El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Mary York

Conference matches have begun for girls’ tennis and the ladies of the Grossmont Hills league are bringing both ferocity and friendship to the court.

Studded with outstanding programs like Steele Canyon, Valhalla, Monte Vista and Grossmont High School, the Hills league is apt to be the playing ground for some great competition this season.

On Sept. 9, Steele Canyon’s Cougars drove out to meet West Hills on the Wolfpack’s courts.

Pain. That is what it takes to build a water polo team, said El Cajon Valley’s Head Coach Veronica Ortega.

She would know. A former Brave herself, Ortega commutes from Oceanside to coach the boys water polo team, which, she said, is by all accounts in the rebuilding stage. 

Thunder sounded from the visitor’s bleachers and cheers shook the air as Grossmont’s Foothillers asserted their dominance on Otay Ranch’s football field during the second half of a stunning game against the Mustangs on Sept. 2. From trailing 7-6 at the end of the half, to snatching the W with a 35-21 victory, the 2-0 Foothillers are off to a great start this season.

Beneath the incandescent lights of San Diego’s Gaslamp, at the Horton Grand Hotel in the heart of Downtown, masked guests gathered for the Royal’s Masquerade Ball Gift Card Drive.

Hosted by the San Diego East County Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce, the glamorous evening drew in more than 300 guests, each contributing a gift card to be distributed to homeless persons in San Diego.

For a coach, the walk from the dugout to the mound is long when a championship game is hanging in the balance. Up 4-2 in top of the ninth inning of the 2016 Division I CIF Baseball Championship, the Eagles infielders crowded around Granite Hills head coach James Davis as he called a meet up on the mound with closing pitcher Andrew Brown, keenly aware of the runner in scoring position and the two outs on the scoreboard.

Granite Hills’ second round playoff game against Torrey Pines on Friday, May 27 was the epitome of a great high school game. Both teams put up a solid defense. Both teams hit, ran and slid their way into runs. Both teams exemplified good teamwork and good coaching. But only one team walked off the field a victor. 

Finishing its final lap, the swim and dive season of Grossmont Conference high schools came to a close in familiar waters. Granite Hills High School hosted the 2016 CIF Division I Swim Championship on Saturday, May 14. 

“It’s pretty amazing,” said Granite Hills Boy’s Swim Coach Rhett Gaeir. “Over the last couple of days we averaged about 900 hundred athletes and spectators, so it’s really neat to see all the kids out here.”

“Undefeated League Champs!” 

Hugging and high-fiving, the victorious Vaqueros shouted its newly won title into the echoey gym just seconds after claiming its last regular season win at Mount Miguel on  May 4, which they took in three sets. 

“I had a girl dive for the ball,” said enthusiastic coach Joseph Mendoza. “She didn’t catch it, but who cares? It was the greatest dive I’ve ever seen. If you go at life like that, you will succeed.”

Mendoza, who is head coach for Helix High School’s JV softball team, believes in a program that teaches more than winning and losing and his struggling squad of Highlanders have been proving just how important that lesson is. 

Grossmont Community College students may be Griffins on land, but they are sharks in the water.

Favorites to win, and up to the challenge, Grossmont’s swim team carried away the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Championship 2016 title last weekend, April 21-23, after a current of successes this season.

Their women’s team garnered 922 points, taking first, and the men took second with 761 points.