It was a highly successful spring sports season for high school student-athletes from the Metro Conference. In fact, the entire 2010-11 interscholastic campaign may well go down in history as one of the most successful by South County student-athletes and affiliated sports teams.
Success was particularly pronounced for teams from eastern Chula Vista — no real surprise given the population surge in that area over the past two decades.
Teams representing Otay Ranch High School captured Mesa League titles in boys and girls track and field, boys and girls lacrosse and boys volleyball and also saw its boys tennis team qualify for the San Diego Section playoffs.
The Mustang boys volleyball team went on to claim a history-making first-ever San Diego Section Division I
championship en route to a meteoric runner-up finish in the Southern California regional championships.
Otay Ranch senior Marques Roberts capped the track and field season by winning the gold medal in the boys triple jump at the state championship meet. He was one of two Mustangs to win section championships in their events, joining sophomore Carina Gillespie (girls 800-meter champion). Roberts was named the San Diego Section’s 2011 Male Track Athlete of the Year.
The Eastlake Titans and Bonita Vista Barons were no less proficient in either winning outright possession of or a share of league titles.
Eastlake captured Mesa League titles in boys and girls swimming and shared the league baseball title with Bonita Vista.
The Barons won the Mesa League boys golf title and shared the league’s softball championship with Hilltop before going on to record a runner-up finish in the San Diego Section Division II finals. The BVHS boys tennis team also qualified for the section playoffs.
Mater Dei Catholic’s Crusaders earned their share of recognition as the school’s softball team captured the San Diego Section Division IV championship and, on an individual basis, MDC sophomore Alexandria Young won the Division II track and field title in the girls triple jump.
The South Bay League featured its own version of parity.
The Olympian Eagles softball team shared this year’s South Bay League championship with the Mar Vista Mariners, with both teams finishing with an 11-1 league record.
Mar Vista swept the South Bay League’s boys and girls dual meet swim titles and also won the league’s boys volleyball championship.
Sweetwater swept the league’s regular season dual meet track championships while the San Ysidro Cougars captured this year’s SBL baseball title.
The Southwest Raiders represented the South Bay League in the section boys tennis playoffs.
Olympian’s Cassidy Lopez finished as the San Diego Section champion in the vault in the optional program, finishing fourth in the all-around competition.
On the oval, Olympian’s Julian Robinson emerged with the Division II title in the boys 300 intermediate hurdles. Meanwhile, the Eagles’ 4x400 relay team of Rachel Rainey, Charmayne Judkins, Nirelle Davis and Kristina Brown became the first track unit from the school to qualify for the state championship meet with its third-place finish at the section championship meet (first among Division II teams).
All of these spring exploits built on a highly successful 2010-11 winter sports campaign that saw Bonita Vista and Hilltop both advance to the Division II boys soccer championship game, with the underdog Barons winning a tie-breaker shootout following a scoreless overtime draw.
Hilltop entered the match sporting a behemoth 24-3-2 record and had been nationally ranked through most of the season. The Lancers entered the CIF championship game ranked 16th nationally, sixth in the state.
Otay Ranch’s wrestling team recorded a Metro Conference rarity as two of its wrestlers – senior Eddie Estevez and sophomore Tommy Espinoza both earned state medals in the same season. Estevez, who finished third at the section finals, placed third in his 114-pound weight class while Espinoza, the section champion at 105 pounds, came home from Bakersfield with a seventh-place state medal.
Mater Dei Catholic’s Mesa League championship girls basketball team advanced as far as the Division IV semifinals while Hilltop’s Mesa League championship girls soccer team advanced as far as the Division II semifinals, Castle Park advanced to the Division III boys semifinals and Mater Dei Catholic’s boys soccer team advanced to the Division IV semifinals.
During the 2010 fall sports season, there were more accolades.
While not winning CIF football titles, Eastlake and Olympian both advanced to their respective division semifinals.
