By Zach Cavanagh
The winter sports activities season is properly underway because the bump-up of the CIF calendar extends to the fields, swimming pools, courts and mats. In our annual preview, we spotlight all the winter sports activities packages at San Clemente Excessive Faculty as they enter the vacation event season and strategy league play within the new yr.
For in-game updates, scores, information and extra for all the San Clemente Excessive Faculty sports activities packages, comply with us on Twitter @SouthOCSports.
The San Clemente women basketball workforce is off to a robust begin after a strong run within the 2017-18 season.
The Tritons have been up and down record-wise final season however rode a late surge into the playoffs. San Clemente grabbed the ultimate playoff berth within the South Coast League and superior to the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 3AA playoffs.
The Tritons graduated 5 seniors from that group and solely return two starters, however these two starters are the spine of a gaggle that has expertise.
The 2 starters come up entrance in junior Ella Gardiner and senior Theresa De Gree.
Gardiner, a 6-foot-1 ahead and middle, led the Tritons in factors, rebounds and blocks final season and is a game-changer any time she’s on the ground.
“She really grew in confidence and skill,” San Clemente coach Kerri Husbands stated of Gardiner. “She’s becoming more of an inside-outside player now. Her outside game has improved tremendously. She’s a workhorse.”
Including outdoors potential to an already dominant publish recreation will make Gardiner a uniquely gifted foe for each group.
De Gree, a 5-foot-11 ahead and middle, joins Gardiner up entrance to provide the Tritons a strong measurement benefit. De Gree may also drive to the basket and pull in rebounds.
Husbands additionally touted a number of returners which have stepped up into their roles in senior Lila Ord and juniors Esther Mafouta and Kylie Krebs. All three performed productive minutes for the Tritons final season.
A newcomer to observe is freshman Jolie Johnson. The 6-foot guard and ahead has impressed early on.
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Senior Anthony Smetona can be counted on as a robust scorer for the San Clemente boys basketball staff. Photograph: Zach Cavanagh
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Senior Brooklyn Aguilera was one of many prime scorers for the San Clemente women water polo workforce final season and returns to steer a robust group. Photograph: Zach Cavanagh
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San Clemente women basketball appears to construct off of and study from final season’s playoff run and has greater aspirations for the 2018-19 season. Photograph: Zach Cavanagh
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Senior Blake Bowen was the main scorer for the San Clemente boys soccer staff final season and might be anticipated to refill the web as soon as once more. Photograph: Zach Cavanagh
Open as listing
“She has incredible basketball IQ,” Husbands stated. “I keep forgetting that she’s a freshman.”
San Clemente is 6-Three on the season with good showings on the Veterans Week Tip-Off Basic in Norco and the South Coast Basic in Orange County. The Tritons will play in two extra tournaments earlier than opening league play on Jan. eight towards Aliso Niguel.
The San Clemente boys basketball group had a troublesome finish to the 2017-18 season.
After profitable three consecutive league titles, the Tritons completed fourth within the five-team South Coast League however nonetheless earned an at-large playoff berth in CIF-SS Division 2AA. San Clemente misplaced its playoff opener.
The Tritons additionally misplaced key gamers to commencement and switch, however San Clemente nonetheless has expertise to rebuild round.
One among San Clemente’s strengths has been measurement up entrance, and that continues this season. The Tritons have three gamers listed at 6-foot-5 in seniors Ethan Sherrell, Trevor Thompson and Andrew Herbert, plus one other at 6-foot-Four in junior Micah Regalado.
San Clemente additionally has its enhances on the surface with robust capturing and ballhandling guards in seniors Anthony Smetona and Mario Medrano, in addition to junior Max Rumph.
Smetona stored the Tritons within the playoff hunt late final season together with his long-range capturing and might be counted on as a scorer this season.
San Clemente continues to be discovering itself this season with a Four-Three document early on. The Tritons gained 4 in a row on the Godinez Grizzly Event, together with a decent win over Dana Hills and a win over co-league champion Aliso Niguel.
The South Coast League solely will get harder with the newest reshuffling. Co-champions Aliso Niguel and Trabuco Hills keep up and solely look to be stronger, and Capistrano Valley and Mission Viejo transfer up from the Sea View League.
Capistrano Valley gained the 2017 CIF-SS Division 2A championship and gained the Sea View League once more final season.
San Clemente opens league play on Jan. 11 towards Capistrano Valley.
Women Water Polo
The San Clemente women water polo group is stacked up and able to problem for the elite spots in Southern California water polo.
The Tritons gained their second straight South Coast League title final season and their 10th league title in 16 years as a part of an aquatics sweep over the 2017-18 sports activities calendar.
San Clemente rode its momentum and powerful performances to the semifinals of the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs, the place the Tritons have been edged within the ultimate seconds and denied a shot on the title.
San Clemente solely has one CIF-SS title and two CIF-SS finals appearances to its identify in women water polo, however after a robust run with loads of returners, the Tritons is perhaps as much as the duty.
