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EPISODE #110
CATHOLIC SPORTS VIEW: GUESTS ARE ERIC BORBA AND TIA MEZA

Host Bob Gibson interviews coaches and players throughout the various Catholic high schools in Orange County. His Twitter handle is: @catholicsv

Today’s guests include:

  • Eric Borba (Baseball coach at Orange Lutheran H.S.)
  • Tia Meza (Athletic Director at Mater Dei H.S.)

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 2/29/20

TOP TALENT THROWDOWN

Mater Dei and St. John Bosco met for their annual Trinity League showdown on Oct. 25, only this year it was more than just a matchup between the top two high school football teams in the nation. 

That script had been written before. 

This season’s rendition also featured what was reportedly the first-ever matchup between the top two ranked high school quarterbacks in the country. 

Bryce Young of Mater Dei entered the game against the Braves with 31 touchdown passes and just three interceptions. He had run for another seven touchdowns on the ground. 

D.J. Uiagalelei of St. John Bosco came in with 27 touchdown passes with just one interception. He had rushed for six touchdowns. 

Interest in the showdown stretched all the way to the Deep South, where Alabama fans are looking forward to the arrival of Young next fall, and Clemson can’t wait to see what Uiagalelei brings to its program. 

Alabama and Clemson combined to win the past four national championships. 

Meeting in a national championship game later in their careers is certainly something both players dream of, but they were keenly focused on their monumental league game at St. John Bosco High. 

The Monarchs and Braves each came into the game sporting 8-0 records and ranked No. 1 and 2 in the nation by every major publication. 

Young quickly made sure the competition between Mater Dei and St. John Bosco, as well as he Uiagalelei, wasn’t close. 

Young completed 19 of 33 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Monarchs to the 38-24 victory, which allowed the Monarchs to reclaim the Trinity League title they lost to the Braves the season before. 

Uiagalelei, meanwhile, had a solid game, completing 17 of 31 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns. 

The night belonged to Young, however. 

Three hours later, he stood surrounded by reporters from near and far, many of whom came to watch him perform live for the first time. 

Young talked about the importance of the win, his respect and admiration of the Braves and the effort his teammates delivered. 

“This is definitely a big win,” he said. “I think it was more just preparing for their defense more than anything.” 

Everyone came away impressed with Young, and not only because of his all-around stellar play, but his humbleness in victory. 

“I’ve had some great (quarterbacks), but you might be looking at the greatest,” Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson said. “What he brings to the table is crazy.” 

The quarterbacks who have come through Mater Dei during Rollinson’s 31-year tenure as head coach include former four-year starters for the Monarchs, Heisman Trophy winners and long-time NFL veterans. 

Young transferred to Mater Dei before his junior season in 2018, filling an unexpected void after three-year starter J.T. Daniels skipped his senior year to enroll early at USC. 

Young also committed to USC the summer before his junior year, but changed his mind in September and committed to Alabama. 

Uiagalelei, meanwhile, committed to Clemson in May. 

Despite their choices in schools, Young said he Uiagalelei remain good friends away from the field.  

They could very well match up again during the CIF-SS playoffs. After all, Mater Dei and St. John Bosco met in the playoffs each of the past three seasons.

HEAVY HITTERS

Opportunities like these don’t come knocking very often. 

Natasha Hill has put herself at the doorstep of joining an elite group of four-time Trinity league champions. 

She won doubles titles as a freshman, sophomore and junior for the Mater Dei girls’ tennis team, each time with a different partner. 

Hill would be the clear favorite to win it all again this season, even with a fourth different partner. Her sidekick last season, Colby Bennett, has returned to playing indoor volleyball for the Monarchs this fall. 

The possibility of winning a fourth straight league title is exciting for Hill, but she’s also torn between pursuing that rare feat in doubles, or take a whack at winning her first singles title. 

“As much as I love doubles, I’ve been training so hard for singles over the summer,” Hill said. 

