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NCS Duals Recap

So, today was the NCS Dual Meet championship at Washington High in Fremont. College Park defeated Granada 32-25 to win the 3A title and De La Salle won the school’s first NCS title in wrestling with a 51-27 win over Miramonte in the 2A final. The CP/Granada match was extremely intense and came down to the final match. Here’s a few thoughts on the day that was:

1. Granada gave up six points to CP with a forfeit at 285 pounds when Stephen Bringuel couldn’t go because of an injury he suffered earlier in the day. Matadors coach Clark Conover was very clear after the meet was over, telling me that he sat Bringuel so that he would have a better shot of doing well at the NCS Individual Tournament in two weeks. I know the six points would have been big for Granada today, but Conover was looking out for his guy and I respect that. As a result, I would not be surprised to see Bringuel do very well in two weeks because he’s been solid all year long.

2. Big points go to CP’s Rick Erlec today. He has had a rough year, describing it simply as “hard” when I asked him about it today and to see him succeed was nice. There’s no substitute in high school sports for senior leadership and Erlec gave a little today.

3. Granada could have won the title with a win in the final match but CP’s Blake Nichols dispensed with that theory immediately, taking a technical fall victory at 130 pounds. Nichols is naturally a 125-pounder and he stepped it up big time today.

4. When the California Interscholastic Federation lengthened the football season, they might have done a disservice to those wrestling programs that rely on premier athletes coming from football to do well. De La Salle was in that boat but the Spartans never made an excuse out of it despite the fact that two of their best wrestlers, Nick and Tito Pica, were still playing football. The Spartans relied on their young wrestlers to hold down the fort until their big guns got back and today that experience showed. Credit coach Mark Halvorson and the DLS staff for pushing all the right buttons all year long.

All right, next week we’ve got league tournaments and plenty of storylines. Why don’t we go with the same deal as I had at the end of the tennis season. Whoever finds me at a league tourney gets a blog mention. See you next week.

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Have MV boys wrapped up No. 1 seed?

Before tonight, it was a virtual toss-up to decide who should be the No. 1 seed in the North Coast Section 3A boys soccer playoffs, which begin Wednesday. Is it East Bay Athletic League champion Monte Vista or Bay Valley Athletic League champ De La Salle? Both teams have strong resumes and unbeaten league records. Monte Vista might have already had a bit of an edge because it plays in the tougher league, and now it has a win over San Ramon Valley to add to its resume.
Yes, the Wolves became the fifth-place team in the EBAL (Amador Valley moved up to fourth) tonight, but their place in the standings is irrelevant. They beat De La Salle 1-0 in the Spartans’ first game of the season. Monte Vista beat San Ramon Valley 2-0 tonight, giving them a 1-0-1 mark against the Wolves.
Regardless of which team gets the top seed at Sunday’s seeding meeting, there’s a strong possibility the Spartans and Mustangs could meet in the final … think of it as a preview of the EBAL, circa 2008.

In other news: Richmond finally locked up the Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League title with a 6-1 win over Hercules. The game had to be moved from Hercules to Richmond at the last minute when the Titans’ field was deemed unplayable.
Postponing the game until Saturday wasn’t an option. Berkeley’s tie against De Anza last week became a forfeit win because De Anza used an ineligible player, meaning the Yellow Jackets could have won the ACCAL with a Richmond loss tonight. Had Richmond tied Hercules, the Oilers and Yellow Jackets would have been tied atop the ACCAL, and word is a playoff game would have been played on Saturday.
Berkeley, which boasts a strong league record but a poor nonleague record, is in danger of missing the playoffs altogether. Winning the ACCAL would have solved that problem for the Yellow Jackets, but now they’ll have to make their case at Sunday’s seeding meeting.

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Signing day

Most did it before school started. A few others waited until the afternoon. All of them were never before so happy to use a fax machine.

Wednesday’s signing day for football, soccer and boys water polo players has come and gone, with a host of local high school athletes making their college choices official. For most of them, it’s a dream come true.

As a whole, the local football players that signed on Wednesday lack the star power that some past years have had. Salesian running back Jahvid Best is the only local athlete ranked as one of the top 100 recruits in the country. But that doesn’t mean the rest won’t turn out to be productive college athletes.

In 2004, Antioch grad Brent Casteel was ranked as the 13th best prospect in the East Bay. But in 2006, he was named second-team All-Mountain West Conference as a Utah receiver. He caught 39 passes for 600 yards and a team-high 10 TDs. He also rushed for 262 yards, averaging 5.1 yards per carry.

In 2000, Bishop O’Dowd’s Kirk Morrison was rated as the 18th best prospect in the East Bay. But in 2006, he led the Raiders in tackles (127) for second straight year. He’s considered one of the key young pieces to a defense that ranked third overall in the NFL.

So don’t best surprised to see one of this year’s signees who are flying under the radar turn out to be much more than anyone expected. Right now, the possibilities are endless.