Mission Bay, under head coach Dennis Pugh, was sporting a 2-3 record as of late. “We have a much better team overall this year,” Pugh said.
According to Pugh, key players include seniors Dusty Schraeder, Ian Briske, and Gabe Esquibel. Top juniors are Declan Lynch, Steve Chavez, Kai Taniguchi, DJ Monahan, Miguel Navarro, and Charlie Cota.
“The team should compete much better as they gained invaluable experience last year,” Pugh added.
Head coach Gebel Anderson saw his team go 15-7 a season ago. It was the first time they qualified for CIFs as a team since he has been coaching there (2008). The team came into last week with a 5-2 record as play has been halted.
Led by junior Andy Knight, the Bucs will face stiff league competition from Scripps Ranch and Patrick Henry, according to Anderson.
In indoor play, Mission Bay, under head coach Nikki Caufield, went 12-5 a season ago. That season included a league title and a strong showing in the CIFs.
Mission Bay is off to a 5-2 start this season with the only losses to Division II power The Bishop’s School and El Camino High in tight matches.
Returning this season to lead the Bucs are MVP and First-Team All-League senior outside hitter Ian Briski, Second-Team All-League senior libero Ryan Derry, senior opposite hitter Jackson Priest, junior middle blocker/outside hitter Alexis Vergnet and sophomore setter Aric Johnson.
Other key returners include junior middle blocker Jake Lingle, sophomore middle blocker Jake Kepner, junior outside hitter Fillippi "Flip" Miticocchio and sophomore middle blocker Alex Morch.
Key newcomers include senior outside hitter Cody Armstrong and freshmen setter Zane Caufield.
Coach Caufield said of this year’s team: “We have a solid core of seniors and a lot of good younger players to balance out the squad. With Briski leading the offense and Derry anchoring the defense we are a tough team to beat.
“Once we finish weaving in the new starters into our rotation, we have the potential to have a very balanced offense and defense. We have a strong chance to repeat this year as league champions and make a serious run in the CIF playoffs."
Head coach Trong Tong’s team went 10-3 (overall), 8-2 (league) a season ago. Mission Bay lost in the first round of CIF to eventual Division III champions, Monte Vista.
Mission Bay is off to a 4-1 mark (3-0 league) to date this season.
Tong noted top players to date include No. 1 singles player Jake Stone (junior), No. 2 singles player James Ward (sophomore), the No. 1 doubles duo of Owen Lutz (sophomore) and Simmons Leyton (freshman), and the No. 2 doubles team of Darin Robinson (senior) and Hadeed Habib (junior).
“Despite having graduated three starters last season, we have proficiently replenished our lineup with a handful of new underclassmen this season,” Tong commented. “Although we only have one senior this year, we seem to have gained a little more depth as the new players are a bit more seasoned than our average new crops. Combined with another handful of returners which include a couple of dominant singles players, our team has the potential to legitimately contend for the City League Championship.”
Head coach Vince Ichihara’s team went 19-6 a season ago, capturing CIF Division III gold in the process. Mission Bay also finished as Eastern League champs.
The Bucs sit at 4-2 this season. They finished in the Gold Bracket of the Kit Carson Tournament.
Mission Bay only graduated one starter from last season’s CIF Championship team (back-to-back to-back league champs) and have some all-league players returning with seniors Cassidy West (Fresno State commit), Cheyene Chavez (Utah State commit), Cat Griffiths; and sophomores K-Bar Bucher and Kira Monji.
“We have returning players Paige Pallamary, Kylie Maratea and Alysia Gutierrez, with a strong incoming freshmen class we have some impact players in Laura Pilger, Marissa White, Melia Cota, Addie Hall, and Abbie Homer,” Ichihara said.
“Moving into Division II this season and fielding one of the best teams Mission Bay has had in the past, we hope to make another run at the league for a fourth consecutive time as well as the CIF championship,” Ichihara commented.
“Playing tougher competition is a part of becoming a better program and we are not facing open and Division I teams and are showing we are a force to be reckoned with. Hopefully, we get a chance to continue this season as we have a special group of girls that really get after it. The current and future on Mission Bay softball is really exciting.”
The Bucs, under head coach, Ivan Mora went 3-6 last season.
According to Mora, key players include captain Nick Thao (senior), captain Mila Anderson (junior), second captain Michael Pilger (junior), senior Israel Guerrero and senior Edith Crisostomo.
“This will be the year that we show what we learn from our errors and turn them into positive results,” Mora said. “Every day is a new day to improve and become a better player and a team.”
Editor’s note: All MBHS varsity spring sports head coaches were asked to contribute to this story.