Football loses close matchup on the road

By Dan Gudino

The football team came up short in a hard-fought battle at Antelope Valley College, losing 29-25 on Saturday.

With under a minute left in the game, East Los Angeles College seemed to have recovered a fumble, but the tackle and strip went unseen by officials.

“We can’t go against the refs. They make the calls, but I feel like we got cheated. A loss is a loss. We just have to come out harder and stronger the next game,” ELAC sophomore linebacker Christopher Blanton said.

With a chance to take the lead in the last two minutes, ELAC sophomore quarterback Jonathan Santos threw his second interception of the game. This interception was the last of four turnovers committed by the Huskies throughout the game. Santos finished 22 of 39 for 136 yards.

“I made a bad decision in the end. I should have just thrown it away and live to play another play. We executed when we needed, but it doesn’t matter in the end if it comes down to a failed last play,” Santos said.

ELAC head coach Bobby Godinez said games should never come to last minute situations and left in the hands of officiating.

“It was a combination of mental errors and good play by Antelope (Valley). They forced the turnovers and we shot ourselves in the foot again. A game should never come to officials deciding the game. We need to take care of business, but I do believe the ball came loose. However, a game should never come (down) to a fumble,” Godinez said.

ELAC responded punch-for-punch throughout the game. Heading into the fourth quarter, it was all squared at 16 apiece.

The desert heat of Lancaster kept the Huskies substituting players in and out. A new group of receivers was seen at the start of the second half to give the starters an extended break.

“It was a grinder of a game. We had to keep players fresh and we have plenty of players who are capable. Practice next week will be tough,” Godinez said.

The heat took its toll prior to the start of the game, as team buses pulled over twice on the climb into Lancaster to avoid overheating.

The day started with team buses arriving late to ELAC and arriving later than scheduled to Marauder Field.

The delay might have given the Huskies nerves, as sophomore corner Cinwon Whitehead fumbled the opening kickoff on his way to the endzone while untouched by defenders.

Husky sophomore running back Shaquille Shelton was seen back to his old form. Last year he led the Huskies in rushing yards, yet a high ankle sprain limited him to six games. Against Antelope Valley, he erupted, averaging six yards per run.

Over and over, Shelton would break tackles, evade defenders and scored a 22-yard TD to give ELAC a 22-16 lead at the start of the fourth.

“I’m getting back my momentum because we got a good group of players this year. The weight is not on my shoulders, we have Namone (Mayes sophomore RB), Shiloh (Jordan, sophomore RB) and Dom (Dominique Lee, sophomore RB). So, we have a great running back group. On any given day, any of us could pop-off and get a hundred yards rushing,” Shelton said.

Shelton finished with 116 yards on 19 carries and a TD.

Offensive coordinator Art Hoomiratana stressed the inexperience of his offense, yet he feels improvement is bound to happen.

“We can’t expect to win with so many mental errors on our part. We’ll take a look at what needs to be addressed because I feel we’re trying to do too much. All we need to do is take what’s given. Instead, we allowed our inexperience in close games to get to us. We’ll get better for sure, ” Hoomiratana said.

ELAC falls to 1-2 on the season and are back home against San Diego Mesa College, Sept. 24. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.

ELAC football loses emotional first game of season

By Dan Gudino

The football team took an emotional 27-3 loss in the first game of the season at Orange Coast College on Saturday.

Lack of production from the offense, missed tackles, inexperience and first game nerves took East Los Angeles College out of the game. A few ELAC players were left in tears after Orange Coast scored 20 unanswered points in the second half.

One of those emotional players was ELAC’s starting quarterback, sophomore Jonathan Santos.

“The defense kept us in it, we (offense) need to put up some points. It’s the little things, little mistakes that kept us out of the game. I need to be a better leader and rally us. I hate to lose,” Santos said.

Santos could not get a rhythm going. The first time starter at the junior college level saw an Orange Coast defense that was physical. Santos took big hits completing less than half of his passes (17 of 35) with an interception and no touchdowns

“I get emotional because I put a lot on myself. I put a lot of pressure on myself. We’re going to fix all of this. It’s only the first game of the season and that’s what it’s used for, little by little, everything will fall into place,” Santos said.

Down 7-0, at the half, ELAC held its own.

Highlights on defense from freshman linebacker Elijah Quarrels, who blasted Orange Coast players with great technique tackles. When he tackled players, his hits were hard. The pads colliding was heard around the stadium.

“It’s a comfortable defense (system) for me to play in. I just go out there and have fun, I just play hard,” Quarrels said.

Quarrels popped the Orange Coast quarterback with a helmet to chest sack in the second quarter to the oohs’ and ahs’ of the crowd. He finished with eight tackles and a sack.

“The hard hitting was developed this off season with coach “Sik” (Strength and Conditioning Coach, Justin Kosik). He’s a tough dude, and his craziness rubs off on you,” Quarrels said.

