El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Phillip Brents

The San Diego Multi-Event Championships featured a record-breaking field this year. The event caters to the all-around track and field athlete. Recent Steele Canyon High School graduate Cody Rhodes had to be counted among the top contenders.

Cuyamaca College finished with four All-Americans at the recent California Community College Association state track and field championship meet. They included men’s distance runner Ryan Maize, men’s pole-vaulters Shane Hoagland and Xander Law and women’s discus thrower Dana Hosley.

The Santana High School boys volleyball team gave a hint that success might follow in the San Diego Section playoffs after capturing this spring's Grossmont Valley League championship with an unblemished 8-0 record.

The underclassmen-heavy Sultans seemed to find a nice fit in the Division III field as the No. 3 playoff seed; the fit proved even better than expected after they upset the top-seeded Bonita Vista Barons to capture the division championship with a three games to one victory May 23 at Canyon Crest Academy.

The Steele Canyon High School boys track and field team placed runner-up for the San Diego Section Division II championship in 2007, captured the Division I title in 2008 and also the Division II banner in 2009. 

The Cougars look to be pushing for a top spot on the awards podium again this spring, according to coach Gary Stathus.

Santee’s Sean Gaian is no stranger to competing at the elite levels of BMX racing. Last July in Auckland, N.Z., Gaian captured the hearts of a nation by winning the UCI BMX world championship in the Junior Men’s Division. In October 2011, Gaian, then 15, was honored by the city after winning his age division at the UCI world championships in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The top track and field student-athletes of 2014 have started to emerge through the opening month of the season, and it appears East County will once again figure prominently in qualifying for this year’s state championship meet.

West Hills junior Melissa Mongiovi, a returning state meet medalist, leads Grossmont Conference athletes as the top-ranked runner in the San Diego Section in the 200-meter dash (24.76), 400-meter dash (56.84) and 800-meter run (2:16.99). She also ranks fifth in the 100-meter dash (12.48).

Valhalla High School boys lacrosse coach Jason Balistreri doesn’t mince words when talking about the competition level in the seven-team Grossmont Conference. 

“We have two very good teams in our league, we hope to compete with them and finish in top half of the league,” he said after the Norsemen’s 10-2 non-league victory March 18 at Hilltop.

It’s been called the place where dreams are made and hearts are broken, and for two East County mat men, a trip to the 42nd California boys state wrestling championship tournament is at hand.

El Cajon Valley senior Leon Shlemoon will compete in the 145-pound weight class while Mt. Miguel senior Miracle Tausaga will compete in the 220-pound weight class when this weekend’s state tournament kicks off Friday at Bakersfield’s Rabobank Arena.

Chatter has filled Internet discussion boards all during the 2013-14 season as to the identity of the best high school wrestler among San Diego Section schools. El Cajon Valley senior Leon Shlemoon’s name has to be near the top, certainly after scoring an epic double-overtime victory to capture the 145-pound championship at last Saturday’s Division III finals at Olympian High School.

The effective reboot of the Valhalla High School wrestling program appears to be an ongoing success judging by results so far in the 2013-14 season.

“We’ve probably doubled the size of the program,” VHS coach Steve Bulette said with a definite mix of optimism and enthusiasm. “We currently have about 80 to 90 percent freshmen and sophomores. We only have three seniors. We’re doing pretty well; we’re just young.