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Articles by Phillip Brents

The 2018 high school football season kicks off Friday, Aug. 17. With it comes a new season of expectations.

The San Diego Section has tweaked its playoff format for the upcoming campaign, one that should make every division that much more competitive.

The top tier Open Division has been reduced from eight teams to four, with four top-quality teams now joining the fight for Division I supremacy.

The Pony League World Series isn’t as well recognized as the Little League World Series but still has a long and storied history.

Both events are annually held in Pennsylvania.

Little League International can trace its origin to 1939; Pony Baseball was first organized in 1951.

The San Diego County-based Tecolote Red all-star team came within one win of advancing to this year’s Pony-14 championship series.

The San Diego Pole Vault Club has had quite an active summer by participating in a number of events as well as receiving weekly instruction.

The club, which draws participants primarily from East County schools, is under the direction of Lyle Barton, who serves as the pole vault coach at El Capitan High School and pole vault/multi-event coach at Cuyamaca College.

His current group is drawn from Grossmont district high schools as well as Otay Ranch, Scripps Ranch and St. Augustine high schools and several Masters participants.

American Legion’s return to the playing field started with 13 teams in the revived circuit sponsored by American Legion District 22. It ended with a four-team area playoff tournament July 17-19 at Helix High School.

It was the first on-field action locally in the 19U youth baseball league since 1985.

The top two teams in the regular season standings from the Navy Division and Marine Division participated in the double-elimination tourney.

The race for this year’s Grossmont Hills League boys water polo championship appears to be hotly contested. Front-runners include the Valhalla Norsemen, Grossmont Foothillers and Steele Canyon Cougars.

Valhalla won last year’s league title while Grossmont captured the San Diego Section Division I championship.

“All three teams return a lot of players, so the league title should be closely contested,” veteran Valhalla coach Kent Houston said.

Major League Rugby will conclude its inaugural season with its 2018 championship match July 7 at the University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium.

It has been a debut season filled with much expectation and reward, especially for the San Diego Legion, one of the league’s seven first-year franchises.

The Legion recorded its highlight moment of the season last Saturday after handing the previously undefeated Glendale Raptors a stinging 33-5 defeat in front of a boisterous crowd at Torero Stadium.

The 2018 high school football season is a lot closer than the casual observer might think.

Fall training camps open as early as July 25 for some schools. The first regular season games are scheduled Aug. 17, with scrimmage games held the week prior to that.

In the meantime, seven-on-seven passing tournaments have heated up the summer as teams prepare to get into preseason mode.

The San Diego State University baseball team provided quite a few highlights throughout the 2018 season, tops among them were winning the Mountain West Conference tournament championship and earning a berth in the NCAA Division I regionals.

East County product Jordan Verdon was among several Aztecs rewarded during the team’s championship run.

The former Granite Hills High School standout was one of three SDSU players to earn first team All-Mountain West honors, joining teammates Chase Calabuig, a senior outfielder, and junior right-handed pitcher Garrett Hill.

After a long absence in San Diego County, American Legion baseball has made a return. The fledgling league, sponsored by District 22, has released a regular season schedule spanning from June 12 to July 12 with 13 teams placed in two divisions.

The seven-team Navy Division includes the Chula Vista Mater Dei Crusaders Post 434, National City Seahawks Post 255, Ramona Patriots Post 332, West Hills Tomcats Post 364, Madison Hawkeyes Post 731, Patrick Henry Trojans Post 416 and Santana Sea Knights Post 258.

Valhalla High School senior Alex Lieu was a surprise entrant in last weekend’s 100th running of the California state high school track and field championship meet at Buchanan High School in Clovis.

He was certainly in for the surprise of his life after recording a ninth-place finish in the boys 300-meter intermediate hurdles to cap his high school career.