On Thursday, it was Ayala freshman Sydney Tullai dropping jaws at the Sierra League finals track meet by winning the 800 meters, 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters. (Check out the photo gallery) It’s a combination of events so taxing – “insane,” was the term of preference for Chino Hills coach Richard Morales – that Tullai won’t be able to run all three at CIF-SS Preliminaries on May 11. She’s leaning toward the 3,200, but her decision will be jut one of many interesting story lines heading into the posteason.
On Friday at Baseline League finals (photo gallery) Upland’s Myles Valentine tied the top wind-aided 100 meter time in the state this season with a 10.36-second effort. The runner he tied was defending state champion Khalfani Muhammad, who defeated Valentine two weeks earlier at the Mt. SAC Relays, prompting this statement: “I knew at that point,” Valentine said, “I wasn’t going to finish second again.” He hasn’t.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kristen Jensen, Los Osos, Senior
After five consecutive trips to the CIF finals, it’s safe to say Los Osos has a good girls water polo program. Though the school has only been around for eight seasons, in that short period there have obviously been some accomplished girls water polo players to come through the program. Besides leading the team to its second ever CIF championship, Kristen Jensen’s senior season is best defined by breaking the school’s single-season scoring record by a mind-blowing 58 goals. Jensen (pictured above) scored 174 goals this season and helped the Grizzlies end a three-year losing streak in the CIF finals. “We’ve never had a player this dominant come through our program,” Los Osos coach Dave Merryman said.
COACHES OF THE YEAR: Eric Cypher and Dave Merryman, Los Osos
The co-head coaches have led Los Osos to five consecutive appearances in the CIF finals. After losing the last three, they helped the Grizzlies capture CIF-SS Division 3 championship, the program’s first title since 2009. Los Osos finished the regular season by claiming its eighth straight Baseline League title.
1. Bonita (7-1) Team ERA is 1.26 for Bearcats, whose only loss is South Hills.
2. Kaiser (6-2) Cats open Sunkist League play against hot Summit team.
3. San Dimas (7-2) It took Bonita 12 innings to beat Saints last week.
4. Los Osos (6-1) Grizzlies league frontrunner after beating Glendora.
5. Diamond Bar (7-1) Previously unranked Brahmas shooting up the charts.
6. Don Lugo (8-2) Will anybody challenge Lugo in Mt. Baldy League?
7. Carter (7-4) Lions have already beaten Upland and Rancho Cucamonga.
8. Upland (9-2) Hoping to avoid 0-2 start in Baseline League.
9. Ayala (6-3) There could be plenty of parity in Sierra League.
10. Summit (8-4) Winners of Cougar Classic face league foe Kaiser next.
Dropped out: No. 4 Rialto (8-6), No. 9 Claremont (4-4), No. 10 Damien (4-4).
Hoops for Hope, the basketball tournament inspired by Los Osos boys basketball coach David Smith to raise money for cancer research, just keeps growing.
After amassing nearly $50,000 in the first three years, Smith is anticipating Saturday’s fourth annual tournament to net between $20,000 and $25,000, thanks in part to the addition of new sponsorship.
The tournament will feature nine teams, most of which are squads made up of members of local fire departments. The event was inspired by the Los Osos basketball coach and Ontario Fire Department captain Chip Smith, whom David Smith met while undergoing cancer treatment in 2010.
The math almost doesn’t add up. The Los Osos girls water polo program has only been in existence for eight years. Yet it has been six years since the team failed to make an appearance in a CIF-SS championship game.
The Grizzlies, seeded second in Division 3, will play in their fifth straight title game Saturday at 11:40 a.m. when they take on No. 4 seed Palos Verdes at their home away from home, the William Woolett Aquatics Center in Irvine. Of course there is one small detail. Los Osos won the 2009 CIF championship in its first finals appearance but it hasn’t won one since.
“The last three have left a sour taste in our mouth,” Los Osos coach Eric Cypher said. “We’re definitely looking for that next one. But I’m proud of the girls for getting to this game again. No matter the result, we’re playing good water polo in this program.”
FIRST ROUND, Wednesday
Santa Barbara 17, Huntington Beach 7
Irvine 7, Villa Park 3
Laguna Beach 9, Dos Pueblos 8
Newport Harbor 18, Anaheim Canyon 3
Corona del Mar 17, Ventura 4
Los Alamitos 17, Costa Mesa 2
San Marcos 11, Edison 8
Foothill 22, Beckman 2
Wild Card A at No. 1 Santa Barbara
Villa Park at Irvine
Dos Pueblos at Laguna Beach
Winner Wild B at No. 4 Newport Harbor
Wild Card C at No. 3 Corona del Mar
Costa Mesa at Los Alamitos
Edison at San Marcos
Beckman at No. 2 Foothill
The nature of Kevin Price’s ascension to head football coach at Los Osos High School, the position to which he was named on Tuesday, doesn’t exactly inspire change. He has been a member of the coaching staff since the school’s inception in 2002 and the defensive coordinator for the last eight seasons under Tom Martinez, the only head coach the school had ever known.
But Price made clear the bus doesn’t just have a new driver, it’s going in a different direction.
“When we started the program, there were a lot of different rules in place,” he said. “My perspective is different, not necessarily better, but different on things like how much time we will put in now. We’ve had success here in the past but have we had as much success as we wanted? No.”
Kevin Price, the Los Osos defensive coordinator for the last eight years, has been hired as the school’s next head football coach, according to former head coach and current athletic director Tom Martinez. Price, a teacher at Los Osos, has coached for the Grizzlies in some capacity the last 12 years and spent the previous six years coaching at Rancho Cucamonga.
Martinez, the head coach at Los Osos since the school’s inception in 2002, stepped down from his head coaching position in January due to the demands of both jobs, according to Los Osos principal Susan Petrocelli.