At the start of the second half, Orange Coast inserted its backup quarterback, sophomore Kody Whitaker. Whitaker instantly led OCC to a 75-yard touchdown drive.

Momentum shifted, and never swung back to the hands of the Huskies.

ELAC’s defense stayed on the field for long periods of time, leading to second and third chances for Orange Coast’s offense. Poor tackling gave a small 5-foot-7 receiver of Orange Coast, freshman Joey Cox three touchdowns catches.

Like last year, the season started with a loss and a brand new coach. New ELAC Head Coach Bobby Godinez consoled his players who showed frustration after the disappointing loss.

“I love that we competed. They were running hard all over the place, but I made some mistakes that maybe cost us. We made some mental errors, but we can fix all that,” Godinez said.

And like last year, quarterback play for the Huskies is in question. ELAC sophomore backup quarterback Levi Wells, made a surprising appearance. Wells playing early in the fourth quarter, with the game still in reach, signaled the race at quarterback has reopened.

“We have to look at quarterback play. We’re always evaluating. No one’s jobs is safe, ever. We really have to look at this tape. Whether it’s us (coaches) just not calling the right play, or poor player execution. It’s hard,” offensive coordinator Art Hoomiratana said.

“We have to do what we do in practice and translate it in a real game situation,” Hoomiratana said.

ELAC gave away 98 yards in penalties and was held to three points, a 37-yard field goal by sophomore Vicente Luis Juan. Sophomore safety Cinwon Whitehead grabbed an interception, while sophomore running back Shaq Shelton led all Huskies in rushing, carrying 11 times for 38 yards.

“Tonight’s play was not indicative of what this team will do and can accomplish,” ELAC Athletic Director Al Cone said.

The Huskies will host Allan Hancock College, Sept. 10 at home, a 4 p.m. kickoff.

ELAC Football edged in scrimmage game

By Dan Gudino

The East Los Angeles College football team began its 2016 season with a 10-7 loss against Victor Valley College, with a new coaching staff, in a scrimmage game on Thursday at Weingart Stadium.

A scrimmage game runs according to rules the coaches agreed on prior to the game. ELAC and VVC played only two quarters, highlighted by the defensive effort of first year head coach Bobby Godinez and freshman safety Joey Knowles.

Godinez, also the defensive coordinator and a former All Western Athletic Conference safety at San Jose State fit well with Knowles, who had three interceptions at his safety position.

Last year, when ELAC went on the road to face VVC, the Huskies were romped 58-21,where it had seven committed turnovers. This time the Huskies protected the ball with just one turnover, a fumble.

“I think we competed and that’s the biggest thing. The guys were playing hard all the way through. From start to finish, that’s what I want to see from our team.” Godinez said.

Execution was seen from the offense as well when sophomore quarterback Jonathan Santos connected with freshman wide receiver Kenny Allen, a perfectly placed ball, in stride for an 81 yard touchdown.

“I’m excited with what I saw and I’m excited where this team is going to go, but we have to look at the film and look within to see the things we must improve before the first game against Orange Coast (College), who is no joke.” Godinez said.

The Huskies will look to prepare itself for the official start of the season Sept. 3, at OCC.

The quarterback controversy of last year will be no more.

This year a new official starting quarterback will be named on Friday. None of the coaches were willing to comment on who will be the main guy.

What was mentioned were the two finalist in the running for QB, sophomores Levi Wells and Jonathan Santos. Both returning players had snaps last year, but it was Wells who was entangled in the controversy.

When Campus News spoke with players, the same answer was given, former head coach Eric Marty played favoritism to his brother Brain Marty. This will not be the case this year, although Wells could be kept out of the starting role again.

“I can’t comment on it, but we’ll get together (with coaches) tomorrow morning and make the decision. I can say it’s two guys, Wells and Santos, they are definitely the two. We really have to slow down the film and see who is in better command.” Godinez said.

Also in charge of the decision of picking out the starting QB is new Offensive Coordinator Art Hoomiriatana, who will look to improve the QB position that cost ELAC up to 70 points in turnovers last year.

“A lot of mistakes, but It’s good to go through the mistakes now in a scrimmage than in a real game situation. We kept digging ourselves in holes with penalties, but I like what I saw. For now we’ll evaluate then make the call on who the starter is by possibly tonight,” Hoomiriatana said.

Injuries cut the game short with 20 seconds left in the second quarter when a VVC offensive lineman was down on the field with an injury. Both head coaches came to the field and decided it was time to cut the game before any more injuries occurred in a practice game.

Lower leg injuries were seen from ELAC freshman Robert Cottrell and freshman Tujaune Diallo.

Diallo was carted off the field and Cottrell was carried off by teammates to the athletic trainer’s table to be taped up. No updates were given on the specifics of the injuries.

