Boys lacrosse. Girls lacrosse. Baseball. Softball. Track and field. Swimming. Boys volleyball. Boys golf and boys tennis. To put it in a nutshell, it was a highly successful spring season for Chula Vista’s east side high school sports teams.
Eastlake High School captured league championships in boys lacrosse, baseball, track and field (girls), swimming (boys and girls), boys volleyball, boys golf and boys tennis.
Otay Ranch High School won league championships in girls lacrosse and track and field (boys).
Eastlake (Division I) and Olympian (Division III) captured prestigious San Diego Section championships in boys tennis while Otay Ranch and Eastlake girls lacrosse teams made history by meeting in the section’s Division II championship game, with Otay Ranch claiming the school’s first CIF championship in the sport.
That’s not all. Eastlake, riding a regular season 23-game winning streak, advanced to the section finals for the second consecutive year in baseball, placing runner-up to Cathedral Catholic in the elite Open Division.
Moreover, eight of the nine South County qualifiers to this year’s state track and field championship meet hailed from the city’s east side high schools.
The east side’s small private schools also achieved a remarkable share of success this spring as softball teams representing High Tech High Chula Vista and Chula Vista Calvary Christian Academy met in the Division V semifinals, with HTH Chula Vista advancing to record an eventual runner-up finish in the division championship game.
Athletes of the year
Eastlake’s Casey Schmitt (baseball), Sharlize Palacios (softball), Joshua House (boys volleyball), Nate McPeak (boys lacrosse), Angelika Yngson (girls swimming), Jumpei Hanaoka (boys golf) and Jesus Osuna (boys tennis) all received honors as players of the year in their respective sports. Ditto for Otay Ranch’s Ryan Gagarin (boys swimming) and Brooke Greene (girls lacrosse) and Olympian’s Betsabe Ornelas (girls track and field).
State honor roll
The state track and field honor roll includes six student-athlete qualifiers from Olympian High School, one from Eastlake High School and one from HTH Chula Vista.
Olympian’s Antonio Riggins recorded the top mark in the boys triple jump at the San Diego Section championship meet while Lady Eagle Sydney Barnes notched second-place marks in the girls long jump and triple jump.
Olympian’s 4x400-meter girls relay team included Betsabe Ornelas, Kolumbia Page, Adaeze Noble and Jazzleen Wharry. The foursome finished second at the section finals. Ornelas also qualified to compete in the girls 400-meter run as the third-place finisher at the section finals.
Meanwhile, HTH Chula Vista’s Donovan Prince and Eastlake’s Jeffrey Page, both sophomores, set up an exciting finish in the boys 800-meter run by placing second and third, respectively, to qualify for the state meet. They finished just 0.67 second apart at the finish line.
It was a record-setting finish for Prince, who became the school’s first state qualifier in track and field.
“It was definitely my biggest meet for track,” he said of his trip to compete in the state meet June 3-4 in sweltering Clovis. “It was a little overwhelming competing against all the top athletes in the state, but I felt good.”
Small schools, big strides
High Tech High Chula Vista — the small private school tucked away in one corner of the sprawling Otay Ranch housing development — has begun to make some noise in team sports. It started when the school’s girls soccer team captured the San Diego Section Division III championship in 2014. It continued this season with a runner-up finish for the school’s softball team.
The Lady Bruins concluded the 2016 season with a 15-5 record after dropping an 8-7 decision to Classical Academy in the division championship game. HTH CV athletic director Alan Botterman noted that the Lady Bruins recorded run-rule decisions in every victory this season.
HTH Chula Vista scored a double-elimination coup by upending top-seeded Calvary Christian Academy by scores of 12-2 in six innings and 21-1 in five innings in semifinal play.
Senior captains Madison Fessia and Sierra Sanchez led this year’s Lady Bruin squad while freshmen Arlene Martinez and Paulina Guerrero provided tremendous offense and defense. Meanwhile, sophomore Calixta Padilla shut down opponents in the pitching circle.
“It’s been a great season after missing the playoffs last year,” Botterman said.
It was also a great season for east side Chula Vista neighbor Calvary Christian Academy. The Lady Royal Knights finished 20-4 this season with a 16-game winning streak after placing runner-up to Calvin Christian in last year’s Division V title match.
“Not too shabby for a real small school with a lot of heart,” Calvary Christian Academy coach Joaquin Farfan explained. “We had a fantastic season.”
Farfan admitted the depth on many teams competing at the Division V level is not great. He noted that during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school terms there weren’t even enough girls to field a team. In each of the past two seasons, the Lady Royal Knights have fielded teams with 13 girls on the roster.
It’s been a building process, and a learning process as well. The team started the season carrying seven freshmen and six sophomores.
“I knew we were in a tough situation going into the season as some of the other top Division V teams have at least five players or more with softball experience,” the Lady Royal Knights coach explained.
Still, the team had its glittering moments, and more could be on the way. Mimi Farfan recorded her 17th triple of the season to etch her name as the section’s all-time single-season leader.
“We’re looking forward to the 2016-17 school year,” the Calvary Christian Academy coach said.At the preceding Mesa League finals, Riggins (triple jump), Ornelas (200 dash, 400 dash), Barnes (long jump, triple jump) and Page (800 run) all won individual gold medals. Ornelas earned recognition as the league’s female track athlete of the meet with three gold medals, including first place in the 4x400 relay.