El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Phillip Brents

Monte Vista High School junior Tyler Lopez has made quite an impression so far in the early stages of the 2014 cross country season, and the season is far from over.

Lopez, who qualified for last year’s elite state championship meet as a sophomore, stepped off the current campaign by capturing the top time in the boys sophomore race at the Wolf Pack Invitational Aug. 29 at West Hills High School. He timed 10 minutes, 47 seconds on the 2.1-mile course to win by a handy 11-second margin.

The 2014 high school cross-country season has stepped off in fine fashion for both the Valhalla and Steele Canyon high school teams. Steele Canyon captured the team championship in the Blue Division girls’ varsity race at this year’s Mustang Invitational, held Sept. 12 at Rohr Park in Chula Vista, while the Cougars recorded a runner-up finish in the Blue Division boys’ varsity race.

Brian Harvey was an icon at Grossmont College as head coach of the men’s water polo team. Harvey led the Griffins to 20 conference titles during his 25-year tenure and collected more than 600 wins.

Harvey retired last year after guiding Grossmont to its third consecutive Pacific Athletic Conference championship. The Griffins appear in good hands, however, under the reins of new head coach Ty Lackey, a former Grossmont player and assistant coach.

It's one thing to be the big man on campus in high school but quite another thing to excel on the college gridiron.

San Diego State University head football coach Rocky Long cautions young prep recruits from finding immediate success in the collegiate ranks. He said the jump from high school, or even the community college level, is a major one that many players are just not prepared to make initially.

It's thus been a gradual progression rather than instant immersion for many talented players.

Overall, this is Kent Houston’s 3oth year coaching boys water polo at Valhalla High School. During that time, he’s seen both dominance and drop-off by teams from the Grossmont Conference. The sport in East County now appears back on the rise.

The shelves reserved for trophies at the Skate San Diego roller rink are a little less bare after teams representing the El Cajon rink returned from the recent AAU Junior Olympic Games in Las Vegas with a pair of national championship trophies.

The San Diego Sprung Hockey Hosers/Alakli San Diego Stingrays combo team captured titles in both the 21-under Club and 21-under International divisions at the 190-plus team inline hockey extravaganza that took place July 10-20 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Kudos must go to Spring Valley Little League’s mighty Senior Division team after it wrapped up a runner-up finish in the Southern California Division III state championship tournament last weekend in Manhattan Beach.

After winning California District 66 and Section 7 championships, Spring Valley qualified to compete in the division tournament after defeating Section 10 champion Central Garden Grove, 6-5, on July 23, to finish as Southern California-South Sub-Division III champions. 

California District 41 and California District 66 both serve East County’s Little League youth baseball community.

District 41 encompasses 17 leagues: Alpine American, Cajon de Oro, El Cajon National, El Cajon Western, Fletcher Hills, Jamul, Julian, Lakeside American, Lakeside National, Mountain Empire, Rancho San Diego, Rios Canyon, Santee Pioneer American, Santana National, Singing Hills, United Santee and West Hills.

The Christian High School Patriots ended the 2013 prep football season with one of those proverbial once in a lifetime experiences, as the small enrollment East County school knocked off a team with five-times the student enrollment to capture the San Diego Section Division III championship title.

Robin Sanchez has coached water polo at El Capitan High School since 1988. He can be found on the campus pool deck during both the fall boys’ season and the winter girls season.

He can also be found on the pool deck during the summer as high school teams begin their embryotic development toward full-blown preseason training camps.