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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW – Whitney boys, Cerritos girls cross country teams take first 605 League cluster race

September 27, 2023

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

The first 605 League cross country cluster race was held on Sept. 20 and the Whitney High boys made it four straight league wins while the Cerritos High girls have won all 15 league races since the inception of the league. In the first race of the 2020 season, no team scores were kept, however the times of the runners were kept.

Whitney defeated Cerritos 30-44 on the strength of its first five runners all crossing the finish line from fourth place to eighth place. Leading the way was sophomore Cristian Ishiki (17:20), followed by senior Moises Reyes (17:24), sophomore Brendan Perry (17:32), junior Damian Moreno (17:34) and senior Arjun Harikrishnan (17:44).

Oxford Academy’s Javier Luna was the overall winner with a time of a flat 17 minutes. Following him were Cerritos seniors Mattson Laraneta and Elliot Kim, with times of 17:01 and 17:04 respectively.

Cerritos sophomore Marlon Zarate (17:45) and Whitney junior Ethan Choi (17:48) rounded out the top 10. Oxford Academy came in third place with 62 points while John Glenn High, paced by junior Jacob Enriquez (15th place, 18:11) finished in fourth place. Pioneer High sent three runners to the race while Artesia High did not have a runner. There were 30 runners amongst the five schools.

For the girls, it was Cerritos once again winning a league race, picking up 29 points and defeating Oxford Academy by six points. Whitney was a distant third with 75 points while Glenn and Pioneer rounded up the race. Whitney’s third place finish marked the first time since the 2019 league finals the Wildcats did not finish in second place. 

Cerritos sophomore Dani Romero was the overall winner at 20:27 and her teammate, freshman Kalana Nguyen finished in third place with a time of 21:04. She was followed by two more freshmen-Whitney’s Katherine Low (21:11) and Artesia’s Genesis Flores (21:31). In fact, of the 33 runners, there were a dozen freshmen and four seniors.

Artesia junior Daniela Cardenas came in seventh place with a time of 22:10 with the third and final Artesia runner, freshman Briana Remigio, came in 21st place with a time of 23:53. The only other area runner to place in the top 10 was Cerritos junior Daniela Cardenas, who finished in eighth place with a time of 22:13.

The 11th-13th spots were occupied by Cerritos runners-freshman Nandini Panchal (22:22), senior Akshara Adusumalli (22:35) and freshman Daisy Lee (22:45). Right behind her was Glenn sophomore Melanie Patino at 22:56.

Just like the boys, youth is the name of the game for the varsity girls. Of the 33 runners that competed, a dozen were freshmen and 10 were sophomores. There were just four seniors. 


Viewpoint High (3-2) @ Artesia (4-1)-Artesia’s turnaround season continues as the Pioneers came off their bye week to knock off Los Amigos High 35-15 last Friday. Junior quarterback Charlie Lopez proves to be a double threat to opponents as he rushed for 240 yards and scored on runs of 11, 54, 19 and 95 yards last Friday. He also completed three passes for 22 yards. Sophomore running back Josue Flores scored the other touchdown as Artesia has won four games in a season for the first time since 2019.

To increase that total to five games, the Pioneers need to find a way to beat a tough Viewpoint team that has won two in a row, including a 24-13 decision over Carpinteria High last Friday. The Patriots, who hail from Calabasas, squeaked by Artesia 18-14 last season. 

Prediction: Artesia 31, Viewpoint 21

Chino High (4-1) @ Cerritos (2-3)-This game was played on Sept. 28. For the second time in three weeks, Cerritos was shutout, this time to Westminster 27-0 last Friday. The Lions outgained the Dons 295-155. Cerritos has been blanked in two of its last three games.

Chino, which edged El Dorado High 35-34 last Friday, could give the Dons some problems as the Cowboys come in on a three-game winning streak, having scored at least 33 points in each of those three games. And even when Chino lost to Diamond Bar High in the second game of the season, it put up 36 points. In contrast, Cerritos has not scored more than 27 points in any game.

Through their first four games, the Cowboys have rushed for just over 1,200 yards, led by Diego Ogata (602 yards on 56 carries, eight touchdowns) and Nathan Blanco (482 yards on 52 carries, seven touchdowns). Ogata has also thrown for 250 yards.

Prediction: Chino 35, Cerritos 13

Bellflower High (3-3) @ Gahr High (3-2)-See Crean Lutheran High/Gahr game story.

Prediction: Bellflower 38, Gahr 21

Godinez Fundamental High (3-3) @ John Glenn (4-2)-The Eagles gave Glendale High its first loss last Thursday night, 46-6, and a win on homecoming night against Godinez would make the Eagles a threat for the 605 League slate, which begins on Oct. 12. The Eagles have combined for 110 points in their last two games and against Glendale, junior running back Tuiono Tuifua scored on runs of 50, 84 and 67 yards. One more Glenn win will match the combined total from the last three seasons, including the shortened Covid campaign.

The Grizzlies blew out Century High 41-6 last Friday to end a two-game losing streak. In its other two wins, Godinez combined for 70 points, but in the three losses, it has been outscored 88-13. The Grizzlies love to run the ball and has gained over 900 yards on the ground, led by Yahir Ramirez (84 carries, 538 yards, three touchdowns) and Alexis Jimenez (40 carries, 287 yards, four touchdowns).