“This was positively way better than last year. We did way better against Victor Valley this year, last year we were blown out. From the offensive line standpoint we did so good,” ELAC offensive lineman Francis Bongwalanga said.

Bogwalanga leads the o-line this year as one of the anchor points on offense.

“I’m going to make sure to maintain my blocks this year longer and run full speed every play. I’m excited about this coaching staff this year, the offensive coaches make us feel real comfortable. They work well as a group,” Bongwalanga said.

 

ELAC Schedule:

September

Sat. 3, at Orange Coast, 6 p.m.

Sat. 10, at ELAC v. Allan Hancock, 4 p.m.

Sat. 17, at Antelope Valley, 7 p.m.

Sat. 24, at ELAC v. San Diego Mesa, 6 p.m.

October

Sat. 1, at Santa Ana, 6 p.m. (American Metro Conference opener)

Sat. 8, at El Camino-Compton, 6 p.m.

Sat. 15, at ELAC v. Los Angeles Southwest, 6 p.m.

Sat. 29, at West Los Angeles, 1 p.m.

November

Sat. 5, at ELAC v. Pasadena City, 6 p.m.

Sat. 12, at ELAC v. Glendale, 6 p.m.

Softball senior class to sign scholarships

By Bryce Ronquillo and Stephanie Guevara

Sophomore softball players Ashley Day, Byanka Diosdado, Jocelyn Macias, Alizah Mayagoitia, Melanie Ruelas and Sujey Zamuido will be transferring to four-year universities in the fall on athletic and academic scholarships.

“When I recruit athletes, my goal is to transfer them to universities,” head coach Erika Blanco said. “It was nice to keep my promise and transfer these girls out.”

First baseman Day will be receiving a full academic scholarship to Azusa Pacific University.

She will try to make the softball team as a walk on. She attended California State University, Los Angeles out of high school, but missed playing softball, so she transferred to East Los Angeles College.

“Freshman year, I lacked confidence in myself. This past year I gained so much confidence in my game because of the support from the coaches and players. That’s why I don’t regret leaving CSULA to come to ELAC,” Day said.

Throughout her sophomore year, she had a .315 batting average, 28 RBI and hit 2 homeruns.

“If Day hits the ball like I know she can she will have no problem making the APU roster,” Blanco said. “It is amazing that she is getting this opportunity. APU is a great school for her.”

Another player that will be going to school for academics is shortstop Mayagoitia.

Mayagoitia also went to CSULA after high school but missed playing softball.

“I had all my units at Cal State L.A. and I was playing softball over here,” Mayagoitia said.

Mayagoitia said that if she wasn’t playing softball, she would have earned her bachelor’s degree.

“It was absolutely worth it. I love my team. It was the best two years of college I’ve had,” Mayagoitia said.

“Alizah is a great kid. She was always focused on her academics. I really wish she could’ve played at the next level, but I understand she needs to focus on school. She has a very bright future,” Blanco said.

Outfielders Ruelas and Zamudio will be attending the College of Saint Elizabeth in New Jersey  on athletic scholarships.

“There was a school in New York that was recruiting me, but it was expensive and I did not want to go by myself. Then I heard of CSE and Sujey was going too, so I figured ‘Why not go together?’” Ruelas said.

Ruelas started her career at Los Angeles Valley College but the distance was an issue so she transferred to ELAC.

During her freshman year, Ruelas had to overcome a broken nose that had her sidelined.

“I thought it would put me behind, but it forced me to work harder to come back. I thank all the coaches for helping me through it,” Ruelas said.

“Melanie is a tough, feisty, utility player. You could put her at different positions and she will be successful,” Blanco said.

Zamudio came to ELAC instead of Long Beach City College to stay closer to her home in Bell.

She faced adversity when she wasn’t getting playing time her freshman year.

She said her hitting is what struggled and over the offseason she improved and earned a starting position.

“Su (Zamudio) was at the bottom of the line-up and ended the season with one of the highest batting averages on the team,” Blanco said. “She is a consistent player and will be very successful at the next level.”

Catcher Macias will be transferring to Sterling College in Kansas on an athletic scholarship.

Macias said the decision to leave home was very difficult for her to make because she would be leaving her mother and siblings.

She said her mother told her to chase her dreams of playing softball and not let anything hold her back.

“I am like a mother figure to my siblings,” Macias said. “I’m going away to school to prove to my siblings that they can achieve anything because I did.”

Macias has Attention Deficit Disorder and often has severe trouble paying attention and remembering information from class.

“I had amazing support from my family, teachers and teammates. Without them I wouldn’t have been eligible to play softball,” Macias said.

Pitcher Diosdado will also transfer to Sterling College in Kansas.

Diosdado will live with Macias, but said it will be her first time living without her parents.

Diosdado said she pushed herself in achieving because her sister, who is a single mother, was her motivation.

