O.C. throwers work at being, beating the best


He is starting to sound like Mr. Miyagi, the master martial arts instructor in the original "Karate Kid" movies.

Tony Ciarelli is explaining how he teaches the elements of the shot put and the discus, something he does as well as or better than any coach in Orange County track and field history, at Newport Harbor.

"It's the same movement, it never changes," Ciarelli said. "Your goal is to get as good as you can within that singular movement."

An impressive number of Newport Harbor throwers have become good enough to qualify for the CIF-Southern Section track and field preliminaries Saturday. Harbor has four athletes among the top eight qualifiers in the discus, and three among the top eight qualifiers in the shot put in the Division 2 prelims at Moorpark High.

Newport Harbor juniors Ethan Cochran and Steve Michaelsen are 1-2 among qualifiers in the discus, with Trevor Lawrence at No. 8. Ryan Andrews, a senior, is No. 2 in the shot put, with teammates Michaelsen, JB Salem and Lawrence at 6-8.

Ciarelli has coached some of the top throwers in county history, including Scott Moser, who set the county record in the discus (213-11) for Huntington Beach in 1997, Habor's Bo Taylor (his 213-7 at Harbor in '06 is No. 2 on the county discus record list), and two of the top girls throwers in county history, Cara and Gina Heads at Harbor. Ciarelli-coached athletes are all over the county all-time performance lists.

He labels this group of the throwers as the deepest he has coached since the 1987 Edison squad that included Kaleaph Carter and Rich Blanchard. Some other Harbor throwers could have qualified in the shot or discus in other divisions, which had lower qualifying standards, if Harbor was competing in those divisions.

"These guys know their hardest competition is their own teammates," said Ciarelli.

The Harbor throwers inspire each other in practice, and in the weight room.

"They're all very hard workers," said Ciarelli, himself a top thrower at Huntington Beach in the early 1970s. "I can put a program up on the board and leave, knowing they'll all do the workout."

Throwing, Ciarelli conceded, is not a lot of fun.

"It's work-type of sport," he said. "It's a self-realization sport. There is a large amount of work to do if you want to be good."

So far, so good – again – with the throwers at Newport Harbor.

Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:

•The CIF State Federated Council last week voted to create CIF State Regional Football Games to be played one week after section championship games, like the CIF-Southern Section finals, starting with the 2012 season, with the regional winners advancing to the CIF State Championship Bowl Games. That means Week 0 games can be played Aug. 24 of 2012, with Week 1 games Aug. 31, and a 16-game schedule for teams that advance to the state bowl games. Some of us are old enough to remember when the NFL regular season was restricted to 14 games.

•The state council also adopted a mercy rule for football, beginning this fall. If one team has a lead of 35 points or more at the end of three quarters, a running clock will be in use for the fourth quarter. Teams can start a running clock before the fourth quarter if the teams' coaches agree to it. The Freeway League has used a running clock for a few years, although there have been some games involving La Habra in one-sided games in which La Habra coach Frank Mazzotta and the opposing coach decided to not have a running clock so more second- and third-string kids would have the chance to play.

•It has been quite a sports year at Trabuco Hills. The Mustangs have won league championships in boys and girls lacrosse, girls track, boys volleyball, boys golf and baseball.

•Fundraising golf tournament item of the week: HB Football Golf Tournament, to benefit the Huntington Beach football program, is July 18 at Sea Cliff Country Club very close to the school. For information, email or call 714-717-0004.

•Laguna Beach two-sport star Chris Paul was invited to play on the South team for the Orange County all-star football game this summer, but declined the invitation of South coach Myron Miller (Tustin) so Paul could focus on baseball. An item here last week gave the impression that Miller did not offer Paul a South roster position. Putting together an all-star roster, no matter the sport, invites the sort of second-guessing we encounter here with our All-County teams, but believe it that Miller worked hard to create a very representative roster.

•Paul this week is the ESPN Rise Cal-Hi Sports State Athlete of the Week. Coming into this final week of the baseball regular season, Paul, a senior, is batting .500 with five home runs and 43 RBIs. Like Edison senior Eric Snyder, Paul is climbing the ladder of some county career, with Paul's 157 career hits placing him third in county history.

•San Clemente offensive lineman Kyle Murphy, a senior this coming fall, is ranked as the No. 28 overall player and the No. 8 offensive lineman on's list of the nation's top football prospects for 2012. Murphy, All-County first team this past fall, is 6-foot-7, 275 pounds and has accepted an invitation to play in next January's U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

•The Trinity League Baseball Camp for Cory Hahn is June 11 at Mater Dei. The skills camp is free for players of ages 8 to 14, but donations are accepted and all proceeds go to medical expenses and physical therapy costs for Hahn, last year's county player of the year who was injured during the opening weekend of play this season at Arizona State. For more information, including how to make a donation, email Mater Dei coach Burt Call at, or call 714-850-9580.

•Tustin High on June 10 will be the site of a celebrity basketball game, an event organized by former Tillers and current NFL player Frostee Rucker and his Frostee's Challenge group, in partnership with another former Tiller and NFL player, DeShaun Foster's Foster 26 Foundation. Proceeds will benefit student-athlete programs at Tustin High. For information, call 714-730-7414. Foster for years has been a leader in organizing and running events that benefit youth in and around Tustin.

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