Burbank High graduated 621 seniors last week. Here they are!
Photography by Ross A. Benson
Burbank High’s girls traveled over to Memorial Field on Monday to play their counterparts from Burroughs. In the end it was Burbank 8, Burroughs 0 as they collected their ‘Big Game’ victory.
Here are some great photos from Ross A. Benson as he collected highlights from the game.
By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor
Keep an eye out for rising Burbank sophomore Mike Woods. The multi-talented guard started as a freshman a year ago for the Bulldogs boys’ basketball team and has improved tremendously in his second year at the high school level.
Recently, Woods was invited to an academic showcase in Orange County for projected college qualifiers. The two-day tournament was valuable for Woods as he soaked in the experience hosted by West Coast Elite Basketball at Cerritos College.
“It was great. I had a good time and I was happy for the chance to go,” Woods said. “They taught us what to expect in college and I learned a lot.”
“It was a big honor for him. He takes his academics very seriously and you can see it on the basketball court,” Burbank coach Jerry DeLaurie said. “He’s a very smart kid academically. He’s a true student-athlete. He’s what we want here at Burbank.”
Woods has evolved into one of the better players in the Pacific League. He currently averages 11.3 points per game, 8.5 rebounds per game, 2.0 blocks per game, 5.6 assists a game and 2.4 steals a game.
“Mike does so many things for us. He is a five-tool player,” DeLaurie said. “His shooting, ball-handling, rebounding, defense, passing, anticipation on steals. He does it all for us. He can play any position on the basketball court.”
Wood’s basketball savvy and IQ on the court compliments his discipline and commitment to excellence in the classroom. He maintains a 3.60 cumulative grade point average while handling the daily rigors of AP classes and playing basketball year-round.
“He is a solid student in the classroom and a phenomenal athlete on the basketball court,” DeLaurie said. “He is truly a pleasure to coach and to be around. It’s great seeing him have fun with his teammates and be successful with his basketball accomplishments on the court.
“People love an unselfish kid. He will do whatever it takes to help the team win. That’s what makes Mike special to me. Sometimes it won’t be about the points. He just wants the team to win. He’s more concerned about making the team better rather than himself. I love his attitude and he plays with confidence. I’m proud of him.”
The 6-foot-2 two-year varsity starter has quickly become the elder statesman on a team plentiful of juniors and sophomores. Woods leads by example with his consistent all-around play in every facet of the game.
“Mike is one of the best guards in the league. I really believe that,” said DeLaurie. “He will go down as the one of the best ever in this program. The future is going to be great with him.”
Wood’s love for basketball shines on the court every game and his future is as bright as they come.
“I would love to play anywhere in the country. That’s my goal,” Woods said about college in two years. “I think about it every night before I go to bed.”
It’s never too early to dream. Reality is just around the corner.
By Dick Dornan
myBurbank Sports Editor
With cross country having come to an end this past weekend, we look back at one of the greatest seasons in Burbank High School history. If you missed the superlative efforts by Candela Fernandez, don’t worry. You are in luck. She’s only a junior with another year to cement herself as one of the State’s top long distance runners and possibly the area’s best of all-time.
As the weeks dwindled down towards the end of the cross country season, Fernandez had four goals in mind:
Fernandez, 16, capped off an amazing season accomplishing the first three goals and falling just short of the fourth.
First, she swept all three league meets in convincing fashion with times of 17:57 (Crescenta Valley Park), 16:37 (Arcadia County Park) and 17:57 (CV Park- League Finals). More importantly, Fernandez led the Lady Bulldogs to a league title, the first for Burbank since 1978.
In addition, Fernandez set a new school record at the Mt. San Antonio Invitational with a blistering time of 17:13. Consider this- her freshman year she ran a 19:59 at Mt. SAC followed by an 18:29 her sophomore year. Imagine what could happen a year from now.
Fernandez’s success continued at the CIF Southern Section Prelims where she coasted to a first place finish in her heat with a time of 17:33. The Bulldogs advanced as a team to the CIF Finals a week later for the first time since 1987.
At the CIF Southern Section finals, Fernandez placed 3rd overall in Division I with a time of 17:32 earning her a spot at the CIF State cross country championships in Fresno.
With the State’s elite runners coming together to compete for cross country’s ultimate prize, Fernandez had one final strong run and placed 4th individually in Division I with a time of 17:42 to earn All-State honors.
