PREP FOCUS: QUARTZ HILL PLAYERS NO LONGER DISGUSTED AS CO-CHAMPS.
Quartz Hill players had one glimpse of the plaque, their reward for an undefeated season in boys' soccer. And they looked at it with disgust.
More than three weeks later, the Rebels have not seen the Southern Section Division I championship plaque again. The duplicate has not arrived and they don't know when it will. But the co-championship, the final that ended with no finality, has had time to settle in their hearts and minds. Unlike that March 2 day, the Rebels feel like champions.
``We're totally cool about it now,'' senior goalkeeper Ian McClung said. ``We're relaxed and enjoying the fun.''
Quartz Hill players seemed in shock after the season ended in a 0-0 tie with Leuzinger of Lawndale. Every game they played up to that point would have gone into overtime under those circumstances. But to keep a tight set of championship games on schedule, the Southern Section doesn't allow overtime in the final.
``They are 17- or 18-year-old kids and they didn't understand how to deal with the outcome at that point,'' coach Andre Matalon said.
The only overtime method that wouldn't take much time is penalty kicks, and Southern Section representatives believe a co-championship is a fairer way to end the season. McClung admits he would have felt cheated had Quartz Hill's 28-0-2 season ended with a loss on penalty kicks.
``I guess there is no real way we can do this,'' McClung said. ``But they need to find more days, more fields, something. I know it's expensive. But it's the CIF championship and deserves some money put into it.''
--Add McClung: The goalkeeper signed a letter of intent with Cal State Northridge on Thursday. McClung will receive a full scholarship for tuition and books, plus partial payment of his housing expenses.
``They have a senior returning, so I'll probably be a backup my first year,'' McClung said. ``But I'm the first to admit that I could use a year to learn. I think that will help. Their program looks to be progressing rapidly and I'm excited to be part of it.''
--No rebuilding: El Camino Real of Woodland Hills lost the top two boys' tennis players in the City to graduation. But that doesn't mean the Conquistadores are willing to give up on a possible third consecutive City title.
Even when Bruce Aiken broke his thumb before the season started, El Camino Real didn't give up. The Conquistadores are 6-0 behind top singles player Dan Nguyen and an undefeated doubles trio, led by No. 1 team Nick Kogan and Phil Gegenheimer.
Nguyen, who hasn't lost a set, moved seamlessly to the top spot after playing No. 3 last season behind Matt Jones and James Magsino. Aiken, who played No. 4 last year, was expected to compete with Nguyen for the No. 1 spot. He had the cast removed last week and is hoping to return in two weeks.