“My sister was my motivation during my time at ELAC. I wanted my sister to see me succeed so she can get some motivation to succeed, despite being a single mother,” Diosdado said.

The six players will be signing with their universities at 3 p.m. tomorrow at the softball field.

Family, friends, and ex-high school coaches of the players will be in attendance.

Men’s basketball players move on

By Dan Gudino and Bryce Ronquillo 

 

Men’s basketball had great success the past two seasons and it continued in the off-season with sophomores Richard Bivens and Arinze Anakwenze committing to NCAA Division I programs on May 22.

Bivens is committing to Florida International University in Miami. He was part of the 2014-15 season that reached the state championship and finished as a runner-up.

His decision to go east, away from home and family, stems from being comfortable away from home.

Bivens is from Ridgeview High School in Bakersfield and has spent time away from his family since attending East Los Angeles College as a freshman.

He found ELAC through his uncle, who knows basketball head coach John Mosley, which made the transition away from home easier.

“I’m so excited for Rich (Bivens). Florida International is getting a great young man. He was part of our state run and our conference championship. So it’s well deserved because he’s been grinding really hard in the classroom,” Mosley said, “We’re truly going to miss him on and off the court.”

Coach Mosley played a big role in Bivens’ attendance at ELAC. For Bivens, deciding on a school came down to where his skills, schooling and comfort level would best fit.

“My mother was really happy about my decision, that’s for sure. The campus was super nice, the people there were cool and obviously, coaching played into the situation. I’m not going to go somewhere where I don’t like a coach or I’m not comfortable,” Bivens said.

Bivens will look to start at FIU right away as a junior.

The distractions of Miami, according to Bivens, will not be a factor in his overall goal of taking his game to the next level and hopefully to the NBA.

“I’m strictly focused on just pursuing my dream and nothing else at all. Distractions are everywhere, not just in Miami, and I’ve done it right,” Bivens said.

The 6-foot-10 forward brought a lot of excitement to ELAC as this program improves every year under Mosley. ELAC finished the 2015-16 season with its best record in school history at 26-4.

Bivens will be joining the likes of Aaron Cheatum from Cal State San Bernardino, Marcus Romain for Mississippi Valley State, Primitivo Gomez from UC Riverside and Marquise Salomon from Utah Valley University as one of many who transfer out of ELAC.

Assistant coach Darren French mentioned that players who move out of ELAC to the next level is becoming the norm.

“We’re really excited about these guys moving on and that’s what it’s all about. It’s pure joy seeing (it). It’s awesome for the program, it’s awesome for the school and it says that East L.A. is a great place, not just as an athletic department, but as a school,” French said.

Anakwenze is committing to Mississippi Valley State University. MVSU is located in Itta Bena, Mississippi and is a part of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Anakwenze said he was really attracted to the tight community of MVSU.

“It’s a college town. Everyone in the community looks out for you. I always like to play in an environment where the town is there to support. I’m really looking forward to it,” Anakwenze said.

Anakwenze was being recruited by multiple Division II schools as well as the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics  schools. He said he picked MVSU because he felt comfortable that he could go in right away and make an impact on the court.

Anakwenze comes from a good background. Both his parents are doctors and he grew up in Palos Verdes. He graduated from John Muir High School in 2014, averaging 11 points per game and earning second team All League honors. He played a season at Allan Hancock College before transferring to ELAC.

“There is a winning culture at ELAC,” Anakwenze said, “Coach Mosley made sure we played as (a) team. If you are selfish, you won’t be able to play for him.”

Coach Mosley said Anakwenze was able to add to the Huskies’ system of play and fill-in the missing holes of the squad.

“Initially, I recruited him (Anakwenze) a year prior, but then he transferred back in. He came here to ELAC with an intention to grab a full-paid scholarship and he got it. He came in for an opportunity and excelled. In and out of the classroom, Arinze stands out,” Mosley said.

During his lone season at ELAC, he averaged six points and four rebounds per game. Although his statistics weren’t great, he earned a starting position and was one of the hardest workers on the team.

“Arinze used to be an over-worker. On rest days, he would seek extra training or weight lifting. We (the coaching staff) had to tell him to slow down and take days off. There was a big improvement in his game once he started to rest,” assistant coach Ken Hunter said.

Anakwenze kept up his work ethic throughout the season, but he wasn’t always such a hard worker.

“When I was younger, I was very lazy. I took school for granted, I wasn’t the best student. It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I started asking myself what I wanted to do,” Anakwenze said, “I didn’t want to be in a situation where my back was to the wall and I didn’t have options.”

Anakwenze said to be successful at MVSU, he needs to become a better jump shooter.

“At the (Division I) college level, everyone needs to be able to shoot the ball,” Anakwenze said.

After college, Anakwenze has his eyes set on playing professional basketball.

“Once I’m done with these two years of college ball, my plan is to play overseas at a high level. The ultimate goal would be to play in the NBA, but I know I have to work really hard for that,” Anakwenze said.

