Borders finds success through involvements

Senior Antoinette Borders wears many hats at the University of La Verne. But on Saturday afternoons none are more important than her green and orange uniform she wears for her track and field meets.

However to others Border’s inspirational hat is what people will remember most.

“She’s an amazing individual,” junior John Lejay said. She’s always willing to help people.”

John Lejay is a member of the men’s track and field team and works as co-Greek coordinator with Borders.

“She’s encouraging everyone,” Lejay said. “She takes it serious but she always easing everybody nerves.”

Like Lejay sophomore Corbin Henault feels the same way.

“Antoinette is amazing; everyone knew Antoinette was going to be captain,” Henault said.

“I guess my first impression was her openness and warmth,” Director of Career Services Paula Verdugo said. “

Verdugo served as faculty adviser for Sigma Kappa during Border’s term as president. Verdugo said she loved the interaction she had with Borders.

“She invites me in, makes me feel part of the group,” Verdugo said.

With all the praises from family and friends, Borders tries to end her career at ULV with a bang.

Borders was a dual sport player in high school. She played on the basketball team and track and field team.

“In high school I did pretty good,” Borders said. “I won league in shot and discuss.”

Borders initially went out for the ULV women’s basketball team but got sick during early team practices. Instead Borders went on to join the track and field team, a sport she thought she will never play in college.

“I had no intention,” Borders said. “ I never thought I’ll come to school for throwing. I came for basketball but it didn’t work out.”

Borders also started participating in other extracurricular events. Borders joined Sigma Kappa, where she would later become president.

“I would rather be busy than just sit around and do nothing,” Borders said. “If I had nothing to do then I wouldn’t do anything with my time.”

Borders admits that it was not easy balancing everything. She said that during her junior year it was troublesome.

“It was really hard for me being president and doing track,” Borders said. “I got stress out really easily, but I mostly got around it.”

“There are times I chose sorority over track and my coach got mad,” Borders added. “But it was a decision I wanted to make.”

This season however Borders had her best. She hit new personal best marks as well as placed 2nd in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference finals.

And Borders managed to complete this under those same different hats.

“Stepping out of the limelight I’m still doing stuff that I thought I wasn’t going to do,” Borders said. “I learned how to deal with it better but I’m still doing as much as I was before.”

Tennis reinstated after hiatus

Sounds of bouncing Wilson tennis balls were heard every day while the women's tennis team practices.

But the sounds was silence for a while, as the women's tennis team was put on hiatus indefinitely.

Recently the decision was overturned.

Interim Athletic Director Julie Kline informed both tennis teams of the athletic department decision days before their Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship tournament. The women's tennis team ended the season 3-16, placing 6th in the SCIAC tournament.

“It was the right decision we believe,” Julie Kline said. “It wasn’t an easy one. Sometimes you gotta make decisions that are best for the entire athletic department.”

On April 20, athletes from both tennis programs walked the campus, asking for people to sign their petition. Jen Baca said she was happy with the response from the students and faculty.

Many members of both teams created petitions for people to sign.

Also the members created a Facebook group asking people to join.

Both teams will met with President Steve Morgan and Kline on April 21 to discuss the decision of the programs.

After both teams presented presentations, a committee was form to re-evaluate the decision. After meeting on May 5 the decision was overturned for the women’s team.
The men’s team is still on hiatus

Upon hearing about the suspension many members of the teams were angry and frustrated about the decision.

“I feel as though its unfair,” junior tennis player Jen Baca said. “It needed to be reevaluated and reinstated.”

“Everyone is in full support and doesn’t understand it all,” Baca said.

It was that support Baca said which led to the overturn decision.

Baca said the decision was out of the blue. At the time the decision interfered with the team’s play in the SCIAC championship tournament.

“People definitely care,” Baca said. “It clogged our minds. We kept focusing on that instead of the game.”

