You won’t be able to call next season’s Cal State San Bernardino squad a rebuilding year for highly successful coach Kim Cherniss. It’s because she’ll lose a few seniors -- Stephanie Doak, Moira Murphy and Sascha Dominique to name a few -- but return a bunch of star players.
Remember, this is a 33-0 NCAA Division II championship team -- second time in D-2 history that’s ever happened -- with returners like Player of the Year Alexis Cardoza back for her senior season.
That’s not all.
In Cherniss’ 6-2 alignment, both setters -- Marlee Nunley and Mehana Ma’a -- are eligible to return.
Lydia Morohunfola, Asia Clarke and Leilia To’omalatai, each a non-senior, can come back. Throw in middle blocker Jalyn Hayes, plus a few others including Redlands East Valley product Diana Maile and the target will be supremely planted on Cal State’s back next fall.
Folks, that’s a virtual entire starting lineup back from a national championship team.
Cherniss and longtime assistant Danny Scott build their teams from the ground up, to perennially compete and, at long last, they won the NCAA banner. Wonder how it’ll look hanging in Coussoulis Arena?
* * *
Gotta say I felt badly for Aquinas football coach Jordan Brusig back on Friday, Dec. 13. That’s the day his Falcons put on a display of defense in a 10-7 loss to Concord Clayton Valley Charter at Cerritos College.
Brusig, not to mention his entire Falcons’ roster, had to stand around watching Ugly Eagles’ coach Tim Murphy getting a microphone placed under his face while a TV interviewer was asking him how it felt to be a state champion.
I know Brusig might’ve been thinking, “That could’ve me up there getting interviewed.”
Oh, well. All in the name of sportsmanship, I suppose.
By the way, calling them the “Ugly Eagles” isn’t some hometown media spin on a team that KO’d the hometown boys. It’s their actual nickname, folks. Look it up.
* * *
There’s no such thing as a Christmas “break” for San Gorgonio athletics.
* Girls water polo tournament at the Lady Spartans’ pool.
* Boys soccer tournament on the CYSA field located diagonally from San G campus.
* Girls’ soccer tournament, same spot.
* Caught some frosh and junior varsity tournaments in that same location.
* Yes, it’s a fundraiser. Throw in the work of dedicating themselves to organization -- trophies, bracketing, scheduling, requesting officials, collecting money (now, there’s a big one) to pull all those events off, dealing with weather issues and keeping in contact with dozens of coaches to pull them into the events.
I’m getting the feeling that Matt Maeda, a long-ago soccer coach who’s highly regarded in the San Bernardino Unified School District as more than just a go-getter, is the brains and brawn behind this.
Bottom line: These events are no “gimmes” for Spartans athletes. The benefit is simply that their polo players, soccer players, boys and girls, don’t have to climb on a bus for an out-of-town event.
* * *
An interesting honor was thrust onto the high school resumes of a pair of Aquinas water polo players.
First year for the sport at that campus.
First timers playing in the sport.
First year? Playing in the same Citrus Belt League as CIF Division 1 Redlands East Valley, plus Division 6 finalist Redlands.
Mark Shalhoub was second team.
Finn Welsh was honorable mention.
Consider this: These kids went up against high level talent, including All-CBL players like Tyler Berg, a first-teamer from Citrus Valley, plus second team Blackhawk Memphis Gile.
Remember that this is a loaded CBL polo field with club level players all around. Shalhoub and Welsh might’ve been in a little over their heads.
* * *
I was checking the Highland Community News website back on Dec. 23 -- noting that it was two days before Christmas -- and the top story in the “Most Popular” section was how 14 people had been arrested in a prostitution sting.
In Ontario, for crying out loud.
Is that what you readers are begging for in your top reads?
I’m knocking myself out covering Olympic athletes from the area, an area product serving as president of the Baseball Hall of Fame, following tournament matchups in various sports, early-season basketball developments, plus trends in prep soccer, keeping an eye on top wrestlers, plus a bunch of other local-based stories.
And most of you are reading about a prostitution sting in Ontario?
* * *
You know the media, though. Can’t get anything right.
That was a crummy piece of work on me provided by Highland Community News reporter Jason Miller. I guess it’s part of this newspaper’s 25-year celebration.
Dude made me look far too good.
He thinks too highly of me.
(Got a sports tip? Want to chat about sports? Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reporter's note: While I may have made Mr. Brown “look far too good,” we at the Highland Community News appreciate Mr. Brown and look forward to printing more well written articles on San Bernardino sports that no other publication can. Keep up the great work Mr. Brown!
One worn out reporter