Top Stories of 2021: Despite the obstacles in 2021, teams and athletes still succeeded


The most prevalent element of the 2021 calendar year in high school sports remains the coronavirus.

The virus wiped out most of the 2020 spring season and was still hampering athletics until March 2021, when fall sports teams resumed with a shortened schedule, mostly league games.

Football, girls volleyball, boys and girls water polo, field hockey, cross country, girls golf and boys and girls tennis successfully played games.

Then 19 sports played busier schedules last spring, which led to the gyms and football stadium being taxed to the limit.

Teams had shorter than normal slots at gyms and football pitches for practice. The stretches took place before the teams started training.

Last season ran almost into July, leaving a very short offseason during the summer before fall sports were flagged for first practice.

Fall sports in San Diego went off without too much of a hitch with only a few games canceled due to virus protocols.

Now that winter sports are happening this month, Covid-19 and its many variants are still hovering.

A mask mandate returned to the same prominence it had in 2020 when no state championships were held.

But the teams always play and always achieve highlights.

– The Rancho Bernardo women’s basketball team won a Southern California Regional Championship, beating San Pedro Mary Star of the Sea 72-44 in the 3-AA Division Finals.

– Poway won his 40th consecutive CIF championship in wrestling. The Titans have returned 11 standouts this season.

— The Del Norte women’s soccer team won the Division I title last spring, going 12-5-3 and beating Steele Canyon on penalties in the final.

– The Poway football team shared this year’s Palomar League title with Mt. Carmel.

–Connor Rath broke the Poway school record with 17 carries for 358 and four rushing touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass in a 55-14 win over Vista.

– Poway went undefeated, winning all five games and beating Rancho Bernado 30-3, to win the Palomar League football title during the shortened and virus-delayed season last spring.

– Poway’s women’s cross country team won the Division II title this fall as Mackenzie Rogers and Tessa Buswell finished 1-2 in the championship chase.

– Don Jones, Rancho Bernardo’s longtime track and cross country coach, has been honored as a coaching legend. Jones teams have won 39 league titles and 15 CIF crowns, mostly on track.

– Bill Christopher, Rancho Bernardo’s first football coach, entered the Broncos Hall of Fame along with Eugene Amano, Sam Blalock, Dawn Halfaker and Bob Speights of the Class of 2020 as well as 2021 inductees Peggy Brose, Shirley Black, Carole Morton, Sharon Foley and Jones.

Del Norte student Devam Shrivastava was drafted as an under-19 player by the San Diego Surf Riders of the Minor League cricket team.

(Vineet Shrivastava)

–Del Norte student Devam Shrivastava, a junior, was drafted as an under-19 player by the San Diego Surf Riders of the Minor League cricket team.

Rancho Bernardo High senior Ashley Callahan set a San Diego section record in the pole vault.

Rancho Bernardo High senior Ashley Callahan set a San Diego section record in the pole vault.

(Chuck Utash)

–Ashley Callahan of Rancho Bernardo set a San Diego section record in the pole vault with an effort of 14 feet, 6 inches.

– Rancho Bernardo captured the men’s Division I soccer title with a 5-4 win over Southwest in the Finals.

–Poway edged Rancho Bernardo 7-6 in the annual Lake Poway softball game, which will be closed for a water project for the next few years. Poway leads the series 13-11.

–Poway women’s basketball coach Jay Trousdale became the first San Diego coach to record his 700th victory, joining only five other coaches in the state with 700.

–Poway boys’ volleyball coach Charlie Jackson earned his 300th career victory.

–Tracy Stowe took over from Brose as athletic director of Rancho Bernardo after 19 years on the job.

–Former Poway shortstop Kevin Newman, who graduated in 2012, tied an 111-year record with the Pittsburgh Pirates with four doubles in a baseball game in August. Hall of Famer Honus Wagner is the only other hacker to ever accomplish this.

The USA Women's 3x3 Basketball Team Gold Medalist at the Olympic Games.

Poway resident Kelsey Plum, USA, left, and teammates Jacquelyn Young, Stefanie Dolson and Allisha Gray celebrate with their gold medal after competing in the women’s 3×3 basketball competition at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

(AFP via Getty Images)

– Poway resident Kelsey Plum, who attended La Jolla Country Day High, the University of Washington and the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA, won an Olympic gold medal in 3X3 basketball, beating Russia 18- 15 in the championship game.

–Former Poway outfielder Alex Dickerson hit three home runs and two doubles to lead in six runs in a 23-5 win at Denver in August. It was the first time in an MLB game that three teammates each had six points in the same game.

–Former Rancho Bernardo wrestler Jaden Abas, a two-time Broncos state champion, was named a freshman All-American at Stanford.

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