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Costa Mesa athletes treated to lunch after winning All-Sports Cup

John Ursini of Newport Rib Co. helps Yessica Najera with a bib during the All-Sports Cup lunch June 7.
John Ursini of Newport Rib Co. helps Yessica Najera with a bib during the All-Sports Cup lunch at Costa Mesa High School on Monday, June 7.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

A rivalry only begins to feel like one if both schools take turns at winning.

That is not to say that Costa Mesa High School or its crosstown rival Estancia feel much like sharing, especially when it comes to the All-Sports Cup and the prize that comes with it.

Costa Mesa retained bragging rights and the All-Sports Cup in winning the outright rivalry between the schools by a count of 100-80 this season.

Perhaps just as satisfying, the All-Sports banquet returned to campus. Since the 2009-10 school year, Costa Mesa United and Newport Rib Co. have come together to provide lunch to the varsity athletes of the winning school.

Out of the gate, the Eagles indulged their appetites for an extended period, winning the All-Sports trophy and bringing the banquet to their school for the first eight years.

Chloe Fairchild, left, looks at the All-Sports Cup trophy during the lunch at Costa Mesa High School on Monday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

“The first five years, I don’t even think [Costa] Mesa even really kind of understood it because they didn’t win it,” said John Ursini, Newport Rib Co.’s owner and a 1982 graduate of Estancia.

That changed in the 2018-19 school year, when the trophy crossed town for the first time.

“Now it’s on,” Ursini said with respect to the rivalry. “This year, it was 80-80 going into the third baseball game, … and so that was a key win for Costa Mesa to win that because then they went up 85-80.”

The rivalry between Costa Mesa and Estancia is known as the Battle for the Bell, and those lining up to fill their plates were encouraged to ring the bell as they went through to grab their food.

Ursini said about 80 pounds of pulled pork, 300 sausages and 40 pounds of coleslaw were brought to the football stadium at Costa Mesa High School on Monday. He added that there were about 60 pounds each of garlic mashed potatoes, barbecued beans and macaroni and cheese brought to the banquet. For dessert, there were chocolate chip cookies.

Student-athletes eat lunch during the All-Sports Cup lunch at Costa Mesa High School on Monday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

“Every time we play Estancia, we mark our calendars,” said Kyle Anderson, a senior third baseman for Costa Mesa’s baseball team, which won two of three meetings this season.

Anderson and his brother, Matthew, were leaving together after enjoying lunch from the bleachers, an appropriate setting for a meal earned through athletic accomplishments.

“It was good, you know,” Matthew Anderson, a sophomore second baseman, said. “Can’t go wrong with ribs.”

Jazmin Lopez, a senior midfielder, helped the Costa Mesa girls’ soccer team claim its third consecutive Orange Coast League championship this season. The Mustangs went 1-0-1 against the Eagles in girls’ soccer this season.

“I’m just thankful for [Newport Rib Co.] for giving us the food and giving us a chance to celebrate our victory,” Lopez said. “It was fun. It was nice seeing people, especially since some people we don’t see as often.”

Track and field may have as many, if not more, athletes than any other sport. Jaqueline Rodriguez starred as a distance runner for the Mustangs, who won the Orange Coast League title.

“The first thing I thought was, ‘Just have fun,’ because last year, I didn’t have track,” Rodriguez said. “I did have cross-country, but it was fun to at least run some races this year.”

Costa Mesa High School is the champion of the All-Sports Cup for the 2020-21 school year.
Costa Mesa High School is the champion of the All-Sports Cup for the 2020-21 school year.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

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