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By Zach Cavanagh
For in-game updates, news and more for all of the San Clemente High School sports programs, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SouthOCSports.
Wrestling Wins CIF-SS Dual Meet Championship
The San Clemente boys wrestling program has a long tradition of excellence, but the Tritons were able to find a championship first to add to the trophy case.
San Clemente battled through its Division 4 bracket as the No. 3 seed to capture the program’s first CIF-SS Dual Meet Championship on Saturday, Feb. 1 at Mayfair High School in Lakewood.
The Tritons won CIF-SS team championships at the 2005, 2007 and 2008 individual tournaments and were dual meet runners-up in 2005 and 2006. However, this was the first time San Clemente took the head-to-head competition.
San Clemente was strong all day and opened with two big wins over Santa Monica, 49-24, and Camarillo, 53-27. In the semifinals, the Tritons took down defending champion and No. 2 seed Mayfair, 39-25.
Beverly Hills upset No. 1 seed Royal to deny San Clemente a shot at revenge for last year’s semifinal loss, but the Tritons still cleaned up in the title match with a win over Beverly Hills, 37-29.
Next up for the Sea View League champions are the CIF-SS individual championships.
The boys wrestle in the Coastal Division tournament on Feb. 14-15 at West Torrance High School. Masters will follow at Cerritos College on Feb. 21-22 to determine state qualifiers.
The girls wrestle in the Southern Regional on Feb. 15 at El Toro High School to qualify for the CIF-SS championships at Beaumont High School on Feb. 21-22. The CIF-SS championship is the state qualifying tournament for girls.
Girls Basketball Wins League Championship
Coming into this season, the San Clemente girls basketball team hadn’t defeated Aliso Niguel since 2015, which was the same year as the Tritons’ last league championship.
San Clemente crossed the first item off the list on Jan. 14 and completed the second and most important item on Monday, Feb. 3.
The Tritons rallied in the fourth quarter at Aliso Niguel to force overtime and beat the Wolverines, 61-57, to clinch the outright South Coast League championship. It was the first league title for San Clemente under head coach Kerri Husbands.
San Clemente (24-3, 7-1) swept Aliso Niguel in league for the first time since that 2015 league title.
That was the regular season finale for San Clemente, which is ranked No. 1 in CIF-SS Division 2A. The Tritons figure to be the No. 1 seed in the Division 2A playoffs when the brackets are released on Sunday, Feb. 9.
San Clemente lost in the first round of the Division 2A playoffs last season to eventual runner-up Oxford Academy.
Boys Basketball Battles for Last Playoff Spot
The San Clemente boys basketball team’s playoff fate will come down to the final day of the regular season, as the Tritons play at Trabuco Hills on Thursday, Feb. 6.
San Clemente (16-11, 3-4) sits in the last guaranteed playoff spot in the South Coast League, a half-game ahead of Aliso Niguel (15-12, 3-5), which finished its league slate on Tuesday, Feb. 4, and a full game behind Mission Viejo (22-5, 4-3). Mission Viejo plays at league champion Capistrano Valley on Thursday.
San Clemente was sitting strongly in second place after the first round of league play with a 3-1 record, but the Tritons dropped three straight to Aliso Niguel, Capistrano Valley and Mission Viejo to fall into dire straits.
Trabuco Hills is last in the South Coast League standings but forced a tight game against San Clemente on Jan. 15, which the Tritons won in overtime, 63-57.
CIF-SS playoff brackets for boys basketball will be released on Sunday, Feb. 9.
Girls Water Polo Hosts League Tournament
For the second straight season, the San Clemente girls water polo team earned the right to host the South Coast League tournament and awaits its opponent in the league title game on Thursday, Feb. 6.
The Tritons swept through the South Coast League with ease, earning an eight-goal win over Aliso Niguel, a nine-goal win over El Toro, a 10-goal win over Tesoro and an 11-goal win over Dana Hills.
As the first-place team in league, San Clemente hosted the league tournament and earned a bye to the title game. The Tritons will play the winner of the Dana Hills-El Toro semifinal.
San Clemente’s last game action came at the Irvine SoCal Championships from Jan. 31 to Feb. 1. The Tritons went 3-2, with wins in the first game over Murrieta Valley and final two games over Long Beach Wilson and Redondo Union.
With their SoCal Championships performance, San Clemente (13-13, 4-0) moved up to No. 12 in the Division 1 and 2 poll.
San Clemente should be in the Division 2 bracket when the CIF-SS playoff draws are released on Saturday, Feb. 8.
San Clemente boys soccer (19-1-3, 5-0-2) clinched another South Coast League championship and remains No. 1 in Division 1. The reigning CIF-SS and SoCal Regional champions finish the season at El Toro on Thursday, Feb. 6 and wait for their playoff draw on Saturday, Feb. 8.
San Clemente girls soccer (12-5-4, 3-3-2) is solidly in third place in the South Coast League standings with their regular-season slate over. The Tritons could tie second-place San Juan Hills or fourth-place Tesoro depending on the result of the game between the two on Wednesday, Feb. 5. However, San Clemente was swept by San Juan Hills and swept Tesoro this season. The girls soccer draw will be released on Saturday, Feb. 8.
Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.