Prediction: Glenn 42, Godinez 14

Dominguez High (5-0) vs. La Mirada High (1-4)-This game was played on Sept. 28 and at Norwalk High. La Mirada did not play last week in preparation for its Gateway League opener. Nothing has come easy for the Matadores, except for their 42-7 win over Baldwin Park High on Sept. 15. Now, it gets even tougher as the other five league teams have a combined record of 19-6. 

Sophomore quarterback Santino Garcia has completed 81 passes for 984 yards and seven touchdowns. His favorite targets are junior wide receiver Isaiah Robbins (18 receptions, 270 yards, one touchdown), sophomore wide receiver Aaron Castro (13 receptions, 173 yards, one touchdown), and junior wide receiver Max Rankin (13 receptions, 126 yards, two touchdowns). Two other receivers have caught at least 12 passes. Senior running back Martin Aguillera is the leading ground gainer with 266 yards on 36 carries and five touchdowns.

Last season, the Matadores defeated Dominguez 43-21 and before that, the teams last met in 2015, a 38-13 La Mirada victory. But this season, the Dons have averaged 42.2 points a game while yielding 61 points. The Dons posted a 36-33 win over Narbonne High last Friday, the most points they have allowed to anyone. 

Prediction: Dominguez 48, La Mirada 14

Downey High (4-1) @ Norwalk (3-2)-After sharing the Mid-Cities League crown with Bellflower and Gahr last season, the Lancers are now in the big boys league and will be tested early. Norwalk blasted Locke High 38-3 last Friday to increase its average to just over 41 points a game. 

The Vikings are on a four-game winning streak, including a 17-7 win against St. Paul High on Sept. 15. It marked the first time this season Downey was held to under 20 points. However, the Vikings have given up 40 points in their four wins.

Quarterback Oscar Rios is 77 of 107 for 1,136 yards and 11 touchdowns and has gained another 258 yards on 30 rushes with three more touchdowns. As a team, the Vikings have rushed for 874 yards and 11 touchdowns, creating a problem for Norwalk’s defense. Speaking of defense, the Vikings have 10 sacks and three interceptions.

Prediction: Downey 28, Norwalk 21

Valley Christian High (1-4) @ Heritage Christian High (4-1)-The Defenders were also off last Friday after getting into the win column on Sept. 15 with a 38-0 win over Sierra Vista High. This will be the Ironwood League opener for both teams and the combined record of the other five league opponents for V.C. is 16-9.

Senior quarterback Joe DeYoung has passed for 443 yards but just a pair of touchdowns while junior signal caller Austin Abrahams is six of nine for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore running back Lucas Witt leads in that department with 145 yards on 36 carries and two touchdowns while Abrahams is second with 114 yards on nine touches and a touchdown.

Heritage Christian, which blew out Taft High 56-6 on Sept. 15, has defeated V.C. just three times since 2004. But two of those wins have come in the last four meetings, including last season’s 29-21 contest. The Warriors have won four straight games, scoring at least 36 points each time out and have yielded 33 points during that time.

Quarterback Khanai Langford has completed 62 passes in 95 attempts for 837 yards and nine touchdowns, but their strength lies in the rushing department where the Warriors have gained nearly 1,200 yards. D.J. Cole leads the way with 682 yards on 68 carries and 11 touchdowns. Shaheed McCullough is next with 229 yards on 28 touches.

Prediction: Heritage Christian 35, Valley Christian 17

Last week’s predictions: 4-1

Season to date: 28-6


The second half of league play is upon us and with that, several area teams are already making plans for the postseason as there are two weeks remaining in the regular season. Artesia has won three straight matches to improve to 8-6 overall and 4-2 in the 605 League, good for a second place with Whitney. The Pioneers visit league-leading Cerritos on Friday before hosting Whitney on Tuesday and going to Pioneer on Friday. Whitney, which swept Pioneer this past Tuesday, is tied for second place with Artesia and is 8-13 overall.

As for Cerritos, it was business as usual with another league sweep as the Dons remained undefeated in six league matches after a 25-10, 25-19, 25-12 win over Oxford Academy this past Tuesday. Overall, Cerritos is 16-5 as it will host Pioneer on Tuesday.

Gahr has not played since last Thursday and took its 14-9 record into its Sept. 28 home match with La Mirada. The Gladiators are 1-3 in the Gateway League, tied for third place with Downey and Paramount High. Gahr will then host Downey on Tuesday and travel to Warren High on Thursday.

La Mirada has only one match next week, but it’s a bug one as the Matadores (16-8, 3-1) visit first place Downey on Thursday while Norwalk, the top-ranked team in the CIF-Southern Section Division 7 poll, is sitting in second place in the Mid-Cities League with a record of 16-10, 3-1. The Lancers hosted Bellflower on Sept. 28 and will go to first place Mayfair High on Tuesday before entertaining Firebaugh High on Thursday.

V.C. Picked up a big 25-23, 19-25, 17-25, 25-21, 15-12 win at Whittier Christian High this past Tuesday to improve to 12-8 overall and 3-1 in the Olympic League. The Defenders are in second place as they host third place Maranatha High on Tuesday and go to league-leading Village Christian High the next night.