Archive | November, 2012

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER: Jennifer Washle: Lady Heralds’ smiling setter

Posted on 22 November 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

Throughout the course of the Whittier Christian girls volleyball season, there has been one person that has both made the offense click and helped keep the team upbeat at all times.

That person is junior setter Jennifer Washle and her skill level, work ethic and positive attitude have been major factors in helping Whittier Christian’s girls volleyball team realize a goal by winning a CIF Championship last Saturday.

“I always like to see people who have positive energy and I think the team responds when they see me smiling,” Jennifer said. “Whenever we get a point, I just scream and jump and do whatever I can to bring the team morale up and I think it does give them energy, but I’m just always smiling.”

Though she’s been consistent all season long, Jennifer was a major key in the Lady Heralds comeback win over Chadwick in the championship match with 40 assists, 18 digs, five kills, five aces and even one block assist.

The 40 assists was actually her fourth highest total in a match this season, while the 18 digs set a new season high for Jennifer, who is near the end of her first year on the varsity squad.

“I think it’s been a learning experience for her,” said Shawn Hunter, Whittier Christian head coach. “She continually comes in and progresses almost every practice, so it’s really neat to watch her wanting to work hard and get better. I think it came to fruition on Saturday.”

While Jennifer admits that stepping into the role was a bit challenging at first, she said that her relationships and familiarity with her teammates helped her become more comfortable.

“I think Coach helped with my confidence a lot, because I knew he believed in me from the beginning,” Jennifer said. “I knew my team believed in me and it was nice to hear their words of encouragement, they helped build me up and that has brought my confidence level higher than I thought it could be.”

It didn’t take long for the junior to start racking up assists, as she’s averaged more than 10 assists per set throughout the season.

However, even with the chemistry that she and her teammates share, Jennifer admitted that she was still a little nervous before the Division 2A championship match.

“I was pretty nervous because it was my first time even going to CIF,” she said. “It was a whole new experience. The past couple years I had watched with the audience, but now I’m playing on the court. It was a lot of adrenaline, but it was so much fun.”

That nervousness may have been a factor for the entire team early on, but it didn’t take long for Jennifer and the Lady Heralds to overcome those nerves and take the title.

Though the numbers show a successful season, Hunter agrees that the biggest impact that Jennifer has made on this year’s team is the positive attitude that she maintains throughout each match.

“She’s meant a lot, the biggest thing she brings to the table is her work ethic and her happy energy,” Hunter said. “She does both things well and it makes it easy for the girls around her. I think that’s a big reason for her success.”

That positivity also shines through singing, as Jennifer is a member of the choir. She also enjoys reading mystery novels when she has free time.

“I love to sing,” Jennifer said. “Singing the National Anthem at the championship match with my friend was a lot of fun.”

In school, Jennifer says she likes to learn about the past, which is a main reason why she enjoys history. She also enjoys Bible class as it is a tool to strengthen her relationship with God.

However, Jennifer doesn’t just excel in those two courses. As a junior, she has a 4.3 grade point average and is currently taking AP literature, history and honors mathematics.

But perhaps the biggest source that fuels her positive attitude comes from home, as Jennifer referred to her mother and little sister as two of her biggest role models.

“My mom inspires me to be the best I can be every day, she encourages me,” Jennifer said. “My little sister, even though she’s younger than me, she never stops encouraging me and she makes me want to become a better person.”

And while she gets a lot of encouragement from home, she hands out even more with her teammates on the court. All it takes is a smile.

Comments (0)

LH Boys & Girls Club hosts menudo Brunch

Posted on 21 November 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Sarah Negrete
La Habra Journal

Members of the Boys and Girls club Saturday held a fundraising menudo brunch to send 15 teens to the American National Keystone Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

This conference allows teens to travel and interact with other teens to learn leadership skills and participate in community service, as well as visiting amusement parks and attend other workshops related to being involved within different communities.