“It’s so awesome to compete against the best because they are ranked in the State and are amazing runners,” Fernandez said.
She finished 11th overall among all five divisions narrowly missing the required top-5 placement to advance to the Nationals. You can bet that will be her #1 goal in 2015.
Fernandez’s remarkable season ranks as one of the most decorated in Burbank history. It is safe to say that she has become Burbank’s greatest female runner surpassing McKenzie Paul in 2010. All of Paul’s records have been swept aside by the talented and humble Fernandez.
Her journey is a unique one in that she never ran long distance prior to coming to BHS. She came out freshman year, gave it a shot, and the rest is history.
“I started off like everyone else not knowing what the sport was and just having to get used to it,” she said. “I began to really fall in love with it and put in the hard work. That’s how I got better.”
By the spring of her sophomore year, Fernandez had made her mark in track with school-record times in the two mile (10:49.60) and mile (4:57.59) while competing at the CIF Track and Field Finals. She became the first female athlete ever at Burbank to break the five-minute barrier in the 1,600.
She credits her hard work ethic and training with the boys track and cross country teams to helping her improve and excel at a high level.
“I began running with the guys last track season during my sophomore year,” Fernandez said. “Having me there pushed them because they don’t want to get beat by a girl and me hanging off of them during speed workouts and long runs definitely pushed me.
“I’ve worked really hard to be where I am at. Sometimes it’s unbelievable when you take a step back and think about all you’ve done. At the same time, I can’t say it’s surprising because of all the work I’ve put in. You put in the work and you get the results.”
Coach Trevor Marca has done a superb job preparing Fernandez for the grind of a cross country season both physically and mentally. Even though he realizes he is witnessing something special, it hasn’t come as a total surprise to him.
“It’s been a lot of fun over the course of the last couple years,” Marca said. “It hasn’t been totally surprising because I felt she had the tools such as the work ethic, the mentality, the discipline to attack the sport the correct way and have the respect and knowledge of the sport to be able to succeed.
“We take it one season at a time and even one meet at a time. She has areas where she can still improve and areas where we will focus for the track season. My brain is already working in overdrive of getting her to the next step.”
And to think she is only 16 years old. We still have track in the spring and the entire 2015-16 school year to truly appreciate Fernandez’s run to greatness.
The Burbank High School Law Dogs for made it to the quarter finals in Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) Mock Trial Competition. Burbank High School placed 6th out of 96 Los Angeles Private and Public Schools and was awarded Finalist ribbons for making the Top Ten.
Outstanding Witnesses were played by freshmen Nikki Howell (9), Andrea Amaya (11), Storm Lamoureaux (11), Lyna Moreno (11), Lucy Tatryan, and Bailiff Aryana Jamal (9). Reggie Golightly (9) was the Courtroom Journalist and Gigi Manukyan was the Courtroom Artist.
The judges were actual courtroom judges. All schools are guaranteed 1st and 2nd round then the top schools advance to semi and then quarter finals. The court case this year was an art theft case by an indebted college student.
There were 4th amendment pretrial issues attacked superbly by Anush, Ryan, and Xavier. Four of the above students were also awarded Honorable Mention Awards for their performances by the judges.
By Jim Riggio
Special to MyBurbank
The Burbank High football team overcame many obstacles this season in fighting through a number of injuries to key players.
Friday night those injuries proved to be too much to overcome as the Bulldogs lost 48-27 in a hard-fought battle at Salesian High in Boyle Heights in a second round CIF Southern Section Southeast Division playoff contest.
“We played with the cards we were dealt with,” Burbank coach Richard Broussard said. “We came out flat in the third quarter. The kids gave a great effort. We have great kids who love playing this game. We just didn’t get it done. I’m disappointed we didn’t put it all together.”
Burbank (8-4) played much of the season without quarterback Ryan Meredith and running back James Williams. Last year the pair guided the Bulldogs to the semifinal round of the playoffs.
“He felt like he could go,” Broussard said of Meredith, who is suffering from a back injury. “We did our walk through. He tried to throw the ball and he said to me ‘No.’ He tried to throw a carrot Tuesday and he said it was the worst pain in my life.”
Sophomore Guy Gibbs filled in and was 12 of 31 for 202 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Tony Toledo, who became Burbank’s go-to running back after Williams tore the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee, had 17 carries for 119 yards and two touchdowns.
