A weekly column by David Axelson
9 September 2009 Issue #34
A couple of weeks ago when ‘Nado Natterings’ ran our preview piece for the Girls Cross Country Team, it was perhaps inferred, but not directly stated, that the 2009 version of the team is really good. After finishing ninth in the state in Division IV last year, returning all of their top runners, while mixing in a few new and talented athletes, the reigning Islander squad has the potential to be outstanding.
Head Cross Country Coach George Green supplies the specifics from their recent competitive outings. “The Islander Girls Cross Country Team split their ranks to participate in two separate invitational events over the Labor Day Weekend. Friday Sallie Privett was our lone entry in the girls' senior race at the Wolf Pack Invitational at West Hills. After following two pace-setters from Poway High School for most of the 1.7-mile course, Sallie pulled in front with less than 100 meters to go and won going away with a time of 9:55.
Her younger sister Mollie Privett ran in the freshmen race, where she placed 24th with a time of 12:10, followed by Mary Grace Braun (38th) and Sarah Alfano (66th). In the Junior Class girls' race, Alex Reidy and Yvonne Wood placed 48th and 59th respectively. Our lone boy runner this weekend was sophomore Grainger Lanneau who placed 45th in his race.
Saturday Coronado entered two girls' relay teams in the Cougar-Wildcat six-mile relay hosted by El Camino High School and California State University, San Marcos. This is a new event that brought in a respectable number of teams from the CIF San Diego Section as well as a few from the Southern Section.
The format was for each member of a four-runner team to run a 1.5-mile loop around the CSUSM campus and hand-off to the next runner on the university’s track. The races were split into two divisions by size, so Coronado competed in Division II with teams like Cathedral, Clairemont and Mar Vista. Division I consisted of the larger schools and included track powerhouses Rancho Bernardo, Escondido, Torrey Pines and Sweetwater.
Our goal was to place in the top two in our division even though we were missing two of our top runners, Sallie Privett who raced at Wolf Pack Invitational on Friday and Annie Lovering who was out of town. Our first leg was run by Ohio transfer, junior Meg Sweeney, who kept us close to Cathedral by turning in a 9:12 split. When Sweeney handed off to Nicole Davies, the team was about 80 yards behind Cathedral and in second place. Nicole and Sadie Gimber, our third runner, both ran around 9:18 and closed to within 40 meters when our anchor runner Adie Davies took over. About halfway through her leg she caught the Cathedral athlete and Davies increased her lead to 15 seconds at the finish.
Adie’s split was 8:52 and our final time of 36:41 was the fastest of the day from both divisions. Now I don’t really think that we could beat Torrey Pines or Rancho Bernardo in a cross country meet because they probably split their teams, but coming out on top among a group like that was a lot of fun for the Coronado girls’ squad (not to mention their coaches). Our “B” team consisted of Stephanie Pietkiewicz, Ashley Engleman, Anna Coumes and Maddy Danielson they combined to finish in eighth place in their race.
Islander Boys Water Polo Squad Dominates Vista in Scrimmage
Controlled scrimmages are tricky events to assess. In the recent Fourth Annual Coach Draz Boys’ Water Polo Classic, a day-long series of games played at Rancho Bernardo High School, the Islanders dominated a young squad from Vista High School by the score of 15-2.
According to Coronado Head Coach Randy Burgess, a total of 16 field players and three goalies dipped their collective toes into the pool for the Islanders. Or to look at it another way, the Coronado players were playing against their own expectations for another CIF championship campaign, as well as auditioning for playing time in front of the CHS coaching staff.
Burgess attempted to assess what the lopsided score meant. “I was happy with how we played. We split our teams pretty evenly. We have a lot of work to do, but every other team we watched, does as well. We have as good a shot (at the CIF Division II title) as anybody. It was good to beat up on somebody else, not just our teammates. The coaches got a good evaluation from the game and learned a lot about the kids. We are a talented team, but not a superstar-ridden team. Any six of nine guys (field players) can start any particular game. We have several kids vying for starting spots. Every practice is a job interview. They bring a lot of energy and a high level of training to the practices. It will be great if we can sustain that.”
The concept of defense winning championships isn’t a revolutionary one and Burgess is stressing success at the defensive end of the pool to his club, starting with the goalie position. “Juniors Braydon Hummeldorf and Garrett Sabesky are working hard and learning and sophomore Joe Rodgers is in that group. To play that many kids and to only give up two goals in the game is very nice. We are focusing on defense and I was happy with the defense in the scrimmage.”