The athletic department’s push to promote the school as top-tier program is aided by the commitments of Bivens and Anakwenze.

“We couldn’t be happier. We couldn’t be prouder of these great couple of kids who played for a great coach,” Athletic Director Al Cone said.

Bivens and Anakwenze are both active on campus. They just completed their program in the Male Leadership Academy. Its purpose is developing males academically and personally, through activities and mentoring. Those interested in joining the MLA can sign up online at elacmla.splashthat.com.

Bivens

Richard Bivens

Arinze Anakwenze

   Arinze Anakwenze

Men’s soccer 2016 season preview

By Stephanie Guevara

With new changes and new rivals in their conference, the East Los Angeles College men’s soccer team prepares to for the upcoming season.

ELAC is currently in the South Coast Conference, which has recently undergone changes this season.  Instead of having eight teams, the conference will have 10 teams as Rio Hondo College and Chaffey College were added to the conference.

Head coach Eddie Flores said the conference got more competitive, but ELAC should play better because they have a good amount of returning players.

“Last year, we only had three returning players. This time, we have a lot of returning players, which sets a good foundation in the team. That should be a strong point for us. My goal is to take the team to the playoffs this season,” Flores said.

In the previous season, ELAC fell short from a spot in the playoffs, staying in fourth place of the South Coast Conference. ELAC ended their season 9-6-6.

Assistant coach Ricardo Raygoza also said the team should be in good shape this time around.

“We haven’t had a good amount of returners in a couple of years. Some players got injured last season (and) will have (to) return this season, which is a good thing for us,” Raygoza said.

Coaches are working on recruiting new players for the season, but said they won’t need to recruit as much.

“Since we are getting the majority of our players,we don’t need to do as much recruiting. We do have a kid from Chile who is very good in the midfield. He will really help us in the season,” Flores said.

Raygoza said the team needs to seek goalkeepers because that is the only position they don’t have a returning player.

Returning player and international student from Colombia, Alvaro Torres, said the team needs to work on scoring because last season they had difficulty making goals.

“Last season we had a problem of not finishing. We played good, but we wouldn’t score as much. We also need to work on staying focused and make soccer our priority in order to win,” Torres said.

Raygoza also said the team needs a key forward who can be effective when scoring.

“For this season, we are looking for a forward who can score. It is a key thing to have a guy who has the vision to score, which is what we need this year,” Raygoza said.

Torres also said he now knows that the team should give a good performance in the preseason in order to get a spot in playoffs.

“I know that preseason is important and we have to make it count. We need to make sure we get the points we need, but our conference also needs to do good,” Torres said.

ELAC will start their preseason against Southwestern College on August 28.

Hard fought spring season

By Dan Gudino 

As finals approach for students, student-athletes finish their spring season with the ups and downs only sports can bring.

East Los Angeles College, during the spring semester, has six different sports to cheer for. Softball, baseball, men’s and women’s track and field, badminton and women’s swim and dive.

The current on-going season of track and field, for both men and women, has brought the most success. Sophomore Cesar Santisteban continues to succeed, earning a qualified spot in the shot put and javelin throw in the SoCal Finals held in Antelope Valley College last Saturday and May 14.

Santisteban was the lone champion for ELAC at the South Coast Conference Championship at Mount San Antonio College April 29. He won the shot put with a strong mark of 46 feet and 8 inches. He also placed second in the discus and the javelin throw.

Overall, Santisteban stands in fifth place going into Saturday’s final day of competition at AVC.

On the women’s side of track and field, sophomore steeplechase runner Viridiana Hernandez sits at No. 11 and qualified for the final day of competition. The steeplechase is a grueling 3,000 meter race around the track with obstacles, 28 barriers and seven water jumps.

On the diamond with softball and baseball, we saw the good and the ugly. The year was determined by early season woes that cost both teams to resurge late in the season, only to be kept out of the playoffs.

Baseball and softball saw a strong push in the last month of the season, but to no avail. Baseball only lost four games in the month of April. The 9-4 month of April was not enough, two losses in two critical games versus Pasadena City College and El Camino Compton Center-College were the deciding factor for baseball.

Both games were close battles, one-run lost games that defined the season as oh-so-close. An overall 17-19 season for baseball marked the second straight season ELAC was held out of the playoffs.

Softball shared a similar fate. The Huskies finished 17-21 and 9-12 in the South Coast Conference. Like the men, the month of April played tease to the softball team. With a chance to storm back into playoff contention, three losses in April proved to be too many and cost ELAC a berth in the playoffs.

Softball, like baseball, missed the playoffs for the second straight season and finished fourth in the SCC.

In the pool, the Huskies had little success. The swim and dive team did have a strong swimmer, their star out of the Shandong Sports School in China, Yixue Wang.

