Youth Scene: Atkins, Browning capture gold

Newport Beach residents Madison Browning and Haley Atkins won gold medals at the So Cal South State Championships for the compulsory levels 4-5-6 in girls' gymnastics last month.

Competing in Level 4, Atkins won gold medals on the balance beam, floor exercise, and the all-around gold medal in the 8-year-old division.

Browning won a gold medal on the floor exercise in the 7-year-old division, and finished 10th in the all-around competition.

Atkins' team, Wildfire Gymnastics in Tustin, won the first-place trophy for the Level 4 team competition.

Browning and Atkins are in second and third grade, respectively, at Newport Heights Elementary School in Newport Beach.

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Aim High wins title

The Aim High Hoops Basketball Club boys' 12U team won the Game Point Holiday Classic title in its division last weekend led by Coach Daniel Lim at Otay Ranch High School in Chula Vista.

Aim High dominated the competition with aggressive defensive to beat San Gabriel Valley, 28-24, PBC, 50-23, San Diego Mambas, 45-18, and host team Gamepoint, 41-20, in the championship game, to win its first tournament of the season.

The club was led by the stellar overall play of Tyler Chacon (12 points, four assists and five rebounds), Anthony Beltran (13 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks), Shan Dharod (seven points and six assists), Kyle Hatch (three points and two assists) and Chris Cox (two points and six rebounds).

The backcourt duo of Dharod and Hatch set the tone defensively while Beltran, Chacon, and Cox dominated the boards to lead the team. Aim High kept its opponents to a 21-point average throughout the tournament with a margin of victory of 20 points.

Contributing off the bench, Luke Vaflaidis (four points and four rebounds) and Kevin Ray (two steals, one assist and two rebounds) provided key minutes and depth throughout the weekend tournament for Aim High.

The Aim High Hoops boys' 12U will play next at the American Sports Center in Anaheim Dec. 18-19.

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Girls win tourney

The Newport-Mesa girls' softball team won the Toys for Tots 10U Tournament last weekend in Fullerton.

The Mustangs won all five of their games, including a close-shave win in the final against the host team, OC Dynasty.

It was a perfect finale to a successful season for the Mustangs. The team includes Brenna Alvis, Kendall Blanchfield, Samantha del Toro, Brooke Fransen, Nicole Harr, Meg Hendersen, Lindsie Hoffman, April James, Kendall Machado, Lauren Oberreiter, Kaitlin Seapy, Lauryn Tarrazzi, Faith Vanderwall and Payton Williams.

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HOGO stays perfect

The AYSO Plus Region 57 boys' U13 soccer team, a.k.a. "HOGO," an acronym for "Hustle Our Guts Out," has been undefeated this season.

The team features: Dylan Campos, Travis Campos, Karl Donovan, Chase Dugan, Gabriel Gamboa, Jack Garrell, Shane Gooding, Oliver Kim, Spencer LaMoure, Jacob Muchnick, Justin Muchnick, Kevin Rengifo, Jason Simaan, Liam Somekh, Alex Young and George Wells.

Two weeks ago, HOGO won the Santa Ana League championship. Last weekend the team won the Canyon PSA Winter Cup Tournament in an exciting final game against Pacific Soccer Club, a Newport Beach club team. HOGO was up 2-0 at halftime with goals scored by Kevin Rengifo in the first minute of play, followed by an assist by Justin Muchnick to goal-scorer Travis Campos.

Jacob Muchnick then netted a goal early in the second half to give HOGO a 3-0 lead. PSC fought back to tie the game 3-3. With less than five minutes to go, forward Alex Young scored three beautiful breakaway goals to secure the victory of 6-3 and to clinch the championship for the team.

HOGO is coached by local parent and former Stanford soccer player Adam Muchnick and assistant coach Eric DiBella.

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Mariners three-peats

The Mariners Christian School Dolphins recently took home the Christian Athletic League of Orange County's Division I Football championship after beating the Calvary Chapel Eagles, 12-8.

The eighth-grade Dolphin boys' flag football team was led by a stingy defense that featured a front line of Brett Beaudette, David Schaefer and Jack Lynch. The game was decided on an improbable 50-yard pass completion when Jake Haar found Nick Whitelaw on a Hail Mary at the goal line. Whitelaw was ruled down at the 1-yard line with less than 10 seconds to play, and Matthew Marchiorlatti ran the ball in on the following play to seal the victory for the Dolphins.

The victory gave the Dolphins their third consecutive league title in a row.

"My hat's off to Calvary," said Dolphins Coach Mike Hatcher. "They came out firing on all cylinders and made some stops early to keep the game close. In the end, I'm so proud of my boys. We made some big plays late and that last second catch by (Nick) Whitelaw was unreal. He was one of our key performers all season, and he didn't disappoint when the game was on the line. This season was special because it took a collective team effort to win this championship. I'll savor this victory for a while."

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