Executive director Mark Chavez has worked with the Boys and Girls club of La Habra for 13 years, and has helped these teens organize the fundraiser in hopes of sending at least six to eight kids on the trip to Georgia this year.

“Being able to do these workshops and meet so many other teens is a great learning experience for them,” Chavez explained. “Last year nearly 2,000 kids across the nation went to the conference, which motivates members of the Boys and Girls club recruit their friends and spread information and excitement for the Keystone Conference all through word of mouth.”

The menudo brunch was just one of the many other ways the Boys and Girls club has raised funds for the highly anticipated conference. Menudo was bought from local restaurant Senor Campos and was served to guests who came to the event by members of the club themselves.

Most members of the club attend Sonora or La Habra High Schools, and enjoy volunteering as much as possible and strive to work within the community to bring awareness to their fundraising efforts in hopes of attending this year’s conference.

“I went to the Keystone Conference last year in Fort Worth, Texas and hope to go again this year,” said Katie Nunez, Keystone Leadership Club member for 4 years. “Last year we sent seven kids out to Texas, and I was one of them. I had a lot of fun meeting so many different people from across the country, and we all came together to strengthen our leadership skills, and participate in a lot of workshops in group efforts.”

California State University, Fullerton student Amber Villasenor heard about the fundraiser and brought her family along to support the club members.

“I am a K-1 leader at this Boys and Girls Club facility, and I think it’s great that the club members are doing this fundraising for the conference, I definitely wanted to try the brunch out,” Villasenor said.

Teens ranging from 14-18 years of age can join the club and are welcome to help with fundraising and participating in the activities the club organizes. All volunteer work is appreciated and encouraged to give these teens a chance to broaden their learning horizon. For more information, visit or call 562-691-2413.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , ,

COMMENTARY: It’s November, It’s time to be thankful

Posted on 21 November 2012 by La Habra Journal

It’s November and time to give thanks. And it’s not just because of Thanksgiving. At the beginning of the month we celebrate Veterans Day and honor all those who have served.
Being a veteran and coming from a family of veterans, it is always nice to see the appreciation. It is especially moving to see the way the community comes out to support the veterans.

The annual Veterans Day ceremony put on by the city of La Habra was phenomenal and moving. The recognition of SFC William T. Brown, and the story conveyed by his sister in law Carolyn Brown about her family’s journey over the years up until his final homecoming in August, really helped solidify the meaning of the day and added a deeper sense of thanks for our Veterans.

On a personal note, I (usually I refrain from the first person in the commentary, but I will make an exception) can attest to the thankfulness and support from this community. When I returned from Desert Storm the community, on various levels, came out to show support of me and other residents who returned. I’ve included a photo below that shows of an example of that support. It was the welcome home party I was given at Don Steves Chevrolet. I was just the son of an employee, but they (and in particular Ms. Ellie Steves) gave me a celebration, welcoming me back. I am thankful for experiencing that sense of community back then.

Aside from veterans, there is another group in our community that we should be thankful for…the community’s first responders. We need to be thankful for the men and women that respond to the call of emergency. The 70 years that men and women have been volunteering to help protect the Heights from fires. Individuals who took it upon themselves to protect their homes and their neighbors’ homes, initially without pay, is something to be thankful for. The men and women who serve La Habra in the Los Angeles County Fire Authority also deserve our thanks. Not a day goes by that I don’t see the trucks or hear the sirens as they respond to an emergency.

Also, the men and women of the La Habra Police Department and the members of the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department who patrol the Heights deserve our thanks. They provide a service that many of us don’t realize. They help keep us, and our property, safe without much fanfare.

Another group in our community to thank are the teachers in the various schools. As an educator myself I can appreciate the time and effort they put in every day. As a parent of young children, I am in awe of their patience and passion to teach despite having to deal with the volume of short attention spans.

A group that deserves thanks are the many volunteers who provide countless hours of service to community events like AYSO, Little League, Pop Warner, Softball, etc. There are so many that sacrifice their time to help make our community’s youth have an enjoyable time.

