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Tuesday, August 16, 2011
COLLEGE: Ex-Cerritos stars die in crash

By Scott French

Two former players from junior college powerhouse Cerritos College were killed Saturday as they trekked toward Kansas Wesleyan University, where both had accepted scholarships.

Defender Carlos Ornellas (South Gate/Warren HS), 21, and midfielder Eddie Valencia (Los Angeles/Wilson HS), 20, died following a one-car accident early Saturday near the Utah-Colorado border, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported.

Teammate Briant Reyes (Downey/Downey HS), 21, suffered minor injuries to his arms and legs in the crash and was released from a Utah hospital later Saturday.

“It's been very difficult,” Cerritos coach Benny Artiaga told the newspaper. “Our sophomores are in a really bad emotional state.”

All three played for the Falcons the past two seasons -- Valencia and Reyes were All-South Coast Conference selections -- and were set to start their careers this month at Kansas Wesleyan, an NAIA school that has recruited heavily in Southern California.

“I think we are all in a state of shock right now, trying to take it all in,” Coyotes head coach Mike Dibbini said in a posting on the school's website. “Carlos and Eddie were great kids, great players and great students. Their loss is not only a loss for the soccer program, but the entire university.”

A Facebook page has been set up to honor Ornellas and Valencia.