What you can look forward to next year in varsity sports
As soon as this week’s Southern California regional playoffs are completed for baseball and softball, it will be time to focus on the 2023-24 sports season, so why not give you a peek of what to look forward to:
There’s a new Bailey family member arriving in the fall at Brentwood. Freshman Tristyn Bailey could be a girls’ volleyball prodigy. Her father is Toby Bailey, the high-flying former UCLA Bruins basketball star on the 1995 NCAA championship team. Her mother is Tracey Milburn, a former UCLA soccer star. Her uncle is Ryan Bailey, Brentwood’s basketball coach and former UCLA guard.
“She’s high level,” Ryan said. “She’s a program changer in my opinion.”
And just wait until everyone sees her jumping ability as a 5-foot-11 freshman.
“She has that,” Ryan said. “I got a little of it. My brother got a lot of it.”
The QB sensation
Let all the internet gurus gush over other quarterbacks. Corona Centennial has the best in junior Husan Longstreet, a transfer from Inglewood. His arm strength, particularly for the deep pass, is off the charts.
“He’s got incredible arm talent,” Centennial coach Matt Logan said.
Centennial’s success has always centered on its running game, but Longstreet’s arm, combined with his mobility, will make the Huskies a definite threat to the likely No. 1 team, Santa Ana Mater Dei.
Putting Roybal on the clock
When Roybal Learning Center was built to alleviate overcrowding in the area of Belmont High, it took years to finish construction because of costs and trouble with methane gas and other issues. It ended up costing more than $300 million. One of the perks was the largest gym built in the Los Angeles Unified School District. It opened in 2008 with the understanding the gym could be used by others.
The City Section has repeatedly tried to host wrestling, basketball and volleyball competitions at Roybal in recent years, only to be turned down. A promise is a promise. The gym is the best site for LAUSD student-athletes to celebrate championships. The City Section knows its championship dates months in advance, so planning shouldn’t be a problem. There’s been too many excuses for the gym being unavailable.
You might need to arrive very early for Studio City Harvard-Westlake baseball games next spring to get a parking spot, because the Wolverines have three seniors whom pro scouts are going to be following every game. Bryce Rainer is a pitcher-infielder ranked near the top of the class of 2024. Pitcher Duncan Marsten could be throwing in the mid-90s mph. Pitcher Thomas Bridges set a school record for lowest ERA this past season.
It will be similar to the time Jack Flaherty, Max Fried and Lucas Giolito were teammates. All three ended up as MLB pitchers.
Bronny James is off to USC and Bryce James is headed to Studio City Campbell Hall, so Chatsworth Sierra Canyon will get to experience a drop in media interest and paparazzi stakeouts. Studio City Campbell Hall has no idea what it’s about to encounter with the arrival of children of celebrity athletes.
The Mission League took over as the top league this past season, and there’s no sign that defending state Open Division champion Harvard-Westlake won’t be facing defending Southern Section Open Division champion Corona Centennial to decide best again.
Get ready for the stars of seven-on-seven girls’ flag football as it begins its first season this fall.
Long Beach Poly has junior quarterback Aaya McLyn, a soccer and softball athlete. Crenshaw’s Naomi Whitfield, a senior basketball player, had 12 interceptions playing safety in a flag league. Sophomore receiver Saielle Howard and senior quarterback Rhandi Flores lead a powerhouse team at Gardena Serra. Softball shortstop Jessica Rose will play quarterback for Lake Balboa Birmingham. She’s the daughter of 11-man coach Jim Rose.
There will be some high-profile coaches, such as Tim Lins at Moorpark and Sami Logan at Corona Centennial. Lins was the 11-man coach at Encino Crespi and Moorpark. Logan is the daughter of Centennial coach Matt Logan.
There are new gyms and new stadiums making debuts in the 2023-24 school year.
In Woodland Hills, Taft will unveil its new all-weather football field and track while El Camino Real’s all-weather turf field, shut down last year because it was melting, is supposed to be renovated by fall.
Lawndale also has a new field while Sun Valley Poly and North Hollywood will be opening new gyms.