There are so many others in the community that we should be thankful for. However, there is one additional group that I am thankful for…it’s my family. They are my motivation and my inspiration. They keep me going when times are challenging and they are with me when times are great. They are partially the reason I am writing in this newspaper.

This leads me to the final group to be thankful for…it’s you. However cheesy that may sound, as you read this you are taking the time to use the LH Journal information. That is what I hoped for when taking over this publication. I am thankful for the opportunity to provide this information to you and I am thankful to be a part of this community.

Comments (0)

LHCSD improves with Measure O

Posted on 21 November 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Yvonne Lanot
La Habra Journal

After a 60 percent passing vote, Measure O will officially start to makes its way to the La Habra community.

Measure O is the La Habra City School District bond proposition that was passed during the recent, Nov. 6, election. This bond that spawned after Proposition 39 passed in 2000, is said to be an extension of the Prop 39 but will cover specific projects, according to La Habra City School District Superintendent, Susan Belenardo.

This measure is a $31 million bond that will help “to modernize and improve classrooms and support facilities […] to reduce annual operating costs,” according to the Measure O ballot text.

And because it is a bond that would authorize the school district to issue up to $31 million in bonds through legal interest rates, the community will have to add no more than $5 per 100,000 thousands of property value on their additional property tax.

Belenardo said that the passing of the bond will have a great impact to the community and will help out the school district in many different ways.

“With the life of the bond, it will give 31 million dollars to the district for specific projects that were identified in the bond. It needed a 55 percent voter approval to pass and it passed with a little more than 60 percent,” Belenardo said. “It was supported by the community as something valuable for our schools, it just provides a continuous revenue stream over the course of the next 20 to 25 years of the $31 million.”

But what’s the next step to the measure passing? Belenardo said that at the last school board meeting on Nov. 13, the board passed all the legal documents of the bond.

“The next step is to get a rating so they can determine what the interest rate of the bonds that will be sold,” Belenardo explained. “And then once the bond is sold, the first issuance of the bond will be about six million dollars to the district to start implementing the projects that were outlined in the bond document.”

Some of the outlined projects that will be improved from the bond passing are upgrades in technology for both student and teachers in classrooms, improve energy efficiency in the schools, as well as modernize school facilities like repairing roofs and upgrading the plumbing, as said in the project list of Measure O.

“The measure passing, in my opinion, is that it was voted by the community,” Belenardo said. “And because the community voted to tax themselves and in order for them to do that they had to have faith in the vision and the leadership and the financial stability of the district to say ‘yes we think this is a good thing for our children’.”

Comments (0)

Tags: ,

Volunteer fire department celebrates 70 years

Posted on 21 November 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

Just over 70 years ago residents of what is now La Habra Heights collectively felt that they needed to bond together in order to provide better safety for their homes and neighbors. So, in 1942, a number of residents got together set up a Model-A flatbed truck with a 100-gallon tank and established the region’s first volunteer Fire Department.

Today, the La Heights Fire Department has more than 70 members and runs four fire engines.
The La Habra Heights City Council recognized the anniversary at its last meeting by inviting back many of the former firemen and engineers to the meeting.

“The volunteer fire department is very important to the La Habra Heights community and it always has been,” said La Habra Heights City Councilman and former volunteer fireman Roy Francis.

The La Habra Heights Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. was established as a private corporation lead by a board of directors. The unpaid volunteers and directors funded the department though community contributions. Since there were few homes in the 1940s, the departments main task was fend off grass fires.

Fire Chief Edgar Trefry, one of the original board members, helped improve the department’s capabilities by establishing six jeeps with water tanks and hoses.

As the years passed, the department began to grow and the ability of its volunteers to protect their neighbors improved.

According to Francis the firemen did what they could to protect the community.
“It didn’t matter if you were on the east side or the west side, it was all covered,” he explained.

