The in-city rivalry between Costa Mesa High and Estancia is known as the Battle for the Bell.
Since the 2009-10 school year, Costa Mesa United and Newport Rib Company have teamed up to make the rivalry between the athletic programs that much more meaningful.
It was 10 years ago that the All-Sports Cup, the trophy handed out to the winner of the rivalry, was first introduced. Since that day, it had stayed at Estancia.
The trophy crossed town on Thursday, as Costa Mesa hosted the All-Sports Cup luncheon after beating Estancia by a final point total of 120-75.
Costa Mesa administration was fired up to say that the trophy would have a change of address.
“There’s winning and then there’s never having a doubt,” Costa Mesa principal Jake Haley said to the school’s varsity athletes. “I need a commitment from you that we’re going to keep [the All-Sports Cup] and it’s not going back.”
Others to congratulate the athletes were Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley, Costa Mesa United president Gordon Bowley and Mustangs athletic director Mike Ofer.
Costa Mesa won nine league championships. Sophomore Tarah Harmon contributed to two of those league championships in girls’ basketball and girls’ track and field. She also helped the Mustangs to a sweep of Estancia and a second-place finish in the Orange Coast League in girls’ volleyball.
“It’s been a really great day, especially being in a lot of sports and contributing a lot to winning this trophy,” Harmon said. “It just feels really good.”
With the school’s athletes attending en masse, boys’ basketball guard Nico Dasca said that the ceremony helped put in perspective the number of people that helped Costa Mesa win the Battle for the Bell this year.
“I’ve never known how many people are actually in a sport,” Dasca said. “It’s amazing to see, and it was pretty cool, the scene and everything.
“Each and every athletic sport is becoming better and better, and more people are wanting to join. The program is just growing.”
The Newport Rib Company provided the food for the Mustangs’ special day. In their first chance to partake in the victor’s feast, the Mustangs proved to be enthusiastic rib eaters.
“Mustangs eat more than Eagles,” said John Ursini, Newport Rib Company’s owner and a 1982 Estancia graduate.
Anderson Todd, a sophomore center on the boys’ water polo team, called the ribs, “Fantastic.”
The boys’ water polo team won its first league crown since the 2004 season.
“It’s just school pride,” Todd said. “It was great that they did this for us. Everyone is super thankful, and it shows that our hard work paid off.”
Costa Mesa had been coming on strong in recent years to challenge for the All-Sports Cup. Last year, Estancia beat Costa Mesa in a play-in game for the Orange Coast League’s No. 2 berth into the CIF Southern Section baseball playoffs, a game that also determined the winner of the rivalry.
The Costa Mesa boys’ and girls’ tennis teams went undefeated in five matches against Estancia this season, earning 25 of the 120 points accrued by the Mustangs this year.
“I think it’s pretty special,” said Ryan Broccolo, who coaches the boys’ and girls’ tennis teams in tandem with his wife, Meg. “I think [the kids] realize the importance of it, but it’s cool to see the smiling faces. [To see] the fruits of their labor and have them celebrate, I hope they understand how big it is [to win the All-Sports Cup], the first time in the history of it.
“We’re proud of our kids, and it’s nice for them to be appreciated and be rewarded for their accomplishments.”
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