The Upland High School football program has attracted its share of transfers over the years, but it may reach new heights this season.
If all players who have transferred from other schools since last season are approved by the CIF-SS, the Highlanders could feature at least eight new faces in the fall.
That figure doesn’t include incoming freshman receiver Nathan Tilford, who received scholarship offers from USC and Arizona State while he was still in eighth grade.
“We work really hard at what we do and if people move in for whatever reason and we’re the benefactor, then I’m happy for that,” said Upland head coach Tim Salter, who is entering his 19th year. “We’re not out there recruiting kids, but I think we have one of the best programs around.”
San Dimas running back Jake Payton will be forced to sit out his senior season after a ruling today that his transfer to Upland was athletically motivated. The CIF-SS denied Payton’s transfer due to a violation of rule 510, according to its website.
This is the second high profile football transfer in the Inland Valley to receive this ruling in the offseason. Payton can only hope to have more success in the appeals process than Diamond Bar transfer Antonio Hull. Originally, San Dimas planned not to challenge Payton’s transfer to Upland, but changed its tune this week.
“We had a change of heart, it’s a group decision,” Zernickow told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune on Monday. “My opinion is that you can’t say nothing if something happened.”
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.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Tanya Samarzich, Upland, Senior, Forward
Given the myriad levels of the soccer Olympic development program, there is often confusion when discussing membership of a “national team.” Particularly when the member is a high school senior. The case of Upland forward Tanya Samarzich is easily simplified. “Oh yeah, she’s on the actual Mexican National Team,” Upland coach Bo Whieldon said. “You don’t find many her age that are because usually they’re on the under-20 national team. It’s kind of a big deal.” Samarzich, 18, a dual citizen, didn’t play a full season at Upland until this year because of her required presence in Mexico or elsewhere around the globe. Her senior year netted her All-Valley Player of the Year honors after a 26-goal, 11-assist season during which she led her team to an outright Baseline League championship.
COACH OF THE YEAR: George Duran, San Dimas
After a winning just one of its first six games, Duran led San Dimas on a run that ended in the CIF-SS Division 6 semifinals. Following the rocky start, San Dimas went on a 16-game winning streak that included 12 Valle Vista League victories good for an undefeated run through league, earning the Saints a second consecutive league championship. The Saints reached the CIF-SS Division 6 semifinal for the second straight season and held a one-goal lead with eight minutes to play before eventual CIF champion Citrus Valley rallied for a 3-2 win.
Capistrano Valley 3, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 1
Northwood 2, Yucaipa 1
Santa Margarita 4, Foothill 0
San Clemente 1, Upland 0 (OT)
Aliso Niguel 2, Alta Loma 1
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
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.”
Tanya Samarzich has played plenty of soccer at venues around the globe as a member of the Mexican national team. The Upland High School senior made it official on Wednesday that her newest destination will be USC, with which she signed on National Signing Day.
The forward with scholarship offers from around the country had a short list that included North Carolina, Michigan, Texas and most of the Pac-12. Despite all the options, USC was an easy choice.
“USC is my dream school,” Samarzich said. “They’re been recruiting me since I was a freshman and my whole family are USC fans. So, it really was an easy choice.”
The two-time defending champions in a Baseline League that produces the best football in the Inland Valley will graduate four to the college ranks on Feb. 6, National Signing Day. Upland High School’s class of 2013 also includes four soccer players and one baseball player, forming one of the largest groups of any one school in the area to receive athletic scholarships this year.
Nate Romine, QB – Air Force
James Johnson Jr., DB – Arizona State
Joe Mathis, DE – Washington
Delvin Batiste, DB – Undecided