The Huntington High School surf team opened defense of their 2021 Sunset Surfing League championship on Tuesday, as the team to beat once again. After all the Oiler's 18 National titles stamps as a contender every year.
Their opponent at the Huntington Beach pier was Marina High School. Goals on the Vikings side are not quite as lofty.
The Oilers outscored the Vikings 105-42. But despite the outcome, Marina coach Eric Caldwell was upbeat, nonetheless.
"For a first match, we are good," said Caldwell. "We are kind of the underdog of the league, we finished in 5th place last year. But we've improved and that's what I was looking for today. "
Marina is in search of their first heat win in two years but Caldwell see's bright things on the horizon for his Vikings.
"We have a couple really good guys coming up, Jake Edwards, Miles Burnett, Konrad Ferber, they have been putting in the work. We definitely have some fire power, " he continued. " It was tough to go against Huntington the first match, especially at their place, they are a great team, but it shows what we are up against, and we can see the high level that we are going to shoot for. Nothing but positives."
Dylan Sloan, Kolby Aipa, Tanner Bellerose and Nikoi O'Donnell were among the many bright spots in the opener. The Oilers took first, second and third in each of the seven scoring heats.
"We had a strong overall performance by everyone," said HB coach Andy Verdone. "It was a good result, I'm happy with where are at. We have some things to work on, but everything went well. This is our home court advantage, our home football field our home basketball court and we performed well. We are very comfortable here."
Even though the result was heavy on the Oilers side, the Vikings did leave an impression on Verdone.
" Marina has good young coaches and a good young team," he said. " They have strong support they will be very good in our league."
NEWPORT HARBOR 76, FOUNTAIN VALLEY 69
Newport Harbor High School is expected to be near the top of the league standings, as their last two years would suggest. They finished first and second the last two seasons and return some top-notch surfers.
On Thursday, Fountain Valley put up a fight, making a nice run during the ending heats.
"This was good, it was very competitive, " said Newport coach Matt Burns. "Fountian Valley surfed very well. They gave us a run for our money at the end there it really could have gone either way. It was really good competition, really fun to get a first win right there."
Newport lost some key surfers to graduation, especially a number of girls.
" David O'Keefe is back, Ronan Collins is back, Josh Keirstead is back, but we graduated a bunch of girls. " Burns said. "We have a couple freshman that are pretty strong, but they are just young and have a little growing room to go."
Victorious on Thursday for Newport was Keirstead, Ashley Hunt (twice), Collins, Maverick Manne and O'Keefe.
For Fountain Valley, Mateo Arellano had the only heat win with Eddie Watkins, Jaden Vo, Abbie Middlebrooks, Noah Arellano, and Noah Baldree all with second place heat performances.
"Today was great, we came super close to tying them," said Baron coach Lisa Battig. "They are a very good team. They were missing a few people, but our girls' team has really come a long, which in this whole organization, your girls being decent does make a difference."
Battig stressed that a rise from last year's fourth place is not out of the question for her squad.
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