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First published in the Sept. 23 print issue of the San Marino Tribune. San Marino players knew full well what San Gabriel High School’s varsity football squad was going to do when the two teams met last Thursday night in Titan Stadium. Stopping it, well, that was a different matter.The Matadors did just enough to sneak out of town with a 20-17 victory to drop San Marino’s record to 2-2 and send the Titans into Rio Hondo League play on a sour note.San Gabriel kept the ball mostly on the ground, eschewing the passing game except on rare occasions while chewing up yardage and the clock en route to improve its record to 4-0.The visiting Matadors took the opening kickoff and marched downfield, with powerful fullback Elijah Muniz plowing over from the four-yard line to take a 6-0 lead. Muniz ran basically the same play to add the two-point conversion for an 8-0 advantage.San Gabriel attempted an onside kick but the Matadors’ coverage team touched the ball before it traveled the required 10 yards and San Marino got the ball at its opponent’s 42-yard line.

First published in the Sept. 23 print issue of the San Marino Tribune. Due to its traditional spot on the fall sports menu, the San Marino High School girls’ golf team didn’t make the cut a year ago — the entire season wiped out by the pandemic. Instead, the Titans were invited to play an abbreviated five-match season this past spring, but by then the squad — for one reason or another — was reduced to just five players.“We won a match!” said head coach Ted Chester, his voice tinged with an enthusiasm that might typically belie the admission of just a single victory. The global shutdown can cause one to accept a victory in any way, shape or form, Chester believes.The Lady Titans are back in business as the 2021-22 school year dawns, with a squad of nine young ladies competing for spot on the coach’s scorecard. While that number of players is not unusual given today’s circumstances, the makeup of the roster is: three seniors and six freshmen.

First published in the Sept. 16 print issue of the San Marino Tribune. The San Marino High School girls’ varsity tennis team used an 8-1 advantage in doubles to overwhelm visiting Campbell Hall of Studio City by a final score 12-6 in a non-league matchup between the two tennis powers on Monday afternoon. Valerie Kuo and Camdyn Wu were their consistent selves, winning all three of their sets to get the ball rolling. Katie Lui and Isabelle Kang did likewise and Many Rivera and Selene Yung went 2-1 to provide a solid lead for the Lady Titans, whose record improved to 2-0 with the victory.All that was left up to the singles players was to garner the two wins needed for victory and the Lady Titans collected twice that many. Elaine Wu, Giselle Gandakusuma and Mia Lin went a combined 4-5 to cap the win.San Marino opens Rio Hondo League play at Monrovia on Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 3:30 p.m.The Lady Titans don’t return home until Thursday, Oct. 7, when South Pasadena comes calling at 3:30 p.m.

First published in the Sept. 16 print issue of the San Marino Tribune. After a topsy-turvy past year, it was back to business as usual Saturday afternoon for the San Marino High School girls’ and boys’ varsity cross-country teams.After an organized training effort leading up to what they had hoped would be the 2020 campaign, which is typically included in the fall sports season, the harriers had the proverbial rug pulled out from under their collective feet shortly before the season was scheduled to begin last August because of the pandemic. Due to its inherent nature of social distancing, cross-country was among the first sports that was brought back when the CIF restarted high school athletics in March of this year.

First published in the Sept. 16 print issue of the San Marino Tribune. Following two weeks of playing the hammer, San Marino High School’s varsity football team got a little taste last Friday of what it feels like to be the nail.The lesson came at the hearty hands of Fillmore High School, who paid a visit to the 91108 and outplayed the Titans in just about every facet of the game en route to a 35-7 nonleague victory that, quite frankly, wasn’t as close as the final score might seem to indicate.It took the hosts until the final minute of the contest to get on the scoreboard when senior quarterback Niko Mavridis connected with wide receiver Andrew Hornberger to erase the Titans’ goose egg. Toby Pedroza booted the extra point to conclude the game’s scoring.