Though she would prefer to play singles in the postseason, creating a bigger personal challenge and providing more visibility to college recruiters, Hill is ready to fit in where Mater Dei coach Mike Moorewood needs her. 

After all, winning the team title is the ultimate goal. 

Hill has certainly shown her ability to adapt to Mater Dei’s needs. 

As a freshman, she won the league championship with Katherine Nguyen, a senior who fit with Hill like a well-worn glove. 

“Katherine was so consistent, always got the ball in, and I was like the hard hitter/poacher,” Hill said. “We were like Ying and Yang, so it worked perfectly.”   

After Nguyen graduated, Hill turned to Katie Hernandez for the league title run two years ago. 

Hernandez had struggled with a wrist injury most of the season, but teamed up with Hill to not only win the league championship, but advance to the round of 16 in the CIF-SS individual tournament. 

Hernandez was also a senior, so Hill had to find a new partner last season as well. 

Bennett wasn’t a likely choice for Hill heading into last season. She had not played high school tennis before, and the sophomore was initially assigned to the junior varsity team. 

Her natural ball-striking abilities and keen sense of the game soon stood out to Hill and the rest of the Monarchs, however. 

Bennett had played tennis as a youth, along with soccer, basketball and beach volleyball, and her athleticism was on full display on the court as well. 

“She’s the most athletic person I have ever met,” Hill said. 

Even after Bennett committed to play beach volleyball at USC, she stuck with her desire to play tennis last season and was quickly promoted to the varsity. 

Hill soon invited Bennett to team up for another league title run. 

“Out of the entire team, I just saw the most inspiration out of her, the most dedication and the most talent,” Hill said. “She didn’t have all the proper technique, but she had the form, and knew what to do at certain points, which most people didn’t know how to do.”   

Hill’s success hasn’t resulted in a scholarship offer from a Division I college, so she said she’s prepared to walk-on, if invited. Hill said she has been in contact with a number of Division I teams and will visit a few campuses later this fall. 

In the meantime, she still has something big to chase with the Monarchs. 

 

FAR AFIELD

Filling up the nonleague portion of the football schedule has forced Trinity League coaches to expand their horizons in recent years. 

Mater Dei, for instance, travelled to Peoria, Arizona on Sept. 6 to take on a local powerhouse. The head coach of that team was surprised to see the Monarchs out so early for pre-game warmups, mainly because it was 107 degrees outside. 

He was even more impressed by Mater Dei quarterback Bryce Young, who threw for a school-record 528 yards and tossed seven touchdowns in the 72-21 victory. 

Five years ago, Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson wouldn’t have searched for a game in one of the hottest regions in North America during the first weekend of September, but Trinity League coaches have become increasingly desperate to find five opponents to fill their nonleague games. 

“By 2015 and ’16, it was virtually impossible to get games,” Rollinson told the Arizona Republic. 

Just three years ago, Mater Dei, JSerra, Servite and Santa Margarita didn’t travel outside of Southern California to play their nonleague games. 

Mater Dei played road games in 2016 at Bishop Amat in La Puente and against Edison at Orange Coast College, and hosted Mayfair, La Mirada and Upland at Santa Ana Stadium. 

This season, the Monarchs opened with home games against Corona Centennial and Villa Park at Santa Ana Stadium, and then headed to Arizona. 

The Monarchs also played St. Frances Academy from Baltimore, Md. at St. John Bosco, and then flew cross-country to play St. John’s in Washington, DC on Sept. 27. 

Mater Dei opened league play the following week against Orange Lutheran. 

Rollinson provided one theory as to why it’s become harder to schedule local teams for nonleague games.  

“Probably because I’ve been in (coaching) for so long, some of my buddies are not in it anymore, guys who trusted me and knew it would be a good game,” Rollinson said. “We travel well. If we come to their stadium, you know they’ll get a great gate. Nobody is interested in that anymore.” 

Mater Dei was one of three Trinity League teams that played outside of California on Sept. 6. 

