El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Mary York

It is not just about winning, at least not at the annual Southern California Honor Bowl, held for the first time this year at Cathedral Catholic High School. 

Charles Bussey let out a sigh of relief. A decisive victory on home turf is always a good way to start the season.

Bussey, Valhalla’s head football coach for the last seven years, finds himself in a position many coaches can relate to. It is a rebuilding season for the Norsemen.

“It’s a new group,” he said. “We graduated a lot of guys from last year so it’s kind of a work in progress.”

If there is such a thing as destiny, then Laulauga Tausaga-Collins and the discus were meant for each other. 

The University of Iowa freshman, a Spring Valley, California resident and former Mount Miguel Matador, joined 83 other athletes representing Team USA at the 2017 Pan American Junior Championships in Trujillo, Peru in July, after winning the discus throw at the National Championship in Sacramento on June 22. Tausaga-Collins threw 59.29 to win gold in Peru, setting a new meet record.

Summers do not mean vacation for everyone. San Diego’s football programs have commenced summer session training and East County schools are doing their part to keep their teams in shape for a competitive season come the new school year.

Games are held all summer, all over the county. On Friday, July 7, two-dozen teams rolled into Southwestern College in Chula Vista for a two-day tournament, with Grossmont Conference schools like Helix, Valhalla, and El Capitan ready to scope out the competition.

Slender fingers pick at the strings on her guitar as she pulls out the trusty crowd favorite, tossing back her tangled mane of golden hair, as her rich earthy voice ripples through the heat of the afternoon, singing the first weeping words of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”

Like the classic boyhood stories of baseball underdogs becoming victors, the Cajon De Oro (CDO) Little League’s very own Dodgers team rose from obscurity to take the District 41 Tournament of Champions (TOC) President’s Cup.

Majors Dodgers manager and coach TJ Flannery said his team had a surprisingly good season.

Baseball is a family affair. And while San Diegans of all ages find themselves enjoying Padres games or the local high school playoff match, most baseball lovers find their beginnings on a Little League field.

That is why Cajon De Oro Little League’s new T-ball field is such an exciting addition to the community, said Cory Thiem, a board member of CDO. A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new field took place on June 10 and christened the beginning of the next generation of Little Leaguers.

It has been a good year for East County baseball. Actually, most coaches will say every year is a good year for this particular region of San Diego, but this spring they knocked it out of the ballpark. 

On May 29, 2017, the Grossmont Griffins made San Diego history by being the first community college in the county to win the California state championship. It is a victory that has been 67 years in the making, with other community colleges like Southwestern and Palomar coming close but never quite closing the deal. 

School is winding down, students are heading into finals and prom nights and graduations, and that means the last few fiery games of baseball are being played around San Diego County.

Playoffs have been fierce this season, but East County is holding its own with five teams heading into the fourth-round next week. Helix (No. 7) will play Cathedral Catholic (No. 2) in the Open Division on Tuesday, May 30, 2017. The Highlanders, who finished at the top of the Grossmont Hills league this season, were 9-3 in league and are 21-10 overall.

If there is a roar coming from East County this week, it is the sound of battle as the fiercest of Grossmont conference’s softball teams fight their way towards the CIF championship. 

East County has always been a force to be reckoned with on the softball diamond, but this year they are leaving their dominance undisputed as they take over playoffs.