Pam Wiser Classic tournament championship goes to Hilltop

From left, Sweetwater’s Jose Lopez, Carolina Negrete and Cesar Salazar swept the skills competition events at this year’s Pam Wiser Classic tournament. Photo by Phillip Brents

Despite the late season date, eight high school roller hockey teams from the Sweetwater Union High School District came together Feb. 7-8 to continue the tradition of the Pam Wiser Classic/Bonita Optimist Tournament. This year’s event featured a four-game round-robin format, with the Mesa League leading Hilltop Lancers finishing 4-0 to secure first place.

Games consisted of two periods to fit into the two-day format. The shortened games allowed for closer scores and more exciting finishes between the teams.

“I have to thank the coaches for keeping the tournament going and keeping the tradition alive,” said Bonita Vista coach Keith Quigley, whose Barons finished runner-up in the standings with a 3-1 record. “Pam was so invested in the hockey world back in the day. Without her, this league likely wouldn’t exist today. This tournament is a great way to keep her memory alive.”

Hilltop recorded shutout wins in all four games to finish with an impressive 19-0 goal-differential.

“It was a great effort — this is the first time that Hilltop has won this, the first time that Hilltop has won anything,” Lancer head coach Paul Tesner said. “To shut out all four teams was awesome. Since goals-against mattered as a tiebreaker, the team wanted to go for the goose-egg.”

All eight teams were represented at the rink, with each team pitching a canopy on site to create a festive atmosphere, especially on the final day of the event

Every team came out a winner in some fashion, even Castle Park, which remained winless on the season. The Trojans, starting with almost a whole new lineup this season, showcased how far they have come in developing their hockey skill set.

“They’ve progressed,” CPHS head coach Adrian Rodriguez explained of his squad. “From not knowing how to skate or having hockey skills to today it’s been a win-win for us. The good news is that the majority of the team is coming back (for next season).”

Following the conclusion of games on Saturday, a skills competition took place. The Sweetwater Red Devils swept all the awards. Jose Lopez won the fastest skater award and shootout accuracy contest, goaltender Carolina Negrete won the goaltender-shootout award and Cesar Salazar won the hardest shot event.

Lopez timed 18.13 seconds to post the fastest lap while Salazar clocked 70 mph against the radar gun.

Six goaltenders participated in the shootout event: San Ysidro’s Mariano Mercado, Otay Ranch’s Abby Castañon, Bonita Vista’s Faith Sunga, Chula Vista’s Henry Evans, Southwest’s Billy Suarez and Sweetwater’s Negrete.

Negrete outlasted Sunga in the finals. Ironically, Negrete wound up stopping her Sweetwater teammates to win the award.

“It was fun because I already knew some of their weaknesses,” Negrete said. “It was fun to challenge them. We all did well.”

“It was fun with all the other goalies and seeing them work hard,” Evans said.

Hilltop’s Trevor Fune racked up 13 goals and three assists as the tournament scoring leader while Bonita Vista sophomore Maxwell Anderson potted 10 goals.



Pam Wiser Classic

Team standings
Hilltop Lancers 4-0
Bonita Vista Barons 3-1
San Ysidro Cougars 3-1
Chula Vista Spartans 2-2
Otay Ranch Mustangs 2-2
Sweetwater Red Devils 1-3
Southwest Raiders 1-3
Castle Park Trojans 0-4

Friday, Feb. 7
Chula Vista 1, San Ysidro 0
Sweetwater 2, Southwest 1
Bonita Vista 9, Castle Park 0
Hilltop 9, Otay Ranch 0
Bonita Vista 2, Sweetwater 1
San Yisdro 1, Castle Park 0
Hilltop 3, Chula Vista 0
Otay Ranch 1, Southwest 0

Saturday, Feb. 8
San Yisdro 4, Southwest 1
Chula Vista 3, Sweetwater 2 (OT)
Otay Ranch 4, Castle Park 3 (2OT)
Hilltop 4, Bonita Vista 0
Hilltop 3, Chula Vista 0
Southwest 4, Castle Park 1
San Ysidro 2, Otay Ranch 1 (2OT)