Orange County girls athlete of the week: Leigh Chien, University


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The Orange County girls athlete of the week:

Name: Leigh Chien

School: University

Sport: Golf

Year: Sophomore

Noteworthy: Chien shot a 3-under-par 68 and won the CIF State individual championship in a one-hole playoff at Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach. She birded the par-5 playoff hole.

Please send nominees for girls athlete of the week to Dan Albano at dalbano@scng.com or @ocvarsityguy on Twitter or Instagram

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Fountain Valley, Troy girls golf teams qualify for CIF/SCGA regional championship


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Troy and Fountain Valley’s girls golf teams emerged from a tight race Thursday at the CIF/Southern California Golf Association qualifying tournament in Oxnard to qualify for the regional championship next week.

The defending SoCal champion Warriors and surprising Barons tied for second with Oak Park of Ventura County with matching scores of 381 at River Ridge Golf Course to join Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks in the field for the SoCal final at Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena on Nov. 11.

Only the top-four teams advanced to the SoCal final, which also serves as the qualifying event for the state championship.

Troy, Fountain Valley and Oak Park finished 10 shots behind favored Notre Dame but more importantly, one shot ahead of fifth-place Santa Margarita at 382.

The tournament featured the top-12 teams from the CIF-SS division finals earlier in the week.

Fountain Valley surprised by advancing as the second-place team from the Surf League.

Thursday’s field included Surf champion Los Alamitos and Mater Dei, who took ninth and 10th, respectively.

The event also served as the CIF-SS individual championships, and individual qualifier for the SoCal final.

Cerritos sophomore Jamine Koo carded a 4-under-par 68 to edge University sophomore Leigh Chien and Fountain Valley senior Milan Nguyen, who placed second and third, respectively, one shot back.

Nevada committed senior Gabby Kano also shot a 69 to lead Troy.

Fountain Valley also was paced by Long Beach State-bound Madison Le (72) and sophomore Kylie Phil (74).

The top-28 individuals — not on a qualified team – advanced to the regional final.

Those O.C. players not on qualified team who advanced were: sophomore Elise Lee of Crean Lutheran (71), reigning Register player of the year Chloe Lam of Edison (71), sophomore Yurang Li of Sunny Hills (72), junior Kelsey Kim of La Habra (73), junior Ryan Bullock of Santa Margarita (74, Katherine Gerbing of Cypress (75), freshman Bridget Chantharath of Northwood (76), freshman Chutimon Rujiranan of Anaheim Discovery Christian (75) and junior Chloe Griffith of Huntington Beach (75).

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Sunny Hills girls golf captures Division 3 for first CIF championship


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Sunny Hills’ girls golf team made history in impressive fashion Monday at the CIF-SS Division 3 championships in Ojai.

The Lancers won the team tournament and crowned the medalist to capture their first section title.

Reigning Freeway League individual champion Yurang Li shot a 3-under-par 69 to help Coach Scott Enrico’s squad post a score of 400 at Soule Park Golf Course.

Lauren Lee (76) and Katie Pyo (79) both shot in the 70s while freshmen Angelina Jeong (87) and Oliviah Chavez (89) added scores in the 80s to help the Lancers outdistance runner-up Northwood by 25 shots.

Freshman Bridget Chantharath carded a 72 to lead the Pacific Coast League champion Timberwolves.

Li, a sophomore, has won the past two individual titles in the challenging Freeway League.

The section’s other three divisions will hold their team finals Tuesday. The top-12 teams overall advance to the CIF-SCGA qualifier Thursday at River Ridge Country Club in Oxnard.

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La Habra’s Kelsey Kim, Edison’s Chloe Lam pace O.C. qualifiers in CIF golf regionals


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La Habra’s Kelsey Kim and Edison’s Chloe Lam led Orange County girls golfers Wednesday in regional qualifying for the CIF-SS individual finals next week.

Kim, the runner-up in the Freeway League, won the Northern Regional by shooting a 68 at Los Robles Greens in Thousand Oaks.

Catherine Rao of Oaks Christian also shot 68 but Kim, a junior, played two strokes better over the final six holes to take the tie-breaker. Rao also missed a short putt on the final hole.