In the 1960s, the LHH Fire Department was one of the only remaining fire staffs comprised totally of volunteers in the county. There were only 130 fire hydrants in the 6.5 square mile unincorporated area at the time. So ensuring that there was water pressure was important. The department received its No. 9 water tanker as a donation to help carry water to all areas of the community.

In the 1970s, an effort was made to help the volunteers by providing pay and stipends for them. Greater state regulations were implemented which caused a change in fire personnel training. It also increased the cost.

“There are so many regulations mandated that it makes it tough for a volunteer,” Francis said. “They get the training and certification, but they are required to be in the classroom quite a bit.”

The number of volunteers waned a bit at this time. Day Captain Bart Lewis initiated the Non-Resident Volunteer Program. The concept called for college students who were involved in the fire technology programs at Rio Hondo, Mt San Antonio College and Santa Ana College to work daytime shifts in the Heights.

Today, the La Habra Heights Fire Department continues to hold true to mission established 70 years ago by the farmers and growers of the time, to volunteer to protect the Heights as best as they can.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , ,

Lady Heralds lose in state championships

Posted on 21 November 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

RIVERSIDE —- The Whittier Christian girls volleyball team saw a great season come to a close in the form of a 3-1 loss to Martin Luther King High in the first round of the CIF State championships, Tuesday night.

King’s 6-foot-2 junior middle blocker Kalei Greeley dominated when she got her opportunities, which led to the Lady Heralds loss, 20-25, 19-25, 28-26, 21-25.

“We were trying to run variety and I could tell in warmups that she had a spring in her step,” said Gene Krieger, King head coach. “We just kept feeding her. Confidence is a funny thing, when you have it, you do things you always hoped you would but never did consistently and we have confidence right now.”

Whittier Christian finishes the season with the CIF-SS Division 2A Championship as well as a 35-4 overall record.

Greeley was dominant with 30 kills, most of which were out of reach as they were placed perfectly between Whittier Christian’s front and back lines.

King’s senior setter Tiana Barnett finished with 50 assists to five different hitters.

Jennifer Washle topped that number for Whittier Christian with 52 assists, setting up six different teammates in the process.

Kylee Wolfe led the Lady Heralds with 21 kills, while Deanna Blaine and Stephanie Stevenson each added 14 kills, with a good portion of Stevenson’s going unassisted.

“It was a little difficult, they have some big girls over there,” Hunter said. “Our blocking and our size was a deterrent for us tonight and there was nothing we could do but play good defense behind it. We tried to slow them down a little bit and serve tough enough to get them off net, I thought we did a decent job of that.”

The teams immediately went toe-to-toe from the first volley, which was won by King after several possessions.

Tied 8-8, King made its move. Fueled by four consecutive kills by Greeley, the Lady Wolves went on a 8-1 run to claim a 16-9 lead.

Not to be outdone, Washle started finding her teammates to get back into the first game, assisting three kills by Wolfe and recording a tip kill of her own as the Lady Heralds responded with their own 8-1 run to tie it up at 17-17.

However, the Lady Heralds aided King when Blaine missed the mark on three late attacks and the Lady Wolves closed the set on a 7-1 run.

“We were running middle because our passing was pretty good,” Krieger said. “Any time you can run middle it makes life easier. Greeley makes up for a lot of mistakes.”

King was out of the gate much quicker in the second set, opening on a 12-4 run. Four different players scored early kills for the Lady Wolves and Greeley began to wreak havoc at the net.

Wolfe and Blaine helped the Lady Heralds mount a short comeback attempt, but Barnett spread the ball around for the Lady Wolves, helping King run away again as Regan Lough finished the set with an ace.

Facing a 2-0 deficit, the Lady Heralds dug deep in the third set and jumped out to a consistent four-point lead early.

Wolfe was strong from the outside and Stevenson took control in the middle as the Lady Heralds opened up a 8-3 run to lead 11-7.

“I loved the effort that they were fighting with,” Hunter said. “They got some big kills and the crowd got a little rowdy, but I think we continued to fight and that’s basically the only thing we can do, we couldn’t look at the scoreboard, we just had to keep fighting.”

