El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Colin Grylls

For high schoolers, February usually means two things. A make-or-break Valentine’s Day and the start of winter sports playoffs. Players throughout East County are hoping to use a deep playoff run to impress their sweethearts, or at least work off all of their heart-shaped chocolate.

Boys’ Basketball

While those with triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13, boarded up windows for a safe night last Friday night, El Cajon Valley embraced the number’s aura against fellow Division III heavyweight Valhalla. With their 82-73 victory, the Braves guaranteed themselves sole possession of the Grossmont-Valley league title.

Head coach Marty Ellis said he was ecstatic.

“Regardless of what happens we will be league champs,” he said. “No matter what.”

Recognized by the Olympics, but not CIF, rugby found refuge in East County last Saturday when Valhalla High School hosted the inaugural Tribe Rugby Invitational.

This season was the Norsemen’s first and the Valkyries’ second. May Harris, USA Rugby Trust board member and Valhalla team manager said she thinks hosting tournaments will raise the sports visibility.

Though they finished 2014 with the most successful season in school history, the Vaqueros did not ride off into the sunset with the Division III State Championship trophy. A long 122 mile bus ride awaited El Capitan after last Saturday’s last-minute 35-28 loss to the Campolindo (Moraga) Cougars.

Fanfare greeted El Capitan fans as they entered Wendell R. Cutting Field to watch El Capitan take on Paso Robles High in the CIF Division III Southern California Regional Championship on Saturday night. Extra stands were placed behind both end-zones—an excellent decision by the school because it seemed as if the entire city of Lakeside was at the game, anxious to see whether the Vaqueros would clinch a berth in the State Championship for the first time in school history.

Blaring speakers blasted out hit after hit on Mast Blvd. next to Santana High School on Sunday. Spectators watched as a stream of athletes flew around a series of cones while being treated to a steady chorus of Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line,” U2’s “Walk On” and Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” hinted at the event - the United States 50k Race Walk National Championships were back in Santee.

Ominous rain fell to the turf at Granite Hills High School before the Christian Patriots hosted the St. Margaret’s (San Juan Capistrano) Tartans on Friday. Both teams won their respective CIF Section title and the winner would punch their ticket to the state championship.

It was the Tartans, however, that will be making the trip to Carson after defeating Christian, 48-21.

St. Margaret’s senior linebacker Dalan Cragun put it simply.

With Southwestern College’s brand-new $45 million field house looming in the background at last weekend’s CIF San Diego Section (CIFSDS) Football Championships, fans nearly filled DeVore Stadium’s roughly 7,000 seats for the Division II final between the El Capitan Vaqueros and the Rancho Bernardo Broncos.

“Run like someone stole your bike,” read a spectator’s shirt at the CIF San Diego Section Cross-Country Championships last weekend. Participants would have had a long chase - the boys ran a grueling 3.04 miles while a slightly modified 2.75-mile course tested the girls.

 

Jeff Odom

On Nov. 8, Balboa Park’s Municipal Gym hosted the 25th annual Best of the West Quad Rugby Tournament. La Mesa resident Jeff Odom, 38, and his team, the Sharp Edge, finished fifth, although his wide grin as the team shared beers in the parking lot might have duped passersby into believing they had finished first.