“Honestly, we became a family. We faced adversity all season,” said Toledo, a senior. “A lot of these guys I’ve played with since I was a kid with the Burbank Vikings. I’m grateful we stayed together and became brothers. They never gave up on me and I never gave up on them.”
Salesian (6-6) struck first as Kyahva Tezino scored on a seven-yard run with 9:16 left in the first quarter. Tezino had 13 carries for 152 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bulldogs countered right back though as Gibbs hooked up with Dorian Housholder on a 75-yard touchdown pass on their first play from scrimmage.
Salesian went back up when Deommodore Lenoir scored on a 29-yard run with 5:20 left in the first quarter. Lenoir had five carries for 85 yards.
Gibbs and Housholder (five catches for 155 yards) hooked up once again on a 14-yard touchdown to tie things at 14 with 2:42 left in the first half.
Salesian’s Ureal Blackshear scored on a 12-yard run with 42 seconds left in the half to give the Mustangs momentum going into the second half leading 20-14.
After Burbank failed to move the chains to open the second half, Salesian quarterback Damion Wright took advantage on the Mustangs’ offensive play of the half as he faked a handoff before running 62 yards for a touchdown. Wright was also solid through the air completing seven of nine passes for 79 yards and a touchdown.
Another touchdown by Tezino later in the quarter made it 34-14 putting the Bulldogs into a deeper hole.
Toledo added touchdown runs of one and 57 yards to close out his stellar career as well as the Bulldogs’ season.
Burbank High School and John Muir Middle School each celebrated an event last week that brought fun and excitement to their respective campuses.
Burbank High School celebrated four athletes who signed their National Letters of Intent to play at Division One schools in the 2015-16 year.
Cameron Briggs (UC Davis- baseball) Caitlyn Brooks (University of Notre Dame- softball), Irene Maemura (Wisconsin- golf) and Yazzy Sa’Dullah (West Virginia- basketball) achieved their goals of playing collegiately by being offered scholarships and then committing by signing their NLI with friends, family, coaches and teachers supporting them during a lunchtime ceremony. Congratulations to this special group of Bulldogs!
Coach Bob Hart on Cameron Briggs- “As a coach the greatest success is the personal growth and achievement of your players. I’ve watched Cameron mature on and off the field. His passion and competitiveness along with his willingness to do whatever it is it takes to win sets him apart. He’s talented and he works at his game. The future looks bright.”
Coach Mike Delaney on Caitlyn Brooks- “Caitlyn is very deserving of her scholarship. She has worked extremely hard both on the field and in the classroom. She sets a great example for our current and future student-athletes.”
Coach Branko Sevic on Irene Maemura- “It was a pleasure watching Irene grow as an individual and into an exceptional player. One could see the improvement in her game from year to year, as she worked hard to reach her goals. It will be a while before we get someone at Burbank with her skill level and work habit. She will be missed at Burbank, but Wisconsin is getting a great individual and a great player.”
Coach Bruce Breeden on Yazzy Sa’Dullah- “In my 17 years of coaching girls basketball I have some good basketball players, but nothing like Yazzy. Since she has transferred here she has been a team player. She has lifted this team to a higher level. I am very proud to have the opportunity to coach Yazzy and watch her grow at the next level. It is great to be a Bulldog.”
Meanwhile, the LA Kings Street Hockey team returned to Burbank to donate equipment to John Muir Middle School while providing lessons and teaching fundamentals to the students in attendance. Last year the LAK made a similar kind of gesture and donation to Jordan Middle School.
Pickwick Gardens once again soared with song thanks to Burbank High School’s Vocal Music Association and its 18th annual “Night of Magic” fundraising gala on November 15.
Burbank City Council Members in attendance were Mayor David Gordon, Vice Mayor Bob Frutos and City Councilwoman Emily Gabel-Luddy along with Police Commissioner Nat Rubinfeld.
An exciting silent auction kicked off the evening with items such as theme park tickets, show tapings, gift cards, and much more up for grabs.
A delightful dinner followed featuring stellar singing and dancing courtesy of VMA choir In Sync. The intermediate mixed choir, Out of the Blue, then took the stage and wowed the crowd while Impressions, the all-girl advanced choir, definitely impressed. Each VMA choir performance was supported by a wonderful array of smaller groups and duos, each of whom added to an enchanting evening of entertainment.
