New Laker coach checking out O.C. school for sons
Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:
•Two sons of new Lakers coach Mike Brown will tour Mater Dei on Monday, "shadowing" a couple of Mater Dei students to get the feel of what a Mater Dei day is like. One son, an eighth-grader, is a football player, and the other, a sophomore, is a basketball player. Plenty of Mater Dei basketball dads over the decades have talked like they know more about coaching basketball than does Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight; if the Browns do enroll at Mater Dei, then we finally have a Mater Dei basketball dad who can talk that talk legitimately.
•If you are thinking, "Why have the state meet in Clovis?" think again. The site of the weekend's CIF State Track and Field Championships is a great site – Buchanan High in Clovis, where they have a state-of-the-art, Mondo Super X track with colored relay zones, a large and clear video screen that delivers real-time timing of running events, and permanent seating for 8,500 with room to add more seating to lift capacity to 12,000. It's a place the CIF State office examined closely before deciding to keep the CIF State Bowl Championships football games at Home Depot Center in Carson.
•The state meet has eight national leaders in it. The prelims are today, with the finals on Saturday. County athletes to watch: El Toro thrower Jake Fraser, Mater Dei hurdlers Sam Barkley (yes, USC quarterback Matt's brother) and Charles Michinock, and, of course, Trabuco Hills distance runner Jantzen Oshier whose 4:04.24 in the 1,600 at the Orange County Championships remains the best mark in the event in the nation.
•The Orange County Athletic Directors Association at it spring dinner meeting at Anaheim Convention Center this week selected its male and female athletes of the year – basketball player Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis of Mater Dei, and football player/wrestler Wyatt Baker of Servite. That's right, two Trinity League student-athletes and everybody went home from the meeting without incident. We at ocvarsity.com next week reveal our selections for county male and female athletes of the year, and our small schools male and female athletes of the year, and unlike the athletic directors' selections ours are not required to be graduating seniors.
•So 12 of the 14 teams in CIF-SS baseball championship games this week are public-school teams, and 10 of the 14 teams in CIF-SS softball finals are public-school teams. Go back fewer than three months ago, and 16 of the 20 teams in the CIF State basketball finals were private-school teams. With public-school athletic budgets being reduced now in the future, private-school athletic programs are about to gain a growing advantage which means its time to take a serious look at placing public schools and private schools in separate playoff divisions.
•There is some talk around Santa Ana that Santa Ana Stadium, football home field for Mater Dei and many of the city's public schools, is going to open itself to more soccer bookings. Mater Dei athletic director Phil Bellomo has a meeting of unknown details with Santa Ana Stadium management soon. The 2011 football schedule at "the Bowl" is set, but perhaps Mater Dei will be on the hunt for a new home football site for 2012 and beyond.
•The Major League Baseball draft begins Monday, and Edison lefty pitcher Henry Owens is, like JSerra catcher Austin Hedges, projected to be picked in the first round (and Tustin infielder Travis Harrison could be an early selection, too). But don't expect the easy-going Owens to be overly excited. As he said about his growing fame a couple of weeks ago in what could be the high school sports quote of the year, "It's not like I go home and Google myself."
•The hiring of Kim Cram-Torres as girls basketball coach at Brea Olinda is a great one for Ladycats basketball. At Villa Park, where her resignation Tuesday was announced just hours before Brea announced her hiring, Cram-Torres coached for nine years and led the Spartans to a few CIF-Southern Section semifinals appearances and built the program into one of the county's strong ones. She also was an assistant at Troy under current Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan.
•It sure looks like there is one too many divisions in CIF-SS baseball playoffs when the average margin of playoff victory for the this year's Division 7 finalists, Animo of Inglewood and Pacifica Christian of Santa Monica, has been 12 and nine runs a game, respectively. And in the Division 6 wild-card round, there was this score – Mojave 33, Excelsior Education Center of Spring Valley Lake 16 ... and Mojave was one-hit and did not hit a ball out of the infield in its next playoff game against Oxford Academy. The baseball coaches advisory committee just might want to consider creating a proposal that would merge divisions 6 and 7 into one division, so that a bunch of lowest-division teams that are not playoff-worthy are not in the playoffs.
•It's the same in softball. Division 7 finalist Pomona Catholic has outscored its playoff opponents, 81-0 for an average score of 20-0. Division 7 quarterfinals – quarterfinals, when only the good teams should have advanced that far – had scores of 23-0, 23-4, 21-2 and 20-0. Merge divisions 6 and 7 into one division in softball, too.
•A reason to get to Dodger Stadium early today for the Division 4 Palm-Desert-Bishop Amat of La Puente baseball championship game that precedes the J.W. North of Riverside-Esperanza final in Division 1 is that one of Palm Desert's better players is Ryan Garvey, son of former Dodger great Steve Garvey. Another Garvey on that field will be something to see.
•Did Irvine residents supporting the city's two schools, Beckman and Woodbridge, who played in the Division 3 championship baseball game Thursday arrive at Dodger Stadium to see the place is painted blue and wonder how the local homeowners association allowed the existence of a building that is not beige?