A weekly column by David Axelson
28 October 2009 Issue #41
Head Coronado High School Cross Country Coach George Green leads off this week’s column with good news from his program. “We had two meets scheduled for last week. The first was a dual meet with Lincoln, which couldn’t field a full team. The second was the largest high school cross country meet in the world.
By mutual agreement with the Lincoln coach, we cancelled our dual meet. They went to the Jaguar Invitational and we took our varsity squad to the Mt. SAC Invitational in Walnut. Hosted by Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC), this was the 62nd running of this prestigious event with nearly 20,000 high school runners competing in graded, JV and elite “Sweeps” for two days.
Although the girls’ team was still not completely healthy, our girls’ coach Bill Davies figured that enough of our runners were fit enough to get an idea of where we stand against the top Division IV teams in the state. Our pre-season state ranking on DyeStatCal.com was No. 3, but after several meets in which we didn’t have our full team we fell to number nine and finally out of the Top 10 altogether.
We entered our girls’ team in the Division IV Sweepstakes, a race reserved for only the Top 15 or so teams in that classification in the state. Before the meet DyeStatCal.com posted an entry entitled “Ten Burning Questions to be Answered During the Heat-Baked Hours of Mt. SAC Weekend.” The fourth question was, “The Top Five girls’ teams in State Division IV and eight of the Top Ten boys’ teams in State Division V will clash. Can anyone break 'em up?” After our race one of our parents pointed out that we helped answer that question. OK, that’s enough foreshadowing.
The Coronado girls won. The top-ranked team, La Reina of Thousand Oaks, had the overall winner, but we placed three girls including Annie Lovering in eighth, Sadie Gimber in 11th and Sallie Privett in 13th across the line before La Reina’s second runner, who placed 14th. The second-ranked team, Harvard Westlake from North Hollywood, had the second and fourth overall finishers. But our fourth runner, Adie Davies, finished in 20th, two spots in front of their third runner, with her sister Nicole Davies crossing the finish line right behind in 23rd.
Nicole probably had the race of her life and sealed the victory. Cross Country scoring is based on the finish position of the first five finishers from each team and we had all five of our girls cross the line among the first 23 finishers. La Reina’s next two runners placed 31st and 48th and Harvard Westlake’s were 29th and 30th. The final tally was Coronado 75, Harvard Westlake 87 and La Reina 115. The fourth-ranked team, Mayfield of Pasadena, placed fourth with 120 points, followed by seventh-ranked J. Serra from San Juan Capistrano. I suspect we’ll be back on the leader board when the new rankings come out this week.
The key for the Islanders now is to get healthy because a Cross Country team is only as good as its fifth runner. Meg Sweeney, who normally places among our top five competitors, was coming off a bout with the flu and placed 49th. Our seventh runner was freshman Ashley Engleman who got her first taste of big-meet competition by placing 67th.
With the flu virus affecting all schools in the state, small squads like normally found in Divisions IV and V can be hit very hard because they have no replacement runners if a couple of their top performers go down. This could have been a factor for some of the ranked schools in this race, but you can’t argue with the way our girls ran. With Privett, Adie Davies and Sweeney back to their normal selves and the great way Lovering, Gimber and Nicole Davies are now running, we could do very well at the state meet in Fresno over Thanksgiving weekend.
We didn't enter the boys as a team because we wanted to give a couple of sophomores a shot at a ‘sophomore only’ race. Running in the heat of the day at 2:35 pm, Ryan Keeney and Will Funk placed fourth and 23rd out of 163 finishers in the boys "blue" sophomore race. About an hour later Kevin Seifert, Aryan Shay and Gabe Salvatierra toed the line for the boys' varsity with Siefert and Shay placing 61st and 62nd respectively and Salvatierra 70th.
This week the boys face a tough dual meet challenge against Madison. For the girls there is really no competition until the rematch with Clairemont at the Central League finals November 12. Both the Chieftain and the Islander girls have been having great seasons and are top-ranked in their respective divisions, with Clairemont in Division III. This meet will determine the league championship for the girls.
On the boys’ side, unbeaten Christian is in the drivers' seat having defeated two of other top three teams in the league, Coronado and Madison. They face Clairemont (2-1) on November 5th and could lock up the championship then.”
