Left tackle Sam Bush, who made the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Underclassmen first team for sophomores last football season, is transferring out of Newport Harbor High to Mater Dei, said Bush's father, Blaine, on Thursday.
Blaine said his son's decision to leave Newport Harbor at the end of the school year and attend Mater Dei was based on his faith, the private school's curriculum and football program.
He added the move was also a very difficult one for Bush, a 6-foot-5, 290-pounder, who earned Daily Pilot Newport-Mesa Dream Team and second-second All-Sunset League honors last season, his first starting on varsity for the Sailors. Bush was one of two sophomore tackles who started for Coach Jeff Brinkley for the first time in his 26 years leading Newport Harbor.
"It's been a very tough day," said Blaine, a 1979 Newport Harbor graduate, who played football for the Sailors, and used to be the Newport Harbor football booster club president until his son notified Brinkley that he was transferring. "We love Newport Harbor and we love Coach Brinkley, but this [decision] is more than football."
Blaine said the level of football was part of the decision to change schools.
The Sailors will drop down five divisions when it comes to the CIF Southern Section playoffs next season. Teams from the Sunset League, which Newport Harbor has been a part of the last six seasons, will no longer compete in the Pac-5 Division playoffs, considered Division I, the top division.
The Sunset League joins the Southwest Division, which is regarded as Division VI.
The Monarchs have enjoyed much success under Coach Bruce Rollinson, having won five of the eight CIF Southern Section Division I title games they have appeared in since Rollinson took over in 1989.
Blaine said his son will have to sit out the start of next football season at Mater Dei because he is transferring.
With a new transfer proposal approved by the CIF last week, football transfers like Bush will be eligible to play by Oct. 1. In the past, a transfer, who did not make a change of residence, was ineligible the entire season, unless the athlete received a hardship waiver.
— David Carrillo Peñaloza
OCC's Lujan honored
Orange Coast College freshman shortstop Nicolette Lujan has been named first-team All-Orange Empire Conference in softball.
Lujan led the Pirates with a .381 batting average with three home runs and 14 runs batted in. Her 48 hits led the team, as did her 28 runs, seven doubles and 12 stolen bases. She struck out eight times in 126 at-bats.
OCC finished 8-22, 2-12 in conference.
— From staff reports
UCI women add two
The UC Irvine women's basketball program has added community college transfers Vanessa Aguilar and Jennifer Tsurumoto, the school announced.
Aguilar, a 5-foot-8 guard from Los Angeles Valley College, averaged 18 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists last season. An All Western State Conference performer at LA Valley, she played at Grant High in Sacramento as a prep.
Tsurumoto, a 5-6 guard, averaged at team-best 13.9 points and four assists at Santa Rosa Community College last season. She was the Big 8 Conference MVP in 2012 and a two-time all-state honoree. She helped guide Santa Rosa to the 2011 state title, earning all-state tournament recognition in the process.
Tsurumoto prepped at Analy High in Sebastopol.
— From staff reports