Cypress volleyball team celebrates winning season

On Jan. 8, the Cypress girls volleyball team celebrated their winning season at a banquet held at Old Ranch Country Club. Cypress took Empire League honors and made it to the second round of CIF play. Special honorees at the banquet included Empire League first team members Amanda Von Gries, Kaycee Perez, Kayley Stephens and second team honorees Katie Ashman and Erica Cantley.Other awards included Kaycee Perez being selected as the best all-around player; Katie Ashman honored as best attacker; Angela Gjonovich, for best server, and Amanda Lai for being the most improved Cypress player. Amanda Von Gries was awarded the Best Defensive Player honor, an award she has received for the fourth straight year. Kayley Stephens was awarded the Coach’s Award for most inspirational team member. Amanda Von Gries topped out her night by being named Empire League MVP. The program is looking forward to a great 2015 season. Girls who are interested in trying out for the team should keep their eyes open for local announcements regarding summer camp and tryouts, which are normally held in July.

Centurions top Bruins

The Cypress High girls’ tennis team delivered another solid effort in non-league action. On Wednesday, Sept. 12, the Centurions defeated Wilson High (Long Beach) in a tough 10-8 victory at home.“I am really happy with how we are playing,” Cypress High head coach Joseph Paul said. “We’ve been doing well this year.”The win improved the Centurions to 5-1 overall this year. It also came on the heels of an 11-7 triumph against rival Kennedy High.“That game was not as close as the score hinted,” Paul said.No. 1 singles player Elyse Pham, who has not lost an Empire League match to a player from another school in two years, delivered another remarkable performance. The junior did not lose a single game, posting three 6-0 victories.“She’s a great player,” Paul said. “We’re lucky to have her.”Pham owns a record of 72-0 in league against opposing schools. The only loss she suffered occurred at the hands of former teammate Jennifer Lu, who transferred to Los Alamitos High this year.“That was a big loss for us,” Paul said.The Centurions also lost most of their doubles players this year, graduating half of the players who made up those tandems.Despite the setback, the Centurions did quite well in doubles action against the Bruins. In fact, the doubles teams carried Cypress, which entered the third and final round tied at 6-6 with a three game advantage. This stemmed from No. 2 singles player Emily Nakamoto and No. 3 Alyanna Soriano losing all three of their matches.For Cypress, the No. 1 doubles team of Kaitie Paek and Rooju Modi captured a pair of wins. Additionally, No. 2 Hannah Magno and Christine Samson, who lost a tough tiebreaker in the second round, also went 2-for-3 and No. 3 doubles Helen and Rachel Lee swept the competition.The Lees, who are twin sisters, delivered back-to-back 6-4 wins and then a 6-2 victory.Last year, Cypress finished in a three-way tie for the Empire League title, splitting the honor with Valencia and Yorba Linda. A coin toss was used to break the knot, which resulted in Cypress earning the No. 3 spot in the CIF Division-II tournament. However, the Centurions went further in the playoffs than both teams.

