Morris commits to Cal Poly

Redlands offensive lineman Brock Morris, a first-team all-CIF and first-team all-County selection, verbally committed to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo over the weekend after taking an official visit.

Morris, who was also looking at Army and Portland State, fell in love with the campus and committed right on the spot when asked.

“It was everything I was looking for,” Morris said. “It’s a great team, great school, great campus. I liked everything about it and I can’t wait to get there (August 2). It feels good to have it over and be at a school that I really like.”

A lot of the draw toward Cal Poly SLO was their hiring of former Pacific graduate Saga Tuitele as co-offensive coordinator. Tuitele, a standout for the Pirates in the mid-1990s and a graduate of Portland State, was hired this month after spending a two-year stint as the offensive line coach at Army – where he was Morris’ main recruiter.

“Having coach Tuitele at Cal Poly is a pretty big deal,” Morris said. “He’s the one that got me interested at Army and I built a pretty good relationship with him. I can’t wait to go and play for him.”

Morris is the second Terrier to commit to a Division I-AA school of high academic standing, with all-CIF and all-County first teamer Michael Poage having already committed to Columbia. Both Morris and Poage will sign their letters of intent to make their choices official February 4.

Booker commits to San Diego State

When San Bernardino senior defensive back Aarein Booker went on his official visit to San Diego State this past weekend, he wasn’t necessarily thinking about committing. But after spending an entire day on the campus, he knew that he wanted to be an Aztec.
“I was thinking about everything right before I went to bed,” Booker said. “When I woke up, I knew what I wanted to do.”
Booker, a 6-foot, 180-pound jack of all trades for the Cardinals this season, gave his verbal commitment to San Diego State Sunday morning, becoming the first Division I-A football recruit out of San Bernardino since Paul Philipp committed to Arizona in 2001.
“This is a big deal for us,” San Bernardino coach Nick Monica said. “For Aarein to be the first D-I guy we’ve had in eight years is a pretty big deal for us, especially since we were 2-8 this year.”
The Cardinals may have struggled on the field, but none of the blame could be placed on Booker. Along with playing cornerback for San Bernardino, Booker ran for 1,058 yards and even served time at quarterback.
San Diego State is looking at Booker, who is also an accomplished sprinter on the Cardinals’ track team, to play at corner. After talking to the Aztec defensive coaches, including defensive coordinator and former New Mexico head coach Rocky Long, Booker was pretty excited about his new role.
“I loved the defense they ran and I loved all the players I talked to,” Booker said. “I really feel like I connected with the players and coaches and I really enjoyed the campus.”
The trip also included breakfast at the beach on Sunday morning, something his other main suitor, Division I-AA Idaho State, couldn’t offer. Booker was planning an official trip to Idaho State this upcoming weekend, but canceled it after committing.

Roenicke wins the gold

Tara Roenicke and Summer Ross capped off a dominating run at the Australian Olympic Youth Festival Sunday afternoon Sydney time, sweeping the Australian duo of Mariafe Artacho and Zina Stone 21-17, 21-9 to capture the gold medal in girls beach volleyball.

Roenicke and Ross didn’t lose a game in their run to the gold, winning all 10 of them en route to the championship.

“We had a goal of coming over here and not losing a game,” Roenicke said. “We felt pretty good about how we matched up with all of these teams and we did it. I’m so excited right now I don’t know what to do.”

Roenicke called me on the tram in Sydney en route to watch the U.S. boys soccer team, which plays Australia in the gold medal game of that event. To get their gold medals, Roenicke and Ross toughed out a tight first game before turning it on in game two.

“Once we got that first game, I think they gave up a bit,” Roenicke said. “It was so exciting. With every point I was just sitting there thinking ‘Just one more.’ It’s an unbelievable feeling and I really don’t even know how to act right now.”

The third time in an international event was certainly the charm for Roenicke. She’s competed the last two summers in the Under-19 World Championships in Poland and The Netherlands, respectively. She didn’t receive a medal in those events, but the experience she obtained in those events definitely paid off.

“I felt real confident going into the gold-medal game,” Roenicke said. “When I competed in Poland (in 2007), the team I was on was able to beat that team. I have a different partner, but I had a good feeling about this match coming in. I felt if we could beat Norway (in the semifinals) we’d have a good shot.”

Roenicke, the United States’ flag-bearer in the opening ceremonies, will hang out in Sydney for the closing ceremonies before flying back to Los Angeles on Tuesday and heading back to Los Osos Wednesday. And even though the resulting jet lag – Roenicke leaves Sydney Tuesday afternoon Australia time and arrives in Los Angeles Tuesday morning California time – will cause her to spend most of Tuesday adjusting, Roenicke knows the first thing she’s going to do.

“I’m hanging up my gold medal in my room,” Roenicke said.