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Fryer: New world for El Toro water polo
A tourist gathers bits of information from the places visited.
Brett McCleave was something of a water polo tourist. He played in Europe, after playing at Long Beach State and Golden West College.
Now, McCleave is applying his international background to coaching at his high school alma mater. He is a rookie coach at El Toro, where he is replacing the ultimate veteran.
Don Stoll retired in December after winning seven CIF-Southern Section championships and 684 games over 31 years coaching El Toro water polo.
"Yeah, those are big shoes to fill," said McCleave, an All-Orange County player at El Toro in 2000. "I do have my own philosophy from playing all over the world, at different places for different coaches."
McCleave incorporates some of the Hungarian style here, the Greek style there, along with what he learned in college and, of course, at El Toro to fuse together a new El Toro brand.
El Toro is No. 6 in the Orange County rankings. The Chargers beat Esperanza, 14-3, on Tuesday in their opener.
"The most important thing," McCleave said, "is to not let that El Toro name down."
Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:
• The CIF-Southern Section has grown to 579 member schools, including schools in Orange County and much of Southern California. To become a member school, a new school must field at least one team per gender in each season of sport (fall, winter and spring), provide to the section such basic information as the school's educational programs and graduation requirements and submit an application with a $100 fee.
• To maintain membership, schools must pay to the section annual membership dues that are sports fees of $50 for each boys and girls sport. Schools have to pay the sports fee for only one level, i.e. the $50 fee covers a school's varsity, junior varsity and freshman football teams.
• John Selbe, Cypress football head coach from 1986-92 and an assistant football coach at Kennedy and other places and even the girls basketball coach at Anaheim, now is an assistant football coach at Los Alamitos.
• Saddleback College's football field is back in action for high school games. Santa Margarita plays a home game there Friday night against Carson. The sod had to be replaced after a fertilizer mishap killed the grass.
• Pacifica athletics' super-friend Peter Pacifica attended his 500th Pacifica football game when the Mariners played at Bellflower on Aug. 31. The school will recognize his 500th Friday night when Pacifica plays a home game against Garden Grove at Bolsa Grande High.
• Sports Illustrated's website recently published an excellent story on Mater Dei football's ability to produce top-notch quarterbacks. The article emphasized Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson's role, which was accurate, but it underplayed the contribution of Monarchs offensive coordinator Dave Money. The story can be found quickly by entering "Bruce Rollinson" in the search window at si.com.
• CIF-Southern Section football polls this year are exclusively voted on by CIF-SS football coaches. Sports writers had been part of the voting process for many years, but, according to CIF-SS spokesman Thom Simmons, sports writers from some regions were not voting, so there was insufficient or lack of equal representation. When this writer voted on CIF-SS football polls, votes were made only in divisions in which the writer felt reasonably familiar — the East Valley, Northeast, Pac-5, Southern and Southwest divisions — but there were writers from far away voting on Southern and Southwest divisional polls.
• Maybe the coaches, now with exclusive voting rights in the rankings, are more conservative than the writers, because there does not seem to be as much week-to-week movement of teams in this year's rankings as in previous years. This week's Pac-5 Top 10 is identical to last week's poll. But to be fair, every team in last week's Pac-5 Top 10 did win, so zero movement is OK. The Southern Division rankings seemed to reflect the results, as two teams that lost last week moved down – Beckman, from No. 5 to No. 8, and Los Amigos from No. 7 to No. 9.
• Varsity football game officials (yes, the "refs") are paid $77 each, with the referee — the person with the white hat — getting $79. Some other fall sports officials' fees: girls volleyball, $57-$67 each for two officials or $81 for a single official; and boys water polo, $60 each of two officials or $71 to a single official.
• The Anaheim-Western varsity football game Thursday night was the first between the schools since 2008. They had met annually since 1959, even in brief periods when they were not in the same league. Anaheim and Western were in the Orange League for most of the 1959-08 run.
• A map of the latest proposal for the Great Park published on the front page of the news section of the Register included a high school. Wondering what high school sports will be like when that school opens in 2079?
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