El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Colin Grylls

Both sides of Main Street in El Cajon glistened with fierce reds, bright yellows and deep purples at last Wednesday’s Cajon Classic Cruise.

The thick smell of gasoline and rubber could almost be tasted as only the throaty, rumbling sound of old school carbureted engines was hotter than the day’s 98-degree temperature. Car-owners did their best to set up their chairs in the shade as they happily answered questions from curious passersby.

At the Lakeside Rodeo Arena next to El Capitan High School, country music blasted over the white noise of passing cars as the 51st Lakeside Rodeo was set to begin last Friday.

Popcorn, dust and livestock swirled through the air to create an unexpectedly pleasant scent as the eclectic crowd was corralled behind the grandstands.

Overlooking State Route 125, Noel Mickelson Field has seen its fair share of college and MLB-bound baseball players. Last week it witnessed San Diego County’s premier community college rivalry as Grossmont hosted Southern California’s tenth-best team, Southwestern College.

Unfortunately for East County fans, Grossmont (11-13, 5-7 Pacific Coast Athletic Conference) was on the wrong end of a six-game Jaguar (19-6, 11-4 PCAC) winning streak and dropped all three games.

Light-hearted chants rarely heard from the boys ring in from the dugout as girls across East County dig into the batters’ box. Softball season has arrived, and though the sport often lives in the shadow of baseball, girls are looking to change that in 2015 with their energetic play.

Grossmont Hills League

Seemingly synchronized steps echo throughout East County as spikes crunch into the dirt packed hard by yet another dry Southern California winter. Soon, the unmistakable popping of baseball gloves will give way to the occasional rattling chain link fence from an errant throw  – high school baseball back in full swing.

Grossmont Hills League

Where Clint Eastwood would ride off into the sunset, three East County schools raced away from the sun and hauled their spoils along I-8. After an action-packed weekend at USD’s Jenny Craig Pavilion, Foothills Christian and El Cajon Valley took home the CIF San Diego Section (CIFSDS) boys’ Division II and D-III titles, respectively, and El Capitan claimed the girls’ D-IV hardware.

Cloudy skies did not damper the Wounded Marine Fund Golf Tournament at Sycuan Golf Resort Feb. 27. An afternoon on the links, an evening of food and a silent auction kept smiles on participants’ faces and raised money raised for veterans.

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.