Throughout the season, Wang placed in the top 10 in many categories. In the first swim meet of the season at the SCC Relays at Rio Hondo College, Wang anchored the 200-meter Medley Relay and took second place in February. In the following event at the Mt. SAC Invitational, she placed third in the 50-yard backstroke, making it seem like a run for state might be a possibility.

The strong teams within the SCC and throughout SoCal made it tough for team victories. The eventual champions of California, Orange Coast College, made it look easy. The beach community school took 12 out of 20 swims in the state championships held here at ELAC. ELAC failed to place within the top 20 for the state finals.

The badminton team might argue it had or is having the better season of all ELAC sports, but like all ELAC sports in the spring, the Achilles heel was found, making it a little rough. The arch nemesis of Huskies, Pasadena City College, considered the number one team in the state and some ranking number one in the country, always found its way against ELAC.

PCC swept ELAC during the regular season on all three occasions, which were the only losses of the season for the Huskies. ELAC finished 6-3 in the regular season, but finds itself in the doubles championship run with freshman duo Serena Lieu and Jean Mornelle Buenaflor.

Buenaflor and Lieu are in the hunt for a double title starting this Friday at 2 p.m. The only problem might be it’s held in hostile territory, at PCC.

The feelgood sports story of the spring was a carry-over from winter and started back in fall. The women’s basketball team made East L.A. proud with its runner-up to state. Credit has to be given to the men who showed up in the spring and finished runner-up in SoCal.

The fall sports season will see football, basketball, cross country, water polo, volleyball and wrestling.

Huskies superfan cheers through adversity

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The Ambassador– David Candelas watches afternoon football practice at East Los Angeles College’s Weingart Stadium.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Dan Gudino

It doesn’t matter what sport you talk about, David Candelas, 74, will be there – a women’s water polo match in the fall, a badminton tournament in the spring and in the stands at all the mainstream sports.

Originally from Madera, California, Candelas is an East Los Angeles College sports enthusiast and alumni, who graduated with an associate degree in Liberal Arts in 1997, years after his first run on campus in the ’60s.

Dubbed “Superfan” by fellow ELAC fans, he can be seen dressed in Huskies gear on Atlantic Boulevard and on Cesar Chavez Avenue.

He’s always seen in ELAC t-shirts or a sweatshirt and an occasional ELAC baseball cap. He’s most proud of is his Army Veteran baseball cap which he flaunts with pride.

“The Army taught me three things, discipline, respect and survival,” Candelas said.

Candelas put emphasis on the last, survival. Candelas has been homeless since 2012. Cellulitis, a bacterial infection that typically affects the skin on the lower parts of legs, put Candelas in the hospital for 10 days.

During his stay in the hospital, he lost the room he was renting in Monterey Park. The person who rented to Candelas kicked him out for a family member.

“Being out in the streets is a experience and-a-half. All the stuff I see and have seen, I would have never thought or believed,” Candelas said.

Candelas claims he has avoided sleeping on the streets. Instead, he jumps on late night buses and rides them to their end. Then jumps back on in the wee hours of the night and rides them back their opposite way to stay out of the cold or rain.

When his Social Security check is deposited, he says he has money for about three weeks. He can then afford to stay at local $60 per day Monterey Park hotels, yet not every day.

Four years of the late night bus routine, has taken its toll. He sleeps in spurts when he rides the bus, but on a bad night, he gets three hours of sleep.

“I just listen to my body. I know when I have to rent a (hotel) room and rest my body. The bus routine is hard. I sleep very little,” Candelas said. “In the service, I learned to survive. I also have a lot of help. I sometimes go up north (to Fresno) where I have family and stay a few days or I stay with my daughter sometimes,” Candelas said.

His relationship with his daughter is as shaky as his sleeping routine.

Grandfather of two, Candelas loves to visit his grandchildren but is not allowed to constantly see them because of a personal fallout with his daughter years ago. Nonetheless, he continues to try to mend things.

“I occasionally visit my daughter and my grandchildren, but not all the time. Differences have made things hard for me to see them. I sometimes spend a night, but I always pay my daughter when I do,” Candelas said.

Born on a Friday the 13th, Candelas’ luck has not stopped him from being a fan of sports. His devotion to ELAC sports has given him purpose and recognition.

The ELAC women’s basketball team has returned to Candelas the same support he gives. Women’s head coach Bruce Turner mentioned how Candelas personally went to Monterey Park’s City Hall and suggested the women’s team should be recognized.

On April 19, Monterey Park Mayor Peter Chan presented the ELAC women’s basketball team with a city recognition award and the Huskies were brought on stage for their state final runner-up season. Coach Turner, in his acceptance, speech called Candelas a community leader.

“An ambassador to ELAC and ELAC sports. He’s the ambassador. He personally went to city hall and told them about us. Since then, we have been recognized,” Turner said.

