This event could've been a blast


Yes, there was a grenade throw in CIF track and field.

Perhaps you thought that was a joke here last week, when the grenade throw was mentioned as one of the long-gone track and field events.

John Dahlem, a former Orange County wrestling coach and principal, former president of the CIF-Southern Section Council, and world-class mountaineer and adventurer, is compiling all sorts of historical data for the CIF-SS office. The results of much of his research can be found at the Southern Section website,, under the "history" tab.

Here are some of Dahlem's findings on the grenade throw ...

The javelin throw had been in the CIF-SS track and field championship meet since the first meet in 1913. Concerns arose that the javelin throw was dangerous, so in 1919, shortly after the conclusion of World War I, it was eliminated and the grenade throw was recommended to be introduced as a field event. It would be an exhibition event; medals would be awarded for the grenade throw, but the event would not be included in the tabulation of team points.

From what Dahlem has gathered, the grenades were not live and the contest was one of accuracy and not distance. The winner of the grenade throw for the CIF-SS meet at Los Angeles High on April 20, 1919, was, according to a newspaper clipping, Tyson (just Tyson) from Huntington Park High.

The hand grenade throw lasted only that one year as a CIF-SS field event. Then – boom! – just like that, it was gone.

The javelin throw reappeared four years later and had a long history – the county record of 169-7 was set by Jacque Nelson of Canyon, in 1979 – but it, the hammer throw and the steeplechase now are on the list of forbidden events in CIF-SS track and field.

Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:

•Servite's hockey team won the Anaheim Ducks High School League championship by beating JSerra, 5-1, on Monday. Servite defeated Santa Margarita and Orange Lutheran in the playoffs before defeating previously undefeated JSerra in the final at Honda Center.

•El Toro's boys lacrosse team is 6-0. The Chargers have beaten some good teams, including Corona del Mar, Santa Margarita and San Clemente. El Toro is ranked third among CIF-Southern Section schools that play the club sport, behind No. 1 Foothill and No. 2 St. Margaret's, according to rankings that can be found at

•CIF-Southern Section playoffs can be held by a sport if 20 percent or more of CIF-SS member schools have teams in the sport. With 581 schools in the CIF-Southern Section, that means 116 schools would have to field a team in a sport before CIF-SS playoffs could be held in that sport.

•CIF boxing? Never. According to CIF rule 1200 B., "Schools participating in interscholastic boxing may be barred from all CIF competition for a period of time up to one year in duration."

•Former Tesoro and Saddleback football coach Jim O'Connell is an assistant football coach at Servite. He will coach the offensive line there, Servite coach Troy Thomas said. O'Connell coached Tesoro to CIF-Southern Section championships in 2004 and 2005.

•JSerra has not yet announced its next athletic director to replace Jim Hartigan, who vacated the position to devote more time to coaching JSerra's football program. One name that surfaced but now can be de-surfaced – Servite athletic director and wrestling coach Alan Clinton. Clinton said he did not pursue the position at JSerra, which does not have a wrestling program (and neither did Servite before Clinton's arrival there from El Modena a few years ago).

•The OCNissan Select Invitational baseball tournament begins Saturday, and this one has a strong field of teams – defending CIF-Southern Section champion Ocean View, Canyon, Woodbridge, Beckman, Tustin, Santa Margarita, El Modena and Yorba Linda are the teams in the event. Games are at Windrow Park in Irvine, and at El Modena, Canyon and Yorba Linda high schools. The championship game is April 6 at Windrow Park's Ryan Lemmon Stadium, at 6 p.m.

•Whittier Christian, having a very good sports year, is 10-2 in baseball after a 12-5 victory Monday over Valley Christian of Cerritos. Whittier Christian's Heralds have won six in a row. Steve Krecker led the offense Monday with a two-run home run.

•Outside of the CIF-SS championships, the Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament is the big event on the boys tennis schedule every year. This year's Ojai event, which also includes youth and college competition, is April 26-May 1. Entries for "The Ojai" will be announced Friday.

•If you look at the South and North nominations for this summer's Orange County football all-star game, you might see some big names missing. Some players cannot play because of college commitments, and in Mater Dei quarterback Max Wittek's case, he was not nominated because he already is taking classes at USC. The game, organized by the Brea Lions for charity, is July 15 at Orange Coast College.

•The movement to add a regional playoff game to occur between the end of CIF section football championships and the CIF State Championship Bowl Games seems to be weakening. That conclusion comes from reading between the lines of what CIF State executive director Marie Ishida said during her address to the media between Saturday's day and evening sessions at the CIF State Championships basketball games in Sacramento. "It's very quiet out there," said Ishida about the regional football game plan – and, historically, the absence of chatter about a plan implies an absence of interest and support of the plan.

•Of the fact 17 of the 20 teams in CIF State basketball finals were private schools this past weekend, Ishida said that situation brings the topic of placing private and public schools into separate playoff divisions into discussion. "And that's good," Ishida said. Agreed – maybe such a separation is unnecessary, but it is worthy of examination.

•And the Sacramento Kings' potential move to Anaheim could mean the CIF State Championships in basketball might vacate Sacramento, too. Last year's basketball state finals were in Bakersfield. The vote here would be, if the move is necessary, to have the state finals in Oakland or in Anaheim at the Convention Center, if the venues are available and made financial sense.

•We saw several basketball teams endure influenza that spread to many of their players. Maybe coaches and athletic directors should organize program-wide flu vaccination sessions as soon as the vaccines are available each fall.

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