Tag Archives: Burroughs water polo

Fall Sports Teams Learn Playoff Division Placements

The Fall Sports season was a strong one last year as Burroughs High’s boys’ water polo team won the CIF Southern Section Division 5 title and Burbank High’s football team advanced to the Division 8 championship game.

Both will find a tougher road in 2017 as they have been moved up after the CIF Southern Section released its Fall playoff groupings Thursday.

In football, Burbank has jumped up one division and will be one of 23 teams competing for a playoff spot in Division 7.  Yorba Linda, which defeated the Bulldogs 31-21 for the Division 8 title last year also moved up to Division 7.

Burbank High’s Darnell Williams hopes to lead his team far into the CIF Southern Section Division 7 playoffs in 2017. ( Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Burroughs, which missed the playoffs a year ago, was the lowest-ranked football team to be placed in Division 8. The Indians will be one of 25 schools competing for one of the 16 playoff spots in the division.

In water polo, Burroughs will be one of 36 teams that will fill a 32-team bracket for the CIF Division 3 title. Burroughs won the Division 5 title last year and is expected to return much of its team.

Burbank High, which did not make the playoffs last year, will play in Division 6 should it make the playoffs.

Burroughs girls’ volleyball team, which is led by 6-foot-4 senior Marin Grote, was placed in Division 3. Burbank High will play in Division 4.

In girls tennis, Burbank High was one of 42 schools placed in Division 2. Burroughs was placed in Division 3.

Burroughs Water Polo Runs Away With CIF Title

The Road to Ring motto that the Burroughs High boys’ water polo team adopted before the start of the season went from a fantasy to reality Saturday morning.

The third-seeded Indians defeated San Juan Hills of San Juan Capistrano 12-7 to win the CIF Southern Section Division 5 title at William J. Woollett Aquatics Center in Irvine.jb2

“It feels really amazing. We’ve worked very hard this season,” said David Arakelyan, who was one of two Burroughs players to score four goals. “From two years ago to be 4-21, we came back and brought this program to turn around. This moment feels great.”

Burroughs coach Jacob Cook has also been amazed at the turnaround of the program.

“They had the Road to Ring slogan since before the first game,” Cook said. “That was our common goal. We had a bunch of tournaments over the summer. We did really well in those and I think at that point they knew we were going to do well. Our first win of the season against Notre Dame was a big confidence booster. I don’t think we had ever beaten them.”

Burroughs (25-8) pressured its opponent right from the first whistle.

The Indians scored just once in the first quarter, but forced San Juan Hills goalie Andrew Mansoor to make eight saves.

Burroughs scored three more times in the second quarter to go up 4-0 at halftime.

Aram Nordanyan had two of his four goals in the quarter and Arakelyan added another.

Burroughs went up 5-0 before San Juan Hills (18-12) got on the board at the 4:41 mark of the third quarter.


The Stallions went on a run and got within 7-4 with 19 seconds left in the third.

But J.J. Ambartsumyan put a shot in the lower left corner with 5 seconds left to and give Burroughs a four-goal cushion going into the final period.

Ambartsumyan, who finished with three goals, scored the first goal of the fourth period and Marko Vucetic and Nordanyan followed up as Burroughs went up 11-4 with 4:10 to play.

Arakelyan added another goal to make it 12-5.

“We just put in a lot of work. In the summer we would go two a days,” Arakelyan said of his team, which finished second in the Pacific League. “We played some great teams in league like Hoover and Crescenta Valley. That helped us to get to where we are right now.”

Nordanyan, who is a senior, reflected on his final match of his career.

“In the summer we started scrimmaging and we knew we needed work and we kept improving from our mistakes and we won CIF,” he said.

Burroughs sophomore goalie Andre Abramyan finished with 11 saves. The Indians forced San Juan Hills goalie Andrew Mansoor to make 17 saves.


Burroughs Water Polo Earns Ticket to CIF Title Match

The Burroughs High boys’ water polo team created a motto called Road to Ring.

Wednesday evening the third-seeded Indians moved within one step a CIF Southern Section championship ring, as they defeated second-seeded La Canada 9-7 at Pasadena City College.

“We didn’t expect to get this far, but Road to Ring is still out there,” said JJ Ambartsumyan.

Burroughs coach Jacob Cook said the team has far exceeded his expectations.

“It’s surreal right now,” Cook said. “The Road to Ring that they started at the beginning of the season, I was like ‘oh yeah guys’, but then we beat Notre Dame and then we started our season.”

Burroughs (27-6) will face San Juan Hills of San Juan Capistrano (21-9) in the championship match Saturday at William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine. San Juan Hills defeated top-seeded Corona 8-6 in the other semifinal match.


Burroughs and La Canada (22-8) were in a tight battle until the third quarter when the Indians built a lead and were able to hold off the Spartans in the end.