However, as a few more Whittier Christian attacks fell out of bounds, the Lady Wolves chipped away as Mia Maddott got in a couple kills to help Greeley and eventually tied the set at 22-22.

Kylie Cooke gave the Lady Heralds the advantage twice before Stevenson put it away with two consecutive kills.

“They weren’t tracking us and they started going to our outsides the whole time,” Hunter said in regards to Stevenson’s success. “We decided we could put some pressure on them by making them think about slowing our middle down and so we could push the ball back to our outsides.”

King didn’t dwell on the set loss too long.

The Lady Wolves pounced on Whittier Christian early in the fourth set, holding a four-point lead at the midway point.

Again, Greeley recorded a block and four early kills in the fourth set while the Lady Heralds countered with Blaine, who had three consecutive kills early on.

At one point, the Lady Heralds pulled within one at 14-13, but that’s as close as they would get.

Greeley recorded three kills in a key late run to help King move on to the second round after winning the fourth set, 25-21.

“We didn’t expect this to be easier than CIF and it wasn’t,” Krieger said. “I’m glad they made us work and do a lot of rallies, it was exciting. It seemed like every other kill took several plays before someone got the point.”

The Lady Heralds will lose two seniors this season, but a huge group of players will have a chance to build on this year’s success.

“To see a team sit down at the beginning of the year and see them now with a CIF Championship and competing in State, that’s fun to see,” Hunter said. “It’s sad to see the seniors go, but I’m really proud of all of them.”

Comments (0)

Tags: , , ,

Lady Heralds take title

Posted on 17 November 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

ORANGE – In what was an intense matchup, the Whittier Christian girls volleyball team came from behind to defeat Chadwick 3-1 and win the CIF-SS Division 2A championship, Saturday morning at Santiago Canyon College.

All four sets came down to the wire and the Lady Heralds responded well after a first set loss, to win the title 22-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-21 for their second championship in the last four years.

“I think after losing the first set, gaining that momentum in Game two showed us that this is a team we could compete with,” said Shawn Hunter, Whittier Christian head coach. “They’re a good fundamental team, but I told the girls that like any other team, they’ll make mistakes and it’s our job to execute and force those mistakes.”

Kylee Wolfe finished the match with a game-high 20 kills, Deanna Blaine added 11 kills and Jennifer Washle ran the offense with 40 assists.

Nicole Santos led the back line with 29 digs, with help from Washle who added 18 digs.
In the first set, the teams traded points as both teams tried to establish themselves early.
At one point, Whittier Christian led 18-13 before the Dolphins made their run. Abbe Holtze totaled six of her team-high 19 kills in the first set and Chadwick ran away with the 25-22 set win on a 6-0 run.

“I think our team started out slow, at least for our standards,” Hunter said.

With the lead, Chadwick opened up an early 13-6 lead against Whittier Christian in the second set. It would be the last big lead Chadwick saw for the remainder of the match.
Washle began to sync with the outside hitters, totaling 14 assists in the second set and the Lady Heralds came back with a 8-1 run en route to a 25-20 set victory.

In a crucial third set, the teams battled to a 20-20 draw before the Lady Heralds put it away with aces from Wolfe and Blaine, as well as a big block by Megan Buchanan and Kylie Cooke.

Whittier Christian took a 12-6 lead to start the fourth set with more outside attacks from Wolfe.

But no early leads in the match were safe and the Dolphins reeled in the Lady Heralds to tie it at 17-17.

With the score knotted at 21-21, the Lady Heralds took the next three points and eventually took the match point on a block by Buchanan and Cooke to win the Division 2A Championship.
“These girls practice how they play and I think that really shined through today,” Hunter said in regards to pulling away late in the final two sets. “We’re always working on finding ways to finish well.”

While Holtze led the team in kills, Sarah Lucenti led with 26 assists, while Emily Newton added 19 assists.

