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Articles by Phillip Brents

It can be an intimidating stage with 7,000 people watching every move you make on the wrestling mat at the annual California state championship tournament.

But it can also be a rewarding stage for those in the spotlight who persevere through the adversity to come home with a coveted medal.

A total of seven East County mat men qualified for the 45th annual state tournament, held March 3-4 in Bakersfield. Though none managed to earn a spot on the awards platform, it was a journey most of them will likely not forget.

Seven East County wrestlers have qualified to compete in this weekend’s state championship tournament in Bakersfield, and in record-setting fashion.

Three mat men representing Steele Canyon High School, two wrestlers from Helix Charter High School and one each from Mount Miguel and West Hills high schools will be vying for spots on the awards podium at Rabobank Arena this weekend.

The state tournament starts Friday, March 3, and wraps up Saturday, March 4.

The CIF-Metro Conference Kiwanis Cup roller hockey playoffs faced off Feb. 22 and, much to the delight of Patrick Henry High School’s first-year program, the Patriots were included in the 12-team draw.

Patrick Henry received the No. 9 seed and met eighth-seeded Otay Ranch in the first round.   

The game, played at Castle Park High School’s outdoor rink, was expected to be close after the teams played to a 6-6 tie in January’s Pam Wiser Classic tournament, and a month later, the rematch lived up to its billing.

East County high school wrestling programs made a significant impact at this year’s San Diego Section divisional championship tournaments with a staggering 62 qualifiers (including alternates) for this weekend’s San Diego Masters state qualifying tournament.

Patrick Henry High School’s fledgling roller hockey team has certainly experienced its ups and downs in its inaugural season. The team carried a 0-5 North County League record into the New Year, which quickly became 0-8 following the opening two weeks of the 2017 calendar year.

As the 2016-17 high school wrestling season officially enters its second half, the goal is as clear as ever for San Diego Section wrestlers: the state championship meet is the ultimate ticket.

It’s not any easy ride.

The top four place-winners at the section’s Masters state qualifying tournament, scheduled Feb. 24-25 at Olympian High School, will advance to the state tournament March 3-4 in Bakersfield.

The 2016-17 NFL playoffs have kicked off and the initial 12-team field has been reduced to eight teams – four teams in each of the NFC and AFC playoff brackets – following last weekend’s wild card round.

Two divisional playoff games will be played on Saturday, Jan. 14, and two more on Sunday, Jan. 15, to further reduce the field to four teams.

Santana High School senior football player Devan Henselmeier received the 2016 Dr Pepper Most Inspirational Player Award during the recent National Funding Holiday Bowl. Henselmeier was presented with a $2,000 scholarship on the field during the college bowl game Dec. 27 at Qualcomm Stadium.

He was selected from a pool of San Diego county student-athletes to receive the award. The presentation took place during the first half of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers’ 17-12 upset win over the Washington State Cougars.

Exciting finishes are usually reserved for the National Funding Holiday Bowl but the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl upstaged its older sibling for once.

Wednesday evening, Dec. 21, at Qualcomm Stadium, the Brigham Young University Cougars held off the University of Wyoming Cowboys, 24-21, on an interception by BYU’s Kai Nacua after the Cowboys had driven to the Cougar 30-yard line in the dying moments of the game played before 28,114 fans.

The Washington State University Cougars and the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers will meet in the 39th National Funding Holiday Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 27. Kick-off is 4 p.m. at Qualcomm Stadium.

Both teams are 8-4 on the season. The game will be televised by ESPN.

Washington State has seven San Diego County players listed on its roster, including four from East County.