Each week, publications from the Southern California News Group’s 11 properties (Orange County Register, L.A. Daily News, Press-Enterprise, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Long Beach Press-Telegram, The Daily Breeze, San Bernardino Sun, Daily Bulletin, Redlands Daily Facts, Whittier Daily News and Pasadena-Star News) select the Athletes of the Week for their respective region.
Each athlete is then entered into the overall Southern California Athlete of the Week vote.
Click on the newspaper links below the athlete’s name to read about their performance from last week, and then vote for who you think deserves the top honor.
Readers are allowed to vote multiple times. Voting ends at Friday at noon, but final totals aren’t always immediately reflected due to processing.
The overall winner will be announced on Friday, May 12.
Voting poll at bottom of the page.
Daniel Li, San Marino: Li had a big day at the CIF Southern Section Division 2 swimming finals, as he won two events and anchored the winning 200 medley relay squad. Li delivered a dominant performance in the 100-yard breaststroke, setting a Division 2 meet record by winning in 52.43 seconds. That made him one of the favorites for the CIF State championships this week. Li’s mark came close to the national high school record of 51.62, which was set in 2018. Li also won the 200 medley in 1:47.98, and was part of a Titans team that finished second overall.
Jack O’Shaughnessy, Bishop Montgomery: O’Shaughnessy set a school record in the 100 backstroke at the CIF-SS Division 3 prelims with a time of 49.80 seconds. In the finals, he topped that time, posting a 49.41 to win the event. He also finished second in the 100 butterfly (50.24).
Max Pemberton, Long Beach Poly: The junior catcher hit a clutch walk-off, inside-the-park home run to lead Long Beach Poly to a 7-6 win against Beckman in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 baseball playoffs at Long Beach City College. Pemberton is batting .386 with with 18 RBIs.
Marko Samardzija, Loma Linda Academy: Samardzija was one of the standouts at the CIF Southern Section Division 4 swim prelims in Riverside. He turned in the top qualifying times in the 50-yard freestyle (21.81 seconds) and 100 freestyle (48.11). Both of those times were personal bests and among the Top 10 times by Inland swimmers this past weekend. Samardzija would have been the overwhelming favorite to win the titles in both events but did not swim in the finals Saturday. Loma Linda Academy is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which observes Sabbath between sunset Friday and sunset Saturday.
Ty DePerno, West Ranch: DePerno delivered in a big way from the plate last week, going 3 for 4 with two home runs and five RBIs in West Ranch’s 6-5 win over Royal in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs.
Humberto Najera, Santa Margarita: He broke the Orange County record in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 47.36 seconds at the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championships. Najera, who signed with Cal, helped the Eagles win the Division 1 team title. He was part of their second-place team in the 400 freestyle relay and was on their 200 medley relay team that set a county record with a time of 1:29.30.