Sarah Gurbach led on the back line with 26 digs, with help from Holtze who tallied 25 digs.
Chadwick (24-3) will continue its season with a road match to begin the state playoffs.

Before the season, Hunter said that the team chemistry on this year’s team was strong. That attribute was noticeable in the Lady Heralds run through the Division 2A playoffs, especially for first-year varsity starter Washle.

“We click together well and I think that really helps when it comes to momentum,” Washle said. “We’re all really close friends and for me as the setter, I know them really well, so it’s easy to set for them.”
Whittier Christian will continue its season with a home match in the state playoffs.
“I think losing that first set really put some pressure on u

Comments (0)

Lady Heralds sweep Yorba Linda on way to championships

Posted on 13 November 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

YORBA LINDA — With a 3-0 sweep at Yorba Linda High, the Whittier Christian girls volleyball team is heading back to the championship match in the CIF-SS Division 2A playoffs after defeating the Lady Mustangs on the road.

The Lady Heralds controlled the match throughout, only allowing a little breathing room to the Lady Mustangs in the third set in a 25-14, 25-14, 25-20 victory.

“They’ve done a great job, they compete at all times,” said Shawn Hunter, Whittier Christian head coach. “I think that’s the biggest thing, whether we’re in the lead or behind, their competition level and effort is awesome for me to be able to coach.”

After struggling at the start in the quarterfinals against Mayfield, Whittier Christian came out with a flurry to set the tone in Game 1.

That tone would continue through the second game before Yorba Linda mounted a challenge in the third game.

It was the second time that Whittier Christian and Yorba Linda met this season and Hunter believes that seeing the Lady Mustangs once may have helped his team.

“We had a feel for what they were going to do, but we also wanted to maintain what we could do on our side of the court,” Hunter said. “I think it was important for our girls to play loose, maybe goof around a bit and have fun with each other.”

Deanna Blaine led the Lady Heralds attack with 13 kills, Kylee Wolfe added 10 kills and Kylie Cooke tallied nine kills as Whittier Christian spread the ball to all angles.

Jennifer Washle ran the offense with 29 assists in three sets and Nicole Santos led the back line with 18 digs, while Wolfe and Washle each had 11 digs.

After allowing the first point to Yorba Linda in Game 1, Santos held serve during a 6-0 run in which the Lady Mustangs struggled on the return.

After trading points, Washle helped put the Lady Heralds further ahead with a 6-0 run of her own. Like Santos, Washle’s serve put Yorba Linda out of system and the Lady Mustangs again struggled to return the ball.

Stephanie Stevenson blocked two shots by Yorba Linda down the stretch and Blaine put it away with kills on three of the final four points.

The second game went similarly for Whittier Christian. Tied 5-5, Blaine put Yorba Linda out of system for a 6-0 run.

As the set continued, the Lady Heralds picked apart Yorba Linda, exploiting weak spots and countering nearly every attack the Lady Mustangs threw at them.

“We watched a lot of film to get ready and see what they were going to do,” Hunter said. “They have a great offense and we wanted to slow them down and get them out of system. We do well in transition, that’s our game and we were able to do that tonight.”

Blaine again was key down the stretch with kills, but Wolfe also tallied two late aces as the Lady Heralds took a 2-0 lead.

Missy Owens assisted nine of the Lady Mustangs’ 14 points in the second set.

Yorba Linda came out with more fire in the third set and, with the home crowd behind it, the team fought back after an early surge by Whittier Christian to tie the set at 13-13.

But that’s as close as the Lady Mustangs got as Washle spread the ball around the front line and Blaine held for another late 6-0 run.

Washle assisted seven of the Whittier Christian’s final 10 points and Cooke put the match away with a tip kill, sending the Lady Heralds to their second consecutive championship match in Division 2A.

The Lady Heralds also will qualify for a berth into the state playoffs.

Yorba Linda was led on the attack by Aspen Potter with nine kills and Katelyn Valor added eight kills. Owens finished the match with 25 assists.

