If you fell behind on your San Fernando and San Gabriel Valley sports news in the pre-holiday rush, here's your chance to catch up on the biggest developments of the past two weeks.
The Glendale Fighting Club's Ronda Rousey took a break from preparing for her history-making bout against Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 in Anaheim on Feb. 23 to stop by Morton's Steakhouse in Burbank with Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White. In explaining his decision to sign Rousey as the UFC's first female fighter, White praised her unique combination of skill, savvy and sex appeal.
"She's cute and she's articulate and she's intimidating," said White, "but when she goes in [to fight], she's mean, nasty and she likes to finish people."
Having won a bronze medal in judo at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and later appearing on the cover of ESPN The Magazine's "Body Issue" in 2012, Rousey is far more well-known that her opponent, Liz Carmouche, a former U.S. Marine and veteran of the Iraq War who trains in San Diego, California. In her "Message to UFC President Dana White and Ronda Rousey" with MMAprime.tv, Carmouche outlines her respect for Rousey as the pioneer for women in the sport.
As it turns out, UFC 157 wasn't the only fight on Rousey's mind when she addressed the media in Burbank, as Edmond Tarverydan, who trains Rousey at the Glendale Fighting Club, was set to take on Dominic Gutierrez at "Chaos at the Casino II" on Dec. 22. Rousey stood in her trainer's corner as Tarverydan battered and bloodied Gutierrez en route to a three-round victory by unanimous decision.
The news for another locally-trained fighter, Burbank's Jared Papazian, isn't so positive. As Melissa Seguro reported on SI.com, Papazian entered his Dec. 15 bout with Tim Elliott at "The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale" at a crossroads in his young career. Having emerged with a third straight loss blemishing his record in the octagon, Papazian's stint with the UFC is likely over.
In women's soccer news, former Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy soccer star Brooke Elby helped the University of North Carolina capture its 22nd national title. The sophomore forward logged 40 minutes off the bench in the Tar Heel's 4-1 victory over Penn State.
Randy Lilavois, an accomplished soccer coach, announced his planned departure from Southern California and the teams he turned around--the women's program at Pasadena City College and the girls' program at South Pasadena High School.
Finally, we'd like to recognize just a few of the local stars who received end-of-the-year honors this month:
Glendale, Hoover and Crescenta Valley football players earned six first-team All-Pacific League selections, including Michael Davis (Glendale), Jesse Pina (Hoover) and William Wang (Crescenta Valley).
Taryn Nelson (Bell-Jeff) was named Santa Cruz League MVP for volleyball, tallying 315 kills despite often being double or triple blocked. Caitlin Cottrell (Buroughs) joined Nelson on the All-CIF First Team.
LaSalle football players picked up 12 Del Rey League honors, while Blair, San Marino and South Pasadena football players collected 34 selections from the Rio Hondo League.
The Pasadena Poly water polo team grabbed eight All-CIF selections, including Player of the Year (Spencer Rogers) and Coach of the Year (Ryan Katsuyama).
Haley DeSales (LaSalle) was named CIF Player of the Year for leading the Lancers to the Del Rey League volleyball championship.