Eastlake entered the Division I playoffs as the No. 1 seed while Olympian was seeded No. 2 in the Division IV field.
However, both reigning league champions — Eastlake in the Metro-Mesa League and Olympian in the Metro-Pacific League — suffered upset losses to be denied a trip to the finals at Qualcomm Stadium.
Meanwhile, the Bonita Vista boys cross country team earned a trip to the state cross country championship meet after finishing third in the section’s Division I finals at Morley Field. The Barons placed 13th in the team standings in Fresno.
The Eastlake boys water polo team recorded its first-ever CIF playoff win by defeating Poway in the opening round of the Division I playoffs.
Boys volleyball: the Year of the Mustangs
The Otay Ranch Mustangs continued their rise up the San Diego Section rankings after securing their sixth consecutive league championship and advancing to this year’s Division I championship game. It was wholly new territory explored by the second-seeded Mustangs, who made the most of it by defeating the fourth-seeded Torrey Pines Falcons 3-1 to capture the program’s first CIF title.
Otay Ranch, cheered on by three bus loads of supporters, defeated Torrey Pines 27-25, 16-25, 25-18, 28-26 in the Division I finals at Canyon Crest Academy.
Frank Herrera led the Mustangs with 16 kills while teammates Jorge Reyes had 14 kills, Nathan Allen had 13 kills and Nico Pizarro had 12 kills. Nick Alegrado keyed the CIF champions with 51 assists while J.J. Olaogun had 27 digs. Reyes and Herrera contributed eight and six blocks, respectively.
Otay Ranch (32-8) defeated three North County teams in succession to claim its history-making mark. The Mustangs swept Mission Hills 3-0 in the quarterfinals before topping Poway in a five-game thriller in the semifinals. That Otay Ranch became the first South Bay team in section history to capture the Division I championship was not lost on Mustang coach Tony Fajardo, who was named the CIF Coach of the Year.
“The Division I champions have always been from the North County until now,” he said. “We’re very proud to represent the South Bay and all the fans who were pulling for us. Once again, the fans were amazing. They energized us to a huge victory, which included a wild back-and-forth finish in Game 4, where we held on to win 28-26, and make history.”
As San Diego Section champions, the Mustangs qualified for the Southern California regional playoffs, hosting Santa Monica in a quarterfinal match and then defeating Burroughs in the semifinals.
In an outpouring of respect, Otay Ranch was tabbed as the No. 2 seed in the regional draw and took a 2-0 edge against top-seeded Buchanan in the SoCal championship game at Irvine Valley College before eventually faltering in five games 26-24, 25-21, 17-25, 23-25, 12-15.
The Mustangs ended the season ranked 26th in the nation in ESPN’s Fab 50 poll.
Otay Ranch landed three players on the All-Mesa League First Team: juniors Nick Alegrado, Jorge Reyes and Frank Herrera. Three more players earned recognition on the all-league second team: senior Nico Pizarro, junior J.J. Olaogun and sophomore Jared Arias. Seniors Omar Marquez and Geo Conrady both were awarded all-league honorable mention honors.
Alegrado earned accolades as the 2011 Mesa League Player of the Year and also made a huge statement for the quality of the South County game by receiving the nod as not only the 2011 San Diego Section Division I Player of the Year but also as the 2011 San Diego Section Player of the Year.
“I take it more as a team award than an individual award,” he said. “I couldn’t have done it without my team. I feel I’m a team leader, stressing positives. Last year, I seemed to get negative at the team but I learned from that. That’s what I brought to the team this year.”
Alegrado, who finished the season with 1,100 assists and 258 digs, was joined on the All-Division I team by three teammates: Herrera and Reyes on the first team and Oloagun and Pizarro on the second team.
Eastlake senior Scott Willes also earned honors as a member of the All-Division I Second Team while Hilltop seniors Keaton Berry and Daniel Travers were named to the All-Division II Second Team. Mar Vista junior Valtri Holland earned honors as a member of the All-Division III Second Team.
