CIF-Southern Section football champions in both 2017 and 2019, Aquinas High School was honored by the San Bernardino city council last week. Virtually the entire squad showed, minus those that were playing on the soccer and basketball teams.
Beyond just receiving its certificates, the appearance of the 2019 squad convened at city hall for another reason.
“We’re trying,” said Aquinas’ five-year coach Jordan Brusig, “to get the street in front of our school renamed.”
How about Falcon Way?
“Exactly,” said Brusig.
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The question is being asked: Just when was the last time Cal State San Bernardino had three of its sports ranked in national polls? It may have never happened.
The Coyotes’ basketball program cracked into the men’s Top 25 last week at No. 23. That could go higher this week after road wins at Stanislaus and faraway Humboldt State, which is a pretty length bus trip.
You figure that second-year coach Andy Newman had ’em chomping at the bit when they get off that bus in Arcata. They won by 22.
Cal State’s men (14-4-3) reached deep into the NCAA Division II men’s soccer tournament before losing to conference power Cal State Los Angeles, 2-0, in round three of the NCAA Division II West Region tournament. It worked out to a final No. 5 ranking.
As for the women’s volleyball team, consider the Lady Coyotes finished the season with a CCAA championship, an NCAA Division II West Region title, plus a national championship. No losses, at all.
Sounds like No. 1 to me.
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Here’s how the Redlands Bicycle Classic works, at least sometimes.
Expecting to host the Australian National Team in 2016, that squad pulled out of a full field at Redlands just before race day. Once the Aussies left, Redlands officials opened up a spot to the Gateway-Harley Davidson team.
Sepp Kuss, one of its team members, outlasted all the top racers to pull off a win at the Oak Glen stage in a free-for-all up the mountain. He beat Lachlan Morton, Janier Acevedo and eventual champion Matteo Dal-Cin in that rugged stage.
Kuss, part of the unique slogan that’s attributed to longtime Redlands Classic media member Scott Welsh -- “Where legends are born” -- is now racing internationally.
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If the University of Redlands basketball team -- women’s division -- keeps up its winning ways, the Lady Bulldogs will be hosting this year’s SCIAC Tournament. The top four teams in the conference meet to determine the conference champion. In a hard-nosed SCIAC schedule, the Lady Bulldogs got beaten by Pomona-Pitzer the other night.
Top prize: That conference champion gets an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.
All of which brings plenty of intensity to those three games -- the two semifinals and the championship.
All that longtime Lady Bulldogs’ coach Rich Murphy wants is a chance. He can teach the game to anyone. Can motivate an entire roster. Most of them don’t need motivation. Murphy can mix it up on Xs and Os against any coach.
All he needs are willing players with smarts. On that campus, that’s not hard to find. It could be career 1,000-point scorer Cassandra Lacey. Or Jan. 20 SCIAC Athlete of the Week Alyssa Downs. Or a hopeful career neurosurgeon like Julia Balisteri.
For women’s basketball around these parts, this small campus team is your hoops headquarters.
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A couple of track & field notes: CIF triple jumping contender Victor Trejo, a Citrus Belt League champion last season for Citrus Valley, has transferred to a high school in Las Vegas.
Said assistant coach Byron Daniels: “I talk to him every now and then.” Meanwhile, Daniels is returning to the Blackhawks’ coaching staff, reporting, “I am developing some young talent … and we will be ready this season.”
It’s a huge hit to Citrus Valley’s boys, especially since Trejo also ran relays.
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Longtime Southern California Roadrunners coach Mike Leong has sent winning runners to the A Run Through Redlands for at least the past 20 years. One of those, of course, is his own wife, Graciela Padilla Leong, who’s won a couple of 10K events. She’s the distance-racing coach at, of all places, Citrus Valley.
Yes, Lady Blackhawks’ legend Claire Graves has won the Redlands road race. So has Redlands East Valley distance-running coach Andrea Johnson, a long-ago coach at San Gorgonio.
A near-handful of Redlands champions from last year’s race alone are So Cal Roadrunners.
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Citrus Valley coach David Ramirez, a two-time CIF wrestling champion from Redlands East Valley remembers playing soccer with legendary Landon Donovan. “Los Gauchos,” recalled Ramirez.
Donovan, who showed up recently to conduct some club soccer tryouts at Citrus Valley, went way, way, way beyond the Gauchos. Try playing on Team USA for both the World Cup and the Olympics.
Do the Gauchos still exist? Let me know, please.
(Got a sports tip? Want to talk about sports? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org)