Southern Section vexed by disconnect
If you closely follow Orange County football, you know Edison and Marina are very different in the sport although both schools are in the same town. You also know that the football program at Garden Grove has been far more successful lately than another one in the same city, Bolsa Grande.
Those differences are not completely understood by Ventura County people, even high school administrators in Ventura County. Similarly, Orange County public high school administrators might not fully appreciate the challenges of small private schools in the Inland Empire.
But such administrators have a say in what happens in faraway areas when they gather for a meeting of the CIF-Southern Section Council, the rules making-and-changing arm of the Southern Section that is the governing body for high school sports in Orange County and much of Southern California. The Council is made up of representatives of the Southern Section's 86 leagues.
At Wednesday's Council meeting, it was resolved that for the football playoffs in the 2012 and '13 seasons that Sunset League playoff teams would play in the Southwest Division, a significant drop in competitive challenge from the Pac-5 Division to which the Sunset had belonged. Also resolved was that the Pacific Coast League would remain in the Southern Division, a division that Pacific Coast League football teams schools have lately come close to dominating.
It is developments like those that lead one to suspect the Southern Section is too large, with its 581 schools and its area that stretches from Paso Robles to San Clemente, and from Catalina Island to Mammoth. CIF-Southern Section commissioner Rob Wigod and company run the section well, implementing as best they can the rules created for them by the member schools at these Council meetings. But at these Council meetings, sometimes, like Wednesday, it becomes clear that many Council representatives have limited knowledge of Orange County demographic trends and traffic, yet their votes are deciding what happens in high school sports here. Simultaneously, Council members who represent Orange County leagues really don't understand the hubbub 70 miles away, about Oaks Christian of Westlake Village.
It's a good move, getting the Sunset League out of the Pac-5 Division, which used to be called Division 1 to reflect its status as the section's top division. Edison is the only Sunset League school that has been winning Pac-5 football playoff games with any regularity lately. But the Southwest Division, or Division 6 as it was called before the change to quasi-geographic names for the divisions, while an easy geographic fit for the Sunset schools, might be too far of a competitive drop. Something like the Inland Division, which used to be Division 2 and has schools in northeast Los Angeles County and the near Inland Empire, might have been more appropriate.
Pacific Coast League football likely will continue to roll in the Southern Division (old Division 9), in which last year both finalists were PCL teams and in 2010 three teams in the final four were PCL teams. A move to the Southeast Division, old Division 7 and made up mostly of east and southeast Los Angeles County leagues, perhaps would have been a better competitive match.
Council members who represent some of the more distant of the Southern Section's 86 leagues did not quite understand that Wednesday.
Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:
•One reason the Marmonte League has been moved into the football playoffs Pac-5 Division, in which it will replace the Sunset League: calpreps.com, a good database for schedules and results of California football, ranked the Marmonte League in 2011 as the No. 4 football league is the state, behind the Trinity, South Coast and Serra leagues. As CIF-SS assistant commissioner in charge of football Glenn Martinez said, "When a league's No. 4 or 5 team is going on the road and beating another league's champion, something needs to be done."
•A couple of very good Empire League baseball players made their college choices recently. Cypress junior catcher Tyler Alamo, who has played on USA Baseball national age-group teams, committed to Cal State Fullerton. Pacifica senior speedster center fielder Jono Herkins signed with Cal State Northridge.
•It will be an Edison reunion in Sacramento State's men's basketball program. Dreon Barlett, a senior guard who this past season was All-Orange County second team, signed this week with Sacramento State, where 2011 All-County first-team selection Dylan Garrity of Edison just concluded an excellent freshman year.
•Capistrano Valley left-handed pitcher Jake Menzuber committed to, and will sign soon with, Cal Poly Pomona. Menzuber, a senior, is 4-1.
•Corona del Mar's boys lacrosse team concluded the regular season 19-0 overall with a 16-2 victory over Beckman on Wednesday. There are no official CIF-Southern Section playoffs in lacrosse, as fewer than 20 percent of Southern Section member schools have lacrosse teams.
•Correction: It was Jonathon Rowenhourst of Brethren Christian who was the most recent county baseball pitcher to throw back-to-back no-hitters, in 1997.
•The Orange County Kiwanis All-Star Baseball Game, for graduating seniors, is June 5 at Glover Stadium/La Palma Park. Savanna coach Rick Parmenter is the North coach, with Servite's Jeff Sears and Sonora's Pat Tellers his assistants. The South coach is Mike Burns of Trabuco Hills, with assistants Kevin Lavalle of Beckman and Benji Medure of Huntington Beach; rosters will be announced later.
•The Orange County Small Schools All-Star Basketball Game is Saturday at 7 p.m., at the Fountain Valley Recreation Center. The game is for senior players from county schools in the Academy, Express and San Joaquin leagues, and from Calvary Chapel of the Orange Coast League. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for high school students, and admission is free for children 10 and younger.
•Billy Assaf has resigned as boys basketball coach at St. Margaret's, where Assaf has coached for 15 years. St. Margaret's is in the process of hiring a replacement and – this does not always happen these days – the position includes a fulltime teaching position.