I wanted to post this press statement from the Cerritos College Athletic Department. Horrific news about the deaths of two athletes here at Cerritos College and the injury of a third. More deatils to follow in the Los Cerritos Community News.
After finishing their two-year careers at Cerritos College, the trio of Eddie Valencia (Los Angeles Wilson HS), Carlos Ornelas (Warren HS) and Briant Reyes (Downey HS) all chose to transfer to Kansas Wesleyan University - an NAIA school - to continue their education and playing careers. But, on Saturday, August 13, the trio, who were driving together to report to the school on Monday, were involved in a traffic accident in Utah, with Valencia and Ornelas passing away, while Reyes survived.
"This is a terrible tragedy and my heart and soul goes out to my player´s families, said Falcon head coach Benny Artiaga. "Carlos and Eddie will be missed dearly by our entire soccer family. Our current team is in complete disbelief and sadness. These young men had worked really hard to accomplish their scholarships to Kansas Wesleyan. Their parents and teammates were really proud of them."
The two were killed in a rollover accident near Green River, UT Saturday. Troopers say the three men were driving a Chevy Silverado pick-up truck eastbound on I-70 when the vehicle went off the road on the left side and rolled into the median. Valencia and Ornelas were ejected from the truck and transported to St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado. Reyes was released with minor arm and leg injuries. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Valencia, a 1st Team All-South Coast Conference midfielder, and Ornelas, a defender, were about to join Diego Millan and Jesus Ochoa on a team that went 16-3 last season, advanced to the NAIA National Championships before losing to Oklahoma Baptist University, 1-0 in overtime and finished ranked #8. The team is a strong favorite to win the Kansas City Athletic Conference (KCAC) this coming season after wining it last year, as well as the KCAC Tournament Title. Reyes, a 2nd Team All-SCC forward, is uncertain about his future with the university."I really don't have the words to describe what our team is feeling," added Artiaga. "I am in a lot of pain and so are a lot of this year´s sophomores who spent a lot of time with their teammates. We will do our best to help them deal with this tragedy."