Kline said the department came together in January to discuss the athletic programs at La Verne. During continuous meetings, Kline said teams were evaluated based on the mission statement the department adopted.

“When I took over as athletic director, I was in charge of doing an overview of all programs,” Kline said.

Proper facilities seem to underline the decision. The University removed the John Blickenstaff Courts in 2007 to make a parking lot.

“It’s about having our own facilities for our own programs,” Kline said. “It’s about providing each program with full-time staffing.”

“And when you have facilities and full-time coaches and budgets to support those programs, you’ve able to provide your student athletes an experience that’s similar to our opponents,” Kline added.

However Baca said the Claremont Club, which the teams practices and plays, agreed next year to offer the courts for use for free.

La Verne’s budget is stated not to be the issue, Kline said.

Baca said she feared there is an underlying motive that is not explained.

“I don’t think it was a budget issue,” Baca said. “There was an underlying thing. There has to be something else they’re not telling us.”

“We want to be able to support our program to provide quality for our athletes,” Kline said.

Jones ends stellar career

Success seems to follow senior forward Trenecca Jones wherever she goes. A product from Chaffey High School, Jones has enjoyed a level of success at the University of La Verne comparable to recognizable women basketball players in the NCAA Division I.

However behind the success lies a person who just like to keep to herself.

“I keep to myself a lot,” Jones said. “I’m not here that much.”

But Jones has not been keeping her achievements under wraps. Her accomplishments span over a great career that has lasted for four years at ULV.

Jones said she was very active when she was younger, but she did not pick up playing basketball until her 6th grade year.

Through Kline’s assistant coach, Jones made her way from high school to La Verne.

Head coach Julie Kline knows best what Jones role was for the team.

"She's been a major impact player for us,” head coach Julie Kline said.

Kline said she was impressed with Jones’ natural talent.

“She's was very athletic, raw talent,” Kline said. "She never played in a structure environment so it took time.”

And to work Jones went, receiving a lot of minutes during her rookie season.

In time Jones developed into a rare star for the Leopards during her sophomore team, which featured a team that went to the first round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball tournament.

During her sophomore season, Jones finished with averages of 16.6 points and 11 rebounds. Jones ranked No. 1 in scoring, No. 2 in rebounds and No. 5 in minutes played in SCIAC.

Jones was named a NCAA Division III All-American and the SCIAC Player of the Year.

“It was a good coming out year,” Jones said. “It showed my ability and my potential.”

Heading into her senior year, Jones felt that she was at her best fit ever.

“This was actually my strongest year,” Jones said. “I think that I came stronger this year.”

But Jones suffered an injury during the team’s game against La Sierra on Jan. 3 which took her out for most of the season.

The Leopards continued their success with the loss of Jones.

“I think they played as well as they could with the experience they had,” Jones said. “A lot of them were freshman.”

Jones said being injured most of the season gave her a chance to reflect about her time as a member of the women’s basketball team.

“Being out gave me appreciation for what I done at the University,” Jones said.

Coming back from her injury, Jones was able to participate in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship game against Occidental. La Verne lost the game, 51-37.

“Playing as a team was the key thing,” Jones said. “Me coming back through out the team chemistry. We didn’t play as a team.”

Although her senior year may seem like a disappointment, Jones also participates as a member of the track and field team. While Jones feel passionate for both sports, neither one of them takes precedent over the other.

But being an athelete was not always roses.

Jones said she balanced basketball and track and field with her chemistry major. Jones will graduate in May.

"People can attest I wasn't always in the best of moods," Jones said.

Professor of biology Jay Jones taught Jones during most of her academic career.

“She’s a very motivated student,” Jones said. “Students like Trenecca are inspirational. They’re the reason why faculty teaches here.”

Jones stated how much work Jones had to accomplish while playing sports.

“Biochemistry was a hard course for Trenecca,” Jones said. “She studied really hard.”

But Jones had no problem dealing with studies and sports. And as the graduation day approaches Jones will take her skills to good use in the future.