Aram Nordanyan got Burroughs on the board at the 4:59 mark of the first quarter when he took an Eric Aperian pass and put it into the right corner of the goal.

La Canada tied things with a goal by George Avakian at the 3:56 mark of the first quarter.

David Arakelyan gave Burroughs a 2-1 lead when he scored a long distance goal. But Avakian countered less than a minute later.

Aperian set up Jerry Solano, who scored at the 4:03 mark of the second quarter to give Burroughs a 3-2 advantage.

La Canada rallied to tie things up, before Arakelyan gave the Indians 4-3 advantage 49 seconds before halftime by shooting the ball off the water and into the lower left corner.

It appeared at first that the teams would be tied at halftime as La Canada scored with nine seconds left.

However that goal was waved off after it was determined that a Burroughs player who had been off from an exclusion was wrongly not waved back on following the end of the 20-second penalty.

L.J. Burns celebrates for Burroughs. Photo courtesy Emaad Elhardouzi

L.J. Burns celebrates for Burroughs. Photo courtesy Emaad Elhardouzi

Arakelyan and Hambartsumyan helped open things up as they combined to score the first three goals of the third quarter. Hambartsumyan added his third goal of the third period at the 3:21 mark to make it 8-4.

La Canada fought back and got within 8-7 before Hambartsumyan scored with 4:16 left. It was the final goal of the match.

“We prepared very well for this game,” Hambartsumyan said. “We were glad that we made Burroughs history passing the semifinal.”

Cook applauded his team.

“I know the talent these guys have. They made it happen,” he said. “We’re super proud and super excited we can represent our school.”


Burroughs Water Polo Off to CIF Semifinals

Nothing comes easy deep into the CIF Southern Section playoffs.

The Burroughs High water polo team knew that Saturday when the Indians hosted Jurupa Valley in a Division 5 quarterfinal match.

If one thing was evident, it was that Burroughs made things tough for the visitors and came up with a 16-8 victory.

“We knew who their top offensive players were and we adjusted our defense to play around that. I felt we did exactly what we needed to do,” Burroughs coach Jacob Cook said. “All around we had great play today.”

JBHS Boys Water Polo PRE SEASON-4

Burroughs (23-6) will play La Canada High Wednesday in the semifinals at 5 p.m. The site of the match will either be at Burroughs or at Pasadena City College.

The semifinal appearance is Burroughs’ first since 1998 when the team was led by current UCLA assistant coach Jason Falitz and lost to 11-6 to Santa Monica in Division III.

La Canada defeated a short-handed Burroughs team 17-11 in September.

Jurupa Valley (25-7) surprised Burroughs with the first goal of the match on a quick counter attack.

But that was when Burroughs stepped up the defensive pressure.

The Indians came back and tied things when Aram Nordanyan scored on a pass from David Arakelyan at the 5:41 mark of the first quarter. Less than a minute later Burroughs took the lead for good when Arakelyan scored on a shot in the left corner.

JJ Ambartsumayn scored his first goal of the match at the 1:45 mark of the first quarter to make it 3-1.  Arakelyan scored at the 5:09 mark of the second quarter to make it 4-1.

Jurupa Valley came back to score two quick goals and Burroughs went into the halftime break with a 4-3 advantage.

But the in the third quarter Ambartsumyan took over. The junior scored four straight goals to help the Indians go up 8-3. A goal by Arakelyan stretched the lead to 9-3.  Burroughs led 9-4 going into the fourth quarter.

“Once he’s on, he’s on. He just had a very on quarter,” Cook said of Ambartsumyan. “We had a rough second quarter, but I think they learned what mistakes they made and moved on from there.”

Ambartsumyan said at halftime his team knew something had to change.

“The third quarter we all came and got our heads together,” he said. “We wanted to step it up because the score was getting closer. We all played smart defense and starting scoring.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The match shifted in the fourth quarter as it went from being a man-to-man battle to a wide-open affair as fatigue took over.

Burroughs got two goals each from Arakelyan, Ambartsumyan and Marko Vucetic in the fourth quarter. Nordanyan also added a goal in the final period.




Burroughs Water Polo Gets Historic Win Over CV

Even though Crescenta Valley hasn’t won every Pacific League title in boys’ water polo, it has been common knowledge that over several decades that CV is generally the team to beat.

Tuesday evening Burroughs High earned a historic 5-4 victory over the Falcons at Pasadena City College.

It is believed to be the first time Burroughs has ever beaten CV. Falcons coach Jan Sakonju has been the head coach at his school since 2000 and said it was his first loss to Burroughs.

“It is a huge win for us,” Burroughs coach Jacob Cook said. “We’ve never beaten CV before, but we knew we had a chance this year.  It was a huge thing for us. We knew had to come out hard.”

Burroughs (18-5 overall, 4-1 in league) held off a late rally attempt by the Falcons (10-12, 2-2), who just last season reached the CIF Southern Section Division 4 championship match and were in the CIF semifinals two seasons ago.

Cook credited sophomore goalie Andre Abranyan, who finished with 16 saves.


“He did an insane job saving us,” Cook said.  “He was very clutch.”

CV actually scored the first goal of the match, before Burroughs clamped down on defense.

Aram Nordanyan’s goal at the 3:04 mark of the first quarter tied things at one goal.

Marko Vucetic gave Burroughs a 2-1 lead with just 7.3 seconds left in the quarter.

Burroughs, ranked No. 3 in the CIF Southern Section Division 5 poll, got two goals in the second quarter from David Arakelyan, pushing the Indians’ advantage to 4-1 at halftime.

After CV made it 4-2 early in the third quarter, Arakelyan scored on a pass from JJ Ambartsumyan with 2:30 left in the third quarter.

But CV once again mounted a comeback. A goal by Kurtis McNevin  with 4:03 to play made it 5-3. Reagan Hesse added a goal with 2:37 left.

Then Burroughs lost Ambartsumyan to a red card. Abranyan came up big with a save of a two-meter penalty shot by Hesse.

CV continued to press Burroughs. The Falcons’ last attempt at a tie came on a shot from McNevin. But Vucetic blocked it before it could get to Abranyan.

“It got really heated, really emotional,” Cook said. “That was one of the lowest scoring games we’ve played all year.”


Burroughs, Burbank Boys’ Water Polo Looking to Make a Splash

Young, but experienced is the best way to describe the Burroughs and Burbank High boys’ water polo teams as they enter the 2016 season.

Both teams figure to face tough competition in the Pacific League as Crescenta Valley and Hoover are deep.


Burroughs coach Jacob Cook has reason to be optimistic. Last season the Indians went 13-12 overall. His two leading scorers from a year ago return from a team that finished third in the Pacific League and lost 14-12 to Santa Monica in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs. Burroughs defeated Atascadero in a wild-card playoff match.

Junior Marko Vucetich scored 73 goals as a sophomore and was a first-team All-Pacific League pick. He also spent the summer training in Serbia, the nation that won the gold medal in water polo in the recent Olympics.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Davo Arakelyan, a second-team all-league pick last season, is also a junior.

“We have 18 guys and we didn’t lose any of our major talent (from last season),” Cook said. “We’re looking forward to a good year. We’re trying to go as far as we can in CIF. Our expectations are high.

Senior Jerry Solano, a set defender, is the team captain.

“He shows a lot of leadership skills,” Cook said. “He keeps the team focused.”

Sophomore Eric Aperian, a left-hander, has shown lots of promise.

Junior David Jimenez figures to be the starting goalie.

Senior LJ Burns is expected to be another key player for Burroughs.

Filling out the rest of the Burroughs roster are seniors Jeremy Acosta, Nathan Armstrong, Cameron Flosi, Gevo Hagopian and Aram Nordanyan. The remaining juniors on the team consist of JJ Ambartsum, Nathan Anicich, Nicholas D’Agostaro, Manny Esparza, Brenner Goldsen, Scott Sauve, Max Zekowski. Sophomores Andre Abranyan and Simon Kharazyan round out the team.



The Bulldogs were 4-13 overall, 2-5 in league last season.

Five players return from last season.

One of those is senior goalie Peter Youssef.

Burbank also returns senior Alex Airapetyan, juniors Brandon Wilson, Daniel Azarian and Andrew Senane.

New to the team are seniors Gevork Mailyan and Misak Voskanyan, junior Alex Banjarjyan and sophomores Varuzhan Bibulyan, Artush Gasparyan and George Sarkissov.

“I can already see the change in this year’s team compared to last year,” second-year coach Allyson Young said. “These boys are working together and helping each other out in the pool. It’s great to see that the boys are there for each other in the water. This is a very young team. We are building the team up to be able to accomplish anything that they want to in the sport. Hopefully these boys continue to work together and this season can go as planned.”


Kevin Ueno, Burroughs Water Polo

By Dick Dornan
BurbankNBeyond Sports Editor

Actions speak louder than words.

As the consummate leader of the Burroughs boys water polo team, senior captain Kevin Ueno has led the Indians to a fourth place seed in the Pacific League tournament and to the CIF playoffs for the first time since 2006. A man of few words, Ueno packs a big punch behind his leadership attributes and his ability to make others around him better.

“Kevin is a leader with his actions. He’s not the biggest talker in the world. I may have heard three sentences from him the past four years,” Burroughs Coach Danny Garcia said. “But everyone sees what he is capable of doing and they want to emulate him. He may not communicate a lot with his voice but he communicates with his eyes. They see his eyes and they know what he wants. Everyone looks up to him.”

Ueno’s influence in the pool has carried the Indians to a 12-6 overall record and 3-3 in the tough Pacific League. Last year JBHS struggled to an 11-13 finish and 1-6 in league play. As a four-year letterman and starter, Ueno’s work ethic and improvement have been a key reason to Burroughs’ resurgence.

“Kevin brings so much skill and maturity to the game,” Garcia said. “He has a quick shot and his defensive ability is great. He guards the opposing team’s best player and is just a nuisance to the big guys.”

Ueno, 17, began playing water polo five years ago and has quickly improved into one of the best players in the surrounding area. First and foremost, he is a student-athlete with a 3.8 grade point average while playing two sports (water polo and swimming). He hopes to attend UCLA next year but for right now it’s all about playing water polo and setting the best example for his teammates.

“It was scary and stressful my first year (as a freshman). But it’s become fun,” Ueno explained. “Here I am now. When the team is down, I have to set an example. I’m just trying to have fun this year and we are.”

Joining him on the team is his brother, Casey. While Kevin patrols the defensive side, Casey, a junior, has excelled offensively. Kevin currently has scored 22 goals, passed out 13 assists, collected 37 steals, drawn six ejections and added 11 shot blocks.

“He has brought consistency to our program,” Garcia said. “To have a player who is consistent and so strong in his skill set and kept building every year, it’s something that has really helped out the program. He is that player that everyone wants to be. Everyone is striving to be like him.”

With the league tournament upon them and the CIF playoffs looming ahead, Burroughs will look to Ueno to help take the next step.

“We have great players this year with a lot of experience,” Ueno said. “We are playing well together as a team. We are all good friends and we know what each other are thinking.”

Burroughs Water Polo Ready to Make Big Splash

By Dick Dornan
BurbankNBeyond Sports Editor

It has been often said that it takes four years to build a successful program. If that holds true, then the Burroughs boys water polo program will take the next step to gain prominence. The Indians enter the season with high hopes of making the CIF postseason playoffs for the first time since 2006.

Burrough Water Polo Coach Danny Garcia

“It was so hard for me to sleep because I was so excited for hell week to get started,” Burroughs Coach Danny Garcia said. “We have 28 or 29 players in the program and we haven’t seen that in years. It’s not just quantity but we have the quality now. We have continuity here and the kids know what to expect. Continuity breeds success.”

Garcia, 24, begins his fourth year at his alma mater (JBHS ’06) with aspirations of raising the level of excellence. A standout water polo player in his own right while at Burroughs, Garcia returns eight lettermen and six returning starters from a team that finished 11-13 overall last season but only 1-6 in the Pacific League.

“We started strong last season but fizzled out towards the end,” said Garcia, who was a first-team all-league selection his junior and senior years at Burroughs in 2004 and 2005. “You live and you learn. I’m about finding the happy medium. I expect good things this year.”

Burroughs will rely on the talents of brothers Kevin and Casey Ueno to lead the way. Kevin, a senior, and Casey, a junior, each made a major impact on last year’s team. Casey led the Indians with 74 goals and tied his brother for a team-high 25 steals. Kevin scored 27 goals which placed him second behind Casey.

Two peas in a pod? You might say so. They both earned all-league honors for their efforts in 2011.

“They are tremendous swimmers,” Garcia said. “They are not afraid of anybody. They are super aggressive and their work ethic is insane.”

Senior Max Young and junior Oscar Hernandez will be looked upon to add to the offensive punch for the Indians. They combined for 28 goals last season with Hernandez forcing a team-high 24 ejections.

“They will help us out a lot,” Garcia said. “They are great ball handlers who I can trust all the time.”

One of the major changes Garcia implemented to aid the team was moving last year’s goalie, Daniel Mairena, to the two-meter position for this upcoming season. Mairena, a senior, has experience playing offense too as evidenced by his 21 goals of a year ago. But his 135 saves will be replaced by Dillon Wiegand, a junior varsity player with tons of potential.

“Daniel has a wicked cannon and we need him to take more of a leadership role to help the team succeed,” Garcia explained. “Dillon is like a brick wall. He’s doing really well.”

The Indians are participating in a brutal week of two practices a day. Team chemistry, strength and aggression are the focal points of the fall camp.

“I expect us to be a very aggressive team and a very smart team. Aggression usually wins,” Garcia said. “I keep telling the team,‘be more aggressive; don’t be the one who is the victim.’”

Crescenta Valley has been traditionally the team to beat in the Pacific League. However, Glendale became the top dog by taking the league crown last season. Burroughs has its sights set on breaking into the top echelon of the league.

“We are going to have a very strong season this year,” Garcia said. “If everything goes how it is supposed to, we should be fighting for the championship.”