Bonita Vista Barons: a softball season (34-2) like no other
The Bonita Vista Barons did not go undefeated as some might have thought by the way the team thrashed opponents through the opening half of the season. The Barons did win their opening 26 games to firmly establish themselves as the San Diego Section’s No. 1 team. However, a loss to Hilltop in Mesa League play proved to be Bonita Vista’s lone blemish on a 31-1 regular season record.
The Barons earned the top seed in the ensuing Division II playoffs and seemingly appeared to be on a roll to the division title, defeating Steele Canyon and Point Loma by scores of 11-1 and 10-1, respectively, in their opening two playoff games.
Bonita Vista matched up twice against West Hills to close out the season. The Barons won the first meeting, 1-0, to advance to the championship game. The Wolf Pack drew a rematch after winning the challenger bracket final.
Given a second shot at the BVHS behemoth (ranked fourth in the state and 13th nationally), 10th-seeded West Hills rode the superlative pitching of ace Noelle Johnson to shut down the Barons by a shocking 4-0 score.
Bonita Vista finished the season 34-2.
The Barons accomplished what the school’s 2002 team did not: advance to the CIF finals. That 2002 team won its first 31 games before falling to Poway in the single-elimination semifinals.
The cast of characters that clearly propelled the BVHS softball program to renewed heights was led by senior outfielder Kayla Jordan and junior pitcher Jennifer Hartman. Jordan earned accolades as the 2011 Mesa League Player of the Year while Hartman was named the league’s Pitcher of the Year.
The power-hitting Jordan tore the cover off the ball for the Barons with a .509 hitting average, 49 RBI, nine triples and nine home runs. Hartman finished with a 25-2 record and 1.58 earned-run average.
Jordan completed her legacy by earning honors as the 2011 San Diego Section Division II Player of the Year.
Bonita Vista’s John Carlson was named San Diego Section Coach of the Year.
Overall, the Metro Conference received its share of respect on the All-CIF teams. Hilltop senior Fiana Finau (bound for SDSU) joined Jordan and Hartman on the All-Division II First Team. All-Division II Second Team selections included Bonita Vista sophomore Hannah Flippen, BV junior Celina Cosio and Hilltop senior Monica Armas.
While the Barons earned the lion’s share of headlines during the regular season, and rightly so, it was Mater Dei Catholic’s Crusaders who came through with their second consecutive Division IV championship. The Crusaders, seeded third, defeated the top-seeded Madison Warhawks, 8-6, in the title game.
Madison entered the CIF final with a 28-0 record.
Maritza Lopez-Portillo earned honors as the Division IV Pitcher of the Year. She was joined by a slew of teammates on the all-division team. First team selections also included senior Mikayla Conlin, sophomores Taylor Cruse and Skania Lemus while sophomore Kim Tamayo was a second team pick.
Baseball: South County athletes counted among section’s best
While Metro Conference teams did not enjoy a great deal of success in the 2011 spring playoffs, several players did leave their mark on the sport.
Bonita Vista and Eastlake shared this year’s Mesa League titles with 7-3 league records while San Ysidro finished alone atop the South Bay League standings at 12-0.
Bonita Vista senior catcher Brian Lockey earned selection to the All-Division II First Team while Mater Dei Catholic senior Francisco Salas was tabbed as a member of the All-Division IV First Team.
Second team all-division honors were accorded to San Ysidro junior Eduardo Rubalcaba (Division I), Eastlake junior Andrew Calica (Division I), Hilltop senior Greg Allen (Division II), Montgomery sophomore Tony Gudino (Division III), Montgomery senior Estevan Carrillo (Division III) and Mater Dei Catholic junior Alex Robles (Division IV).
Allen earned honors as the 2011 Mesa League Player of the Year while Eastlake junior Dylan McDonald was named the 2011 Mesa League Pitcher of the Year.
Allen hit .464 with 23 RBI and three home runs while Lockey batted .439 with 22 RBI and two homers.