Santa Margarita travelled to Colorado to play an out-of-state opponent for the first time since the 2014 season. 

The Eagles headed to the Denver suburbs to face Cherry Creek, and the Bruins turned the tables on Santa Margarita, taking a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and cruising to a 35-10 win. The Eagles scored their lone touchdown in the final minute of the game. 

Santa Margarita was familiar with Cherry Creek after hosting the Bruins at Trabuco Hills last season and losing 21-14. 

Servite played in Las Vegas on Sept 6. The Friars took on Bishop Gorman, which has regularly scheduled Trinity League teams the last several years. 

Servite was no match for Bishop Gorman, losing 42-21. 

JSerra opened its season by travelling to Utah to face a team from Salt Lake City. The Lions won 24-14.  

They then played St. Joseph Regional from Montvale, N.J. at Cathedral Catholic High in San Diego, losing that game 24-13. 

“We played hard and were out-executed by a very good team that is well coached,” JSerra coach Pat Harlow said. “We are young and we will get better. We will stick to our plan and get better.”

EPISODE #95
CATHOLIC SPORTS VIEW: FIRST ANNUAL TRINITY LEAGUE FOOTBALL MEDIA DAY

Host Bob Gibson interviews coaches and players throughout the various Catholic high schools in Orange County. His Twitter handle is: @catholicsv

On today’s episode, Bob brings you a special Trinity League football preview!

Today’s guests include:

  • Bruce Rollinson (Head football coach at Mater Dei High School);
  • Tristen Wilson (athlete at Servite High School)
  • Karrington Dennis (athlete at Servite High School)
  • Brent Vieselmeyer (head football coach at Santa Margarita High School)
  • J.P. Presley (head football coach at Orange Lutheran)
  • Jason Negro (head football coach at St. John Bosco High School)
  • Pat Harlow (head football coach at J Serra High School)

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 8/10/19

PLAYING THE LONG GAME

After graduating from Mater Dei in 1988, Jason Gill bounced around baseball as a player and coach before finding a home at Loyola Marymount University for 11 years. 

Gill used his polished evaluation skills, seasoned game instincts and top-notch recruiting skills to build the Lions into a program that could hold its own against other local powers like UCLA, Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine. 

After leading LMU to its first NCAA tournament appearance in 19 years last season, Gill was presented with an opportunity the 49-year-old Orange County native couldn’t pass up, the head coaching position at USC. 

Gill was hired by the Trojans in mid-June, leaving LMU after an overall record of 322-286-1. 

“I am looking forward to building on the traditions established by the great players and coaches from the most storied college baseball program in the country,” Gill said in a statement shortly after his hiring was announced. “USC’s commitment to winning championships while providing a top-tier education is unmatched.” 

Gill inherits a roster that includes sophomore right-handed pitcher Chandler Champlain from Santa Margarita, sophomore shortstop Emilio Rosas from Mater Dei, junior left-handed pitcher John Beller of St. John Bosco and senior outfielder Brady Shockey of JSerra.  

“I am extremely excited and can’t wait to get started,” Gill stated. 

After graduating from Mater Dei, Gill was an infielder for two seasons at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, and then played his junior season at Cal State Dominguez Hills. He spent his final year of eligibility as the starting third baseman at Cal State Fullerton, helping the Titans reach the College World Series in 1994. 

He served as an undergraduate assistant at Cal State Fullerton the following year, when the Titans won the national championship. He had brief assistant coaching stints at Nevada, LMU and UC Irvine before returning to Cal State Fullerton and reaching the College World Series again in 2006 and 2007. 

LMU offered Gill his first head coaching position in 2008.  

Another former standout athlete from a Trinity League school who’s taking on a much bigger coaching role this summer is Rick Garretson, a former star wide receiver for Servite in the early 1970s.  

Garretson was hired as the head football coach at Chandler High School in Arizona, considered the top program in the state. The previous coach at the school had won four state championships in eight seasons. 