"I am a very competitive person," Jones said. "I do whatever it takes to compete."

A season to remember

Holding true to the team’s motto, it was definitely a season to remember. The Leopards were one game away from a national championship. And the Leopards did take it one step at a time.

In the end, on Nov. 22, however, Emory University proved to be the best team. Down 2-1, sophomore outside hitter Rebecca Villanueva hit an ace to make the game 22-21.

It was the last point the Leopards score the whole season, as Emory sketched out four more points and the title.

Months after the loss, the Leopards finished spring training and are ready to take another shot at the title. But they can now reflect on a stellar season, which saw the Leopards advance to the championship game for the first time since 2001.

“I thought it was a successful season,” senior outside hitter Brianna Gonzales said. “I’m proud of how we did, but I wish we would have won the last game.”

The Leopards started out the season with a perfect 4-0 record during the Puget Sound Premier Invitational. During the tournament, La Verne defeated regional foe Cal State East Bay and last year’s regional champions Puget Sound.

“We started off the season well,” sophomore libero Chelsea Sleight said. “We knew we wanted payback against Puget Sound.”

Continuing the season, the Leopards pounded visiting New York State in a non-league matchup. Then it was off to Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.

SCIAC play appeared easy for the Leopards. The Leopards only lost two games during SCIAC matches, going 42-2 during all the SCIAC matches.

“Some SCIAC opponents are not at the same level of play as we are,” Sleight said.

Sleight however mentioned that the conference does present some challenges.

Conference foe Cal Lutheran has been a rivalry that has increased in years. Also, Sleight said Claremont-Mudd-Scripps has also been competitive over the season.

“They give us a run for our money,” Sleight said.

However, La Verne was riding high in SCIAC play, but its hosted tournament was lurking ahead. The tournament brought together the top two teams in the nation: No. 1 Juanita and No. 2 Emory.

This was the first real test of the season for the Leopards. La Verne never played teams ranked ahead of them during the season up to this point. Gonzales said the tournament represented where the Leopards ranked among the best.

“The tournament gave us a chance to see where we were as a team,” Gonzales said. “ We fought hard in all the matches.”

La Verne faced Juanita in its first match of the tournament. But the Leopards could not overcome powerhouse Juanita during the match.

The next day it was time to face Emory. The Leopards were able to fight to the end, but their fighting was not enough, as they fell 3-2.

In the end, the losses were the only ones the Leopards suffered during the regular season.

“It kinda sucked,” Sleight said. “We played hard. It was such a close game and to lose on our home court twice was not fun.”

While the tournament was a low point for the team, the Leopards went back to SCIAC determined to win. The Leopards clinched the SCIAC championship after a win against Cal Tech on Nov. 1. The Leopards also were selected to host the NCAA Division III West Regional Championship tournament.

“It was cool that we got to host the tournament,” Sleight said. “It’s always fun to play in front of our fans in games like these.”

During the tournament, the Leopards passed Nebraska Wesleyan in the semifinals with a final score of 3-1. The win set up their third and final matchup against Cal Lu.

While the spirits of Cal Lu were high, the Leopards did not let that deter them. The Leopards won the match, 3-1 to advance.

Then it was off to the NCAA Championship tournament. The Leopards received an easy match against New Paltz State in the quarterfinals, sweeping the Hawks 3-0. But the Leopards knew a rematch against Juniata was ahead of them.

“Facing Juniata again, we knew we wanted revenge,” Gonzales said. “We knew we had to play our game and take it one step at a time.”

The Leopards played a heartfelt match. La Verne came out strong in the second game to tie the match 1-1. But at 25-13 slaughter game Juniata a 2-1 match lead. Down by four points in Game 4, the Leopards rallied back to win Game 4 after a service ace by Crista Jones.

Then it was on to Game 5. Tied 15-15 Gonzales kill gave the Leopards the lead. After a kill error by the Eagles, the Leopards sealed the victory.