But for Hunter, this is the fourth team in the last five years to reach a CIF-SS championship game, with the last two in Division 2A. The Lady Heralds won the Division 4AA Championship in the 2009 season.

“I think the girls are ecstatic about it and I’m excited for them,” Hunter said. “To see their work ethic come to fruition and to show the fans how well they can compete, it’s fun to watch.”

The CIF-SS Division 2A championship match will take place at Santiago Canyon College on Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m.

Comments (0)

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER — Jackson Willard: La Habra’s clutch foot

Posted on 12 November 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

Over the course of the last couple months, the La Habra football team hasn’t had much to worry about I when it comes to putting points on the board.

Starting in Week 4 against Gahr, the Highlanders have had little reason to use the field goal unit, crushing all League opponents by double digits en route to the playoffs.

However, that changed last Friday when La Habra was deadlocked with Los Alamitos in the first round of the CIF-SS Southwest Division playoffs.

Facing 4th-and-five at the Los Alamitos eight-yard line with 3:18 left in the fourth quarter, Head Coach Frank Mazzotta, with help from his assistant coaches, called upon Jackson Willard, the Highlanders junior place kicker, to attempt to put La Habra ahead.

“There was a lot going through my head, a lot of pressure and weight on my shoulders,” Jackson said. “But I had the confidence that I could get the job done.”

The distance was 25 yards with an added angle as the ball rested on the right hash mark.

Willard knew this kick could mean continuing on in the playoffs, or ending the season right then and there. He squared up in the backfield, and the special teams unit gave him a good snap and hold. The stadium crowd held its collective breath. The junior split the uprights for the eventual game-winning field goal to send La Habra to the quarterfinals.

“So much was going through my head, so much excitement,” Jackson said. “I’m just happy I got the seniors one more week, that was the ultimate goal.”

It was only his second field goal attempt of the season. The first one came against Buena Park during league play in late October, but it missed the mark from 32 yards out.

Jackson has also been responsible for La Habra’s extra points and kickoffs during the course of the season.

“He’s improved a tremendous amount,” said Frank Mazzotta, La Habra head coach. “He does work hard and when everything comes together the way it did last week, he knows how to thrive. Bottom line is he got the job done when we needed him to.”

There was no situation bigger than last Friday night for Jackson and though the Highlanders were so close to the end zone, everyone, including Jackson, believed that trying the field goal was the right call.

“We’ve been practicing field goals on Wednesdays every week, so I knew I could do it, the coaches knew I could do it,” Jackson said. “We just never really had the opportunity to get a field goal in, but last week, when it counted, it was a great feeling and a great call.”

Jackson’s role on the team increased dramatically this season as he came up from junior varsity to become the team’s kicker after Sean Wale graduated and is playing at Boise State University. .

While Jackson says all he’s learned about the position has come from Wale, he wants to try and leave his own legacy.

“I’ve just wanted to prove that I’m not Sean Wale, I’m Jackson Willard,” he said. “I want to live up to the expectation, but I want to be better. I learned everything from Sean, but I want to be me at the same time.”

In the classroom, Jackson has recently discovered a love for mathematics as well as history.

And when he’s not focused on football or academics, Jackson also enjoys playing baseball and hanging out with his friends.

But when it comes to inspiration and role models, Jackson believed that his father and grandfather have impacted his life the most.

“They’ve been there for me all my life,” Jackson said. “They’ve given me a lot of confidence in myself in becoming who I am.”

That confidence could be a major factor for La Habra when it comes to a run for the CIF Finals, as Willard could very well be called again if the Highlanders find themselves in a tight game against Foothill this Friday night.

Comments (0)

Lady Heralds struggle in quarterfinal victory

Posted on 11 November 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

PASADENA – The Whittier Christian girls volleyball team overcame a slow start and muscled its way to a 3-1 victory over Mayfield in a CIF-SS Division 2A quarterfinal match at Mayfield Senior School.

