From the Bench: Prep sports year produced many lasting moments

Poway High's Jake O'Donnell. Photo by Sherri Cortez
Poway High's Jake O'Donnell. Photo by Sherri Cortez

By Michael Bower

Another high school sports year is in the books and The Bench thinks it was one of the most memorable ones yet.

There were last-second victories, section championships won, records being broken and plenty of first-time occasions for local schools.

There is no way to list every standout moment, but The Bench scoured through old articles and put together its 10 Most Memorable Moments of the 2012-2013 Prep Sports Year.

Before The Bench dives into those, it wants to wish everyone a happy summer and good luck to those graduating seniors. Everyone else, The Bench will see you in late August.


The Bench is going to cheat a little and lump two outstanding efforts together. The Del Norte boys and girls lacrosse programs both turned in impressive years. The girls captured the Division II title, while the boys won three straight games against higher-seeded teams to get to the section championship game. The boys lost in the final, but it certainly did not take away from the magical run they produced.


Rivalry games can produce some epic finishes and that is exactly what happened in the regular-season finale between the Poway and Rancho Bernardo boys lacrosse teams. With the score tied at 7 and less than a second to go, the Titans’ Jake O’Donnell found the back of the net to lift Poway to an 8-7 victory. The score set off a huge celebration by the Titans on the field of the Broncos.


Rancho Bernardo’s Chris Bernhardt and Aiku Shintani became the first boys doubles tennis team to capture back-to-back section titles in 30 years and only the second duo to ever do it. It was the perfect ending to a spectacular four-year career by Bernhardt and Shintani will be coming back as a junior next year.


The Del Norte boys track and field team became the first boys team in any sport in school history to capture a CIF San Diego Section Division II crown. Hurdler Tyler Nelson highlighted the outstanding year for the Nighthawks, competing in four events at the section meet and qualifying for state in two of them (110 hurdles, 300 hurdles).


The Del Norte girls volleyball team made history, qualifying for the state playoffs with a runner-up finish in the Division III playoffs. The Nighthawks

The Del Norte girls volleyball team celebrates with the crowd after earning a trip to the CIF San Diego Section Division III title match. File photo

even overcame a broken-down bus on the way to Los Angeles for their opening state playoff game by sweeping Eagle Rock 3-0. That win allowed Del Norte to host its first state playoff game in school history in the SoCal Regional semifinals. That was where the journey ended, but it was a run that will likely go unmatched for a long time.


When the San Diego Section Division II football brackets were released, everybody outside the Poway community penciled in Helix and Oceanside to reach the title game. But the Titans ruined those plans with a convincing 21-7 win over Helix in the semifinals. The victory proved to the rest of the county that Poway deserved to be recognized as one of the top programs in the section.



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