The Leopard’s players all had the same goal. But many of them differ between each other.
Gonzales said she took more of a leadership role this year than last year.

“I was aware that I was the senior member,” Gonzales said. “Even though it’s selfish of me, I handled it the same way as other years. I led by example.”

Sleight looked to improve her freshman season to become an impact player.

Sleight, a product from Long Beach Wilson High School, enjoyed a great level of success during her second year.

Freshman Mika Chan saw the season as a rookie. Chan participated in her first season as a Leopard mostly on the sideline. She said she enjoyed the atmosphere of the program and her first year.

“It was a lot of fun,” Chan said. “There was no pressure of practice and lifting.”

Chan found out about the school while searching for athletic training programs. She submitted a video tape of her games, and Flora was impressed. Chan admits she did not know much about the program.

After submitting the video, she received a call from Flora.

During her rookie season, Chan played most of her minutes during SCIAC games. She said she was happy at the outcome of joining the team.

“As a freshman, it was a good experience,” Chan said. “I didn’t know what to expect going in.”

“All I knew is that we were a good solid team with a lot of returners,” Chan added.

Sleight, a product from Long Beach Wilson High School, also enjoyed a great level of success during her second year. Sleight made a strong case in her first season as a Leo.

While the Leopards are anxious to start next season, La Verne will be without some familiar people. Head coach Don Flora resigned on Mar. 27, accepting a position at New Mexico State.
The Leopards also will be without Gonzales. The two-time All American finished her career as the SCIAC Player of the Year.

“She’s a big loss, she was a huge aspect to our team,” Sleight said. “But we have other people ready to step up.

But now that her spring camp is over, the Leopards look to put last year behind them to advance to next season. But they will still take it one game at a time.

Looking towards next season

It will be hard to replace the skill and knowledge of Don Flora. But it's the players that make the program. With that said the Leopards will still be a power force for any team they faced. Of course Flora's absence will affect the Leopards at first, but La Verne only loss one starter from last year's team.

Up front the Leopards will return Crista Jones who had a stellar career in her first year as middle blocker. Also the Leopards return Karli Fowlkes and Ashley Morgado, who had her best season last year.

On the sides La Verne will feature Rebecca Villanueva and Anna Calmer. Both players showed promise last season and I feel they will have a better season this year. Chelsea Sleight will get to improve on her season next year as libero. Also setter Yesenia Lopez has one more year of eligibility if she decides to come back to graduate school.

So if you are one to doubt how good the program will be next year, come to their first home match and you will not leave disappointed.

Coach Don Flora resigns

With numerous accolades and success, it is no wonder why the volleyball team seasons are highly anticipated.

But for the first time in 11 years, the Leopards find themselves without a coach.

Head coach Don Flora resigned from his post to a new position as an assistant at Division I New Mexico State.

The decision, effective March 27, comes within months of the Leopards NCAA Division III finals loss to Emory last season. After 11 years, Flora concludes his record 269-59 overall.

"It's a different time for both myself and the team," Flora said. "It's like leaving my family.”

His decision was unexpected for most people close by. Flora said he knew the coaching staff of the program for quite awhile.

“The head coach contacted me, Flora said. “It's one of these things that was out of the blue.”

But many members of the team were caught off guard.

“I think we were pretty surprised,” junior middle block Crista Jones said about hearing the news. “There were a lot of mix emotions.”

Jones was a key part of the Leopards success last season. Jones said the team members reacted different.

“Some were surprised and frustrated in a sense,” Jones said. “We just work really hard, things going to be change but we know where the heart of the team.”

“It’s hard too because Don is a great coach and he ran a heck of a program,” Jones added.

Jones said she was happy that Flora accepted the new position. Jones also said that the team is continuing practicing for their spring training.

“The only choice we have is to keep a positive attitude, it’s our only option,” Jones said. “Being cynical doesn’t help the situation.”

