El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Phillip Brents

Neither Monte Vista High School’s Richard San Nicolas Jr. nor West Hills High School’s Nicholas Rivinius had ever captured an individual varsity weight class championship, yet alone earn an outstanding wrestler award, prior to last Saturday’s Monte Vista Invitational. 

But both wrestlers are now sporting smiles – and some gleaming hardware – after recording their first varsity tournament victories.

The arrival of the San Diego Gulls of the American Hockey League has definitely pumped up interest in the sport of hockey—both ice and inline—in the San Diego region. The Gulls serve as the top minor league affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks of the National Hockey League and feature top draft picks and players who have played in the NHL on their roster.

The Gulls roared out to a 7-1 start in their new nest at the Valley View Casino Center to push the excitement level of fans even higher.

El Niño may turn out to be one of the biggest news stories in 2016 and possibly even in 2017. The tropical moisture-driven storms associated with the phenomenon can wreck havoc on coastal communities with widespread flooding from torrential downpours.

But El Niño can also provide some good-natured family fun. Besides dropping a lot of rain in the coastal plain, El Niño storms can also drop a lot of snow in California’s coastal and peninsular mountain ranges.

The San Diego Gulls are nearly the halfway mark of their maiden season and, by all accounts, the American Hockey League club has surpassed all expectations.

The AHL serves as the top-tier affiliate of the National Hockey League and local fans have flocked to the Gulls’ new nest to watch top young prospects on their way up to the NHL as well as players with extensive NHL credentials working their way back to pro hockey’s “big show.”

The hottest team and quarterback in the NFL as the playoffs get ready to start this weekend? Look no farther than the Kansas City Chiefs and former Helix High School signal-caller Alex Smith after the Chiefs picked up their franchise-record 10th consecutive win by defeating the visiting Oakland Raiders, 23-17, on Sunday, Jan. 3.

The win raised the Chiefs' record to 11-5 and solidified a runner-up finish to the Denver Broncos in the AFC West Division standings.

The 26th annual Alex Spanos All-Star Classic is scheduled Jan. 16 at San Diego Mesa College as the state’s longest-running high school football all-star game has elected to undergo a face-lift with a move from July to the winter months.

The game, with a more football-friendly timeline, comes a month after the end of the high school state football championship bowl games and allows plenty of time for coaches to invite the region’s top senior players to compete one last time in front of friends and families.

The El Cajon Invitational wrestling tournament rolled out its 45th edition Dec. 18-19 at Olympian High School in Chula Vista, With 42 teams participating from throughout San Diego and Imperial counties, as well as from Arizona and Washington, it remained one of the San Diego Section’s showcase tournaments.

The tournament annually features returning state meet qualifiers, state medalists and CIF divisional champions to provide a measuring stick for section mat men. This year’s tournament was no different.

The high school football season is about to get very interesting indeed for the winners of this weekend’s San Diego Section divisional championships at Southwestern College. Starting this year, all division champions will advance to the state regional playoffs, not just a select few teams based on a poll of the state’s section commissioners, as in the past.

The 2015 San Diego Section football playoffs kick off Friday, Nov. 13. The section seeding committee has made two East County teams favorites to win their respective divisions: the Helix Highlanders in the eight-team elite Open Division and the Valhalla Norsemen in the 12-team Division II bracket.

Additionally, two other Grossmont Conference teams received top four seeds in their divisions.

The San Diego State University football team swept the Mountain West weekly awards after posting a 41-17 victory at Colorado State on Oct. 31.

Junior Donnel Pumphrey (Las Vegas) won the MW Offensive Player of the Week award, classmate Damontae Kazee (San Bernardino) was chosen as the MW Defensive Player of the Week and senior Donny Hageman (Covina) was named the MW Special Teams Player of the Week.