Choir Director Brett Carrol presented this years Voce Ostinato award to BHS graduate Harrison Lippman, who has assisted as the Lighting Director in VMA Choir Shows and Night of Magic since his graduation in 2004.
Performances paused briefly for some live auction action while also introducing Sirens and Octet, VMA’s 8-girl and 8-boy choirs. Each group managed to bring in $900. The bidding was also fierce for a signed Neil Diamond guitar before it sold for a final price of $1300.
With all auction items spoken for, Sound Dogs, the all boys choir, rocked the house and paved the way for In Sync to close out the festivities.
The gala was a grand fundraising success and another musical, magical night to remember.
By Dick Dornan
myBurbank Sports Editor
Do you believe in the 2014 Burbank High football team?
It’s a question that has motivated the Bulldogs this year and none more so than now. Despite a plethora of injuries during the course of the season, the Bulldogs have proven to be resilient time and time again. But there are still skeptics out there who doubt them.
Friday night was one more example of how this year’s team has come together and put the doubters in the rear view mirror. Playing a brand of football that brought back memories of past Bulldog teams, Burbank went on the road and garnered its best victory of the season with a thrilling 38-34 win against El Rancho in the first round of the CIF Southeast Division playoffs.
“It feels great. Everyone has been talking about that we’re hurt and we are too banged up to beat anybody,” Burbank coach Richard Broussard said. “You can’t judge us. Don’t judge. Just like we didn’t judge them (El Rancho). We saw the film and knew they were a beatable team. But we’re not going to judge their journey to get here because they were successful. Let our play speak for ourselves. People underestimate us and that’s fine. That is what drives us.”
Despite losing quarterback Ryan Meredith early in the second quarter to a reoccurring shoulder injury, Burbank rode a 35-point first half and held on for a heart-stopping win against the champions of the Del Rio League.
The Bulldogs now advance to play Salesian in the CIF quarterfinals next Friday night at East Los Angeles College. The Mustangs upset No. 2 seed La Mirada, 24-18.
Salesian (5-6) remains the lone obstacle to returning to the CIF semifinals for a second consecutive year for the believing Bulldogs. Pretty amazing to say the least when you consider the adversity Burbank has faced all season. Yet, here they are in the quarterfinals again sporting an impressive 8-3 record.
“We played really well as a team. It was a team win,” sophomore Nick Warren said. “We worked hard for it all week and it showed in the game.”
“It was amazing. We’ve been practicing hard all week,” added Dorian Housholder, who caught touchdown passes of 41 and five yards. “A lot of people doubted us and that just fueled us to win.”
Burbank scored on its first three possessions to take a 21-7 lead after one quarter. With a sign that declared “Defend the Ranch” high above the press box, the Bulldogs made the ‘Ranch’ their personal playground.
Meredith got things started connecting with Housholder on a 41-yard touchdown pass on the fifth play of the game. Housholder made a leaping grab just over the outstretched hands of teammate Nick Cantong and an El Rancho defender as Burbank drove 63 yards to set the early tone.
Tony Toledo (76 yards on 16 carries) added a three-yard touchdown run on the next possession and Burbank went up quickly, 14-0.
After El Rancho (8-3) scored its first touchdown, Burbank responded when Meredith (6-for-6, 104 yards) threw a beautiful five-yard fade to Housholder (three passes for 75 yards) in the back left corner of the end zone. Just like that it was 21-7 in favor of Burbank.
Meredith exited the game at the 8:18 mark of the second quarter and a few minutes later the Dons had tied the game at 21 apiece.
Reliable backup Guy Gibbs promptly led the Bulldogs down the field and set up Toledo’s six-yard touchdown run with a 29-yard completion to Housholder.
Leading 28-21 with 1:21 remaining, Warren had an interception on the very next play and Burbank converted the El Rancho turnover into seven points when Gibbs lofted a 20-yard pass to Cantong (three catches for 57 yards) in the right corner of the end zone.
Warren’s interception was a pivotal moment for BHS as the first half came to an end with the Bulldogs ahead, 35-21.
“I just try to play my hardest and do what I can for the team to help them win,” said Warren, who also had 53 yards rushing on 15 carries.
After an explosive first half where both teams combined for eight touchdowns, the second half featured a combined eight punts and three turnovers as defense became the calling card.