Under Flora, the volleyball program has enjoyed continue success. After taking the position following renowned coach Jim Paschal, the Leopards have captured nine consecutive Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conferences championships from 2000 to 2008.

During those years, La Verne won five West Region championships and four NCAA final four appearances.

In 2001 the Leopards posted their best record under Flora, winning the NCAA Division III national championship. The championship included Ryan Winn and newly Hall of Fame inductee, two National Players of the Year.

Flora received American Volleyball Coaches Association and Volleyball Magazine Division III Coach of the Year in 2001. Also Flora is a four-time West Region Coach of the Year.

A new search for Flora’s replacement has not started yet Kline said, but potential candidates have contacted Kline.

Flora said leaving La Verne would not be an easy task.

"There's a lot of friends and colleagues on this staff," Flora said. "It's super hard thinking about leaving the day to day interactions and support of the other staff.”

Some of Flora’s players are very supportive of Flora’s decision.

“I was surprised but I was happy for him because getting a position at a higher level is a big deal,” senior Brianna Gonzales said.

Gonzales was a standout player for the Leopards last season. She was selected to the First All-American team

Gonzales credits her success to Flora’s teaching.

“It was great, I learn so much from him,” Gonzales said. “He helped me develop to play at a high level.”

While Flora will be missed, the Leopards are looking towards the future.

“This program is bigger than all of us,” Flora said. “They have a chance to be stellar next season.”

End of the Year Recap

Another year in sports is over. We had some highs and definitely some lows, but all teams managed to make this is year to remember. Here’s a look at how at the spring teams did this year.


With a small team at hand, the Leopards did all they could this season. However La Verne future was in jeopardy with the decision to put the team on hiatus. However the decision was overturn. The Leopards finished the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament sixth. They concluded their overall record with a 3-16 finished.

Track and Field

The sprint team seems to be on the mends. The Leopards received a strong showing from dual sport player Clarissa Holz in the 400 hurdles. However the field event team has a strong showing in the SCIAC finals. Senior Antoinette Borders placed second in shot put, which was the highest placing for both men’s and women’s team.

Water Polo

The Leopards held Pomona-Pitzer to two goals in the second half of the SCIAC tournament but they could not upset the Sagehens and felled 12-8. The Leopards conclude their first season on head coach Alex La 3-23, earning a 7th placed finish in the tournament.


It was another solid year for the Leopards, Coming off their post season appearance last year, the Leopards looked to increase their success in the beginning of the season. But the Leopards started off rough losing their first two games. Since then the Leopards has been on a hot streak, but loss to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in SCIAC postseason play. The Leopards are currently in the NCAA Regional tournament. The Leopards postseason article to follow.

And here is a year of review. It is short, but it is pack with some great achievements.

Most Improved Team


Coming from a dismal 2-14-1 record, the Leopards did a complete 180 this season, making post season action in years. La Verne revamped their team and added some new faces including standout Falisha Ramirez. Hopefully the Leopards can ride on last year success to become the best team next year.

Best Player

Brianna Gonzales

Where do we start? Like a true senior, Gonzales ended her senior campaign on top. Gonzales was named AVCA first team all-American, Most Outstanding Player of the West Region Championships and SCIAC Player of the Year. Most recently Gonzales received The National Strength and Conditioning Association All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year award. Also, Gonzales helped lead the team past the #1 Juniata with 16 kills.

Best Coach

Julie Kline

Kline should be congratulated for having a squad that had a depth and discipline too. When standout Trenecca Jones went out, Kline managed to minimize the absences and continue on their run to the SCIAC championship. Unfortunately the Leopards could not pull out the victory in the end.

Best Team


It’s not a surprise here. The Leopards improved from last year west regional loss and advanced to the final game of the NCAA Division III tournament for the first time since 2001. Although they could not pull it out, this is probably one of the most talented squad La Verne has ever had.