In one of Garretson’s previous stops as a coach, he spent 16 years at Servite, serving as the offensive coordinator from 1995 to 2004. 

Garretson told the East Valley Tribune shortly after he was hired that he plans to take on an attitude similar to Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay. 

  “We expect success, we don’t look at failure,” Garretson said. “We are going to be aggressive and expect to succeed.” 

Garretson comes from a family of professional referees. 

His father was Darrell Garretson, an NBA referee for 27 years, and his brother is Ron Garretson, another Servite graduate who has been an NBA referee since 1987. 

 “You have to have a burning desire to do that, and I never had it,” Garretson said. “It’s funny. My dad would always try to give me pointers and grade my performance on the field, but I knew he didn’t know anything about football.”

HANNAH JACOBSEN

Hannah Jacobsen has grown up around softball and playing the game is a family affair. 

“I’ve been playing softball for a really long time,” says Jacobsen, who got her start at age five. “I tried playing soccer, but that didn’t work. Softball is definitely me. My mom played softball, and my grandpa used to coach my mom. He likes to come to all of my games.” 

As a rising senior at Mater Dei High School, the catcher and utility player for the varsity Monarchs has made several sacrifices to get where she is today. 

“You have to be committed to the sport,” says the 17-year-old. “Some of the challenges that I’ve faced is missing out on a lot of things because of practices and games. I’ve missed birthday parties, dances – things I would have liked to go to. But I’m focusing more on softball because that’s what’s going to get me where I want to go in life.” 

As a three-year varsity player, Jacobsen has a distinct pride in playing for the Monarchs. She cites playing against friends from other schools and bus rides with her teammates as some of her best memories of playing high school softball. 

“We can put Hannah anywhere on the field and know that she’ll be successful and get the job done,” says Mater Dei softball head coach, Jessica Foley. “The girls on our team love Hannah and look to her for leadership and guidance on a regular basis. When she feels they are having problems of any sort, she takes those problems on as her own, and is the first one to try and help them in any way she can. She has a ton of talent and so much potential.” 

The Santa Ana resident is looking to continue her playing career at the collegiate level and has an interest in studying journalism and business. She serves through Campus Ministry, where she enjoys participating in outreach to the community. The aspect of faith throughout her experiences at Mater Dei has helped her grow as a player and a person. 

“Going through hard times on the field or school…I always turn to God, asking him to watch over me, my team and my family,” says Jacobsen. “I really like it [at Mater Dei] because we have religion classes. The softball team goes to church every Thursday. It makes us stronger.” 

When it comes to role models, Jacobsen is quick to mention her grandfather, the one who has inspired her endeavors on the softball field since Day 1. 

“He comes to every practice and game – he’s always there,” says Jacobsen of her “Papa.” “He’s kept a book of all of my at bats since I was five (years old). He’s so dedicated to me and the game. I don’t know where I’d be without him. He’s super special to me and my family.”  

MATER DEI CELEBRATES EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION

Mater Dei High School celebrated 520 graduates earlier this spring with $72 million in college scholarships. There were 198 Golden Seal Bearers for California Scholarship Federation, 138 Lifetime members of the National Honor Society, and 170 seniors graduated with a 4.0 GPA or higher. 

This year’s valedictorian is Katelyn Osuna of Yorba Linda and this year’s salutatorian is Alex Audette of Newport Beach. 

Katelyn Osuna graduated with a weighted 4.4 GPA. Osuna will be attending Stanford University in the fall, majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Chinese and Music. An avid language learner, Osuna simultaneously took AP Spanish and Honors Chinese.  

Osuna earned the Disney Scholars Program Scholarship, California Scholarship Federation Scholarship, Teen Advisory Board Scholarship, Moose Youth Awareness Program Scholarship, and Stanford Scholarship.  

“It is thanks to Mater Dei that I have been able to live up to my parents’ expectations of being a well-rounded individual in all of my activities and as a Catholic, Latina woman. I could not be more grateful for Mater Dei’s willingness to help me pursue my dreams and for facilitating my development into the young woman that I am today,” said Osuna.  