Lam, the Surf League champion and The Register’s player of the year in the spring as a freshman, finished second in the Southern Regional at Western Hills Country Club in Chino Hills by carding a 70.

Only two other county players advanced to finals from the Northern Regional. They were Freeway League champion Yurang Li of Sunny Hills and Jizelle Robledo from La Habra.

Twenty-one other county players reached the finals from the Southern Regional.

Anaheim Discovery Christian freshman Chutimon Rujiranan and University sophomore Leigh Chien tied for fifth with 74s. Empire League foes Elise Lee of Crean Lutheran and Katherine Gerbing of Cypress tied for seventh with 75s.

Santa Margarita standout senior and Missouri commit Jade Zamora placed 25th.

The top-36 golfers at reach regional advanced to the finals Nov. 4 at River Ridge Country Club in Oxnard.

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High school coaches: Starting Aug. 14, send OCVarsity your team’s scores, stats

Beginning Saturday, Aug. 14, the Register will begin publishing online the scores and stats of the fall sports for Orange County high school teams.

A coach or team representative can email the information from varsity-level games and events to preps@ocregister.com.

The Register will only publish information that is received in a timely manner and in a usable format. (See below for details.)

Note: The Register is no longer able to receive scores and stats via phone call.

* * *    * * *     * * *    * * *    * * *     * * *    * * *    * * *

Sending your team’s information to the Register:

1. the information needs to be sent the same day as the event;

2. send the final score from the event;

3. include stats or highlights for 2 players per team.

Example for stats: Canyon: Josh Dodson 28 points; Eddie Anderson 12 points, 11 steals.

Example for highlights: Canyon: Josh Dodson make game winning basket at the buzzer. Eddie Anderson set school record with 11 steals.

Please do not send images of score sheets or the complete results from a meet or event.

Football, baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, lacrosse: Send final score and stats or highlights for 2 athletes per team.

Track, cross country, swimming, wrestling: Send final score and highlights for 2 athletes per team.

Tennis: Send final score, individual scores or highlights for 2 athletes per team.

Golf: Send final score, medalists or highlights for 2 athletes per team.

Questions or comments? Email preps@ocregister.com.

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Troy’s girls, Servite’s boys golf teams win championships at CIF SoCal Regional

It was an Orange County sweep — Troy’s girls and Servite’s boys — of the team championships Tuesday at the CIF Southern California Regional Tournament at Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena.

On a day where the temperature reached triple digits in the afternoon, Troy’s girls team took first place by shooting a combined score of 378 on the Brookside #2 course, finishing three shots ahead of Walnut (381).

The Warriors had four players finish in the top 26 individuals. Kamille Dimayuga shot a 2-over 73, followed by Hannah Ulibarri (75), Gabriella Kano (75) and Tessa Lapradez (76).


The Servite boys golf team won the team championship at the CIF SoCal Regional tournament at Brookside Golf Club on Tuesday, June 15. (Photo by James Escarcega, Contributor)

Long Beach Wilson’s Emiko Sverduk took advantage of an early start time and cooler conditions to shoot a 3-under 68 that was one stroke better than Edison’s Chloe Lam. Jade Zamora of Santa Margarita finished third.

In the boys division, Servite won the title with a combined score of 360 on the Brookside #1 course. Torrey Pines (372) finished second and Anaheim Discovery Christian took third.

Anaheim Discovery Christian’s Youseong Choi took the individual championship by shooting a 7-under 65. Servite’s William Sung (68) won the silver medal and Aliso Niguel’s Kyle An captured third place with a 68.

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Bill Cunerty, former Saddleback College coach and high school football broadcaster, dies from Parkinson’s disease


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Former Saddleback College football and golf coach Bill Cunerty, who also became a beloved broadcaster of high school football games and a guru for future NFL quarterbacks, died Thursday, Oct. 22, from complications of Parkinson’s disease, his wife, Claudia, said.

Cunerty, 74, was diagnosed with the degenerative disorder of the central nervous system in April of 2017 and had been in hospice care for more than a year, said Claudia, his wife of 51 years and caretaker during his health battle.

“He was a strong Christian,” she said. “He knew he was going to heaven.”

Cunerty’s unique connection with Orange County sports spanned more than 40 years and showcased his array of talents and passions.