Oxford Academy girls track team dominates Academy League finals

Oxford Academy, an elite public college preparatory school and part of AUHSD, known more for being ranked as one of the top rated academic schools in the country, is making a statement in girls track and field.Two years ago, the school had a mission to improve its coed track and field program by bringing in a first class coaching team led by coaching veteran Bill Murvin.On Thursday, May 7, the first pillars of seeing this vision through were completed as the Lady Patriots earned the school’s Academy League track and field championship by a convincing margin with 181 points, 66 points over runner-up Crean Lutheran of Irvine, which finished with 115 points.After last year’s girls’ team wound up in second place in league standings, Murvin and his coaches convinced a core group of athletes to commit to a year-round program that would propel them to win the championship title this year.“Our girls bought into the program and worked extremely hard during the past year," Murvin said. "When we decisively won the first cluster meet without two of our top girls, we were sure that we had an excellent chance.”Their hard work certainly paid off as the season culminated in victory last Thursday at league finals in Irvine. The Lady Patriots were led in points by senior Brianna Washa and sophomore Rachel Gagnon on the track. Junior Emily Huynh and sophomore Xochitl Bryson dominated on the field.Washa and Gagnon each took three first place titles in three separate events. Washa set two new school and stadium records in the 100-meter dash at 12.50 seconds, and in the 200 meters, recording a time of 26.14 seconds. Gagnon set a new school record in the 100-meter hurdles at 15.83, and established a new school and stadium record in the 300-meter hurdles with a recorded time of at 48.7 seconds.Both girls were in the winning 4 X 100 relay at 51.67, a new school record, and later placed second in the 4 X 400 relay.Huynh also ran in the winning 4 X 100 relay while placing first in the long jump with 16’ 10” and second in the triple jump at 33’ 7” as well as placing third in the 100m dash. Bryson outthrew the discus by 36 feet over second place with a whopping 116 feet. Bryson also came out first in the girls’ shot put with a 32 ft 7 inches.Other notable contributors to the girls’ scores were sophomore Rachel Chen, scoring twelve points for the team by placing third in the 100m hurdles and third in the high jump and Allison Lu, senior, who also ran in the winning 4 X100 relay as well as placed third in the triple jump.Although the boys team didn’t place as highly as the girls team, certain individuals were key to their success. Randy Yiv, junior, placed first in the triple jump with 39’ 4” and second in the long jump at 19’ 6”. Chris Wang, senior, placed first in shotput with a 45’ 4” throw and third in discus with 117’ 9.” Junior Albert Nguyen placed second in the 3200-meter run and fourth in the 1,600 meters.Murvin has high expectations for both teams’ continued success.“During the season, our boys and girls teams broke 13 school records," Murvin said. "Now that we have completed the team end of our goals, we are looking forward to advancing as many individual athletes to the CIF Finals from the prelims this weekend. We have 17 athletes who have advanced from the League Finals to the CIF prelims. We expect our athletes to continue to compete at the highest level. When you give 100 percent effort to the task at hand, you can and should expect great outcomes!”Oxford’s Athletic Director David Clifton also echoed his support and excitement around this recent success. “This achievement underscores what Oxford stands for – excellence in academics as well as athletics (and the arts). Our school community is excited by what these young people are capable of achieving. We’re developing great leaders at Oxford Academy.”Oxford will be sending the following girls and boys to compete in the CIF Southern Section prelims on Saturday, May 16: Brianna Washa, Rachel Gagnon, Emily Huynh, Alison Lu, Hae-Rang Park, Rachel Chen, Tiffany Lwin, Mary Garcia, Xochitl Bryson, Randy Yiv, Dan Ta, Albert Nguyen, Chris Wang, Richard Chau, Alex Belyea, Lee Sasaki and Jacob Fatalla.

Griffin bats hot in playoff win over Bruins

The Los Alamitos High softball team had a shaky start but after they settled in the Griffins rolled to a 7-3 win over Long Beach Wilson in the first round of the CIF-SS playoffs on Thursday at Los Alamitos High.Sophomore pitcher Brianna Jewett came in in the second inning and ended up pitching six innings with two runs allowed and three strikeouts to get the win. Meanwhile the offense needed a couple of innings to zero in on Wilson pitcher Joette Vega, but soon had their plan.“She didn’t throw a lot of off-speed pitches and we talked about that,” Griffin catcher Mary Iakopo said. Iakopo had a home run to lead off the top of the sixth inning to spark a three-run sixth that turned a 4-3 Griffin lead into a 7-3 advantage going into the seventh inning. Junior Cami Sellers followed the home run with a double.Pinch-runner Allison Young went from first to third on a ground out and then scored on a single by Alexa Schultz. One out later, Schultz scored on a groundout that capped the three-run inning. The Griffins had fallen behind 3-1 going into the bottom of the third inning, but responded immediately.Senior outfielders Ariana Belarde and Jenna Holcomb led off the third with consecutive singles. Junior outfielder Jenna Kean then brought them both home with a triple. Holcomb scored on a sacrifice fly by junior infielder Andrea Gonzalez, as the Griffins took their 4-3 lead and kept the Bruins scoreless the rest of the way.Griffin coach Rob Weil said the team seemed a little out of sorts, possibly pressing too much, so he opted to make the early pitching change. He also said the offense was chasing pitches and needed to settle in and make the pitcher work more.“We said we just need to be a little more patient and hit out pitches,” Weil said. The Griffins will play Chino High in the second round at 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday at Chino High.