First published in the Sept. 9 print issue of the San Marino Tribune. The San Marino High School girls’ varsity tennis team had four months to enjoy its Rio Hondo League championship during last school year’s pandemic-adjusted season, and now it’s time to get back to work.COVID obliterated the 2020-21 school year, with the sports calendar being one of the facets most chiefly affected. The girls’ tennis season was moved from its traditional slot in the fall of 2020 to the spring of 2021 and summarily halved in its duration. But after seeing so many activities shelved by the pandemic, participants were pleased to see play return in any fashion.

First published in the Sept. 9 print issue of the San Marino Tribune. Sports photographer Andrew Bernstein, a local resident who was honored by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, will be the featured speaker at the San Marino City Club meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 21.With more than 40 years of experience in his craft, Bernstein has photographed and collaborated with many icons of the sports world. He will share his behind-the-scenes stories as well as the “Mamba mentality” it takes to succeed in the competitive world of sports photography.He will also discuss the process of building his content platform and weekly podcast, “Legends of Sport”.Bernstein is the director of photography for Staples Center and Microsoft Theater. Andrew D. Bernstein Associates Photography Inc. has been responsible for photography of all events at the L.A. Live complex since its inception in 1999. He is the key photographic contributor to NBA Entertainment’s global media platforms, which include NBA.com, all league publications and NBA licensed products.

First published in the Sept. 9 print issue of the San Marino Tribune. Fellowship Hall at San Marino Community Church seemed an appropriate location for Ray Torres to address the local Rotary Club at its weekly luncheon meeting.Torres infused his Sept. 2 presentation with the fire and brimstone typically reserved for enthusiastic ministers, or football coaches.Torres is among the latter, and last week it was understandably difficult for the rookie head coach to contain his ardor, considering that a few days earlier San Marino High School had won its season opener.“We go as hard as we can go,” said Torres, seemingly describing not only his team’s spirit but his speaking style. He was replying to a question from the audience during a presentation facilitated by Rotary President-elect Rob Feidler. “Conditioning is huge, in terms of football. We have just under 50 players on our team and it’s important that they stay in shape. We go as hard as we can when we can.”

First published in the Sept. 9 print issue of the San Marino Tribune. Senior quarterback Niko Mavridis threw seven touchdown passes to six different receivers to lead the San Marino High School varsity football team to a convincing 48-6 victory over El Monte last Friday. The unbeaten Titans improved their record to 2-0 in the young season.With the effort, Mavridis equaled the school’s all-time record for touchdown passes in a single game that was set by Carson Glazier in a CIF playoff win over Claremont High School on Nov. 14, 2014, when Glazier was a junior.But Friday contained enough significant performances of its own. The Titans opened the scoring with 6:06 remaining in the first quarter when Mavridis threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to with Andrew Hornberger. Freshman Tobias Pedroza booted his first of six successful conversions to give San Marino a 7-0 lead.

First published in the Sept. 2 print issue of the San Marino Tribune. Even though San Marino High School varsity boys’ water polo coach Robert Zirovich is marking 20 years in the craft, he freely admits he hasn’t the slightest clue what to expect from the Titans as they enter the 2021 season. Pandemics will do that.This is Zirovich’s eighth year with the Titans but he has the wide-eyed anticipation of a newborn child after what has been, for all intents and purposes, a two-year gap in the sport.The Titans’ 2019 season was held in its normal September-to-November time slot, but COVID erased the entire 2020 campaign. The CIF offered an abbreviated schedule this past spring, but few schools were able to find enough players to field teams. The Titans found 10 players willing to suit up and played three games during a 10-day season in mid-March. San Marino lost all three, but Zirovich was thrilled even to get that truncated slate played. In fact, he was so pleased that he doesn’t remember who, if anyone, won the Rio Hondo League or even if a championship was awarded.“I feel a little ignorant not being able to answer that question,” Zirovich said. “I don’t even know if any other teams in the Rio Hondo League played.”