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Los Altos' James Valeanu leads the All-Area Boys Volleyball team






Player of the Year: James Valeanu, Junior, Los Altos

James Valeanu learned that becoming a special volleyball player would take special practices.

“I would ask my coaches to come on Saturdays to help with my passing and stuff and get better with it,” the Los Altos High School junior said.

Those extra one-on-one practice sessions sure paid off. Valeanu helped the Conquerors to a share of the Hacienda League title, he was the league MVP and is the Boys Volleyball Player of the Year.

“He helped me out in a big amount,” Valeanu said of coach Paul Sanchez and the Los Altos staff. “He would help me with my form and how to pass.”

The outside hitter has been playing volleyball for only three years; since his freshman season. He said a friend asked him to come to a practice one day, fresh off the basketball court.

“I showed up and came to it naturally,” he said. “I did not know the sport very well.”

Los Altos tied Claremont and Damien for the league title this season; a big accomplishment. Damien had won the four previous league titles and Claremont has long been a dominant powerhouse, before it moved from the Pacific League.

“We’re trying to bring the sport up,” Valeanu said. “”Not having won a league title in a long time, we’re trying to bring it back to the school.”

The Conquerors reached the CIF Southern Section Division 4 quarterfinals, falling to top seed Katella in four games.

“We had a tremendous season with a really great group of guys,” he said. “They pushed you and pushed you.”

He had 168 kills, at a .412 hitting clip, 112 digs and 25 aces.

“The ball was evenly distributed, so when I had a chance to take a kill, I had to take every opportunity to do it,” he said.

Coach of the Year: Randy Bohlmann, Damien

Veteran coach Randy Bohlmann knew this was going to be sort of a rebuilding year for the Damien High School boys volleyball program. He graduated five key players from a team that won back-to-back championships, three of whom were first team All-CIF selections. He had a couple of returners changing positions and his team moved up two classifications to far more competitive CIF Southern Section Division 3.

But the Spartans (19-12) were their usual competitive selves, claiming a share of the Hacienda League title for the fifth consecutive year. They were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by a quality Crean Lutheran team, but played what Bohlmann says was one of his team’s best matches of the season.


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For the team’s showing through those obstacles, Bohlmann is the San Gabriel Valley Newspaper’s Boys Volleyball Coach of the Year.

“Moving up that much is a big jump and I thought we could compete with those teams. But we knew it was going to be tough to make a deep run just because of the quality of the teams in that division so I was pretty pleased,” he said.

Bohlmann has also coached the girls volleyball program at Pomona Catholic for 13 years. He has a CIF-SS title to his credit with that school in 2013.

Bohlmann boasts an overall record of 335-226, which includes his two posts as well as five years at Cantwell-Sacred Heart. He has won nine league championships and has a playoff record of 30-14.

— Michelle Gardner

First team

Will Dalgarn, Junior, La Salle (OH)

Victor De La Cruz, Senior, Los Altos (Opp)

Jack Mitchner, Senior, Damien (Opp)

Carlos Piedra, Senior, San Gabriel Academy (S)

Matthew Scholtz, Senior, South Pasadena (OH)

Jarett Tan, Senior, San Gabriel (OH)

Raymond Yip, Senior, San Gabriel (L)

Second team

Matt Alison, Senior, Pasadena Poly (OH)

Justin Montes, Senior, San Gabriel Academy (OH)

A.J. Nicassio, Sophomore, Flintridge Prep (OH)

Brandon Nyquist, Senior, Damien (S)

Jonny Samuels, Senior, Flintridge Prep (OH)

Gunther Vaden, Senior, South Pasadena (MB/Opp)

Henry Vuong, Junior, San Gabriel (S)

Honorable mention

Misael Avila, Senior, Los Altos (L)

Richard Berry, Senior, Pasadena Poly (MH)

Joseph Bu, Senior, South Pasadena (L)

Coleman Cornell, Senior, La Canada (OH)

Daniel Enriquez, Junior, Damien (OH)

Tedrick Gula, Senior, Gabrielino (OH)

David Hoang, Senior, San Gabriel (Opp)

Phillip Ibarra, Senior, La Salle (S)

Tristan Santoyo, Senior, Diamond Ranch (OH)

Sean Stephen, Senior, St. Francis (OH)

Joey Thompson, Sophomore, St. Francis (S)

League champions

Almont: San Gabriel

Camino Real: St. Anthony

Del Rey: Bishop Montgomery

Hacienda: Claremont, Damien, Los Altos

International: Southwestern Academy

Miramonte: Ganesha

Mission: Loyola

Olympic” Cerritos Valley Christian

Omega: AGBU/Pasadena

Pacific: Burroughs

Prep: Flintridge Prep

Rio Hondo: South Pasadena



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