During her high school years, Osuna created motivational seminars to help kids ages four to nine to value kindness. She shared her message internationally and received the International Moose Youth Awareness Program Finalist and a California State Winner. She served at Yorba Linda Public Library as a volunteer intern and serve as president on the Teen Advisory Board.   

Osuna was the president of National Honor Society, ASB Scarlet Ambassador Head Commissioner, and choral student director. She was also highly involved in campus ministry, musicals, and sports.  

Alex Audette of Newport Beach is Class of 2019’s salutatorian. Audette will be attending the University of Washington in Seattle and plans on majoring in Journalism.  Audette graduated high school with a weighted 4.32 GPA. Audette was awarded a cord at graduation for over 400 hours of community service during high school.  

At school, Audette was active in the National Honors Society, California Scholarship Federation, Leadership for Fellowship of Athletic Monarch Club for lacrosse and volleyball. She also held various leadership roles to serve the Associated Student Body.   

Audette participated in many service projects at school and outside of school.  She served the underserved communities in west side Chicago. In Orange County, she read to children and mentored new readers at local libraries. Audette contributed 75 hours of community service at the Waymakers Shelter and received the Rosebud Award, and finally, Audette served as head of philanthropy for the National Charity League. 

 “Every single teacher, student and faculty member welcomed me with open arms and strived to ensure that each day spent at Mater Dei was better than the last. I truly flourished here and was constantly given opportunities to explore different talents and aspects of myself that I had not yet discovered,” said Audette.

FLYING HIGH

The accolades and awards continue to roll in for girls volleyball standout and recent Mater Dei High School graduate Natalie Berty, who is capping off an extraordinary high school career. 

The Stanford-bound outside hitter was recognized with a pair of awards at the Orange County Register 2019 OC Varsity Athlete & Coach of the Year Awards presented by Hoag Orthopedic Institute and held earlier this month at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin. 

The annual event honors the best in high school athletics, recognizing both athletes and coaches across the county in their respective sports. NFL Pro Bowler and former punter and wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals Pat McInally spoke to those in attendance. The Orange County native and Villa Park High School graduate applauded the award winners on their accomplishments and reminded them that they already know what it takes to achieve success. 

Making two trips to the stage that night, Berty was first called up by OC Varsity writer Dan Albano to receive the 2019 Girls Volleyball Athlete of the Year Award. She then made a second trip up as she was named the 2019 Trinity League Athlete of the Year. 

The award presented annually by the Diocese of Orange is selected by the OC Register’s sports writers and editors and recognizes the Trinity League athlete who has made significant achievements in athletics, academics and community service. Mike Schabert, Associate Superintendent of Catholic Schools and Bob Gibson, host of Catholic Sports View, presented Berty with the Award. 

“She had a knack for coming up big when her team needed her the most,” said Gibson of Berty. The 6-foot-3 player had 532 kills and 323 digs on her way to helping lead the Monarchs to the CIF-SS Division 1 and CIF Open State championships. Berty was also named the Gatorade State Player of the Year as well as the VolleyballMag.com National Player of the Year. 

“It really is an honor because there are so many great athletes, even from my school,” said Berty of the Trinity League Award. “It’s really an honor to be recognized.” 

Mater Dei girls volleyball head coach Dan O’Dell said that Berty approached her Monarch playing career with a positive and coachable attitude. 

“She’s been everything you could ask for,” said O’Dell. “Her overall personality and approach to life—in volleyball, academics and social relationships—is second to none. Every day at practice she would show up with a smile and say how much she enjoys practicing. 

“And it’s not even the competition that does it for her,” continued O’Dell. “It’s getting to play a sport every day with her friends. She’s genuinely a happy person and enjoys everything she’s doing. You can see that in how she plays.” 