It just occurred to your scribe that the lead may have been buried in this story. A coach happy with his defense this early in the season, is the stuff that stops printing presses. But happiness in the coaching profession can be fleeting.
Burgess credits CHS grad Duff Harold with his role in working with the Islander goalie troika. “He’s really helped out. It’s like having a specialist along the line of a pitching or hitting coach.”
The team also voted on their captains for the 2009 season, and getting the nod will be seniors Brennan Casey and Tommy Schofer. “I’m pleasantly surprised by the workload that all of the seniors have put in between the end of last season and now,” Burgess explained. “We don’t have a senior right now who won’t contribute at a high level. Every one of our 12th graders is hungry to play and capable of playing in any game we have. One senior who has really worked to improve himself as a player is Asante Sefa-Boakye. He has worked very hard, which is nice to see.”
This Saturday there will be a three-way scrimmage among Coronado, Servite and Esperanza at the Brian Bent Memorial Aquatics Center from 8 am to noon. Looming on a more distant horizon is the first regular season game for the Islanders on Sept. 19 when Coronado travels to pre-season National No. 1 Newport Harbor for a 7 pm tilt. Burgess is looking forward to the challenge. “We play Newport in a couple of weeks. They’ll let us know where we’re at. We know we can be competitive.”
Armed with 28 players and a total travel party 42 members strong, the Islander Varsity Football program invaded Hawaii last week for a Saturday evening game with the Kauai High School Red Raiders. The hosts, playing their third game of the season, won the first game of the season for the Islanders by the score of 49-13.
According to Head Coach Bud Mayfield, turnovers in the form of both fumbles and intercepted passes, made the difference in the game. “We played like a JV team transitioning to a varsity team. They (Kauai) are a good team, but not as good as the score would indicate. And we’re not as bad as the score would seem.”
Islander quarterback Kodie Englehart accounted for both scores, the first coming on a two-yard touchdown run. The attempted two-point conversion failed and the Islanders trailed 7-6 with 9:17 remaining in the first half. Then a barrage of Coronado turnovers allowed Kauai to put several points on the board.
But there was more to the trip than just football, as the entourage visited the Pearl Harbor Memorial, went snorkeling at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, and generally did the tourist thing around the islands.
Now comes the hard part.
“We’ll get back to practice right away on Tuesday,” said Mayfield. “We play Laguna Beach in two weeks and we have time to get back on track. We don’t have a lot of returning veterans. We’re short on experience, regardless of the grade level.” In fact, the Islander varsity graduated 19 seniors after last year’s successful playoff run, the most in recent Islander history.
Coronado plays at Laguna Beach Friday, Sept 18. The Islanders first home game is Friday, Sept. 25 against Olympian High School. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 pm.
Islander Girls Golf Off to Strong Start
The CHS Girls Golf Team teed up their season, metaphorically speaking, last week and came away with two victories, with both matches played on the Islanders home course at Coronado Municipal. The first match was a 280-327 win over San Diego High School, with senior Jackie Davis earning medalist honors. Their second outing was a convincing 276-301 victory over Christian High School.
Typically six players compete in prep golf matches, with the best five scores counted toward the team total. The team with the lower score earns the victory.
Under the direction of Head Coach Hanna Cohan, the team is still a work in progress, according to Asst. Coach Randy Coutts. “Bridgett Nielsen, a senior, is injured and can’t play,” Coutts said. “She would have been among the top three players on the team. There are eight players after Davis who are all pretty similar. Hopefully they can improve together as a team.”
Another senior Leity Buil-McCarty is also injured, but appears to be steadily improving and may be available to play in a couple of weeks. “Leity is a good leader. The only positive is that her being out is giving some of the other girls a chance to play,” Coutts added.
Coutts allowed that in the early going this season, a pair of freshmen, Andrea Perez and Erin Dupree have scored well, as has sophomore Kendall Hoshko. “Erin is tall and has one of the best swings I’ve seen in a long time. Andrea is a product of the CMS team from last year. Kendall is one of the best practice players we have. She has improved since her freshman year.”
This week the squad will compete against Patrick Henry. “It should be a good match,” Coutts said. “They have been scoring about the same level we have been.”
