This will be a challenging season for the Mission Bay High football team in more ways than one. First, the Bucs are dealing with the unexpected death of former head coach Dane Roman in late July
Roman, who guided the Bucs last season to a 2-8 record in his first season at the helm, was found dead in his home by one of his assistant coaches after failing to report to practice.
Second, the team has struggled the last few years, something Mission Bay coaches, players and fans hope to change starting this season.
A.J. Vines has been named the new head football coach at the school.
For Vines, this will be his first season as a head coach at Mission Bay. Vines had previously spent time with the Helix High football program.
According to Vines, key players for the Bucs should include senior slotback/cornerback Evan Aguon, sophomore quarterback Clash Orsborn, senior linebacker/running back Mikey Moreno, junior wide receiver/running back/defensive back Payton Maul, senior lineman William Matkins, junior lineman Joseph Holt and junior wide receiver/defensive back Andrew Hutchison.
“The goals I have for the team are very simple this year,” Vines said. “Let’s get great at what we do. Don’t focus on the outcomes we want, focus on what it takes to get the outcome we want. Play smart, play fast, play physical.”
Vines expects all of the team’s games to be tough this year given the schedule, with Kearny, San Diego and La Jolla standing out.
Mission Bay beat San Ysidro High, 20-14, in their season-opener on Aug. 23. The Bucs play at La Jolla 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30.
Boys sand volleyball
Head coach Nikki Caufield leads their fifth season of competition in early September.
Last year’s team finished tied for second in league and ended up tied for third place in Division I. Mission Bay lost in the semifinals 3-2 to San Marcos.
"We return nine of the 10 boys from our top five varsity teams last year so we have an experienced squad returning,” Caufield stated. “We also have another nine to 10 returners from last year’s squad that will be competing to make the top five teams. So far we have eight to 10 freshmen that have come out this year so we are looking to have roughly 30 boys total on the squad."
According to Caufield, key returners are seniors Ian Briski and Dusty Schraeder from the No. 1 squad, seniors Cody Armstrong and Ryan Derry from the No. 2 squad and also seniors Jackson Priest, Jake Smrynos, Gabe Esquival. Top juniors include Andy Knight, Filippo Miticocchio and Alexis Vergnet; and Key sophomores are Aric Johnson, Jake Kepner, Kyle Alexander and Alex Morch.
The Bucs are hoping to construct three courts on campus the first weekend in September and still need about $4,000 to fund the on-campus court construction.
Boys water polo
The Bucs finished 13th in power rankings at the end of last season. According to head coach Lyndsay Sutterley, key players this fall look to include senior attacker Kyle Baker and junior attacker Alex Branch.
“We have a lot of new players who we are excited to integrate into our program,” Sutterley commented. “The team is hungry for a CIF appearance and it is our goal to accomplish this. We are looking forward to a year of growth and highly competitive water polo.”
The Bucs, under head coach Kris Auer, were 7-9 a season ago and missed out on CIFs. Looking to this season, Auer noted key players should include senior midfielder Natailie Gousha and junior forward Karrin Evans.
“This year we want to continue to grow our family culture while putting our best performances on the field,” Auer stated. “We are very proud of the young ladies who represent our school and our community each and every game. These are dynamic young leaders who embody a slice of all that is good about Mission Bay.”
Mission Bay opens its season Aug. 30 versus La Jolla Country Day.
The Bucs were 3-12 overall a season ago (2-10 league play) and didn’t make team CIFs for head coach Trong Tong.
According to Tong, key singles players this season look to be senior Rosina Valia and sophomore Ryan Stone.
Key doubles players are seniors Amanda Edmunds, Arielle Bardwil, Kira Axmann, Kylee Kropf, Sonja Cayetano and Sophia Gillenberg.
“We just started tryouts, so player positions are still to be determined as we're beginning to tweak with our lineup,” Tong noted.
“Although we lost a couple of returning players, our team is a bit more experienced this season as a huge majority of our starters will be seniors,” Tong said. “As another upside this year, our turnout thus far has been the biggest in my coaching tenure here at Mission Bay, which bodes well in creating the depth that we often need and replenishing our huge graduating class. Even though most of the new players are brand new to the sport, many of them are either freshmen or sophomores so they have plenty of time to improve.
“Additionally, we've been reshuffled back into City League, which consists of all DIII teams this season. As such, I feel my following goals are as attainable as ever: qualifying for Team CIF, winning the league championship and sending at least there singles and/or doubles team into Individual CIF.”
Mission Bay’s first match is Aug. 29 at Kearny.
The Bucs, under head coach Steve Upp, were 20-12 a season ago.
They placed seventh in the Sweetwater Classic, second in the Aztec Invitational and second in their own Buc Bash. Mission Bay lost to a strong Sage Creek team in the first round of the CIFs, with Sage Creek going on to win Division II.
“We are returning five starters from last year’s team and hope to compete for the Eastern League title,” Upp commented.
Mission Bay’s first home match is Sept. 5 versus Helix.
In cross country action, head coach Barry Dancher’s squads were a combined 9-4 a season ago. The boys went 6-1 and finished second in the City’s and City League, with the girls going 3-3.
According to Dancher, leading boys’ returnees include seniors TK Berhe and Trevor Reichenberg and junior Fernando Ugarte. Berhe made it to the CIFSD finals in track last year.
The girls are led by junior Gina Queck and senior Leilani Ferguson. Queck ran in the CIFSD finals last year in track.
“We hope that we can win the boys' championship in our league this year and send several of our runners to the CIF Championships in Fresno,” Dancher said.