christian)

LB-Austin Perez (Norwalk)

LB-Samuel Talavera (Valley Christian)


QB-Heder Gladden (Artesia)

RB-Travys Davis (Artesia)

RB-Dominic Paul (Valley Christian)

RB-Jordan Thomas (Norwalk)

WR-Micah Bernard (Gahr)

WR-Keith Shanklin (John Glenn)

LT-Mason Hernandez (Gahr)

LG-Ivan Camacho (Norwalk)

C-Alex Tovares (Artesia)

RG-Matthew Robles (Norwalk)

RT-Patrick Juico (Artesia)


DL-James Jackson (Artesia)

DL-Tevita Makaafi (Valley Christian)

DL-William Suarez (Artesia)

DB-Ignacio Cobian (Cerritos)

DB-Clay D’Amico (Valley Christian)

DB-Armando Pacheco (Artesia)

DB-Randall Wiley (Valley Christian)

LB-Brandon Barrett (Norwalk)

LB-Daniel Faamatau (Norwalk)

LB-Sterling Thompson (Cerritos)

LB-John Trinidad (Cerritos)

Offensive Player of the Year-Despite not playing in the CIF Southern California Division 3-AA regional playoffs against The Bishop’s School, Valley Christian junior Gianni Hurd had another remarkable season. Hurd rushed for 1,940 yards and found the end zone 29 times. Of his scores, he had a 96-yard run at Bellflower High, a 93-yard run against St. Anthony High and five other touchdown runs of at least 50 yards. In 20 games played at V.C., Hurd has rushed for nearly 3,000 yards and 46 touchdowns.

Defensive Player of the Year-The anchor of the Valley Christian defense once again was senior R.J. Van Kampen, who will graduate in June as one of the best defensive backs in school history. Van Kampen led V.C.’s vaunted defense with 147 tackles and six interceptions. He leaves V.C. with a school record 19 interceptions.

Coach of the Year-For the second straight season, Woodie Grayson of Valley Christian takes home this honor. After losing two of its first three games, V.C. reeled off 11 straight victories and in his four seasons with the Crusaders, Grayson now sports a 33-17 mark overall and 14-2 in the Olympic League.



S-Lorelei Saleapaga (Gahr)

OH-Madison Holmes (Valley Christian)

OH-Ashley Whittall (Norwalk)

MB-Shantele Marshall (Gahr)

MB-Ifeoma Okoli (Cerritos)

OPP-Chloe DeVries (Valley Christian)

DS-Mercedes Orozco (Norwalk)

L-Kaylee Westra (Valley Christian)


S-Annissa Uncapher (Norwalk)

OH-Jazminn Parrish (Gahr)

OH-Aubrey Schwieger (Valley Christian)

MB-Nayeli Gonzalez (Norwalk)

MB-Zanache Stanton (Gahr)

OPP-Ann Vande Vegte (Valley Christian)

DS-Sidney Pasion (Cerritos)

L-Allison Oh (Whitney)


S-Emily Pasion (Cerritos)

OH-Juliann Chou (Whitney)

OH-Samantha Oh (Cerritos)

MB-Kelly Amalu (Cerritos)

MB-Taylor Genera (Whitney)

OPP-Mika Gebers (Artesia)

DS-Kea Minami (Cerritos)

L-Paola Nava (Norwalk)


S-Megan Lim (Valley Christian)

OH-Paola Ramirez (John Glenn)

OH-Monica Soklim (Artesia)

MB-Jackie Kan (Cerritos)

MB-Michaela Rotondo (Artesia)

OPP-Kara Green (Gahr)

DS-Hannah Buckley (Valley Christian)

L-Kayllah Taylor (Gahr)

Co-Players of the Year-One of the reasons why Valley Christian won a rare Olympic League title was because of Madison Holmes. The junior middle blocker fell four kills shy of 300 and led the Lady Crusaders with a hitting percentage of .210. Holmes also had 13 blocks, tied for second on the team and was second on the team in digs with 264.

Without senior outside hitter Ashley Whittall patrolling the court, Norwalk probably wouldn’t contend for a Suburban League championship. Whittall, at times, was a one-person machine and helped guide the Lady Lancers to a 14-12 overall mark and 9-3 in the Suburban League, tied with Cerritos.

Coach of the Year-It took her five seasons to do it, but Gahr head coach Iris Najera can finally call herself a San Gabriel Valley League champion. Najera coached the Lady Gladiators to a 17-8 overall mark and 9-1 in league. Both of those records are the best since 1998 when Gahr went 17-5, 10-0. Gahr also advanced to the second round in the playoffs for the first time since 2005.