East County Sports

Conference teams face tilted field

Granite Hills and West Hills in action. / Vic Marano
By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

SANTEE —- For decades, high schools sports administrators and sportswriters have discussed the future of prep sports, particularly, the time when club programs take over and extracurricular activities such as athletics go by the wayside from the schools like it is in many parts of Europe.

Cracks in the traditional dam are being noticed in the East County, mainly in soccer, where recruiting by area private schools is creating havoc with programs in the Grossmont Union High School District.

A casual glance at the standings paints the picture well.

Among the GUHSD’s two leagues, the more powerful Grossmont Hills League is in shambles.

Perennial boys soccer kingpins like Granite Hills, Grossmont, Valhalla, and West Hills are all posting sub-.500 records. In fact, in non-league action entering the start of next week’s CIF-San Diego Section playoffs shows a composite record of 9-37-6, a miserable winning percentage of .231.

Among the poorest of the GHL six-pack is Grossmont — but don’t be alarmed.

First, congratulations to the Foothillers for capturing the league crown this season at 7-1-0, two full games better than runner-up West Hills. However, the Hillers’ non-league mark is a paltry 1-8-0, meaning all six GHL clubs are expected to have a short life in postseason action.

Which schools are benefitting from the failure in the public school system? Easy, the private schools.

Case-in-point: Foothills Christian High, located just off Fletcher Parkway in Fletcher Hills. The Knights enter postseason action with a record of 19-1-3, posting more victories than any other school in the San Diego Section.

Before people start complaining that the mark is apples-and-oranges when compared to schools in a higher division based on the power index, Foothills Christian has gone 3-0 against Grossmont Valley League competition this season, plus own 1-0 triumphs over traditional small-school powers like The Bishop’s and La Jolla Country Day.

There seems to be long-term concern by GUHSD officials, noting a drop in athletics means fewer students, thus receiving fewer funds from the State of California.

In recent weeks, GUHSD has been seen advertising the prowess of its dozen campuses — 11 participate in interscholastic athletics.

The television commercials have drawn attention in local political circles, wondering should public schools should “advertise” themselves in such a manner rather than spend the money for directly for classroom uses.

In other words, the future may be coming faster than was previously believed.

Viva Los Sultans

Congratulations to the Santana Sultans for capturing the Grossmont Valley League. However, it wasn’t just capturing the title, it was the way in which they won the crown.

Santana (14-2-4 overall) posted a perfect 10-0-0 record, the first time any Grossmont Conference school in either league placed a clean sweep of league contests going back to at least the 2006-06 season. (See the listing of champions HERE, under the standings).

The Sultans out-scored their GVL opponents, 25-5, with five shutouts, including a pair of white-washes of league runner-up Steele Canyon.

Some schools have come close to a perfect ledger — Monte Vista came the closest at 9-0-1 last season, the Sultans had the same mark a decade ago in 2011-12.

Santana is expected to battle Carlsbad, Eastlake, and Escondido for the top-seed when the Division II brackets are announced on Saturday.

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