The Mission Viejo resident was a state championship-winning coach in three different sports at Saddleback College. He was the football coach at Capistrano Valley and Dana Hills high schools and served as commentator for high school sports with COX 3, a cable television affiliate that covered schools from Tustin to San Clemente.

Cunerty also was a highly-regarded private quarterback coach, former president of the Southern California Golf Association and a successful high school English teacher.

“Everything he touched turned to gold,” said longtime friend Bob Janko, who met Cunerty around 1969 at North Torrance High. “He’s just an intelligent man and very personable. He kids loved playing for him.”

Cunerty arrived at North Torrance, his alma mater, to teach and coach football, Janko said. A former football and baseball player at USC, Cunerty soon began to climb the coaching rankings.

He coached North Torrance’s football program from 1969 to 1973.

Cunerty became Dana Hills’ football coach in 1975 and Capistrano Valley’s first coach two years later.

Cunerty’s staff at Capistrano Valley, Janko said, included a trio of future coaching stars for the Cougars: Dick Enright and Eric Patton in football, and Bob Zamora, who became a legendary baseball coach.

Cunerty had his most coaching success at Saddleback College. He was a longtime quarterback coach and offensive coordinator for the Gauchos and took the head coaching reins for three seasons after the retirement of the legendary Ken Swearingen.

Cunerty led the Gauchos to an undefeated season and national title in 1996. He resigned in 1998 because of heath reasons.

Cunerty survived two battles with colon cancer and two heart attacks, Claudia said.

He also coached Saddleback College’s men’s and women’s golf teams to state titles, becoming the first community college coach in California to win state titles in three different sports. He led the men’s golf team to six state crowns.

“He loved coaching and teaching,” Claudia said of her husband, a member of the state community college hall of fame.

Cunerty, a journalism major at USC, also was a fixture at the biggest high school games as a broadcaster with COX 3. Teaming with Kevin Turner and former Rams quarterback Vince Ferragamo, Cunerty was quick to praise players while mixing in his coaching insights, stories and humor.

His last broadcast was the O.C. all-star football game in the summer of 2017.

“He was a true community gem,” said Turner, who worked with Cunerty for 14 years. “We’re all blessed to have known him. He’s the most incredible ambassador of high school sports in Southern California.”

Sad news: Ex-Saddleback College football coach, QB guru, star broadcaster, fighter, and family man Bill Cunerty, left, has died
There was no better ambassador for O.C. High School Sports than Cunerty (partner Kevin Turner, right) #RIPCoachCunerty @ocvarsity @SteveFryer pic.twitter.com/v4OlItND5h

— Dan Albano (@ocvarsityguy) October 24, 2020

The Orange County football community also knew Cunerty as a private quarterback guru.

He coached with West Coast Passing School for years and tutored many of the area’s best passers. From Todd Marinovich to Matt Barkley to his final protege, Nathan Manning, Cunerty — a former quarterback himself — helped many athletes.

“Such a great teacher,” said Tom Shine, one of Cunerty’s closest friends and a former football and golf coach at Santa Ana and Santiago Canyon colleges. “He just had that gift.”

Cunerty’s affable personalty, communication skills and knowledge also led him to become a trainer for quarterback prospects preparing for the NFL Scouting Combine. He worked with Patrick Mahomes and Jimmy Garoppolo — who faced off in the Super Bowl last season — and Andrew Luck, among others.

Cunerty’s presence also was highly-sought off the football field.

About 18 years ago, he officiated the wedding of Shine’s daughter, Jamie, to her husband Rick. Cunerty completed training to fulfill the role, Shine said.

“And he was awesome,” Shine said, “just like he did everything else.”

Cunerty is survived by his wife, daughter Kelly, son-in-law Cameron, daughter Shannon, son-in-law Ben, three grandchildren and sister Patty. Funeral arrangements have not been announced, but Claudia said the family plans to stream the memorial live.

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Mater Dei’s Jaden Cantafio savors narrow victory at Orange County senior golf showcase

COSTA MESA In-N-Out Burger delivered to the course. Custom, embroidered score books for every player. A golf bag and prestigious invite for the winner. And best of all, camaraderie with friends while playing golf.

