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Looking forward to big changes
The 2011-12 high school sports year has ended save for a couple of events like Wednesday's announcements of The Orange County Register/ocvarsity.com athletes of the year.
Plenty of important changes are in store for the 2012-13 school year.
The time period during which a transfer who has not changed residences cannot participate in varsity interscholastic competition has gone from one year from the date of the transfer to 30 days from the start of the season of sport, and 37 days from the start of the season for football players. For example, a football player who transfers from School A to School B without making a residence change cannot play in a game until 37 days after School B's season-opening game, The sit-out period is 30 days in other sports as those sports do not have the option of starting one week early like football teams sometimes do with the Week 0 games.
We shall see if the reduced sit-out time will compel more to transfer. Perhaps potential transfers and their parents view the full month with no games as worth sacrificing to make the move.
There will be a reduction in the number of guaranteed playoff entries in football. Five-team leagues like the Sea View and South Coast leagues that had received guaranteed football playoff berths for their top three finishers now will get guaranteed football playoff berths for only their top two finishers. This is unwelcomed news in the Sea View and South Coast leagues, which formed five team leagues a couple of years ago under the belief that the three-playoff-teams-from-a-five-team-league format would not change.
The football season begins Aug. 23 for some teams that chose to open the 2012 season with Week 0 games. The early start is the by-product of the unnecessary creation of regional playoff games between the end of the CIF-Southern Section playoffs and the CIF State Championship Bowl Games. Section champions in Southern California and in Northern California have regional-round playoff games that determine Southern California and Northern California representatives in the ensuing week's state championship games.
An open division is created for the CIF State boys and girls basketball tournaments. A panel will identify the top Northern California and Southern California boys and girls basketball teams and, regardless of the teams' school enrollments, will place those teams in an open division for the CIF regionals.
Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:
•The biggest coaching changes for next school year: in Orange Lutheran football, longtime college assistant coach Chuck Petersen has replaced Jim Kunau who built Lutheran into one of the top programs in the state; in San Clemente football, Jon Hamro who coached the Tritons for one season that produced a trip to the Pac-5 final has stepped aside and has been replaced by San Clemente veteran defensive coordinator Jaime Ortiz; in Santa Margarita boys basketball, longtime college assistant coach Jeff Reinert has replaced Jerry DeBusk who coached the Eagles to CIF section and state championships.
•Will there be a new football stadium at El Toro? Proponents of it say it can be completed by late August, but neighbors concerned about traffic and noise might halt the plans.
•Tustin has a new gym for next school year, one that might rival the gyms at Mater Dei and JSerra as the best high school gyms in the county.
•The county all-star football game is July 6 at Orange Coast College. If they keep making earlier the start of the regular season, coaches will be too busy on their own teams to spend time also running an all-star team.
•An early preseason football top 10: 1. Santa Margarita; 2. Servite; 3. Mission Viejo; 4. Mater Dei; 5. Tesoro; 6. San Clemente; 7. El Toro; 8. Edison; 9. La Habra; 10. Los Alamitos.
•Comment: Santa Margarita has an abundance of returning starters from a great 2011 team; El Toro goes to the South Coast League and looks like the fourth-best team in a five-team league in which only the top two finishers receive guaranteed entry into the playoffs; teams not included here that could be in our official preseason top 10 in August might be Huntington Beach, Tustin and/or Villa Park.
•A very early preseason boys basketball top 10: 1. Mater Dei; 2. Orange Lutheran; 3. Mission Viejo; 4. Tesoro; 5. JSerra; 6. Ocean View; 7. Tustin; 8. Foothill; 9. El Toro; 10. Canyon.
•Comment: Mission Viejo-Tesoro games are going to be great; Ocean View will be small but quick; teams not included here that could be in our official preseason top 10 in November might be Capistrano Valley, which lost a lot to graduation this year, and/or Villa Park.
•A very, very early preseason baseball top 10: 1. Mater Dei; 2. Orange Lutheran; 3. Cypress; 4. Los Alamitos; 5. Mission Viejo; 6. El Toro; 7. Trabuco Hills; 8. Aliso Niguel; 9. El Dorado; 10. Fountain Valley.
•Comment: Mater Dei, Orange Lutheran and Cypress have good position players back and need to develop pitching; Trabuco Hills might be underrated at No. 7; Fountain Valley could have its best team in years, but might be even better in 2014.
•That's over-and-out for the 2011-12 school year. We will be back at it in late August.
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