Cypress opens with win against Centennial

The Cypress High football team, ranked No. 8 in the Southwest Division poll, opened on the right foot last week, besting Centennial (Compton) in a 31-26 victory at Western High on Aug. 23.For the Centurions, running back Jake Brito delivered an impressive performance. The senior used 29 carries to generate 140 yards, found the end zone with a 57-yard kick return, and notched a 27-yard touchdown pass.Quarterback Jesse Dages, starting in his first game behind center, also impressed, completing 8-of-14 attempts for 69 total yards and no interceptions. In addition to his arm, Dages also showcased his leg, kicking a 40-yard field goal.This marked the first win for the Centurions under the leadership of first-year head coach Bob Burt, also known as “Mr. Fix It.” BurtOn Friday, Aug. 31, the Centurions return to action at El Modena, which lost its season opener to fellow Empire League foe Yorba Linda. That contest will start at 7 p.m.

Local teams battle at the Loara Tournament

Practically every local prep baseball teams plays at the Loara Tournament, which has been hosted at Loara High in Anaheim for several decades. This tourney, which always consists of the strongest programs from division-I on down, provides bragging rights as schools collide that would normally not face each other.This scenario actually unfolded during the second round last week, when Wilson High, the 2007 national champ, faced Cypress High, the defending CIF Division-II champ. Wilson, which plays in division-I, topped Cypress with a 7-4 victory on March 8 at Glover Field, where it earned bragging rights and advanced to the next round of the winner’s bracket.The Bruins (4-1), who later topped El Dorado by the score of 1-0 in the third round, received big hits from Chris Betts and Marc Mahoney, who both smashed homers against the Centurions (2-1), who returned to action against Marina on March 11 (score not available). Additionally, Bruins Jackson Foss, Cole Brown and Mickey Miladonovich had multiple-hit games with a pair of hits each. Foss also chalked up an RBI – Mahoney topped the team with two RBI – and Brown knocked a triple and senior Josh Goldberg swatted the only double.Starter A.J. Dean earned the win, tossing 3 2-3 innings.Though he walked four and failed to notch a single strikeout, he allowed just three hits and only two earned runs. Cesar Gomez, who replaced him on the hill and finished, also impressed by allowing just one hit and one earned run.This marked Dean’s first appearance and Gomez’s second – he also threw three shutout innings while working in relief during the loss to Capistrano Valley.As a team, the Bruins only struck out three times.The Centurions, despite suffering the loss, actually made contact and put the ball in play, but the Bruins defense failed to falter. The Centurions still ended with just one strikeout and walked five times – a noteworthy ratio. Trailing 1-0, the Bruins flexed their muscles on offense in the bottom of the first to jump ahead 5-1.They would finish with 11 total hits while surrendering just four to the Centurions. Both sides committed no errors and neither managed to den the board from the second through the fourth inning. The Centurions ended that draught in the fifth, cutting the deficit to 5-3, but the Bruins earned one run back during the bottom of the frame.In the sixth, the Centurions stayed within striking distance by scoring another, but so did the Bruins. Both sides then went scoreless in the seventh and final inning.Wilson will return to action against San Clemente on March 13. The tournament wraps this year on March 15.In other action, Los Alamitos suffered its first loss of the season during the third round of the Loara Tournament.San Clemente did the deed with a 5-0 win on March 11.The Griffins (2-1), who can still win the consolation prize, committed three costly errors. They finished with six hits – one less than the opposition. Scotty Anderson went 2-for-3 for the only multiple-hit game. Gianni Castillo, Kyle Mora, Kyle Rice and A.J. Zunino all had a hit each.Defensively, Mora (0-1) pitched the opening four innings, allowing two earned runs and four hits while stiking out a pair. He also walked one. Reliever Kevin Seymour tossed two innings of relief.Last year, Canyon High (Anaheim) captured the Loara Tournament title. Edison (Huntington Beach) won the consolation contest.The winner of this tourney rarely goes on to capture the CIF title.

