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Fryer: O.C. track leaders to be tested at Arcadia Invitational

STAFF COLUMNIST

Tests are more important than exams in the education world.

In the track and field world, it’s time for the first big test.

The Arcadia Invitational, the biggest mid-season event of every track and field season, is Friday and Saturday at Arcadia High.

Capistrano Valley junior Haley Herberg is at the moment the top girls miler in California. She will run at Arcadia. Herberg won the 1,600 meters at this past weekend’s Trabuco Hills Invitational with a personal best of 4:52.06 that is the best mark in the state this season.

Newport Harbor senior Cole Smith is No. 3 in the state in the shot put with a mark of 61 feet, 8 inches, which he also achieved at the Trabuco Hills Invitational. He also won the discus at Trabuco. Smith is entered in the shot and discus at Arcadia.

Santa Margarita junior Nikki Merritt, who won the 300 hurdles at Trabuco Hills with a 44.98, is entered in the 100 and 300 hurdles at Arcadia.

Admission Friday for the Arcadia Invitational is $9 for adults and for students with valid student identification, and $5 for children 10 and younger. Saturday admission is $18 for adults, $15 for students with valid student ID and $5 for children 10 and younger. Go to ArcadiaInvitational.org for to purchase tickets and for more information.

Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:

•Selecting the Orange County boys basketball player of the year this season was easy. Esperanza senior Kezie Okpala established himself as the county’s best player in December and never came close to losing that tag. We went with Esperanza’s Mark Hill as coach of the year, for which much consideration was given to Capistrano Valley’s Brian Mulligan and Villa Park’s Kevin Reynolds.

The five players on the All-County boys basketball first team – Okpala, Spencer Freedman of Mater Dei, Adrease Jackson of Santa Margarita, Justice Sueing of Mater Dei and Randall Walker of Edison – are all smart and gentlemanly. It is one of the brighter and more mature collection of players ever to be on the All-O.C. first team.

The Orange County North-South football all-star game is tentatively scheduled for June 30 at Orange Coast College. The status of the game, though, is in jeopardy if stadium availability and other details cannot be resolved. The game has been well-organized and well-managed by the Brea Lions Club for decades.

The Orange County All-Star boys basketball game, which is being put on by Open Gym Premier, will be held April 15 at 7 p.m. at Santiago Canyon College.

Brethren Christian, Sage Hill and St. Margaret’s want to be Academy League mates, but they will need a fourth school to join them once Crean Lutheran exits the league in 2018-19. CIF-Southern Section rules require a minimum of four schools to form a league. Saddleback Valley Christian would be a fine fourth school. Saddleback Valley Christian seems locked into the San Joaquin League although becoming the fourth Academy school would bring a reduction in travel.

It’s a small sample size, because of the inability to be in more than one place at one time, but what has been witnessed at Corona del Mar games and events does not indicate that Corona del Mar would be a bad league mate. Some Sunset League folks are against Corona del Mar going into their league because of what they allege is a lack of high sportsmanship by Corona del Mar teams and their supporters and parent groups.

Rusty Van Cleave this week resumed coaching Foothill basketball. Van Cleave suffered a stroke just before this past season began and had to relinquish his head coaching duties. “I feel totally recharged, clear minded, and excited about being the boys basketball coach at Foothill,” Van Cleave said via email.

Wednesday is the first day of the regular period for signing a letter of intent in many sports. Among the sports included in this signing period are basketball, tennis, volleyball, baseball, softball and the aquatics sports.

Corona del Mar’s boys lacrosse team is 7-1.

The Rivals New Speed Football Combine is at Citrus College in Glendora on Saturday, starting at 8 a.m. The event is free for high school players. Graduating seniors can attend, but the combine is mostly for underclassmen.

The dedication ceremony for the Jim Howell Athletic Complex at Western High is April 26 at 7 p.m. in the school’s west gym. Email Toby Howell at howell_t@auhsd.us for information.

Mater Dei hired Mark Mollica as its hockey coach. Mollica has been coach of the Anaheim Jr. Ducks.

A free football clinic about helmet safety and tackling techniques will be held at Newport Harbor High on May 13. Former coaches Terry Donahue and John Robinson are scheduled to participate. LottImpactTrophy.org has more information.


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Lacrosse:

Santa Margarita 11, St. Margaret's 15 - 00:00 3rd Period - Completed

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