Arnold Palmer Turns 80 This Week
In a recent “Wall Street Journal” column by John Paul Newport, the author pointed out that golf legend Arnold Palmer turns 80 this week. Palmer is generally credited as being the player that popularized professional golf. Being a member of ‘Arnie’s Army,’ a fan that followed the Latrobe, Pennsylvania native around the course during a match was an accomplishment.
Palmer played an even larger role in the sports landscape, one that reverberates to this day. Along with Mark McCormack, the late founder and head of the International Management Group (IMG), Palmer was at the forefront of sports marketing. Even though it has been nearly a half a century since Palmer won his last Major and more than 20 years since his last Senior Tour win, Palmer is still one of the highest paid product endorsers in the world.
In the right place at the right time, with charisma and personality to spare, Palmer was Tiger Woods long before Tiger was born. Others have won more Major titles, but few have had the impact on sports that approaches Palmer’s.
College vs. Professional Football
The college football season arrived in a major way over the weekend, with seemingly hundreds of games emanating from nearly every cable channel in existence. Watching Navy tangle with and nearly conquer a heavily-favored Ohio State team, and trying to digest the last few minutes of a highly improbable Brigham Young University win over Oklahoma, was like watching an on-coming train wreck.
For all practical purposes Oklahoma is out of the national title chase with their loss to BYU and Ohio State needs to step up their execution before they host USC next week. If they don’t, the Buckeyes will join the Sooners on the sidelines when the major bowl games call in December. They will also be credited with dragging down the whole Big Ten Conference with them.
Growing up in Big Eight Conference country, seeing Oklahoma losing at all is hard to fathom, much less to BYU. In the old days before scholarship limitations were imposed by the NCAA, Head Coach Bud Wilkinson would turn to his stable of signal callers and select one to deploy in case of injury to the starter, seemingly without a drop in the talent level.
Contrast the ‘win now’ approach prevalent in college football with that of their counterparts in the professional ranks. The never-ending run-up to the season included the summer-long sagas of both Michael Vick and Brett Favre and four meaningless preseason games for each of 30 NFL teams. Presumably the good news is that the pro season starts for real this coming week.
ESPN has viewer polls that indicate that fans can’t get enough pro football, even in the summer, so it’s ‘all grid iron all the time’ across the ESPN family of networks. Apparently there isn’t a punter worth his scholarship or paycheck who can’t hit the underside of the 90-foot high video replay board in the new Cowboys Stadium. ESPN has the video, the sound bites, and the reactions to the sound bites to prove it.
Girls Lacrosse CMS Clinic
The ISF-CMS sports program was forced to move Girls Lacrosse to the spring from the fall for the 2009-10 season, for the simple reason that all of the teams the Pelicans played moved to that schedule. So, to fill that lacrosse void, so to speak, CHS Varsity Head Coach Jessica Battle will be holding a two-day lacrosse clinic Oct. 10- 11 from 9 am to 3 pm.
The clinic is for beginning, intermediate and advanced players and costs $150. The age range for prospective players to participate in the clinic is third through ninth grade. Players should bring their own stick, running shoes/cleats, mouth guard and goggles. You should also bring your own lunch and water. Loaner sticks are available if requested in advance.
Joining Battle on the clinic staff are Coaches Liz Dierdorff and Julia Schelkun. If you have questions regarding the clinic, please contact Coach Battle at 619-459-0162 or by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coronado Pop Warner Teams Turn in Winning Performances
The Islander Pee Wees turned in an impressive performance Saturday in a 35-0 win over the Southwestern Knights. Behind the powerful blocking of Ryan Meoni and Chris Haas, fullback Kyle Anderson earned over 80 yards running up the middle. Quarterback Christian Waterhouse ran for one touchdown and completed several passes. Jack Arbaugh added to the score by running for three touchdowns and turning in an impressive performance at defensive end.
Ian Thorliefson anchored the defensive squad with two sacks, four tackles, and five assists. Marshall Alldredge also showed incredible heart at defensive tackle, making three tackles while being credited with three assisted tackles. The entire squad came together, played hard for the home crowd, and turned in one of the best performances in recent memory.
The Jr. Pee Wees started the season 1-0 after beating the Southwestern Knights 39-0. Braden Seay hit Adam Weissenfels with a long touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage and the Islanders never looked back.
John Descisciolo and Noah Berry both scored twice on offense while Noah added a third touchdown on an interception return. Nick Semo was in the Knight’s backfield all game and Wyatt Montague added a quarterback sack and a fumble recovery from his defensive end position.