El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Mary York

With league just beginning, volleyball in East County is ramping up. 

Meeting face-to-face for the first time this season, Grossmont Conference programs made their league debuts over the course of last week. 

Already, championship contenders have stood up. El Cajon Valley (6-3) sits at the top of the Grossmont Valley League, if for no other reason than that Grossmont (12-3) has yet to play their first league match as of the writing of this article. 

The hardest part about being at the top is staying there. For football powerhouse Grossmont High School, the battle to keep on top of the standings has brought a fairly young team through a tumultuous month. 

With a loss against Bishop’s and Eastlake, and wins against Olympian and Hilltop, Grossmont head coach Tom Karlo said he is optimistic about where the team is headed. 

For Monte Vista’s water polo team, rebuilding its program is an upstream swim. Ten seniors down from last year’s roster, the Monarchs are small in numbers, limited in experience, but fully loaded with good humor and hope.

Team captain Arturo Rodriguez said this is a growth year for the Monarchs and that the young team has adjusted its playing strategy accordingly.

It is not just about winning, at least not at the annual Southern California Honor Bowl, held for the first time this year at Cathedral Catholic High School. 

Charles Bussey let out a sigh of relief. A decisive victory on home turf is always a good way to start the season.

Bussey, Valhalla’s head football coach for the last seven years, finds himself in a position many coaches can relate to. It is a rebuilding season for the Norsemen.

“It’s a new group,” he said. “We graduated a lot of guys from last year so it’s kind of a work in progress.”

If there is such a thing as destiny, then Laulauga Tausaga-Collins and the discus were meant for each other. 

The University of Iowa freshman, a Spring Valley, California resident and former Mount Miguel Matador, joined 83 other athletes representing Team USA at the 2017 Pan American Junior Championships in Trujillo, Peru in July, after winning the discus throw at the National Championship in Sacramento on June 22. Tausaga-Collins threw 59.29 to win gold in Peru, setting a new meet record.

Summers do not mean vacation for everyone. San Diego’s football programs have commenced summer session training and East County schools are doing their part to keep their teams in shape for a competitive season come the new school year.

Games are held all summer, all over the county. On Friday, July 7, two-dozen teams rolled into Southwestern College in Chula Vista for a two-day tournament, with Grossmont Conference schools like Helix, Valhalla, and El Capitan ready to scope out the competition.

Slender fingers pick at the strings on her guitar as she pulls out the trusty crowd favorite, tossing back her tangled mane of golden hair, as her rich earthy voice ripples through the heat of the afternoon, singing the first weeping words of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”

Like the classic boyhood stories of baseball underdogs becoming victors, the Cajon De Oro (CDO) Little League’s very own Dodgers team rose from obscurity to take the District 41 Tournament of Champions (TOC) President’s Cup.

Majors Dodgers manager and coach TJ Flannery said his team had a surprisingly good season.

Baseball is a family affair. And while San Diegans of all ages find themselves enjoying Padres games or the local high school playoff match, most baseball lovers find their beginnings on a Little League field.

That is why Cajon De Oro Little League’s new T-ball field is such an exciting addition to the community, said Cory Thiem, a board member of CDO. A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new field took place on June 10 and christened the beginning of the next generation of Little Leaguers.