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CLOSE-UPS

FOOTBALL

BRANDON MINOR

Sr., Corona Centennial

Then: When Minor arrived as a transfer from Long Beach Poly last year, Coach Matt Logan was just hoping Minor would stick it out; he was a running back, but Terrell Jackson was already the one-back offense’s main weapon. So Minor, a power runner, switched to slot receiver. He caught 17 passes for 175 yards and one touchdown and carried 52 times for 545 yards and nine touchdowns.

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Now: A power-packed 5 feet 8, 195 pounds, Minor has led Centennial (4-1) to four consecutive victories, including a 36-33 win at Fresno Clovis West. In that game, Minor scored five touchdowns, the last by dragging two defenders and running over another on a 14-yard score with 2:44 left to play. He finished with 176 yards in 34 carries, but not a single gain was for more than 14 yards.

Quote: “I like how, late in the game, he puts us on his back and carries us,” Logan said. “He did that the last two weeks, when we needed scores late in the third or fourth quarter to win or put the game away. He gets stronger as the game goes on.”

-- Martin Henderson

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BOYS’ CROSS-COUNTRY

LUIS MEDINA

Sr., El Monte Arroyo

Then: Finished fourth in the Division II state finals in 15 minutes 23 seconds last season. Medina placed second a week earlier to Mike Matusak of Los Angeles Loyola in the Southern Section finals, covering the rugged at Mt. San Antonio College course in a personal-best 14:52. He also ran 4:15 in the 1,600 as a sophomore and, last spring, clocked a 9:11 in the 3,200.

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Now: Finished first in the boys’ championship race Saturday at the Clovis Invitational, completing the three-mile course, which also serves as the state championship course, in 15:43, the second-fastest time of the day. Medina, who ran nine miles the day before, finished three seconds ahead of runner-up Benny Madrigal of Madera.

Quote: “We went up there with the idea of gaining experience,” Arroyo Coach Fernando Cabrera said of the Clovis Invitational. “He got out with the lead and kind of cruised the last mile.”

-- Dan Arritt

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BOYS’ WATER POLO

JULIEN LORMANT

Sr., Santa Margarita

Then: Scored 90 goals as a junior last season, ranking him second on Santa Margarita’s single-season scoring list behind Paul Ferguson, who had 104 goals in 1993. Lormant’s performance helped the Eagles advance to the Southern Section Division I quarterfinals and earned him All-Southern Section second- team honors. He helped the U.S. 17-and-under national team finish third in the U.S. national championships in Long Beach in August.

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Now: Lormant, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound two-meter defender, leads the Eagles (10-8) with 52 goals, 64 steals and 37 assists. He has drawn seven exclusions. With 212 goals in his career, he is Santa Margarita’s second all-time leading scorer behind Nick Nolan, a 2002 graduate who had 279 goals.

Quote: “He’s great at creating opportunities for himself and really has an amazing sense of the game,” Santa Margarita Coach Kevin Ricks said.

-- Lauren Peterson


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