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Bronco Girl Cagers Triumph Again, Capture 6 Prep Stars

April 23, 1987

Cal Poly Pomona women's basketball Coach Darlene May, enjoying perhaps her best recruiting year, has signed six high school standouts to national letters of intent for next season.

Topping the list are All-CIF Southern Section players Serenda Valdez of Katella, Stephanie Coons of Wilson, Denise Ogburn of Edison and Jeannette Baker of Hesperia. The others are Kelly Connolly, an All-Kern County player from Bakersfield North, and Katie Donica, an All-Orange League player from Magnolia.

The Broncos, who reached the NCAA Division II championship game last season, previously signed another standout, All-American Carrie Egan (5-8) of Brea-Olinda, during the NCAA early-signing period last November.

"We got everyone we wanted," May said. "We feel we had a great (recruiting) year. They all may not be the greatest players (at the moment), but we feel all have a lot of potential."

Valdez, Coons and Connolly may be the best athletes in the group.

Valdez, a 5-10 forward who made The Times All-Orange County team, averaged 12.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists to lead Katella to a 27-2 record and the CIF 3-A Division finals. She was also named her league's most valuable player in volleyball.

Coons, a 5-11 forward and guard who made The Times All-San Gabriel Valley team two straight years and was All-Sierra League four years in a row, averaged 22.5 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists. She has also made all-league teams in softball, tennis and track. "She may be the best all-around athlete, but she may not be the best player yet," May said.

Connolly, a 6-1 forward who was named the 1986-87 Most Outstanding Female Athlete in Kern County, averaged 18.6 points, 12.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists. She also made her all-league team in volleyball and has a 4.0 grade-point average.

Ogburn, who will combine with Egan to give the Broncos two excellent three-point shooters, is a 5-4 guard who made the All-Sunset League team the last two seasons. Also a floor leader, Ogburn averaged 13 points and 3.7 assists for an Edison team that finished with a 31-2 record and won the CIF 4-A title.

May says Baker and Donica have excellent potential.

Baker, a 6-4 center, averaged 15.5 points and 16.1 rebounds and made 55% of her field-goal attempts in leading Hesperia to the CIF 2-A semifinals. Donica, a 6-1 center and forward, averaged 18.1 points and 7.5 rebounds to lead Magnolia to the CIF 3-A playoffs. A transfer from Broken Arrow, Okla., it was her first year of 5-on-5 basketball after playing 3-on-3 in Oklahoma.

The Cal Poly Pomona women's softball team will be seeing a lot of Nevada-Las Vegas in the next few days.

Pomona, ranked No. 11 in NCAA Division I, will meet the Rebels in Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. double-headers at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Pomona and at 1 p.m. Monday in Las Vegas.

Pomona's Broncos entered this week with a 31-13 overall record and 11-6 (fourth place) in the PCAA, and Las Vegas was 12-27 overall and 6-16 (eighth place) in the conference.

The Broncos have been led by senior pitcher Rhonda Wheatley, who has a 24-11 record with 3 saves and an 0.39 earned-run average. She won three of her four decisions last week to earn PCAA pitcher of the week honors. Wheatley has also been one of the top hitters with a .280 average, 4 home runs and 20 runs batted in.

Others producing for the Broncos, who have a .246 team batting average, are junior right fielder Betsy Burr and junior third baseman Dana Ramos. Burr, a teammate of Wheatley at Workman High in La Puente, is batting .315 with 10 RBIs, and Ramos, a walk-on transfer from Golden West College, is hitting .300 with a team-high 22 RBIs.

Before facing Las Vegas, the Broncos will receive a taste of international competition when they play host to the Canadian Pan-American Games team in an exhibition double-header at 1:30 p.m. today.

After winning its second California Collegiate Athletic Assn. title in three years, the Cal Poly Pomona women's tennis team will have four players competing in the Ojai Invitational Tournament today through Sunday at Ojai.

The Broncos, who have a 17-9 overall record and are ranked No. 2 in NCAA Division II by the Intercollegiate Tennis Coaches Assn., will have sophomore Xenia Anastasiadou and senior Chris Ryan competing in singles play and seniors Mary Holycross and Debbie Jung in doubles at Ojai.

Anastasiadou, a standout from Greece who is ranked No. 2 in Division II in singles, has an 18-6 record this season and Ryan is 17-9. Holycross and Jung have an 11-4 record in doubles.

The Ojai tournament is a warm-up for the NCAA championships for the Broncos. The Division II meet is May 3-9 at Cal State Northridge.

One of the top individuals at the Ojai and Division II tournaments should be Edna Olivarez of Cal State Los Angeles, ranked No. 1 in singles in Division II with a 37-3 record.

Olivarez, a sophomore from the Philippines, has a 71-7 singles record over the last two seasons, including 23-0 in conference play. Cal State, ranked No. 9 in Division II, completed its season with a 12-11 record and is hoping for an NCAA tournament berth.

The Cal State Los Angeles men's track team will have two strong entrants in the 29th Mt. San Antonio College Relays on Saturday and Sunday at Walnut.

Leading the way will be the Golden Eagles' distance-medley relay team, which will be bidding for its third school record of the season. The team, which has a top time of 9:49.43, consists of Rob Briglia in the 1,200 meters, Rick Huntington in the 400, Andy Gonzales in the 800 and Tony Young in the 1,600.

The Golden Eagles will also be represented by senior Stan Oporski, defending Division II indoor and outdoor triple jump champion, who has produced his best marks ever of 55-0 (wind-aided) and 53-9 at Mt. San Antonio.

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