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By Steve Breazeale

Boys Tennis

The injury bug bit the San Clemente boys tennis team recently, causing them to drop out of the CIF-SS coaches poll top-10 for the first time all year.

Junior Nic Valko and the San Clemente boys tennis team defeated Tesoro 17-1 on March 19. Photo by Steve Breazeale
Junior Nic Valko and the San Clemente boys tennis team defeated Tesoro 17-1 on March 19. Photo by Steve Breazeale

Freshman Jay Yeam, the team’s No. 2 singles player, recently suffered an undisclosed injury that has kept him sidelined, landing a blow to the Tritons (5-2) depth charts.

Despite the injuries the Tritons defeated Tesoro 17-1 on March 19 in their South Coast League opener. Tesoro attempted to load up their top players in the doubles format, but the Tritons were up to the task.

“It made for great doubles sets, but we were able to overcome that move and then our singles players dominated,” head coach John Stephens said.

Next Match: 3/26 at Capistrano Valley, 3 p.m.

Track and Field

The Tritons played host for the first time this season at the Triton Invitational on March 16. At the end of the day it was Kyleigh Brown who seemed to benefit from the home cooking, as she was a part of a first-place 4 x 100-meter relay team, a second place 4 x 400-meter relay team and won the 400-meter run outright.

Tanaz Nourian, Ally Lynn and Brittney Thornton were all part of the first-place 4 x 100-meter relay team. Jessica Erickson, Thornton and Maddison Huffman, along with Brown, were part of the second place 4 x 400-meter relay team.

Erickson finished fourth in the 800-meter and Melissa Eisele finished fourth in the 3200-meter.

Boys results were not available at press time.

Darnold Earns MVP Honors, Multiple Tritons Named to All-League Team

Every member of the San Clemente boys basketball starting five was named to the all-Sea View league team as part of the league’s recently announced post-season honors.

Sophomore Sam Darnold had about as big of a breakout year a player could have. For his efforts, Darnold was named the Sea View League MVP.

Through 24 games played, Darnold averaged 12.5 points, 2.3 assists and four rebounds per game. Darnold also excelled on the defensive side of the floor.

Seniors Jimmy Bankson and Cody Bean were awarded first team all-league honors.
Bankson led the team in scoring, averaging 13.9 points per game, and had a memorable 30-point game against Capistrano Valley in the first round of the playoffs.

Bean, who could score points but prided himself on his facilitating efforts, paced the team in the assist category, averaging 5.1 per game. Bean averaged 12.9 points per game, grabbed an average of six rebounds per game and averaged just over three steals per contest (3.3).

Seniors Brock Eissman and Jake Terkoski were named second team all-league.
Eissman and Terkoski, who led the team in rebounding, both averaged just over 10 points per game while contributing valuable minutes as part of the Tritons starting five.

“(The all-league selections) shows how this really was a true team, that any five of those guys could carry us when we needed them. I’m really happy that they all got recognized. They deserve it,” head coach Marc Popovich said.

Boys Lacrosse on a Roll

The San Clemente boys lacrosse team improved to 5-1 on the season with successive routs in their last three games.

First, the Tritons defeated El Toro, 18-5, on March 14 then followed that up with a convincing 19-5 win over Capistrano Valley.

On March 19, the Tritons went to Great Oak and won 20-5. Sophomore Jack Renard (five goals, three assists), senior Robbie Burns (six goals, two assists) and junior Peyton Garrett (four goals, two assists) paced the offense, while middie Austin Streeter won the battle of face-offs and added one goal and two assists of his own.
Defenseman Syd Reynolds scored a goal while Stone Sims had an assist to go with a team-high eight ground balls.

Goalie Thomas Ahola had 12 saves in the contest.

On March 21 San Clemente plays host to Tesoro at 5:30 p.m. From there, they will travel to play No. 1 ranked Corona del Mar on March 23 at 2 p.m.

Next Game: 3/21 vs. Tesoro, 5:30 p.m.

Boys Golf
The two-man scramble team of Sammy Schwartz and Shane Barriera finished third overall at the Aliso Niguel Wolverine Invitational on March 18 after firing a 64 (-8) in the two-man format. As a team, the Tritons finished second overall with a modified score of 203.

The Tritons (4-3, 1-0) then opened up Sea View League play with a 203-228 win over visiting Laguna Hills on March 19 at Bella Collina.

Next Match: 3/21 at Laguna Hills, Laguna Woods, 3 p.m.

Boys and Girls Swimming
The boys and girls swim teams were set to open league play with a dual meet against Mission Viejo on March 19. Results were not available at press time.

Next Meet: 3/26 vs. Trabuco Hills, 3:15 p.m.

