The LookOut sports

Mitch Chortkoff

Samohi Welcomes Move Up to Division 4 in Football

By Mitch Chortkoff

Santa Monica High is moving up from Division 10 to 4 in football, and both Athletic Director Mike Griswold and Coach Norm Lacy welcome the improved playoff competition.

Samohi will continue to play in the Ocean League, but when the playoffs arrive the opponents will be much stronger. Last season Samohi rolled through the playoffs and defeated fellow Ocean League member North Torrance in the Division 10 championship game, 28-14.

It was Samohi's first CIF football championship in 20 years.

Since the end of the season rumors persisted the Ocean League would move up between Division 4 or 7. It turned out to be the higher move.

``This is a good change,'' said Griswold. ``This where we should be. When two teams from the same league made the championship game there was a good argument that we were too low.''

Said Lacy:

``We'll be playing teams from the Valley and Central California in the playoffs. It's good. Fresh opponents will keep everyone alert.''

A familiar opponent will be included too. Paso Robles High, which eliminated Samohi from the 2000 playoffs and was a semifinalist in 2001, is moving to a new league and will also go up to Division 4.

Last season Samohi took a 4 1/2-hour bus ride to Paso Robles for a playoff game. Next season the Vikings could travel further.

However, in the regular season the opponents will be familiar. Samohi will open in September with home games against Canyon High from San Diego and Palisades and then will play at Venice. Later there will be a non-league game against Peninsula.

League opponents will include North Torrance again, Redondo and West Torrance.

When the CIF made its changes last week it determined the Bay League will be in Division 3 and the Camino Real League, which includes St. Monica, will be in Division 11.

With an enrollment of more than 3,000 Samohi was probably too low in Division 10. It began the playoffs last season with a 63-0 rout of Workman High from the City of Industry. It was a playoff game that was easier than league games.

However, the task will become more formidable. Samohi will play at North Torrance for a third straight time. The regular season game against the Saxons was there last season. The championship game was also there. Now the 2002 league matchup will be there.

Then there is Peninsula. Samohi has never defeated Peninsula in football and lost there in the 2001 season opener. This year it figured the teams would play at Samohi but that did not turn out to be the case. It will be another game at Peninsula.

``I pointed out we played there last year but nobody listened,'' said Griswold.

With Spring practice due to begin May 20 Lacy is wrestling with a decision about how to replace Tebb Kusserow, who retired as offensive co-ordinator.``There are several ways to go,'' said Lacy. ``We could hire someone for the same job or I could get more involved there and hire a line coach. That decision has not been made.''

Santa Monica Sports Notes

The Santa Monica High baseball team is 1-1 in league play after the first week. Samohi lost at El Segundo Wednesday, 7-0, but defeated the same opponent Friday at Samohi, 15-8. Rocky Collis was the losing pitcher in Wednesday's game but hit a home run Friday. Football star Charles Gordon had a key double in a six-run fourth Friday. Samohi will be home Wednesday against West Torrance and will play at West Torrance Friday...

The St. Monica baseball team had a rough start to the Camino Real League season, losing to Serra 2-1 Wednesday and 1-0 Friday. Serra has a 7-1 overall record...

The Santa Monica College track team will compete in a Western State Conference meet Friday at Santa Barbara College...The womens' softball team will be at home (Clover Park) Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. against Santa Barbara and will play at Bakersfield Thursday at 5 p.m....In mens' volleyball SMC will be at Mt. SAC Friday night at 7...

Twins Brent and Eric Beeson, who are tennis players at Santa Monica High, have passed their SAT tests with astonishing scores. Brent scored a perfect 1600 and Eric scored 1540. Both are juniors with a 4.3 grade point average (4.0 is an A average). Brent won the Bay League singles championship in tennis last season.

Crossroads defeated Windward in a non-league softball game, 17-1...

Wendy Dreher is the new womens' volleyball coach at Santa Monica College. She was most recently an assistant at College of the Canyons...

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