After dropping the first set, the Lady Heralds dominated the second set and closed out the third and fourth sets in a 19-25, 25-13, 25-22, 25-22 win.

“There was just a frazzled nature about what we did in Game 1,” said Shawn Hunter, Whittier Christian head coach. “I think we also underestimated who we were playing and it caught us off guard, that’s a great volleyball team. We settled down after that and got into a rhythm.”

Deanna Blaine led the Lady Heralds with 19 kills, while Jennifer Washle dished out 49 assists. Stephanie Stevenson tallied 15 kills from the middle while Kylee Wolfe totaled nine kills.

Sluggish play early on by Whittier Christian allowed the Cubs to take advantage in the first set.

Mayfield rotated it’s setter and middle blocker frequently through the match, which made it difficult for Whittier Christian to adjust at first.

Midway through the set, the Cubs started to gain momentum with kills coming from Lauren Baxter and Natalie Johnson.

Mayfield pushed it’s lead to 23-15 before the Lady Heralds made a small 4-0 run in which Kylie Cooke recorded three kills.

But the final two returns landed out of bounds for Whittier Christian and Mayfield took a 1-0 lead.

“I told them that we created a series out of it, so we have to go compete,” Hunter said. “We made a few changes, but overall we let them take it from there.”

Then the tides turned.

With Wolfe serving, a 9-0 run fueled the Lady Heralds to a 25-13 set victory. Wolfe and Cooke both had additional serving runs late in the set.

“I think our biggest concern was trying to find out how to maintain what we established in the first set,” said Jon Basilio, Mayfield’s first year head coach. “For us to sustain that kind of competition, that competition in terms of execution, that first set was a lot of stress for any team to have.”

The pivotal point in the match was the third set, as both teams stayed neck-and-neck throughout, trying to win over the momentum.

With the score knotted at 19-19, the Lady Heralds finally found a little breathing room with an ace by Wolfe and a net violation by the Cubs.

Megan Buchanon then added two kills from the middle blocker position before Blaine iced it with her third kill of the set, giving Whittier Christian a 2-1 lead.

Buchanon and Stephanie Stevenson proved to be vital in the middle as they frequently scored points with tip kills to the front corners of Mayfield’s side of the court.

“We’ve been working with them and letting them know that everything in the middle of the court is off limits,” Hunter said. “Their aggressiveness with what they were doing was great tonight, they played smart.”

The third set seemed to take a toll on the Cubs, allowing Whittier Christian to jump out to a 6-0 lead in the fourth set with Wolfe again serving.

Washle’s timing and assists would pace the Lady Heralds, who continued to hold a lead of at least five points for the majority of the set before Mayfield made it interesting toward the end.

The Cubs chipped away at Whittier Christian’s lead as Maggie Dunn and Josie Luck continued to push on the attack.

But for the second straight set, Blaine killed any hopes by Mayfield for a fifth set as the Cubs couldn’t handle the attack, giving the Lady Heralds the victory with a 25-22 set win.

“Both our outsides did an outstanding job tonight,” Hunter said. “We just wanted to keep throwing the ball up to them and let them have fun. We’re excited to see who we play next week, we just want to compete.”

Luck led a balanced Cubs attack with 13 kills while Dunn and Baxter added 10 kills each.

Madeline Watkins led the team with 23 assists and Bela Garcia tallied 18 assists, Johnson led the team with 19 digs.

“I think our girls knew what was at stake,” Basilio said. “I think they played more loosely because they had nothing to lose, we had everything to prove. I think this team was the first that actually developed whole-heartedly as a team, that was what we were based on, we don’t have any superstars, we just wanted to win based on our team’s dynamics.”

Whittier Christian will now turn it’s focus to a road game at Yorba Linda High in the CIF-SS Division 2A semifinals.

The contest will be a rematch of the two schools, which clashed at the Division 2 Championship game of the Dave Mohs Tournament, Sept. 24. Whittier Christian won that match 2-1.

Comments (0)

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here

Current Issue: