El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Phillip Brents

The 2018 high school cross country season has stepped off, and East County runners are, well, off and running.

Last Friday’s 24th annual Mustang Invitational at Chula Vista’s Rohr Park attracted 31 teams. Among the leaders on the course were Christian sophomores Alaina Zamorano and Leah Kunde, Valhalla sophomore Peri Kraft and Helix junior Jaden Forester.

Zamorano won the Silver Division girls varsity race with a time of 13:36.98 while Kunde won the Silver Division girls junior varsity race with a time of 10:58.69.

The San Diego State University football team wrapped up its second week of practice with the team’s annual FanFest intra-squad scrimmage Aug. 18 at SDCCU Stadium. Those in attendance had a chance to watch both present and future Aztec standouts as the team squared off in an offense versus defense format.

The SDSU defense showed it could be something to contend with this season after holding the offense to a scoreless tie.

Following the scrimmage, fans in attendance had a chance to meet selected Aztec players during an on-field autograph session.

Steele Canyon defeated Santa Fe Christian, 14-7, to win last year’s San Diego Section Division III boys water polo championship. It was the perfect ending to the season for the Cougars, who were making their first championship game appearance in school history.

The 2018 season looks to be more challenging as Steele Canyon moves up to the Division II competition level, but head coach Dan Way said it is business as usual for his team.

“Our goal is to be Division II champions,” Way said. “We’ve returned everyone from the starting lineup.”

Southwestern College’s Devore Stadium was the site of Steele Canyon High School quarterback Thomas Fishburne’s two biggest wins as a senior last season.

The Cougars upset the top-seeded Ramona Bulldogs, 33-29, to win the San Diego Section Division II championship last Dec. 2.

Two weeks later, Steele Canyon capped its eight-game winning streak with a dramatic 44-42 come-from-behind victory against Northern California regional champion Half Moon Bay to claim the California Division 3-A state bowl championship.

The 2018 high school football season kicks off Friday, Aug. 17. With it comes a new season of expectations.

The San Diego Section has tweaked its playoff format for the upcoming campaign, one that should make every division that much more competitive.

The top tier Open Division has been reduced from eight teams to four, with four top-quality teams now joining the fight for Division I supremacy.

The Pony League World Series isn’t as well recognized as the Little League World Series but still has a long and storied history.

Both events are annually held in Pennsylvania.

Little League International can trace its origin to 1939; Pony Baseball was first organized in 1951.

The San Diego County-based Tecolote Red all-star team came within one win of advancing to this year’s Pony-14 championship series.

The San Diego Pole Vault Club has had quite an active summer by participating in a number of events as well as receiving weekly instruction.

The club, which draws participants primarily from East County schools, is under the direction of Lyle Barton, who serves as the pole vault coach at El Capitan High School and pole vault/multi-event coach at Cuyamaca College.

His current group is drawn from Grossmont district high schools as well as Otay Ranch, Scripps Ranch and St. Augustine high schools and several Masters participants.

American Legion’s return to the playing field started with 13 teams in the revived circuit sponsored by American Legion District 22. It ended with a four-team area playoff tournament July 17-19 at Helix High School.

It was the first on-field action locally in the 19U youth baseball league since 1985.

The top two teams in the regular season standings from the Navy Division and Marine Division participated in the double-elimination tourney.

The race for this year’s Grossmont Hills League boys water polo championship appears to be hotly contested. Front-runners include the Valhalla Norsemen, Grossmont Foothillers and Steele Canyon Cougars.

Valhalla won last year’s league title while Grossmont captured the San Diego Section Division I championship.

“All three teams return a lot of players, so the league title should be closely contested,” veteran Valhalla coach Kent Houston said.

Major League Rugby will conclude its inaugural season with its 2018 championship match July 7 at the University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium.

It has been a debut season filled with much expectation and reward, especially for the San Diego Legion, one of the league’s seven first-year franchises.

The Legion recorded its highlight moment of the season last Saturday after handing the previously undefeated Glendale Raptors a stinging 33-5 defeat in front of a boisterous crowd at Torero Stadium.