Boys Volleyball Claims OC Championships
The San Clemente boys volleyball team added another trophy to their growing list of hardware this season by claiming the OC Championships on March 18 with a 3-1 win over Huntington Beach in the finals.

It was the second major tournament the Tritons have won this season, the first being the Best of the West Tournament in Poway.

The Tritons (15-0) dropped only one game all weekend, in the finals to Huntington Beach, and defeated some top talent along the way. The Tritons swept Foothill, Edison and Mater Dei en route to the finals.

Senior Lucas Yoder was named the tournament MVP while Jack Yoder and AJ Hammer were named to the all-tournament team.

The Tritons were then pushed by visiting Fountain Valley in a non-league match on March 19, but did not falter, winning in three straight sets to claim their 15th victory in a row.

After battling back and forth in a competitive first set, the Tritons eventually won in extras, 28-26. They would go on to win the second, 25-20, and the third, 25-16.
Fountain Valley came out swinging against the Tritons and were led by opposite Scott Cronick, who had five kills in the first set. Fountain Valley had a chance to close it out at 24-22, but the Tritons rallied behind senior outside hitters Hammer and Lucas Yoder, who each recorded two kills down the stretch.

Although they showed some signs of fatigue, the Tritons cruised to win the next two sets.

“Winning (the O.C Championships) and Best of the West (tournament) really takes a lot out of you mentally,” Goldstone said. “I don’t think we played our hardest (against Fountain Valley). It probably had to do with playing (March 18)…We just need a good night’s sleep and a little rest off our legs and it will be ok.”

Next Game: 3/21 vs. San Juan Hills, 6:15 p.m.

Softball
The San Clemente softball three-game winning streak was brought to a halt on March 16, as they lost to Santa Margarita 5-4 in a non-league matchup. The Tritons (3-7) then lost to Trabuco Hills 8-4 on March 19.

The Tritons will open league play against Tesoro on March 26.

Next game: 3/21 at Fountain Valley, 4:30 p.m.

Girls Lacrosse

The Tritons were hoping a March 14 league match against El Toro would help them get on track, but instead San Clemente was bested 19-9 by the Chargers.

The Tritons (1-5) were set to play Rosary on March 19. Results were not available at press time.

Next Game
: 3/21 at Tesoro, 5:30 p.m.

Baseball
The San Clemente baseball team claimed the Paramount Tournament title after defeating Long Beach Poly 5-3 on March 16. The Tritons scored four runs in the first inning and didn’t look back.

San Clemente (7-3, 0-1) dropped their first league game to Laguna Hills 3-0 on March 15 but bounced back with a win against San Juan Hills on March 20.

Behind the efforts of sophomore left-handed pitcher Kolby Allard and the bat of senior leadoff man Dan Caresio, the San Clemente baseball team evened their league record with a 3-1 win over the Stallions.

Caresio led the game off with a single up the middle and scored on an RBI single by senior Cody Maples, giving Allard a one-run cushion to work with before he even stepped on the mound.

Allard, who improved his record to 3-0 with the win, established his fastball early, retiring six of the first seven Stallions (3-6, 0-1 league) batters he faced. Allard would go six innings in the game, fanning six batters by way of strikeout and allowing only one walk. He also hit a Stallions batter but struck out the next hitter to get out of the inning.

Caresio struck again in the top of the third, showing off his power swing by planting an offering from San Juan Hills senior starter Evanne Wilkes over the right field fence for a solo home run to give the Tritons (8-3, 1-1) a 2-0 lead.

“For (Caresio) to lead off with a hit and get that first run early and then get that home run that was huge,” San Clemente head coach Dave Gellatly said. “So (Caresio) was obviously a great catalyst in getting us started.”

The Stallions responded to Caresio’s big hit by manufacturing a run in the bottom of the third inning. After junior outfielder Colton Plourde reached first on a fielder’s choice, he advanced on a Triton throwing error and another fielder’s choice, finding himself at third base. An Allard wild pitch brought him home, narrowing things to 2-1.

With the Tritons threatening to score again in the top of the fourth inning with runners on first and third and one out, Stallions senior right fielder Alex Larson corralled a fly ball and threw out the Triton runner attempting to score after the catch was made to complete the double play, ending the threat.

After the Stallions one run, Allard settled down, retiring three consecutive batters in both the fourth and six innings.

“(Allard) pitched well tonight and pretty much shut it down,” Gellatly said.
The Tritons would tack on one more run in the top of the seventh after sophomore Trevor Beard reached on an error and junior shortstop Kent Burckle singled him home.

The loss was the Stallions first in-league and they now prepare for a March 22 games against Dana Hills. The Tritons have five days off before returning against Dana Hills on March 26.

Next Game: 3/26 vs. Dana Hills, 3:30 p.m.

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