Having come up short on their bid to win the state title last year, Berty and her teammates made it a goal to come back stronger this year and take the crown, which they did, sweeping Central High School of Fresno last November to win the school’s first CIF State championship in girls volleyball. Berty had nine kills and three aces in the match. 

“It was a really great way to end my high school career because I love my team so much,” said Berty. “We’re all super close. It was a great way for us to complete our unfinished business.” 

The coaching staff leaned on Berty throughout their tough schedule last fall for her skill and leadership.  

“She had to shoulder the burden of being the go-to hitter, which is great for a lot of kids want to do that, but not a lot of kids are capable of doing what she did,” said O’Dell. “When we needed a momentum shifting play, we would look to her to be the player to make that. In game after game, she was the one we counted on to lead the team. Having a player like that is crucial to any successful team, and the fact that we had her was a large part of that success.” 

Berty is as serious about academics as she is athletics, maintaining a 4.0 in the classroom. Being a Monarch runs deep in her family, as her grandmother was a teacher at Mater Dei, her father and aunt attended the school and her younger brother is a rising sophomore. She hasn’t settled on a major just yet, but as she heads to Stanford in the fall, she is excited to compete for her dream school as they defend their NCAA women’s volleyball title. 

“I’m looking forward to being academically and athletically challenged,” said Berty. “I’m looking forward to great training, great coaching and the chance to play along with some amazing athletes. Our academics at Mater Dei have helped prepare me, and my coach and all the training I received have prepared me well. I’m really excited for my next step.”

BORN TO RUN

Henry Waterman pressed his left foot against one steel plate and guided his carbon fiber blade onto the other. As he slowly lifted his chin, the Mater Dei junior trained his eyes down the long straightaway toward the finish line. All that remained was the pop of the starter’s pistol. 

Three years ago, Waterman didn’t know a starting block from a downfield block, but his development as a para-ambulatory sprinter has mirrored his performance on the track. 

He catches up quick. 

Waterman is now a four-time CIF-State champion with eyes on competing in the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo. 

Waterman wears a prosthetic on his lower right leg because he was born with a condition called fibular hemimelia. That left him without the main bone that runs down the lower half of the leg, as well as a deformed foot.  

As he approached the age of 2 and became increasingly mobile, the decision was made to amputate just below the knee.   

“We wanted to make sure that, when he was older, he knew we did everything. Every single doctor, or procedure, or options that he had,” his mother Kelly Waterman told KABC last year. “Because we had to make the decision for him.” 

Waterman kept active while growing up, participating in baseball, basketball, football, soccer and martial arts. 

He came to Mater Dei planning to play football all four years. He played the first two, finding a home at outside linebacker on the junior varsity team because, “I like hitting people.” 

It was his passion for football that led Waterman to join the track team in the spring of his freshman year. Like a lot of football players, Waterman thought it would be a great way to fine tune his speed and conditioning.  

The track coaches immediately noticed that Waterman brought a football mentality to the track. 

“He said, ‘I like to hit people,’” Mater Dei track coach Sam Collins remembered. “So I said, ‘come out here and let’s beat people.’ “ 

In his first season with the Mater Dei track team, Waterman won CIF-State titles in the 100 and 200 meters in the para-ambulatory division. 

After getting edged out for state titles in the 100 and 200 in his sophomore year, Waterman put himself back at the starting line at the CIF-State track and field championships on May 24, looking to take back the titles he captured as a freshman. 

He not only accomplished those goals, but put his name in the record books. 

His winning times of 12.22 seconds in the 100 and 25.23 in the 200 were both state meet records. 

“I wish in the 100 I was a little bit faster,” Waterman told the OC Register afterward. “I just screwed up a little bit near of the end of the race. The 200 really turned out well for me.” 

Waterman is used to answering questions about his disability, from how it happened to how he overcomes it. 

Around the house, however, his disability is practically unnoticed. 

“I don’t see him as disabled,” his father, Scott Waterman, told KABC. “Every now and then, I have to tell him to put his leg on so he can go do some chores.”