Cypress High football favored in Cabrillo matchup

The Cypress High football team stumbled last week to El Modena and lost its top-10 ranking in the CIF polls. However, it’s unlikely that it will stumble again in Week No. 3, when it hosts Cabrillo (Long Beach) in a non-league game on Friday, Sept. 14.For starters, Cabrillo (0-3) remains winless this year, with losses to Norwalk, San Clemente and Centennial (Corona), a powerhouse program that delivered an impressive 61-6 victory last week. Though Cypress has not faced any of these teams during the young season, in the past, it has dominated Norwalk, which posted a 58-26 win in the season opener.The Centurions, on the other hand, will be well rested after enjoying a bye week. They should also be fired up after losing their No. 8 ranking in the CIF Southwest Division poll.The Centurions are far from perfect, though. Despite two solid defensive efforts, they have struggled and failed to find a rhythm on offense, especially in Week No. 2, when they only managed to score 9 points and did not find the end zone until the fourth quarter – a failed 2-point conversion prevented them from tying. Cypress head coach Bob Burt, known as “Mr. Fix It” for taking over struggling programs and turning them into winners, has implemented a T-formation, which the El Modena defense had no problem stopping by keying in on running back Jake Brito.Burt also used a platoon system against El Modena, with Jesse Dages and Nick Buras alternating snaps at the quarterback position.However, Cabrillo’s defense has given up a combined total of 156 points so far, and after a frustrating outing, Brito will likely not be bottled up for a second straight week.If Cypress should fall in Week No. 3, though, be prepared for a long season.Prediction: Brito rushes for 220 yards with three touchdowns, helping Cypress earn its second victory by the final score of 42-14.

Los Al boys soccer finishes strong against Fountain Valley

Kevin Herring scored two late goals to help the Los Alamitos boys soccer team to a 4-2 win over Fountain Valley, at Fountain Valley High on Jan. 13. The win, combined with a win over Newport Harbor on Friday, put the Griffins into a tie with the Barons for second place, both at 3-1. The Griffins had taken a 2-1 lead at halftime on goals by senior Anthony Mejia and freshman Brian Chung. But Fountain Valley was able to tie the game at 2-2 on a penalty kick with 26:00 left in the game. But the Griffins were able to keep pressure on the Baron defense and with about 16:00 left in the game, they got the ball into the goal box area. Senior Aron Rudich got off a strong shot toward the goal, but it hit a Baron defender in front of the goal. Herring controlled the rebound and was able to get an open shot on goal. He hit the top right corner from about 15 yards out, to give the Griffins a 3-2 lead. About six minutes later, the Griffins padded the lead on a long throw in from the left side. The ball skipped across a header attempt to the right side of the goal. Again, Herring controlled the ball out of the air and lined up for a shot. As the goalie and defenders tried to move in front of the shooting lane, Herring punched a low ground ball back across the goal that found the left side of the goal for a 4-2 lead. The Griffins ability to capitalize on re-starts (throw-ins, free kicks) was a big reason they were able to get the edge on the Barons, who were 2-0 coming into the game. “I think we were pretty effective on those opportunities,” Head Coach Donovan Martinez said. The field at Fountain Valley is grass, that is patchy and uneven, so it was a challenge for the Griffins, who are now used to playing a practicing on their home turf field. Martinez said that Fountain Valley was able to use long kicks up field to counter attack and create opportunities for themselves. He credited his defense for adjusting to those attacks to hold the Barons to just one goal from the field. Goaltender Alec Lazar was credited with six saves. Julian Guerrero, Adam Havstad and Rudich were all credited with assists. The Griffins followed up the win over Fountain Valley with a 1-0 win over Newport Harbor on Friday. Herring had the goal and Lazar was credited with three saves. The Griffins will play at Huntington Beach on Friday (Jan. 22) at 5 p.m. and then at Marina on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Griffins fall in regional quarterfinals