Candelas helped this past basketball season by coming up with sponsors to help distribute monthly player awards. One of the awards players received was the Most Inspirational Player of the Month Award.

Despite his situation, Candelas continues to give any way he can. An inspiration to many, he carries his belongings in a personal pull dolly and showed off the clothing he was donating to a homeless man. He mentioned that this homeless man hangs out in front and around ELAC in only a small t-shirt and Candelas, with a humble heart, recalls understanding being cold.

“I been there done that. I’ll soon retire from the streets too,” Candelas said.

A veteran’s three-day event at the Los Angeles Convention Center in December called Honor a Hero organized by Standdown L.A., is giving Candelas a chance to get off the street.

“The paper work took hours, but worth it. The VA assistance program is granting me a chance to get an apartment with a grant,” Candelas said.

Conversations with Candelas, no matter what, turn to good and back to ELAC sports. The ambassador can mention all the former ELAC football players to enter the NFL. He can shoot them out like an encyclopedia: Ben Davidson, Mike Davis and Clarence Davis, all whom he said played with his old favorite team, the Oakland Raiders.

“I support this school like the Oakland Raiders fan supports his team. Through the good and the bad, I’ll be there,” Candelas said. “I bleed ELAC green.

All

What a sport– David Candelas supports and follows all ELAC sports played at Weingart Stadium.

 

Loyal to the game- Candelas sits across the street from ELAC at McDonald's and uses the WiFi to check on the softball score.

Loyal to the game– Candelas sits across the street from ELAC at McDonald’s and uses the WiFi to check on the softball score.

 

Baseball goes 2-1 in playoff chase

By Diego Linares and Dan Gudino

The baseball team went 2-1 over the weekend when they faced El Camino Compton Center on Thursday and Saturday, and Pasadena City College yesterday in an attempt to reach the playoffs.

East Los Angeles College currently has an overall record of 15-18, but is chasing El Camino College for third place in the South Coast Conference.

ELAC is 7-3 in its last 10 games and is 10-8 in conference play, while El Camino currently sits at 12-7 in conference play with two games left in its regular season.

“Whether they’re close or blowouts, it doesn’t matter right now, we’re in the situation where we just got to win,” ELAC head coach James Hines said after a 6-4 win against El Camino College on Thursday night.

In yesterday’s game, ELAC starting pitcher Julian Vizcarra went the distance and pitched nine shutout innings against Pasadena in a 6-0 win.

Pasadena head coach Pat Mcgee said that Vizcarra did a great job of using his fastball on both sides of the plate, and added that his team played one of the worst games of their season.

“You need to trust your defense 100 percent,” said Vizcarra, “I just tried to stay within myself and not try to do too much.”

Seve Romo, an infielder and pitcher, had two critical hits that led to three RBIs which kept ELAC in a close game on the Thursday win over El Camino College.

He then went on to pitch eight solid innings on Saturday at El Camino College, allowing a single run in a 2-1 loss.

“It’s huge, especially when you’re in a dogfight to win to try to get into the playoffs,” Romo said, when stressing the importance of defense after the Thursday game.

“The last couple games, I’ve been swinging (the bat) pretty well. I was just trying to stay short to the ball, not trying to do too much and hitting the ball hard.”

El Camino Compton head coach Shannon Williams complimented ELAC freshman pitcher Alberto Lopez, saying the pitcher kept ECC off balance while keeping the Huskies in the game.

“They’re a tough-minded team and they play situations real well,” Williams said.

“They made plays when they had to. Coach Hines has a real good team, and they’re fundamentally sound.”

ELAC will close out the season with a game at Brookside Park against Pasadena tomorrow at 2:30 p.m., then at home against Pasadena on Friday at 6 p.m.

ELAC will most likely miss the playoffs for the second straight season.

In 2014 ELAC advanced out of the single elimination game and went into the Best two-out-of-three series against Oxnard where they lost.

The Huskies best statistic this year was its pitching. It ranked second in the state in earned run average, where three of its pitchers ranked one, two and three in the SCC.

Romo led all Huskies with a 1.16 ERA, behind him was freshman Alberto Lopez (1.54) and Jose Vizcarra (1.90).

Romo proved to be one of the better players on the team.

Romo was relied on to pitch the most innings on the team this season. He not only led the team in pitching with the best ERA and team high 57 total strikeouts, he also led the team in homeruns with three.

Romo contributed a second best 21 runs batted in.

New coach for a new season

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Moving Forward – New East Los Angeles College football Head Coach Bobby Godinez coaches his new players during practice at ELAC’s Weingart Stadium. C/N Dan Gudiino

By Dan Gudino

It’s the offseason for the football team, four months away from the opening kickoff, and new head coach Bobby Godinez is working to get away from last year’s disappointment.

East Los Angeles College released the news of the newly-hired Godinez, 33, March 2. Godinez got right to work. He was seen at basketball games as a fan, shaking hands and spoke with many to introduce himself and made a statement that he cared about ELAC.