Nothing can bring back the spring of 2020 for seniors but the inaugural Orange County Boys Golf All-Star Senior Showcase at Costa Mesa Country Club took its best swing on Monday.

Twenty-eight seniors from Southern California played the par-70 Mesa Linda Course and picked up a few perks along the way in their first high school competition since the coronavirus pandemic ended their season in mid-March.

Former Mater Dei player Jaden Cantafio took home the biggest prizes, out-dueling former Monarchs teammate Andrew Hoekstra in a one-hole playoff to capture the event with a sizzling 4-under-par 66.

With the victory, the Washington State-bound Cantafio also won a golf bag donated by One with Golf in Irvine and an invite to the Boys High School Golf National Invitational at Pinehust Resort in North Carolina.

Cantafio also savored a few other highlights.

“It was a fun round,” said Cantafio, who this past year attended Tesla Academy, a blended, online school in Irvine.

“I was playing with a few buddies of mine. It’s fun to get back and kind of just meet with everyone again after all the time without seeing them. … I have’t played a tournament since this all started.”

Cantafio and his Mater Dei teammates — including Geoffrey Von der Ahe and Ryan Pham — enjoyed the In-N-Out after their round courtesy of Monrachs coach Ryan Kelaher.

“I was eating on the putting green,” Cantafio said with a laugh. “I’m super thankful for everything.”

In the playoff, Cantafio made par on the par-4 No. 1 to edge the Long Beach State-bound Hoekstra, who carded his only bogey of the afternoon.

“Kind of one last hurrah,” Hoekstra said of the event, organized by Edison coach Brendan Patch and Kelaher.

Cantafio, who won the CIF-SS Southern individual regional as a junior, received an exemption to play in the national championships in August.

One With Golf donated score card holders to each player Monday with their names embroidered on the front.

“People heard about (our event) and I think wanted to do something,” Patch said of the donations and national invite.

The players observed social distancing as they walked the course during their round. In other precautions due to the coronavirus, the flag sticks remained in the holes and the players didn’t rake the sand in the bunkers.

“For Coach Patch and I,” Kelaher said, “putting something together to celebrate the seniors was a great idea. … All these kids did great.”

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SoCal Varsity honors the top fall sports athletes in Southern California

The Southern California News Group honors the top high school athletes for the fall sports with its SoCal Varsity Sports Awards.

SCNG’s team of high school sports reporters have selected the Athletes of the Year and All-SoCal teams in football, girls volleyball, boys water polo, girls tennis, boys and girls cross country and girls golf.

Read all of the stories online (links below) and in a special section that is included in all of SCNG’s newspapers on Sunday, Dec. 22.

SOCAL VARSITY FALL SPORTS AWARDS

Football | Athlete of the Year: Bryce Young, Mater Dei | All-SoCal First Team |

Girls volleyball | Athlete of the Year: Kami Miner, Redondo | All-SoCal First Team |

Boys water polo | Athlete of the Year: Nolan Krutonog, Daily News | All-SoCal First Team |

Girls tennis | Athlete of the Year: Kammi Hance, Peninsula | All-SoCal First Team |

Boys cross country | Athlete of the Year: Nico Young, Newbury Park | All-SoCal First Team |

Girls cross coutnry | Athlete of the Year: Savannah Scriven, Palos Verdes | All-SoCal First Team | 

Girls golf | Athlete of the Year: Caroline Canales, Calabasas | All-SoCal First Team

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Laguna Hills to induct Olympian, junior world champion into Hall of Fame

Laguna Hills will induct golfer Eunice Choi (class of 1993) and swimmer Mark Kwok (class of 1995) into its Hall of Fame on Saturday, Jan. 19 at halftime of its girls basketball game.

Laguna Hills plays host to Capistrano Valley at 6 p.m.

Choi was one of the top-ranked girls in the nation but played alongside the boys in high school because there wasn’t a girls team.

A former Junior World champion, she earned a scholarship to UCLA, where she helped the Bruins earn No. 1 rankings. She went on to play professionally.

Kwok helped Laguna Hills capture two CIF-SS team titles in swimming and set multiple records. He went on to swim at USC and became a two-time Olympian for Hong Kong.

A reception for Kwok and Choi will be helped before the game in the staff lounge at 4 p.m.

 

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