All-CIF winter sports teams recognize South County talent

San Ysidro High School freshman Mikey Williams helped guide the Cougars to this year's San Diego Section Division III championship and a personal berth on the all-section first team. Photo by Phillip Brents

The San Diego Section’s annual All-CIF teams recognize the accomplishments of elite student-athletes within their sport of choice.

The section’s winter sports awards included recognition in boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls wrestling and girls water polo.

South County student-athletes earned a generous share of representation on the list.

Melo Sanchez led Mater Dei Catholic’s boys basketball team in nearly every statistical category in leading the Crusaders to this year’s Mesa League championship and a berth in the Open Division playoffs. Photo by Phillip Brents

Boys basketball
San Ysidro freshman Mikey Williams and Mater Dei Catholic junior Melo Sanchez both received nods on the all-section first team.

Williams, the 2019-20 South Bay League Player of the Year, averaged 29.9 points in his debut varsity season while pacing the team in rebounds per game (6.7) and steals per game (1.6) and ranking second in assists per asgame (4.9). He helped create a sea of memories as the Cougars (25-9 overall) won the Division III championship.

Williams earned national recognition in December by scoring 77 points — the most in a single game in the country this season — to set a new section scoring record.

San Ysidro won the South Bay League championship with an undefeated 12-0 record and tacked on four wins in the section playoffs to claim the school’s first CIF basketball title. The Cougars advanced two rounds deep into the Southern California Division IV regional playoffs.

Sanchez averaged 20.1 points per game while leading the Crusaders (22-7 overall) in rebounds (205), assists (114) and steals (75) as Mater Dei Catholic won this year’s Mesa League championship with a 9-1 league record and qualified for the Open Division playoffs.

Two of Williams’ teammates – freshman Jurian Dixon and senior Kailen Rains — earned recognition on the all-section second team.

Dixon averaged 24.5 points per game, capping the season with a stellar 32-point performance in top-seeded San Ysidro’s 71-59 division championship game victory against second-seeded Coronado.

He scored 50 points in a 106-58 win over Southwest on Jan. 15.

Rains ranked third in team scoring (19.5 ppg).

Sylena Peterson’s first year as a Lady Baron was a good one as Bonita Vista reached the Open Division semifinals. Photo by Phillip Brents

Girls basketball
Bonita Vista scored a Mesa League three-peat this season, and junior transfer Sylena Peterson helped lead the way by pacing the Lady Barons in assists and steals while ranking second in point scoring and rebounding.

Peterson averaged 14.7 points in 23 games while grabbing 147 rebounds, making 104 steals and dishing out 102 assists as Bonita Vista capped its season with a 21-10 record in the opening round of the Southern California Division I regional playoffs.

The Lady Barons lost, 48-46, to recently-crowned national champion La Jolla Country Day in the semifinals of the Open Division playoffs as a mark of prestige.

Senior Julia Cosalan, who led Bonita Vista in season scoring (15.1 ppg), earned a berth on the all-section second team along with Mater Dei Catholic junior Kayanna Spriggs.

Spriggs led the Lady Crusaders — the Mesa League runner-up — in scoring (15.1 ppg) and rebounding (12.7 rpg).

Mater Dei Catholic (20-10) qualified for the Open Division playoffs and advanced three rounds deep into the Southern California Division II regional playoffs.

San Diego Section First Team selection Gael Ruiz of Hilltop High School earned acclaim as one of the county’s top scorers during the 2019-20 season. Photo by Phillip Brents

Boys soccer
The Metro Conference landed three players on the All-CIF first and second teams: Hilltop senior Gael Ruiz on the first team and Castle Park senior Ivan Garduno and Mater Dei Catholic senior Justin Carreon on the second team.

Ruiz ranked as one of the section’s top scorers during the 2019-20 season after punching home 31 goals in 23 games to go with 13 assists for a team-leading 75 points — a total more than double that of the nearest teammate in the scoring column. He topped the Lancers with seven game-winning goals.

Hilltop finished as this season’s South Bay League champion with a 7-2-1 league record to nose out runner-up Mater Dei Catholic (7-3-0) by percentage points. The Lancers finished 20-5-4 on the season and advanced as far as the Division III semifinals.

Carreon shared South Bay League Co-Players of the Year with Ruiz after leading the Crusaders to this year’s Division IV championship title.

Mater Dei Catholic capped its CIF championship season with an 18-4-1 record, including a first-round match in the Southern California Division IV regional playoffs.

Garduno averaged three points per game to finish as the top scorer for Castle Park’s Mesa League runner-up team. The Trojans, after finishing second to the Southwest Raiders in league play, embarked on a playoff run to the Division III semifinals.

The Trojans finished 7-2-3 in league play, 10-7-3 overall.

Olivia Sekimoto led the Eastlake High School girls soccer team in scoring during the 2019-20 season and to the Mesa League championship title. Photo by Phillip Brents

Girls soccer
Eastlake reigned as 2019-20 Mesa League champions with an 11-1 record en route to securing a berth in the Open Division playoffs. The Lady Titans advanced to the semifinals, denied a spot in the championship game following a 1-0 loss at top-seeded Cathedral Catholic.

Eastlake subsequently received the No. 2 seed in the Southern California Division II regional playoffs, advancing to the semifinal stage, to finish an otherwise stellar season with a 21-7-1 record.

Senior Olivia Sekimoto led the Lady Titans in scoring with 17 goals and seven assists in 27 games to earn representation on the all-section first team, the only Metro Conference player to receive the honor. She led her team with five game-winning goals.

But there were more accolades to hand out.

Eastlake senior Taylor Summit received recognition on the all-section second team after collecting 46 steals during the season.

Otay Ranch captured this year’s Division III championship to cap an outstanding 15-6-3 season that included a 7-3-2 mark in Mesa League play and three upset wins in the CIF playoffs.

Senior Emma Gaines-Ramos collected two assists in the Lady Mustangs’ 3-2 championship game victory against La Jolla Country Day. She finished the season as Otay Ranch’s second-leading scorer with 12 goals and six assists in 16 game appearances while making 14 defensive steals.

As a result she earned all-section second team honors.

The Lady Mustangs advanced two rounds deep into the Southern California Division III regional playoffs, recording a upset win over second-seeded Torrance South in the quarterfinals.

Yesenia DeGuire, far right, helped Olympian High School make history as the inaugural Metro Conference girls wrestling tournament team champion. Photo by Phillip Brents[[p
Girls wrestling
It was a phenomenal year for girls wrestling in the Metro Conference, with Olympian High School capturing the inaugural conference and Division I tournament championship titles and a record 12 girls from six schools qualifying to compete at the state championship tournament.

Olympian senior Yesenia DeGuire earned honors as the school’s most decorated wrestler — male or female — after recording an eighth-place finish at the state tournament. Along the way, she won her 113-pound weight class at the inaugural Metro Conference championship tournament, Division I finals and San Diego Masters state-qualifying tournament.

She wasn’t alone on the championship award stand as Mar Vista junior 128-pounder Anya Rodriguez and Hilltop senior 133-pounder Nahdia Barrientos also won section titles to earn distinction as members of the all-section first team.

Olympian’s Yesenia DeGuire competes at the state championship tournament in Bakersfield.