Bonita Vista finished 19-14 overall and went 2-2 in the playoffs while Eastlake finished 23-8 overall in making a statement of its own.
Rubalcaba helped fuel San Ysidro’s league championship season by hitting .439 with 47 RBI and five home runs.
Swimmers leave their mark at CIF finals
The Mesa League and South Bay League finals proved to be an appropriate launching pad for South County’s elite swimmers to wrap up the 2011 spring sports season. At the San Diego Section finals, held May 21 at Del Norte High School, Eastlake junior Luca Casimiro — the Mesa League’s 2011 male Swimmer of the Year — earned a second-place finish in the Division I boys 200-yard individual medley while Otay Ranch senior Mike Kowalski finished second in the 50 freestyle.
Casimiro and Kowalski finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 100 butterfly while Eastlake’s Justine Maher — the 2011 Mesa League female Swimmer of the Year — finished fifth in the 50 freestyle and sixth in the 100 freestyle in the Division I girls finals.
Division I boys finals
Casimiro timed 1:55.13 in the IM and 50.63 in the butterfly. Kowalski timed 21.58 in the 50 freestyle — 0.55 second off the winning mark posted by La Costa Canyon senior Stefan Knight — and 53.00 in the butterfly.
Casimiro stands as the top returning placer in the butterfly event after finishing 0.70 seconds off the winning time of Scripps Ranch senior Henrik Ohrstrom and 0.41 seconds behind runner-up Knight of LCC.
Overall, the Metro Conference was represented in 10 events at this year’s CIF Division I boys finals and in nine events in the Division I girls finals, including both swimming and diving events.
Bonita Vista sophomore Anthony Ribal placed third in the boys 100 breaststroke (1:00.43) and fifth in the boys 100 freestyle (48.57) while Otay Ranch senior Juan Robles finished sixth in the 100 backstroke (56.34).
Eastlake finished fifth in the boys 200 medley relay in 1:41.32. Swimmers included Casimiro, freshman John Randazzo, sophomore Jian Miclat and senior Ian Muhlbach.
The Titans also placed 10th overall in the meet-concluding 400 freestyle relay in 3:22.26. Swimmers included Casimiro, freshman Jimmy Jeffery, Miclat and Muhlbach.
Among individuals, Muhlbach finished sixth in the 100 freestyle in 49.03 and was seventh overall in the 50 freestyle after winning the consolation final in the boys 50 freestyle in 22.28. Miclat was 11th overall in the 50 freestyle in 22.61.
Otay Ranch finished 11th overall in the boys 200 freestyle relay, timing 1:35.59. Swimmers included sophomore Mackenzie Glass, Robles, sophomore Matthew Switzer and Kowalski.
Eastlake placed 11th in the Division I boys team standings while Otay Ranch was 13th and Bonita Vista was 15th.
Casimiro got his start in competitive swimming after watching American star Michael Phelps on television in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
“I had been swimming in a YMCA program and when I told my parents I wanted to go to the Olympics, they put me in a club program,” he said. “I love competing. The adrenaline rush on the blocks is what gets me.”
Division I girls finals
Eastlake finished eighth overall in the 200 medley relay in 1:56.68. Swimmers included senior Aabra Ahmed, senior Simone Banks, freshman Melanie Yngson and Maher.
Otay Ranch sophomore Sarah Medina placed 12th in the 100 butterfly in 1:03.19. She helped the Mustangs finish 11th in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:49.21. Junior Sara Gagarin, freshman Fernanda Arambula and junior Mariela Rodriguez also swam legs.
In the 400 freestyle relay, Eastlake placed eighth (3:47.10) while Otay Ranch was ninth (3:49.81). Eastlake’s quartet included sophomore Josselyn Molina, Ahmed, Banks and Maher while Otay Ranch’s quartet included senior Sabrina Ogden, freshman Laryssa Lucatero, Rodriguez and Medina.