CHS Football Dominates Crawford 70-0
Writing about a one-sided loss is a challenge, but only slightly easier is writing about a really one-sided victory. Crawford showed up for their 3 pm Homecoming game Friday probably expecting to battle and perhaps vanquish the visiting Islanders, but this game went south quickly for the Colts.
Coronado won the toss, deferred and wound up kicking off when Crawford decided they wanted the ball to begin the game. Islander kicker Andrew Toomey deposited the ball into the end zone for a touchback, which was the first of what would be 10 kickoffs in the game. Toomey would also be a perfect 10-10 on extra point conversions. Hopefully Toomey, who doubles as the club’s starting linebacker, didn’t suffer leg strain from the afternoon’s events.
Crawford’s first play from scrimmage became the first score for Coronado, when a pass thrown toward the visiting side of the field was intercepted by senior defensive back Roland Kaaialii and run back for a touchdown. Re-enter Toomey, extra point, kick-off, and the ball was again in Crawford’s possession on the 20-yard line, when Austin Copp caused and then recovered a Colt fumble. The Islander first play from scrimmage is a 15-yard touchdown run by Kodie Englehart and 21 seconds into the game Coronado is ahead 14-0.
Toomey converts, kicks off again and this time Crawford runs three plays and punts. Coronado has possession of the ball on their 40-yard line and Englehart runs 60 yards for a touchdown the second time he touches the ball. Elapsed game time 2:23 and Coronado is ahead 21-0.
Toomey converts the extra point, kicks off and after a three-and-out possession by Crawford, Englehart and receiver Jeff Bona link-up on a 42-yard touchdown pass. A total of 2:57 has ticked off the game clock and Coronado has scored four touchdowns. Toomey converts, Toomey kicks off and on it goes.
The game did feature the earliest invocation of a running clock in a high school game that Your Natterer has ever witnessed, which occurred at the 8:52 mark of the second quarter. For the un-initiated, running clock means the game clock does not stop through timeouts, injury timeouts, huddles, referee conferences or anything else. The first quarter of the game lasted roughly an hour, while the last three quarters and the Colts Homecoming festivities at halftime lasted about an hour in aggregate.
The remaining Islander scoring plays were a 33-yard run by back-up quarterback Austin Denson; a 85-yard pass interception return by Englehart; a nice 10-yard scoring scamper by Chris Page; a 10-yard touchdown run by Charles Westbrook, a 37-yard touchdown run by Bona and finally a 12-yard run for a score by Westbrook.
In the game, a total of six Islanders carried the ball a total of 25 times and they averaged just over 14 yards per carry. Mix in the one pass play the Islanders ran, which was the aforementioned Englehart to Bona touchdown completion, and Coronado averaged 15.15 yards per play, from the line of scrimmage, for the game.
Midway through the first quarter Jack Mikesell, who played middle school basketball for me a few years back, and had earned the starting offensive center job at the beginning of the year on the football squad, sidled over to me on the sideline as the carnage on the field continued unabated. Mikesell broke his left arm in the Islanders first game of the season in Hawaii and will miss the balance of the current football season due to the injury. He said the reason the Islanders were playing so well was that he was named coach of the offensive center position last week, working as a player-coach of sorts. That’s as good a theory as any other, so I thought I would pass it along.
To his credit, Islander Head Coach Bud Mayfield did everything he could do to keep the score down. JV players were sprinkled throughout the Coronado lineup early on and Englehart didn’t take a snap a quarterback after the 9:03 mark of the first quarter. Mayfield also allowed Denson to call his own plays in the second half, a concept the veteran coach had never previously permitted in his career. In addition, the Islanders ran the last three minutes of the game off the clock by having quarterback Denson take a knee on four consecutive plays.
This week the Islanders return home for only the third time this season, as they host Kearny for the annual Homecoming game. In a departure from recent tradition, the Homecoming dance has already been held at CHS, although the game is this Friday
Mayfield looked ahead to the rest of the regular season schedule. “The parade is next week and having the dance already might work out. The guys should be more focused. Kearny has a bunch of big guys up front and speed in the backfield. After Kearny we play Clairemont at home and then at Morse. We’re trying to finish 6-4. The four teams we have lost to this season have a total of one loss and all four teams will win their league. We’re coming along, but last week’s game didn’t help us much. But we got to see the young guys play.”
Kick-off for the Homecoming game is 7:30 pm. The JV game is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at Kearny at 3 pm.