The Bulldogs received some breathing room when Ryan Boyd nailed a 40-yard field goal to increase the lead to 38-28 at the 9:38 mark of the fourth quarter.
The Dons closed the gap to 38-34 and then had one final chance to pull off an improbable win but Cantong’s interception with 15 seconds left sealed the deal for Burbank.
“Since Ryan (Meredith) got hurt, we definitely needed to step up. We really came together on this win,” Cantong said. “People said we couldn’t do it but here we are and we are going to the second round.”
Jake Kelley (26 yards rushing) and Brandon Alba (21 yards) played key roles in Burbank’s running attack. Gibbs managed the game effectively in the absence of Meredith.
With an efficient offensive showing in the first half and a stalwart defensive effort in the second half, Burbank played its best football of the season.
“We re-dedicated ourselves last week to just doing the things that we love to do,” Broussard said. “I just wanted to win this game so bad. We deserved it. We’re still playing and other people are not. I can’t wait to play again.”
Bring on Salesian.
By Rick Assad
Special to MyBurbank
In matter-of-fact fashion, the Burbank High girls’ volleyball team swept past visiting Serrano in a CIF Southern Section Division II-A second-round playoff match on Thursday night.
Though it required three games, it wasn’t that easy as the Bulldogs downed the Diamondbacks, 25-12, 25-21, 29-27, but it could have been extended to a fourth game.
For their effort, Burbank will travel to No. 2 seeded Windward for a quarterfinal showdown on Saturday.
“I know they’re younger and that we have nine seniors,” Burbank coach Kyle Roach said. “We’re a little more experienced and we have players who have been in the playoffs.”
The clinching game was nothing short of riveting as it was tied a dozen times including 23-23, 24-24 25-25, 26-26 and 27-27 before Burbank scored the last two points when senior middle hitter Allison Tiegs, who led the Bulldogs with 11 kills, rifled a cross-court winner and delivered a service ace.
The final game was knotted at 4-4, but Burbank (24-5 and second in the Pacific League with a 12-2 record) pulled ahead 8-4 on an ace from senior setter Sara Treadway, who finished with 34 assists and nine digs.
The Diamondbacks (23-4 and first in the Mojave River League with a 10-0 mark) crawled within 13-11 on a kill from junior outside hitter Claire Robbins, who paced Serrano with 11 kills, while sophomore outside hitter April Jergensen added 10 kills.
From there, Burbank, which needed four games to defeat Xavier Prep in an opening-round contest, outscored Serrano 4-2 and led 17-13 after senior outside hitter Ashley Edwards nailed a service winner.
The Diamondbacks were not about to wilt as they rallied and evened it at 18-18 when Robbins laid down a kill.
Serrano played without the services of junior outside hitter Sedona Hansen, who severely sprained her ankle in the Diamondbacks’ opening-round victory, and has a volleyball scholarship waiting from the University of Tennessee, and freshman setter Carly Aigner-Swesey.
“I think it would have been 100 percent different if we had them,” Serrano coach Tracy Talbott said. “They’re athletes and they’re competitive. I have a young team and they’re going to have another run.”
The Diamondbacks have only one senior [libero Ofa Moa-Samfong, who had 21 assists], four juniors, four sophomores and three freshman.
Burbank came out focused in the initial game and led 8-0 on kills from senior outside hitter Denise Daniel, two from Edwards, Tiegs, and an ace from senior outside hitter Lauren Brenn.
“They’re a really respectable and good team,” said Daniel, who chipped in with nine kills. “We knew after the first game that wasn’t all they had. That’s not their best. We wanted to keep on our game.”
The Bulldogs kept up the pace and pulled ahead 17-3 on senior outside hitter Rose Cowart’s cross-court winner, and led 19-5 on Cowart’s kill, but Serrano did get within 20-8 before the Bulldogs went on a 5-4 spurt.
“We had to remember that we had to fight back,” said Cowart, who chimed in with 13 digs. “After that first game we expected them to play hard. We wanted to keep earning our points. Mentally we’re very strong.”
The middle game saw Burbank bolt out to a 4-1 advantage on Cowart’s kill, and led 13-8 when Tiegs added a block.
Serrano came within 18-16, and 21-20, before the Bulldogs outscored the Diamondbacks 4-1.
Senior libero Lucia Estrada had 13 digs for the Bulldogs, while freshman Sawyer Aigner-Swesey contributed 14 digs for Serrano.