Ahmed finished seventh in the 100 backstroke in 1:02.15 while Hilltop senior Diana Carreon was seventh in the 100 breaststroke in 1:09.60. Banks placed 10th in the breaststroke in 1:11.21.
Maher timed 24.57 in the 50 freestyle and 53.89 in the 100 freestyle.
Eastlake finished 10th in the team standings while Otay Ranch was 15th and Hilltop was 18th.
Division II finals
Olympian’s Kelly Clemmons, after placing second at the league diving finals, made a huge statement with a runner-up finish at the Division II girls section meet. Clemmons edged four-time reigning South Bay League champion Michelle McDonald of Mar Vista by two points to capture the elite CIF finish.
“It’s crazy,” Olympian coach Rene Marmolejo said, lost for words.
Mater Dei Catholic’s Giselle Suarez finished 11th in the girls 100 backstroke in 1:04.40.
2011 Spring Sports All-League Teams
Greg Allen (Hilltop), 12
Dylan McDonald (Eastlake), 11
Brian Lockey (Bonita Vista), 12
Andrew Calica (Eastlake), 11
Daniel Kopas (Eastlake), 12
Fernando Perez (Otay Ranch), 11
Justin DiStefano (Bonita Vista), 12
Miguel Solano (Bonita Vista), 11
Frank Salas (Mater Dei Catholic), 12
Alex Hanono (Eastlake), 12
Adrian Orozco (Otay Ranch), 11
Erick Tec (Hilltop), 11
Andrew Chavez (Mater Dei Catholic), 12
Troy Cruz (Bonita Vista), 11
Jeff Ayers (Chula Vista), 12
Raymond Campillo (Bonita Vista), 12
Christian Loera (Eastlake), 12
Alexis Mercado (Otay Ranch), 12
Robert Martinez (Hilltop), 12
Alexis Ayala (Bonita Vista), 12
Player of the Year
Greg Allen (Hilltop)
Pitcher of the Year
Dylan McDonald (Eastlake)
Bonita Vista Barons, Eastlake Titans
Kayla Jordan (Bonita Vista), 12
Celina Cosio (Bonita Vista), 11
Jennifer Hartman (Bonita Vista), 11
Anissa Pinedo (Bonita Vista), 11
Fiana Finau (Hilltop), 12
Natalia Rosales (Hilltop), 12
Monica Armas (Hilltop), 12
Sashel Palacios (Otay Ranch), 10
Maritza Lopez-Portillo (Mater Dei Catholic), 11
Dylan Christensen (Eastlake), 10
Chelsy Ramirez (Bonita Vista),11
Ruby Elliott (Bonita Vista), 12
Jaycee Carlson (Bonita Vista), 12
Hannah Flippen (Bonita Vista), 10
Tiffany Salcedo (Hilltop), 11
Ariel Bochniak (Hilltop), 11
Kim Tamayo (Mater Dei Catholic), 10
Adrianna Puente (Otay Ranch), 11
Kyle Diaz (Eastlake), 11
Brenda Alvarez (Eastlake). 12
Player of the Year
Kayla Jordan (Bonita Vista)
Pitcher of the Year
Jennifer Hartman (Bonita Vista)
Bonita Vista Barons, Hilltop Lancers
Nick Alegrado (Otay Ranch), 11
Jorge Reyes (Otay Ranch), 11
Frank Herrera (Otay Ranch), 11
Keaton Berry (Hilltop), 12
Scott Willes (Eastlake), 12
Jar Garcia (Eastlake), 12
Nico Pizarro (Otay Ranch), 12
J.J. Olaogun (Otay Ranch), 11
Jared Arias (Otay Ranch), 10
Jose Martinez (Mater Dei Catholic), 12
