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Articles by Phillip Brents

The South Bay Invitational remains one of the San Diego Section’s longest-running cross country meets; it still keeps delivering thrills. 

Among this year’s highlights:

•West Hills and Grossmont tied for the lead in the girls JV division, each with 78 points, but West Hills earned the tiebreaker win based on the finish of the teams’ sixth runners while El Capitan was fifth in the same field.

Four weeks into the 2016 high school football season, San Diego County’s top 10 rankings have begun to solidify. The Helix Highlanders are squarely in the mix while the Grossmont Foothillers and Valhalla Norsemen are both knocking on the door.

Helix, last year’s San Diego Section Open Division champion, kicked off the 2016 season at the top in the weekly San Diego Sportswriters/Sportscasters poll. But the Highlanders dropped to No. 2 following a season opening 28-21 loss to Utah’s Timpview.

The Steele Canyon High School girls’ cross-country team has stepped off the season in championship form. That’s not totally surprising, according to head coach Pat Connolly.

“The girls have really got a solid team,” explained Connolly after the Cougars ran to their latest invitational championship last Friday, Sept. 9, at Chula Vista’s Rohr Park. “We have good balance of newcomers and veterans. This is probably the most depth and the most talent we’ve ever had at the school.”

San Diego State University’s 45-40 non-conference win over the University of California-Berkeley Golden Bears last Saturday may not have been the biggest in school history, but it had to rank up there with the best.

Certainly, the 42,473 in attendance at Qualcomm Stadium were in a state of near delirium when senior cornerback Damontae Kazee intercepted Cal quarterback Davis Webb’s pass on the 17-yard line with nine seconds left in the game to secure the victory for the host Aztecs.

The San Diego State University football team has strung together some impressive numbers over the past several years under head coach Rocky Long.

For instance:

The Aztecs have qualified for six consecutive post-season bowl game appearances, including last year's 42-7 victory against Cincinnati in the Hawaii Bowl.

The Aztecs tied a program record with 11 wins last season en route to capturing the Mountain West championship with a win over the Air Force Academy.

A lot can be said in a loss, and the Mount Miguel football team likely learned a lot about itself following last Friday’s season opening 35-30 non-league setback at Chula Vista High School.

A pair of untimely fumbles and several offsides penalties kept the visiting Matadors out of the win column. However, the Spring Valley team still showed flashes of brilliance throughout the fiercely fought contest that promotes optimism for the future.

The South County passing tournament, hosted in mid-July by Southwestern College’s football program, traditionally wraps up summer workouts for high school teams in the region. The Helix Highlanders ended the summer with a phenomenal 34-1 record to welcome new head coach Robbie Owens to the program.

“When you come into a program that has been as successful as the one at Helix, you don’t want to change anything, you just want to add to it,” Owens explained.

It’s an understatement to say that it was a highly successful summer all-star tournament season for San Diego County’s youth baseball teams. Checking off the top of the list, we note that Emerald/El Cajon Pony League’s Mustang-9 and Pony-13 teams both won World Series championships.

Al Westermeyer has served in an administrator role in both Little League and Pony Baseball, and he likes where Emerald Pony League stands at present. Certainly, how could anyone not feel on top of the world after being on top of the world?

The league’s Mustang-9 and Pony-13 all-star teams swept to World Series championship titles in the span of the same weekend earlier this month — something that no other Pony League had ever managed to accomplish before.











They were a year older and the venue wasn’t on the other side of the country, but for former Sweetwater Valley Little Leaguer standouts Jake Baptista, Nate Nankil and Ariel Armas, winning the Pony-13 International World Series championship was all about redemption.