The Los Alamitos High boys tennis team reached the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern California Regional Team Championships before falling to third-seeded San Marino, 5-2, on Friday at The Claremont Club.The Griffins had qualified for the event as the No. 11 seed out of 13 teams from Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego Counties. They topped the No. 12 team, El Camino Real, 7-0 in the opening round to move into the match with San Marino.The Griffins were leading key matches early, but San Marino would rally to win the best-of-seven event. Los Al’s No. 1 Riley Smith dropped the first set against San Marino’s No. 1, Daniel Gealer, but rallied for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory in singles. Los Al’s No. 3 singles player, Kyle McCann had little trouble in his match, defeating San Marino’s Charles Deng, 6-2, 6-4.In doubles, the Griffins’ No. 1 team of Naara Shin and Ethan Kolsky, had the San Marino No. 1 doubles team on the ropes early taking the first set by a score of 6-4. But after the San Marino duo evened the match with a 6-5 second set victory, they took the third set by a score of 6-3, to gain control of the team score.

How a small implanted device could help limit metastatic breast cancer

These findings, reported in Cancer Research, suggest a path for identifying metastatic cancer early and intervening to improve outcomes.

“This study shows that in the metastatic setting, early detection combined with a therapeutic intervention can improve outcomes. Early detection of a primary tumor is generally associated with improved outcomes. But that’s not necessarily been tested in metastatic cancer,” says study author Lonnie D. Shea, Ph.D., William and Valerie Hall Department Chair of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan.

The study, done in mice, expands on earlier research from this team showing that the implantable scaffold device effectively captures metastatic cancer cells. Here, the researchers improve upon their device and show that surgery prior to the first signs of metastatic cancer improved survival.

“Currently, early signs of metastasis can be difficult to detect. Imaging may be done once a patient experiences symptoms, but that implies the burden of disease may already be substantial. Improved detection methods are needed to identify metastasis at a point when targeted treatments can have a significant beneficial impact on slowing disease progression,” says study author Jacqueline S. Jeruss, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of surgery and biomedical engineering and director of the Breast Care Center at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The scaffold is made of FDA-approved material commonly used in sutures and wound dressings. It’s biodegradable and can last up to two years within a patient. The researchers envision it would be implanted under the skin, monitored with non-invasive imaging and removed upon signs of cancer cell colonization, at which point treatment could be administered.

The scaffold is designed to mimic the environment in other organs before cancer cells migrate there. The scaffold attracts the body’s immune cells, and the immune cells draw in the cancer cells. This then limits the immune cells from heading to the lung, liver or brain, where breast cancer commonly spreads.

“Typically, immune cells initially colonize a metastatic site and then pave the way for cancer cells to spread to that organ. Our results suggest that bringing immune cells into the scaffold limits the ability of those immune cells to prepare the metastatic sites for the cancer cells. Having more immune cells in the scaffold, attracts more cancer cells to this engineered environment,” Shea says.

In the mouse study at day 5 after tumor initiation, the researchers found a detectable percentage of tumor cells within the scaffold but none in the lung, liver or brain, suggesting that the cancer cells hit the scaffold first.

At 15 days after tumor initiation, they found 64 percent fewer cancer cells in the liver and 75 percent fewer cancer cells in the brains of mice with scaffolds compared to mice without scaffolds. This suggests that the presence of the scaffold slows the progress of metastatic disease.

The researchers removed the tumors at day 10, which is after detection but before substantial spreading, and found the mice that had the scaffold in place survived longer than mice that did not have a scaffold. While surgery was the primary intervention in this study, the researchers suggest that additional medical treatments might also be tested as early interventions.

In addition, researchers hope that by removing the scaffold and examining the cancer cells within it, they can use precision medicine techniques to target the treatment most likely to have an impact.

This system is early detection and treatment, not a cure, the researchers emphasize. The scaffold won’t prevent metastatic disease or reverse disease progression for patients with established metastatic cancer.

The team will develop a clinical trial protocol using the scaffold to monitor for metastasis in patients treated for early stage breast cancer. In time, the researchers hope it could also be used to monitor for breast cancer in people who are at high risk due to genetic susceptibility. They are also testing the device in other types of cancer.