Boys Water Polo Bests LB Wilson and University City
A short list of prep water polo powerhouses over the last two decades would likely include both Long Beach Wilson and Coronado, programs who have supplied multiple graduates to the U.S. Olympic Team and have both won mythical national titles over the years. Last Monday the two teams found themselves in the same pool, in this case the Belmont Plaza Pool in Long Beach and Coronado emerged with a 12-11 victory.
The Islanders were led in scoring by Rex Butler and Alex Johnson, who scored four goals each. According to Coronado Head Coach Randy Burgess, both seniors did more than just score goals. “Butler led the team with four assists and Johnson drew a pair of exclusions. Our defensive player of the game was Andrew Ireland who had three field blocks and three steals. Tommy Schofer had two goals and three assists, while Ireland and Brennan Casey had a goal apiece.” Garrett Sabesky played the whole game in goal and was credited with six saves and three steals.
Wednesday the Islanders returned to Western League play and had eight different players score on their way to a 14-6 victory over University City. Aiding in the victory was a strong defensive effort that found Coronado snaring a season-high 14 steals. Johnson scored three goals, while Butler scored twice and dished out three assists. Braydon Hummeldorf and Sabesky shared time in goal for Coronado.
Sophomore center Eitan Peled earned praise from Burgess. “Eitan marked UC’s best player at the end of the game and did a really nice job. He shut down their primary scorer.”The victory ran the Islanders record to 11-6 on the season.
Since playing in the S&R Classic (the SoCal Invitational) two weeks ago, the Islanders have been playing on average a game every other day; a trend that Burgess indicated extends to and through this week. “Tuesday we host La Jolla and Wednesday we play at Cathedral Catholic. Thursday we fly to San Jose and play Campo Linda that evening. We have two games Friday in the Memorial Cup (formerly the NorCal Invitational) and we have two more games Saturday.” Bellarmine Prep in San Jose serves as the host school for the event.
CHS Girls Golf Tees Up Win Over Scripps Ranch
In their penultimate week of the regular season, the Coronado Girls Golf Team traveled to the Torrey Pines Golf Course and emerged with a 252-289 victory over Scripps Ranch. Perhaps as important was the post-match victory lap held at Rubio’s on the way home.
This week the team completes their regular season with two home matches. Monday they host Point Loma and Wednesday La Jolla comes to the Coronado Municipal Golf Course.
“The girls had fun last week,” said Head Coach Hanna Cohan. “In addition to the Scripps Ranch, we had a scrimmage with Mira Mesa and the girls shot a 247. Liza-Jean Logan shot a 42 and Leity Buil-McCarty shot a 47. All of the girls are finishing stronger than they started the season and they haven’t let off of the accelerator.”
Nov. 4 the Islanders will compete in the City Conference Tournament played at Cottonwood and Cohan expects six or seven of her players to qualify for the event.
Islander Girls Tennis Ends Regular Season
Last week the Islander Girls Tennis Team played twice and lost to both Cathedral Catholic and OLP. The Lady Dons, will supply seven of the top eight seeds in the City Conference Tennis Tournament next week, won by the score of 16-2.
“In the final match of the season, OLP won 13-5,” said Coronado Head Coach Rob LeBuhn. “We played all five of our seniors in the final match, including Andrea Sassenrath, Katlyn McCue, Sarah Moore, Brittany Henderson and Monica Holman. I want to thank the seniors for a great season and for helping lead the underclassmen.”
Against OLP, Jackie Hites won two matches at No. 3 singles, Heidi Johnson won one match at No. 1 singles and Mary Mulvey won one match at No. 2 singles. The doubles team of Moore/Holman won one match at No. 3 doubles.
LeBuhn recently had the opportunity to take a Tiger Cruise into port aboard the “USS Reagan” and enjoyed the experience immensely. In his stead, former CHS Boys Varsity Coach Jim Mashburn ran the team. “Jim did a great and wonderful job filling in for me,” LeBuhn added.
Tuesday the team will compete in the Western League tournament, and five singles and five doubles teams are entered in the fray. If one of the Coronado individuals or teams can advance to the semi-finals, they will qualify for the CIF Tournament.
Pop Warner Report
Coronado's Junior Midget Pop Warner Team finished their season Saturday afternoon with a loss in the Divisional Playoffs against National City. They left it all on the field and should be proud of their effort. The Islanders were 6-3 overall, displaying a lot of heart and pride this season.