Rae Crawford (Eastlake), 12
Andrew Aguilar (Bonita Vista), 12
Otay Ranch: Omar Marquez,12; Geo Conrady, 12
Bonita Vista: David Garza, 12; Kelvin Torres, 11; Bruce Alegado, 12; Nick Pandaan, 12; Josh Uvero, 12
Hilltop: Daniel Travers, 12; Ivan Walls, 12;
Mater Dei Catholic: Mitch Travers),11; Luis Alaya, 12
Player of the Year
Nick Alegrado (Otay Ranch)
Otay Ranch Mustangs
Riley Schultz (Bonita Vista), 10
Kevin Gorman (Bonita Vista), 12
Daniel Miranda (Eastlake), 11
Patrick DeJesus (Otay Ranch), 11
Earney Chang (Bonita Vista), 9
Andrew Goluangco (Otay Ranch), 11
Spencer Princell (Mater Dei Catholic), 12
Patrick Baynes (Mater Dei Catholic), 12
Milan Lazorcik (Otay Ranch), 11
Alejandro Valdovinos (Eastlake), 9
Justin Knoll (Bonita Vista), 11
Andre Galano (Bonita Vista), 12
Player of the Year
Riley Schultz (Bonita Vista)
Bonita Vista Barons
Krista Donaldson (Otay Ranch), 12
Brianna Hannes (Otay Ranch), 12
Jessica Palafox (Otay Ranch), 12
Michelle Garcia (Otay Ranch), 12
Nicci Coyle (Hilltop), 11
Chelsea Ventura (Hilltop), 11
Aurora Clark (Hilltop), 10
Monzerrat Tavera (Mar Vista), 12
Lannet Sanchez (Mar Vista), 11
Sarah Lim (Bonita Vista), 11
Ashley Ada (Bonita Vista), 12
Ariel Showalter (Eastlake), 12
Jasmine Santa Maria (Otay Ranch), 12
Cyndia Ortega (Otay Ranch), 12
Michelle Guerrero (Otay Ranch), 11
Laurel Coleman (Hilltop), 10
Kasey Simonds (Hilltop), 9
Courtney Creel (Hilltop), 11
Vanessa Cherry (Mar Vista), 12
Rachel Burkhart (Mar Vista), 12
Wednesday Serio (Bonita Vista), 11
Vivian Adame (Bonita Vista), 12
Alana Harrison-Parks (Eastlake), 12
Samantha Cota (Chula Vista), 11
Otay Ranch: Rhona Presebe, 11; Ashley Russell, 11
Hilltop: Jalissa Pressley, 10; Angelica Delgado, 10
Mar Vista: Teresa Rubio, 9; Rebecca Velasquez, 11
Bonita Vista: Lauren Miranda, 12; Tori Bird, 12
Eastlake: Sarah Sedillo, 12; Hannah Drees, 11
Chula Vista: Ciara Lugo, 12; Sarah Moreno, 10
Player of the Year
Krista Donaldson Otay Ranch)
Otay Ranch Mustangs
Juan Mattoili (Montgomery), 12
Kris Holland (Otay Ranch), 12
Killian Spicer (Hilltop), 12
Oscar Aguirre (Chula Vista), 12
Zach Bannon (Eastlake), 12
Franz Hahn (Otay Ranch), 12
Christian Ballow (Eastlake), 12
Luis Sanchez (Otay Ranch), 12
Devin Brocklehurst (Bonita Vista), 11
Ruben Gonzalez (Mar Vista), 12
Daniel Hodge (Hilltop), 11
Ryan Deleon (Otay Ranch), 12
Francisco Alonso (Montgomery), 10
Ryan Kennedy (Hilltop), 12
Benjamin Ruffin (Chula Vista), 12
Joseph Leonor (Eastlake), 12
Jacob Weidner (Otay Ranch), 12
Henry Zepeda (Mar Vista), 12
Jacob Dempsey (Eastlake), 12
Levi Galeski (Eastlake), 12
Jacob Ponalsky (Bonita Vista), 12
Gaston Garza (Mar Vista), 12
Player of the Year
Franz Hahn (Otay Ranch)
Otay Ranch Mustangs