It’s hard to overlook first place at an NCAA regional event -- any regional.

With University of Redlands senior diver Sami Scarano, coming off a third place finish on the one-meter board, school officials said, “she set her eyes on the prize for a gold-medal finish off the three-mter board.”

With a first place score of 386.55. In events like these, the barest of minimum separated her from second place. SCIAC rival Emma van der Veen, of Pomona-Pitzer, came up 4.6 points short of Scarano.

The event took place at Trinity University in San Antonio.

Next up: The 2020 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving finals in Greensboro, N.C. on March 18-21.

* * *

University of Redlands women’s golf coach Jack Stewart tried to put the warning flag out there. His nationally ranked team — top 10 finisher at the NCAAs last spring — had a newcomer added to his already top-flight bunch.

So freshman (they refer them as first-year players) Hannah Jugar went out to post back-to-back 69s for the first time in SCIAC history. She played the San Dimas course at the first multi-school conference event.

Stewart, who attended the Dave Stockton roast back in January, noted the presence of his prize first-year player. There was a sly look on his face because this kid can turn an already-prize program into a monster team.

Mariah Moon is back. So is Annie Hay and Kendall Nicholson from last season’s top finish.

Jugar, from Chula Vista, could be the pickup of the season.

Wonder if she had anything to do with the ninth-ranked Lady Bulldogs’ rise to No. 4 in the nation?

Truth is, they all had a hand in that ranking.

* * *

From Arizona spring training: Was that two scoreless innings against the Padres, a hit allowed plus two strikeouts, for Redlands East Valley product Matt Andriese, who’s trying to win a spot on the Angels’ 2020 staff?

* * *

Here’s a nugget for prep hoops readers: Jim Moffatt, who served a stint as a Redlands East Valley High frosh baseball coach in recent years, was on that 1973 Aquinas High roster that won a CIF basketball championship under coach Matt Hoar.

* * *

Lady Bulldog senior Cassandra Lacey was SCIAC Player of the Year. That was for a Redlands basketball squad that notched 19 wins through Feb. 18. 

Notice that awards are announced prior to the conference tournament. These are regular season honors.

Throw this in: Longtime coach Rich Murphy was SCIAC Coach of the Year.

A note about Murphy: Gary Smith, the long-ago Bulldogs’ hoops coach, recruited Murphy, or tried to -- from the Ventura County area -- to play at Redlands. Couldn’t afford the high cost of the education on the campus. Instead, the lanky front-liner turned up at Moorpark JUCO and Humboldt State.

* * *

If it seemed confusing last weekend when this year’s SCIAC men’s and women’s basketball tournaments were taking place, consider that the University of Redlands wound up taking on all of Sixth Street in Claremont for the right to play in this year’s NCAA Division III Western Regionals.

For those that don’t know, consider that Pomona-Pitzer and Claremont-Mudd are part of the 7-school Claremont Colleges empire -- located on Sixth Street in a very nice section of Claremont.

Very, very nice section, in fact.

Pomona-Pitzer’s women took on the Lady Bulldogs last Thursday night for the right to play in Saturday night’s SCIAC championship.

Claremont-Mudd’s men came to play at Redlands on Friday night, also seeking a title game nod.

Redlands won both games.

The Lady Bulldogs were rewarded with a game against Claremont-Mudd’s women.

The Bulldogs won their way into the men’s championship game at Pomona-Pitzer College

Believe it, or not, it’s highly possible that Claremont-Mudd athletes could actually share classes with that of Pomona-Pitzer athletes. Both campuses sit right across the street from another.

Call it bizarre. Call it confusing. Call it off the charts. But don’t call it improper. Folks at those schools are first class citizens, taking its athletic participation in a remarkable sporting manner, rarely invoking any anger or unsportsmanlike behavior or cheating scandals.

(Truth is, there might be a minor shady moment, or two, but it’s hardly mentionable.)

* * *

All of a sudden we’re hearing talk about the Tokyo Olympics in jeopardy?  Coronavirus. Hope not. That would be an incredible blow to San Gorgonio pitching product Adam Quintana, who made Mexico’s Olympic squad for this summer.

(Got a sports tip? A story to share? Want to chat sports? Hit me up at baseballolb@hotmail.com)

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