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Articles by Phillip Brents

It’s a race that high school cross-country runners have penciled on their calendars months in advance. Last Saturday’s San Diego Section championships at Morley Field did not disappoint for a number of elite East County runners who will now be making the trek to this weekend’s state championship meet in Fresno.

The El Capitan High School girls volleyball team finished its 2016 season Saturday, Nov. 19, two rounds deep into the Southern California regional playoffs. The Lady Vaqueros finished the season with a 25-5 overall record and San Diego Section Division III championship.

Two weeks after returning from a concussion, Helix High School alumnus Alex Smith helped guide the visiting Kansas City Chiefs to a last-second 20-17 victory against the 2016 Super Bowl finalist Carolina Panthers in a National Football League non-conference game on Sunday, Nov. 13.

The win raised the Chiefs' record to 7-2 on the season and a tie atop the AFC West standings with the idle Oakland Raiders.

San Diego State University’s football team thumped the University of Hawaii, 55-0, in the Aztecs'; annual homecoming game Nov. 5 in front of 41,644 fans at Qualcomm Stadium to officially clinch a berth in the Mountain West conference’s upcoming championship game. It marks the second consecutive year the Aztecs will make an appearance in the conference championship game after defeating Air Force to win last year’s MW title game.

The San Diego Sockers improved their early season record to 2-0 thanks in part to the timely goalscoring of the team’s East County iron man, midfielder Anthony Medina. The Valhalla High School alumnus scored two fourth quarter goals to lift the Sockers to an 8-4 victory against the Dallas Sidekicks in a game played Nov. 5 at the Valley View Casino Center and, in the process, keep the team’s record unblemished on the season.

With a 7-1 start to the season, the San Diego State University football team is treading on history. The Aztecs are off to their best start since the 1977 season when the team finished with a 10-1 record playing as an independent.

That 1977 team remains the only team in school history to end the season included in the Division I national rankings – 16th in the AP poll and 19th in the UPI poll.

Attacking midfielder Anthony Medina has earned accolades as the iron man of the San Diego Sockers. He celebrated his return to the team by scoring a pair of goals in a 12-1 Major Arena Soccer League victory against the Turlock Express on Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Valley View Casino Center.

One of the original members of the Sockers’ revival squad in 2008, the Valhalla High School alumnus is entering his eighth season with the team.

The South Bay Invitational remains one of the San Diego Section’s longest-running cross country meets; it still keeps delivering thrills. 

Among this year’s highlights:

•West Hills and Grossmont tied for the lead in the girls JV division, each with 78 points, but West Hills earned the tiebreaker win based on the finish of the teams’ sixth runners while El Capitan was fifth in the same field.

Four weeks into the 2016 high school football season, San Diego County’s top 10 rankings have begun to solidify. The Helix Highlanders are squarely in the mix while the Grossmont Foothillers and Valhalla Norsemen are both knocking on the door.

Helix, last year’s San Diego Section Open Division champion, kicked off the 2016 season at the top in the weekly San Diego Sportswriters/Sportscasters poll. But the Highlanders dropped to No. 2 following a season opening 28-21 loss to Utah’s Timpview.

The Steele Canyon High School girls’ cross-country team has stepped off the season in championship form. That’s not totally surprising, according to head coach Pat Connolly.

“The girls have really got a solid team,” explained Connolly after the Cougars ran to their latest invitational championship last Friday, Sept. 9, at Chula Vista’s Rohr Park. “We have good balance of newcomers and veterans. This is probably the most depth and the most talent we’ve ever had at the school.”