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Eagles and Wildcats dominate IVL top spots

June 16, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN

Sports Writer

The Imperial Valley League track and field, baseball and softball coaches recently announced their IVL all-league selections with Brawley Union High and Southwest athletes earning five of six most valuable player/athlete of the year honors.

In softball, Southwest freshman pitcher Melissa Lerno took IVL MVP honors, leading five other Eagle softball players making the league's first- and second-team selections. Joining Lerno on the IVL first team from Southwest were Jessica Conway and Melissa Frausto. P.J. Enders, Nikki Cordova and Stephanie Garcia were named IVL second-teamers.

Making Lerno an easy pick as league MVP were the numbers she posted. Leading the Eagles to an IVL championship and the CIF San Diego Section Division III championship, Lerno finished with an 0.85 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 29 games. In 24 of the 29 games, she gave up no earned runs. In league, she had a 0.56 ERA, 56 Ks and gave up no earned runs in 10 of 12 games. She turned things up a notch in the postseason, finishing with a 0.00 ERA.


"This was a good year for us, but what made my job easier was knowing that I had my teammates behind me. It was easier because I knew I could depend on them," said Lerno. "It was a surprise getting this award especially because I'm only a freshman. I mean, there were other girls in the league like (Holtville's) Lauren Huyler and (Brawley's) Leighan Sudduth who also had really good years and really, just about every team had about two or three girls that could've been league MVP. So to get this is a real honor.

"I think there's people that see you as this great player or whatever, but to me, I look at myself as still having to work even harder and strive to become a better player," said Lerno. "I'm very happy that I got this award and yeah, you care about it, but I'm gonna go out and do the best I can either way. If I don't get this award again, then oh well, I really don't play for the awards, I play to help my team win."

Joining the Southwest players on first team were Brawley's Sudduth, Holtville's Huyler, Calexico's Linda Mendoza, Central's Clarissa Maldonado, Imperial's Lindsay Lugo and Palo Verde's Krystal Hand and Samantha Gregg.

On second team were Brawley's Erin Rutherford, Calexico's Blanca Patino, Central's Claudia Maldonado, Imperial's Melanie Medina and Palo Verde's Denise Lara and Cecila Navarro.

Brawley's Brandon Burnett won league MVP honors in baseball by leading his team to a 10-2 mark in IVL finishing the year with a league leading 35 RBI and five home runs to go with a .390 batting average, 7-2 pitching record, 1.79 ERA and 57 strikeouts.

"Coming into this season no one really looked at me as a threat offensively, so that's what I mainly focused on," said Burnett. "I really concentrated on my hitting this year and, for the most part, I was pretty pleased with the numbers I put up.

"You try not to focus strictly on your stats, but I know that if I put up good numbers, then the team's going to benefit and do good," Burnett said.

Making IVL first team along with Burnett from Brawley were Lafayette Lofton and David Santana.

Calexico's J.P. Gonzalez, Central's Leo Ibarra and Enrique Lechuga, Holtville's Edward Castro, Imperial's Aaron Hartsock, Palo Verde's Rick Copple and Southwest's Chuck Ainza were also first-team selections.

On second team were Brawley's Joel Aguirre, Javier Calles and Mitchell Ruiz, Central's Mario Gastelum and Javier Vasquez, Imperial's Julian Lopez, Southwest's Ricky Lopez and Palo Verde's David Leyvas.

Southwest's Rashauna Amos earned track female athlete of the year with Brawley's Cynthia Flores taking field event athlete of the year. On the guys' side, Brawley Brandon Wellcome was named male field event athlete of the year while Central Union High's J.D. Gaddis took the top spot as track athlete of the year.

Amos, a freshman, earned top honors as the league's best in the 100 meters, 200 meters, 4x100 relay and 4x400 relay. She was the only Valley athlete to earn a trip to the state meet preliminaries.

Earning all-league honors in the relays Southwest's Erica Holmes, Tasha Ernest and Monica Gamboa in both the 4x100 and 4x400. Gamboa earned an all-league selection in the 400 as did Holmes in the long jump.

Rounding out the Eagles' all-league selections was Jennifer Black, tops in the IVL in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and high jump.

From Brawley making all-league were Meg Allen (1,600) and Korina Carpio in the discus.

Wrapping up the girls all-league selections for track and field were Central's Erica Camacho (3,200), Holtville's Nina Rivas (triple jump) and Palo Verde's Jennifer Mitchell (800).

On the boys side, Gaddis took top track honors with his performances in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and high jump and Wellcome earned field event honors by going undefeated in league in the discus and shot put.

Also earning all-league honors were Brawley's Marco Torres (400 and 800), Calexico's Chris Ramsey (triple jump), Central's Anthony Sabal (long jump), Holtville's Edel Lopez (3,200), Southwest's Doug Fulp (1,600) and Terrance Johnson (100) and Palo Verde's Marco Gomez (200).

Central's Eric Henderson, Martin Garcia, Jarrell Henderson and Sabal took league honors in the 4x100 and Aaron Garcia, Felix Guieb, Andrew Valdez and Gaddis took league honors for the Spartans in the 1,600.

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