Culver City Observer -

A Successful Sports Year At Culver City High

Sports Editor


George Laase

Centaur Girls Volleyball - CIF Champs

The 2016-17 Culver City High student athletes culminated another successful school year on and off the field. The highlight of the season started in the Fall 2016 when the girls volleyball team won the CIF Division 5 Championship at Cerritos College in November.

It was the seventh CIF Championship for Culver High and the first since the girls basketball team won the 2013-14 CIF basketball crown. The girls beat La Reina High in four sets: 25-22, 25-18, 25-20 and 26-24 to win their first CIF title under first-year head coach, Tanner Siegal.

"That's a pretty good first-year coach, I would say," said Culver High athletic director Tom Salter. "We've had a strong girls volleyball program for a number of years so it's good to see the girls get over the hump and win it all. And they're a young team. We can do it again next year."

Fall Sports: The Centaur football team won the Ocean League for the second consecutive year under head coach Jahmal Wright, now in his ninth year leading the program. They lost a tough playoff game to eventual CIF champion Valley View High and expect to have a stronger group coming back next season.

The girls tennis program under head coach Phil Rothenberg placed third in the Ocean League even with a key injury. Rothenberg has coached tennis at Culver City for almost 20 years and is assisted by 2003 Culver graduate and Ocean League singles champ, Seth Lewkow.

Boys water polo came in third place in league and qualified for the CIF Playoffs. "Dordoni has been coaching water polo for 37 years at Culver High which is truly amazing. He and his son, Nestor, Jr. run the program," said Salter.

Girls and boys cross country is coached by Tom Fritzius and assisted by Steven Heyl. That program is expanding and close to having 90 student athletes participate. The girls came in third place and the boys came in fourth in Ocean League competition.

Winter sports: The girls varsity basketball team had their five-year Ocean League title winning streak come to an end as the finished in second to Lawndale High. The program has enjoyed unprecedented success since Julian Anderson took over as head coach since the 2008-09 season. The girls lost to Arroyo Grande High in the CIF playoffs.

Boys Basketball under head coach Adam Eskridge tied for third in the Ocean League and lost the CIF Playoffs play-in game to Lawndale High. Culver High has since hired Reggie Morris Jr. as the new head coach for the coming season. Salter: "He's really well respected and we were very fortunate to get him."

"Girls soccer came in second in league and lost in penalty kicks in the first round of the playoffs. They have made the playoffs 11 years in a row. The school is looking for a new coach. Liz Cveyich is applying for it. She had the interim position having taken over for Scott Mair right before the season started."

Boys soccer under head coach Louie Espeleta won the Ocean League Championship for the first time since 1986. They tied boys track for Culver City High Boys Team of the Year.

"They had an outstanding year. They went to the second round of the CIF Playoffs. They lost to Saugus High, who made it all the way to the Finals. It was a great year by boys soccer," said Salter.

Girls water polo came in third in league and was also coached Nestor Dordoni, Sr. and his son, Nestor, Jr.

Spring sports: Centaur baseball started off the season again with a tough tournament schedule before righting the ship and finishing in second place in the Ocean League behind El Segundo High. Coached by Rick Prieto for over 20 years the program won a classic 11-inning playoff play-in game before losing to eventual CIF division finalist, Righetti High.

Softball team under head coach Gabby Chacon. finished second in the Ocean League and made it all the way to quarterfinals in CIF Playoffs. The last time the team made it this far in the playoffs was in the 1980's. They lost to St. Anthony, the eventual CIF Division 6 Champion.

"Girls track is coached by Rayfield Beaton. They have won the Ocean League three years in a row. The team is very young and Coach Beaton does a great job. We have a very bright future for girls track," said Salter.

"Boys track coached by Jahmal Wright also won league. They were Culver City High Team of the Year with the boys soccer team. They went undefeated in all dual meats, league and non-league. They beat Redondo High earlier in the year, which is outstanding."

"Girls and boys swimming was led by Nestor Dordoni, Sr. and Devin Brady. Brady will be taking over next year for swimming. Dordoni broke in Devin this year, showed him the ropes and will continue to coach girls and boys water polo with his son, Nestor, Jr."

Boys tennis under coach Phil Rothenberg came in third place in Ocean League and lost in the first round of the CIF Playoffs. Injuries to key players made it tough to take on tennis powers Beverly Hills and Santa Monica.

Boys Volleyball is under seven-year head coach Joe Manzo. The team came in third place in Ocean League and lost to Cypress High in the first round of the CIF Playoffs. Boys Lacrosse is coached by Casey Chabola. Chabola started the program and has been the boys lacrosse coach for over 15 years. The team came in third place in league and made it to the second round of the playoffs.

Salter: "Girls Lacrosse is coached by Liz Vacovec. The team had a really good year and came in second place. The program has come a long way. Liz has done a super job and every year they've been getting better and better."

Golf is quickly developing under head coach Adan Pulido. The team came in fourth place in league and the program is establishing itself in South Bay golf after starting out as a club sport.

Culver City High is further developing its student athletes at the Middle School.

Centaur athletic director Salter spelled it out: "Boys Lacrosse: The eighth grade team won the Delphic League Championship which is pretty good in a league comprised mostly of private schools. That's pretty tough competition. We have a strong lacrosse program coming up from the middle school."

"Both girls and boys soccer won the FIYA Championships. The girls have now won it four years in a row, coached by Lino Herrera. We also have some really good soccer boys coming up to the high school in the next few years."

George Laase

Culver Boys Soccer - Ocean League Champs

"Girls volleyball won the FIYA Championship. So we have a pretty strong girls volleyball program at the Middle School.""We now offer 17 sports at Culver City Middle School. We added girls lacrosse, swimming and tennis this past year. So we're getting close to having as many athletic programs in the middle school as we have in the high school now."

"The middle school is definitely our feeder program and is getting those students prepared in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades. We started a new policy two years ago: we don't cut any sixth graders. So a lot of kids are playing sports at the middle school."

"We have good coaching down there and the high school coaches work with the middle school coaches. It's a good program to get the kids acclimated at the middle school and they carry it over into the high school."


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