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Costa Mesa maintains grip on crosstown rivalry — and ribs

Costa Mesa athletes pose with a plate of food in front of the trophy at the All-Sports Cup luncheon at Costa Mesa High.
Costa Mesa athletes pose with a plate of food in front of the trophy at the All-Sports Cup luncheon on Tuesday at Costa Mesa High.
(Courtesy of John Ursini)
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Costa Mesa athletes celebrated another successful year against crosstown rival Estancia with a meal they have become accustomed to enjoying at the end of competition.

The victors lined up on Tuesday for the winner’s feast, given annually to the triumphant school in the Battle for the Bell, the meal being provided by Newport Rib Co.

Costa Mesa and Estancia have fought for the All-Sports Cup since the 2009-10 school year. The Eagles laid claim to the trophy for the first nine years, while the hardware has resided with the Mustangs since 2019.

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Costa Mesa athletes line up to fill their plates with a catered meal from Newport Rib Co. at the All-Sports Cup luncheon.
(Courtesy of John Ursini)

At the conclusion of the winter sports schedule, the schools were tied, 55-55, before the Mustangs pulled away. The final point tally favored Costa Mesa by a count of 115-75.

Costa Mesa swept home-and-home sets in boys’ and girls’ volleyball, boys’ soccer, softball and boys’ tennis. The Mustangs also secured the points allotted for cross-country, track and field, and swimming across both genders. They claimed victory in the wrestling dual meet, too.

“It’s a fun rivalry to be a part of, that’s for sure,” said Costa Mesa boys’ volleyball coach Tan Nguyen, whose team made a run to the CIF Southern Section Division 6 semifinals. “You can see it means a lot to the kids, teachers, administration, parents and general community that support Costa Mesa.

“It’s a situation where every team wants to uphold their end and do their part to keep that trophy here at Mesa.”

Newport Rib Co. owner John Ursini, left of center, stands with Costa Mesa coaches and Costa Mesa United representatives.
Newport Rib Co. owner John Ursini, left of center, stands with Costa Mesa coaches and Costa Mesa United representatives at the All-Sports Cup luncheon on Tuesday.
(Courtesy of John Ursini)

Newport Rib Co. owner John Ursini said the catered meal consisted of chopped beef brisket, pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, garlic mashed potatoes and cookies.

Approximately 250 athletes, 20 coaches and several Costa Mesa United board members took part in the luncheon.

Costa Mesa athletes review past results in the Battle for the Bell rivalry on the All-Sports Cup on Tuesday.
(Courtesy of John Ursini)
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