The Corona del Mar High football team ended the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs on top last year.
The Sea Kings open as the division's top team this year.
The section released its preseason polls on Wednesday and the No. 1 spot in the Southern Division poll went to its defending champion, CdM. Another local team joining CdM in the top-10 poll is No. 3 Estancia, a semifinalist last year.
The Sea Kings and Eagles are scrimmaging against each other at CdM on Saturday before the teams open the season on Aug. 31.
The Sea Kings, who went 12-2 last year, have one of the toughest schedules this year. Half of their 10 regular-season games are against top-10 teams in the section.
Four of those teams are CdM's Pacific Coast League rivals. Beckman, which lost to CdM, 14-13 in last year's division title game, comes in at No. 2. Woodbridge is No. 5, Irvine No. 8 and Northwood No. 10.
Estancia faces two top-10 opponents, Irvine and Laguna Beach, which' is ranked fourth. The Eagles are coming off a 10-3 season, their second 10-win season in the program's history.
— David Carrillo Peñaloza
Sailors' boys' water polo No. 2
The Newport Harbor High boys' water polo team was ranked No. 2 in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 preseason poll released Wednesday.
Back Bay rival Corona del Mar is ranked No. 5 in Division 1.
Newport Harbor opens its season at home against Foothill on Sept. 7. Coach Robert Lynn's Sailors, who went 25-2 and won the Sunset League championship last year before falling in the Division 1 semifinals, will be led by players like incoming seniors Dan Stevens and Curtis Fink. Stevens and Fink, along with Newport graduate Chris Whitelegge and CdM incoming seniors Reid Chase and Kyle Trush, helped the U.S. men's junior national water polo team win the silver medal at the UANA Pan American Junior Championships earlier this month in Montreal, Canada.
Corona del Mar is back in Division 1 after two years in Division 2, where Coach Barry O'Dea's Sea Kings won CIF in 2010 and were finalists last year. The Sea Kings open their 2012 season at Foothill on Sept. 14.
Two-time defending Division 1 champion Mater Dei is again ranked first. Loyola is at No. 3, with Los Alamitos at No. 4.
— Matt Szabo
Tars, CdM, Sage volleyball ranked
Newport Harbor, Corona del Mar and Sage Hill each played for CIF Southern Section girls' volleyball titles last year, marking the first time three high schools in the area made a final in the same season.
The three programs enter the 2012 season together in familiar territory — ranked in the top 10 in the section preseason polls.
Newport Harbor is No. 5 and CdM No. 8 in Division 1-AA, while the Lightning are No. 2 in Division 3-A.
The Sea Kings return to the section's premier division after making three section-final appearances in the past four seasons in lower divisions. In Coach Marissa Booker's debut season, CdM lost to Marymount of Los Angeles in the Division 1-A final last year.
The Sailors lost to Los Alamitos in the Division 1-AA final last year. The Griffins are ranked No. 1 this season.
Coach Dan Glenn his back for his 27th year in charge of the girls at Newport Harbor. His team always contends with Los Alamitos for the top spot in the Sunset League.
The only local team to claim its division crown was Sage Hill, which knocked off rival St. Margaret's in Division 4-AA. The title was the second for the program under Coach Dan Thomassen.
— David Carrillo Peñaloza
CdM's Hodson stands out
Corona del Mar High sophomore Hayley Hodson helped the U.S. girls' youth national volleyball team with the gold medal at the NORCECA Youth Continental Championship, completed Aug. 11 in Tijuana, Mexico.
Hodson, an outside hitter who was named to the Daily Pilot Dream Team as a freshman in 2011, had an ace serve in Team USA's 21-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-15 win over the Dominican Republic in the title match.
With the victory, the Americans became one of three qualifiers for the 2013 Federation International de Volleyball Girls' Youth World Championship.
Team USA won all five of its matches in Mexico.
— From staff reports