Chad Rahn, a former player and onetime coach at San Gorgonio High School, has returned to the Spartans’ pool, wasting no time getting his team wet against local teams.
Two days after beating San Bernardino High in a scrimmage, the Spartans’ season opened officially with a 17-7 win over nearby Indian Springs.
As for big news, Rahn’s return is the headline. Everything happening in the polo program is part of that spotlight.
Junior Giovanni Munoz racked up six goals while Rahn’s got his eye on two goalkeepers ⎯ senior Miguel Razo and junior Gustavo Velasco ⎯ for the starting spot. Both split time against the Coyotes, racking up three saves each.
Rahn, meanwhile, returned to San G’s deck after four seasons at Riverside King in which the Wolves reached the CIF playoffs each year.
“I got married (this past summer),” said Rahn, who also played at San G, “and it was hard driving over there (to King) every day. I wasn’t even going to coach this year.”
When San G Athletic Director Matt Maeda ran into Rahn’s dad, Rodger (another past Spartans’ polo coach), “he mentioned the coaching job to me.
“Matt shot me a text, trying to gauge my interest.”
As for San G’s win over Indian Springs, junior Ryan Westbrook added three goals, two more coming from Julian Flores and Ramiro Lopez, a pair of sophomores. Senior Jacob Westbrook, who facilitated San G’s attack, added one and sophomore Jordan Kam didn’t score.
There are more impressive numbers to report on San G polo, however.
“We had five returning players,” said Rahn, who is the youngest of four siblings that preceded him in San G’s water, including older brother Kyle, plus sisters Royce and Stacey.
San G is at 23 players -- and counting. “A couple more came up today, so I expect that number to increase.”
None are of the club-playing level. “That’s next,” said Rahn.
There’s another advantage.
School officials added a seventh period P.E. class which, Rahn says, “gets them in the water every day, not just in their season.
What’s impressive to Rahn is “how eager they are to learn. How eager they are to be coached.
San G was spotted on the CIF-Southern Section’s pre-season “watch” list along with city rival Arroyo Valley.
After those matches, it was off to the Corona Tournament. San G won just once, beating Moreno Valley Canyon Springs, over a four-game span. Two losses came against Ontario and Chaffey, two teams listed on the Division 7 “watch” list.
The 7-team San Andreas League consists of a rogue collection of teams -- Fontana Summit and Fontana, Apple Valley Granite Hills, Arroyo Valley, Rialto Eisenhower, Indian Springs, plus San G.
The explanation is simple: Budget cuts, lack of interest and various other reasons leave some schools in need of a league. Only Arroyo Valley, Ike and San G are normally in the SAL.
Fontana and Summit tied for first in last year’s SAL chase, San G (9-15, 2-8) taking fifth place.
“I didn’t see the team play at all last year,” said Rahn, “so it’s hard for me to tell how good this team will be. I expect us to be competitive. I have a good feeling.”
Division 7, won last year by L.A. Cathedral, 12-7, over Baldwin Park. Summit was knocked out in the first round.
Moreno Valley Valley View knocked out Fontana in a second-round Division 6 playoff.
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The now-traditional, 22-team, 3-day San Gorgonio Tournament, from Sept. 12-14, should attract some top teams.
Last year’s champion, Rancho Cucamonga (21-7), wiped out Ontario, Riverside La Sierra, Norco, Riverside North and Elsinore. The Cougars reached the second round of the Division 4 playoffs before losing to eventual champion Santa Monica.
Among the teams expected in this year’s field could be Indio Shadow Hills, North, Riverside Norte Vista, Hemet West Valley, Temecula Great Oak and Etiwanda ⎯ some of last year’s participants.
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Citrus Valley ⎯ The Blackhawks got off to a 1-0 start off a 19-9 win over Palm Springs last week. Senior Tyler Berg racked up eight goals in the non-league win.
Memphis Gile, Braydon Taulli, Tristan Barlow, Leif Tillman, Dayton Weck and a freshman, Colby Martin, also found the mark.
It’s Mike Esquer’s second season as Citrus Valley coach.
Following that win, the Blackhawks beat Fontana and lost to Palm Desert.
Playing in a strong league surrounded by Yucaipa, Redlands East Valley and Cajon, it’s been awhile since the Blackhawks have experienced a winning season. Chris Galloway had the team at 19-10 back in 2014.
REV scored last year’s Citrus Belt League championship.
Underlying this year’s roster is a clear-cut fact: Only two seniors ⎯ Berg and Tillman ⎯ are on a squad otherwise filled with a junior, freshman and six sophomores.
University of Redlands ⎯ It’s always interesting to note the Bulldogs’ schedule beyond their usual array of conference teams ⎯ California Lutheran-Thousand Oaks, Caltech-Pasadena, Chapman-Orange, Claremont-Mudd, La Verne, Occidental-Eagle Rock, Pomona-Pitzer and Whittier ⎯ in pursuit of this year’s Nov. 22, 24 SCIAC Tournament.
Redlands’ 2019 slate of games will take the Bulldogs to the Air Force Academy in Colorado for a tournament. Plus, there will be non-conference games against the likes of Johns Hopkins (Md.), Naval Academy, California Baptist University-Riverside and Fordham (N.Y.).
Second-team All-SCIAC attacker Grant Curry is expected back on the Bulldogs’ 2019 roster. There were just six seniors on last year’s roster, leaving Whittemore plenty to build in this season.
Count on this for Redlands: The Bulldogs have been 17-14, 18-15, 13-16 and last year’s 14-15 (31-19, SCIAC) over the past four seasons.
Pomona-Pitzer (24-9, 14-0) dominated SCIAC play last season, trailed by Whittier (15-14, 10-4), Claremont (16-11, 10-4) and Cal Lutheran (16-12, 8-6), which tied Redlands for fourth place.
CLU won the tiebreaker to get into the four-team SCIAC Tournament. Pomona-Pitzer won the tournament.
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If there’s been a longer-tenured coach in any sport at this campus, polo’s Tom Whittemore has numbered over 400 career triumphs as men’s coach. He’s on his 32nd season as Bulldog men’s coach.
He’s had a dizzying array of assignments on Redlands’ deck, ranging from coaching men’s and women’s swimming, plus women’s polo, having served as the department chair of the physical education department.