From cross country to golf to volleyball and more, Catholic high school athletes will be contenders

By Dan Arritt     8/20/2019

The fall sports season is right around the corner and it’s safe to say the Trinity League will be front and center once again. 

“And it’s not just the football players who will steal the headlines. 

“JSerra is expected to feature one of the top boys’ cross-country runners in the nation in senior Anthony Grover, the two-time defending CIF-State Division 4 champion. 

“Grover struggled with fatigue issues throughout last season, a condition that peaked at the Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships in December, when he collapsed about 500 yards from the finish line. 

“He crawled for a short distance and then walked the remainder of the way, finishing last in the field. 

“Grover took two months off before returning even stronger during the spring track and field season, finishing fourth in state in the 1,600 meters. 

“The Mater Dei girls’ volleyball team enters the season as the defending CIF-SS Division 1 and CIF-State Open Division defending champion, though the Monarchs will need to replace a lot of talent and experience. 

“Moving on to Stanford is outside hitter Natalie Berty, the CIF-SS Division I and OC Register player of the year last season. The Monarchs will also need to replace left-side hitter Mandalay Rennon, who led the team with 527 digs last season and was second with 47 service aces. 

“The Monarchs welcome back one of the top high schools setters in the nation in senior Mia Tuaniga, who finished second on Mater Dei last season with 269 kills and first in aces (57) and assists (660).  

“Tuaniga spent part of July as the primary setter for the Under-20 women’s U.S. national team at the FIVB World Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico.  

“Mater Dei opens the season Aug. 22 against visiting Foothill. 

“The Monarchs also went unbeaten during league play in boys’ water polo last season, but it was Servite who had the most postseason success, winning the CIF-SS Division 3 title with a 13-11 victory against Los Osos of Rancho Cucamonga, the program’s first section title since 2005. 

“Mater Dei will need to replace its best player from last season, Warren Loth, who was the Trinity League most valuable player after scoring 84 goals, but Servite welcomes back its best player. 

  Guillermo Ocasio scored 131 goals as a junior last season, helping him earn Division 3 player of the year honors. 

“The Monarchs hope to continue their success in the pool behind Brian Anderson, a late replacement as head coach after Milos Skaljac resigned a couple weeks into last season. Skaljac had replaced Chris Segesman, who resigned as coach in December of 2017. 

The Mater Dei girls’ golf team made it all the way to the CIF/SCGA championships last season, finishing fifth. 

“Mater Dei will need to replace its best player from last season, Khameryn Utu, who tied for seventh at the CIF-SS individual championships and helped the Monarchs finish second in the section team championships. 

“Mater Dei has a solid player to build around in sophomore Kexin Guan, who was a second-team all-county selection last season. 

“Mater Dei figures to have the top doubles team in girls’ tennis in the Trinity League as well. 

“Colby Bennett, who will be a junior, and senior Natasha Hill teamed up last season to win the league’s doubles title.