A champion pins adversity to the mat

Homeless and estranged from family years ago, CIF champ wrestler turns his life around

Brad Chavez flipped through his high school wrestling photos. It’s been 16 years, but the memories of that time remain crisp. “I was just looking at those pictures, and I was just like, man, I know exactly how that kid feels. Like I remember what it was like behind his eyes,” said Chavez, now 34. In the winter of 2004, […]

The keys to the kingdom

Monte McNair, an Oak Park native, is new GM of the Sacramento Kings

Monte McNair makes all the basketball decisions for the Sacramento Kings. The Kings’ new general manager is also the commissioner . . . of his fantasy football league. So, how’s his team doing in the league? No, not the NBA franchise. The other one. “Frustratingly well,” younger brother Nolan McNair said with a laugh. For the record, Monte McNair won […]

Step aside, Gritty

There’s a new king of Philly, and his name is Alex Singleton

Alex Singleton has made it in the NFL. Sure, he played with the Philadelphia Eagles last season, but not counting his loyal fans from Thousand Oaks High, Montana State and the Canadian Football League, Singleton toiled in relative anonymity. Now, Singleton’s the biggest spectacle in Philly since Gritty arrived in a cheesesteak fever dream of Darryl “Chocolate Thunder” Dawkins from […]

Welcome to Rocktober

Pepperdine men’s golf, college football and an overlooked NFL QB make waves

The sports world took a shellacking during the global pandemic. Sporting events screeched to a halt. Everything was canceled or postponed due to COVID-19. While many local teams have slowly returned to practice within the past few weeks, games and events did not—until this week. Pepperdine men’s golf team is believed to be the first in Acorn country to return […]

Big wave riders tame the sea

Meskis brothers are surfing savants

On the first Saturday morning of autumn, mist from the Pacific Ocean evaporates at County Line Beach. The waves rattle and hum. A hundred surfers in black wetsuits bob in the currents. Jackson Meskis glides through the water with ease. He doesn’t have X-ray vision, but he pinpoints the next wave forming in the foam before anyone else. He paddles […]

Lacrosse stars raise sticks at national tournament in Maryland

Jake East (Agoura High), Ryan Sullivan (Westlake) and Chase Martin (Thousand Oaks) played at the Nike National All Star Games boys’ lacrosse tournament last week in Baltimore. The triumvirate suited up for Southwest Region teams, which included athletes from California, Nevada and Arizona. Sullivan, a junior, is a defender. East, a junior, and Martin, a sophomore, are midfielders/face-off specialists. Sullivan […]

Athletes talk about tough stuff

Local stars open up about mental obstacles, isolation from teammates during pandemic

Is March almost over? The longest month is now in its 86th month, or maybe it just feels that long. Sports has made a comeback, at least in some parts of the country. Pro teams are back, albeit with limited or no fans. College football kicked off almost everywhere except on the West Coast. Many high school sports squads around […]

Oaks Christian grad signs first pro hoops contract

UCSB shooting guard Max Heidegger will play for Israel’s best sports franchise

Max Heidegger is going from one beautiful beach town to another. The Oaks Christian High grad starred at shooting guard for the UC Santa Barbara men’s basketball team. The Malibu native recently signed his first pro contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv, a juggernaut in the EuroLeague. “This is a great opportunity for me and I’m really excited for it,” Heidegger […]

The body electric

Pro athlete defies bodybuilding’s toxic culture

Matthew Ullerick was living his dream. Professional bodybuilder. 2019 Mr. California. Four-time amateur champion. The 20-year-old Camarillo man was a rising superstar in a sport brought into vogue by Arnold—does anyone need his last name spelled out? Everyone with and without a pulse, even the molecules floating in the clouds of Venus, knows Arnold is Arnold Schwarzenegger. One day, everyone […]

Peña seeks pro scooter world title

Nate Peña is catching some major air. The 17-year-old Thousand Oaks teen reached the finals of the FISE World Series in the men’s pro scooter division. The tournament, which was set to take place in France before the coronavirus pandemic hit, is now a virtual action sports event. Peña submitted a oneminute video of new material to FISE judges, but […]

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