Godinez is not only a fan of basketball, but was the head coach of basketball at Victor Valley College, was its defensive coordinator of football and Pasadena City College’s track and field coach, all at the same time.

When the track and field season is over in three weeks, the hardworking Godinez said this is the final season he would coach at PCC and plans to devote all his coaching skills to Huskies’ football.

Coach Godinez is suited for ELAC because this was not first time he applied for the opening head coach position. Prior to the 2015-16 season, Godinez applied and interviewed for the position, but the resigned Eric Marty was appointed as head coach.

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One way – Coach Godinez coaches his new players on proper football technique at ELAC’s Weingart. C/N Dan Gudino

“The thing that caught my eye this time was Athletic Director Al Cone aggressively pursued me. They had a high desire to get me here and that want was reciprocated and filled me with excitement,” Godinez said.

Godinez was the top runner for head coach. With an impressive resume that includes a stint in the NFL with the Washington Redskins practice squad, earned All Western Athletic Conference honors as a team captain at San Jose State and his experience as an all-CIF and all-State defensive back at Los Altos High School in the 2000 championship team.

“I feel when I interviewed for the job the first time, I left an impact on the committee and that showed a year later, but the first time, I feel I had too much on my plate. Juggling basketball, football and track can be difficult. It’s all about effective scheduling,” Godinez said.

Godinez is all about ELAC and providing hope. One of his motives is moving the program forward from losing seasons, like last year’s 2-8 record.

He gave hope to offensive lineman coach Tyrone Carter, who is the only remaining coach from the Marty regime.

“Once coach Marty was gone, I was left in limbo. I thought I may or may not have a job. Once Coach Godinez was on board and called me, we met and of course I was filled with excitement because he gave me the opportunity to stay and further my coaching career to practice this craft,” Carter said.

The Marty era ended with a bad taste on and off the field, with Marty resigning amid fire alarm damage to his office. Many players left, many are not sure what their roles will be on the team and some are waiting to see what happens during the offseason to make a decision about whether to stay or transfer.

“I don’t feel bad being the only guy left from the old coaching staff. I know there is always going to be adversity. I do feel lucky that I was asked to come back. I do miss the other guys I coached with, but the opportunity we have here is next to none,” Carter said.

This has been a learning curve for Godinez, taking over a program with offseason controversy has been an adjustment.

“It always puts stress on a program, and by program, I mean the players. At this level, they don’t handle change all that well. What I ask of the player is to trust the process, trust the school, trust our A.D. and the decision that best fit(s) them in making a change. Most importantly give us as a coaching staff a chance,” Godinez said.

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Push Yourself – New football players of Coach Godinez working hard during practice in offseason at Weingart. C/N Dan Gudino

Godinez has brought on board a coaching staff he feels is suited for the East Los Angeles area, which is not known for its athletic programs, especially football. Its last state title came in 1974.

Bringing in familiar faces is helping Godinez feel comfortable.

Wide receivers coach Andrew Tree has come full circle, once coached by Godinez at PCC. Godinez was a defensive coach as Tree played wide receiver. The common understanding of football at the junior college level in Southern California makes Tree an essential part of the coaching staff.

“I’m an out-of-state guy from Oregon, but when I came to So Cal, I instantly understood I needed to adjust to the great play here in Cali. Not only play, but what the student goes through here in the Los Angeles area is different. Financial hardships, personal life problems like where the student grew up in, all play a role in recruiting,” Tree said.

Recruiting and attracting players to ELAC is tough. High school players are discouraged of ELAC when it comes to football, Godinez said, but it all can change.

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Helping Hand– Coach Godinez handing out advice on what is needed to succeed on the field during practice at Weingart. C/N Dan Gudino

“As far as recruiting players, it’s a blessing. This campus speaks for itself. Just take a look at all the new buildings being put up and it attracts the player. You take a look at this (Weingart) stadium and how big it is and the possibility of playing here with this new coaching staff make for a strong case,” Godinez said.

The standard for Husky football is at a high level.

“We have the highest standards ELAC has ever seen. It’s academics, it’s accountability and the way you play the game. The way you go about your business will set our standard,” Godinez said.

Success follows coach Godinez, an 18-game win streak at VCC which included a 58-21 blowout win over ELAC last year. He’s a successful business owner who founded Optimal Sports Strength and Conditioning, where he has trained NFL and Major League Baseball players.

On the field during practice, the multitasking Godinez can be seen on the phone, recruiting and taking phone calls from potential talent.

“He’s been successful everywhere he has stepped in. There is a great chance this guy will change this program. A family man with great values, it (is) so obvious why I came here and why others follow the man,” running backs coach Vai Taua said.

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Full Speed – New players of ELAC and Coach Godinez practice lineman drills during afternoon practice at ELAC’s Weingart. C/N Dan Gudino