El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Colin Grylls

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.

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.