The Tritons return their prime two scorers in senior Brooklyn Aguilera and junior Caroline Christl, who mixed for 124 objectives final season: 64 from Christl and 60 from Aguilera. All however one Triton who scored a objective final season returns.
San Clemente additionally returns two of its prime passers in junior Grace Pelkey and sophomore Alex Higginson, who led the Tritons in assists with 40 and 41, respectively.
Pelkey and Aguilera have been additionally two of the Tritons’ greatest defensive gamers with 72 and 55 steals, respectively.
It is going to be a process to exchange graduated goalkeeper Sophia Noble within the cage, however senior Kaylee Wicks and junior Alanna Sayer will probably be as much as the duty. They’ll each get loads of offensive help as properly.
The Tritons have a loaded nonleague schedule with dates towards Laguna Seashore, Mater Dei and Newport Harbor, and San Clemente opens league on Jan. eight at El Toro.
The Tritons play rival San Clemente in back-to-back video games to shut the common season on Jan. 20 and 22.
The San Clemente boys soccer group once more tasted league glory, however the Tritons solely got here so tantalizingly near their bigger objectives.
The Tritons have been dynamic offensively final season to earn their sixth South Coast League title in eight seasons, solely to endure extra-time defeats within the playoffs. San Clemente misplaced in an eight-round penalty-kick shootout within the CIF-SS Division 1 semifinals and in extra time of the CIF Southern California Regional Last.
San Clemente had a serious commencement loss in Gatorade State Participant of the Yr Tristan Weber and goalkeeper Jake Carter, however the Tritons are nonetheless heavy with seniors and expertise.
Main goal-scorer Blake Bowen returns for his senior season and will probably be counted on closely from his midfield place. Senior ahead Quinn Richards may also contribute.
Senior Liam Linas returns as an lively defender who can lock down and kick-start an offense.
An enormous key to San Clemente’s playoff run got here after an damage in internet. Ryan Kowarsch needed to step up on the goalkeeper place within the CIF-SS quarterfinals after solely a recreation and a half of varsity expertise. Kowarsch made big saves via San Clemente’s subsequent 5 playoff video games and is available in with confidence for his senior season.
San Clemente is Three-Zero-1 to open the season, and the Tritons look to be the category of the South Coast League once more. San Clemente opens league play at El Toro on Jan. 7.
San Clemente gained its first women soccer league title since 2012 final season, however the Tritons have been hit onerous by commencement.
San Clemente graduated its three prime scorers in addition to influence defenders and its star goalkeeper.
There’s expertise for the Tritons to construct round, however everybody might want to step as much as maintain San Clemente on the prime.
Senior Kayla Blackmore and junior Briana Mendoza have been the fourth and fifth scorers, respectively, for the Tritons final season. The pair of forwards confirmed bursts final season.
Sophomore Karla Rodriguez can even transfer ahead from the midfield place, and she or he confirmed a whole lot of promise as a freshman final season. Junior Isabelle Sanchez and sophomore Maxine Davey may also get work within the midfield.
Senior Rylee Rask will step up on the defensive place for a gaggle trying to come collectively early within the season to guard their goalkeepers, senior Ellyn Casto and sophomore Emily Schad.
The Tritons are 1-2 within the early season and as soon as once more will play within the robust Mater Dei Invitational earlier than the vacation season.
San Clemente will open league play at rival Aliso Niguel on Jan. 10. The Tritons and Wolverines are all the time jockeying for the South Coast League. San Clemente may even host Dana Hills on Jan. 17.
The women wrestling program is in its fifth season at San Clemente and noticed some robust performances into the CIF-SS event final season.
Carolina Moreno returns for her senior season as one of many extra completed wrestlers to return via the younger program.
As a sophomore, Moreno superior to the State event and completed 12th after a third-place end at CIF-SS and a seventh-place end at CIF-SS Masters. Nevertheless, as a junior, her postseason run got here up simply brief.
Moreno was the No. 1 seed on the CIF-SS preliminaries final season and breezed by means of, however she fell within the quarterfinals at CIF-SS finals and simply completed outdoors of state qualification. Moreno will look to bounce again and attain State as soon as once more this season.
The women wrestling staff will tackle upcoming competitions within the Santa Ana Event on Dec. eight, Magnolia Event on Dec. 22 and the Blackwatch Event on Dec. 29.
The San Clemente boys wrestling group relied on a younger group final season, and the Tritons will proceed to construct into a robust group this season.
The Tritons have been ranked No. 10 within the Division 2 preseason twin meet ballot, and San Clemente has earned good leads to early event play.
San Clemente earned a second-place end on the 30-team Costa Mesa Basic and can proceed on on the Citrus Hills Invitational on Dec. eight.
With the CIF schedule shifting up, San Clemente’s annual Rotary Invitational event shall be a vacation event, with the Tritons internet hosting on Dec. 22.
The Coast View Athletic Affiliation event will happen on Jan. 19.