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2022 predictions: Eric Sondheimer peers into the crystal ball

Brothers Jared and Kyle Karros should have a great season for UCLA baseball.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

It’s time to peer into my crystal ball to see what 2022 has in store for the Southland’s high school athletes (and a few former ones), coaches and fans.

The Manhattan Beach brother duo of Jared and Kyle Karros will be the talk of college baseball, with a healthy Jared throwing shutouts and a muscular Kyle hitting home runs for UCLA. …

Justin Campbell, a 6-foot-7 right-handed pitcher at Oklahoma State and a Simi Valley High graduate, will be so fired up after throwing a shutout he’ll go find a basketball rim and dunk a baseball to release even more energy. …

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Venice defensive end/tight end Thomas Kensinger poses for a photo on campus.
Thomas Kensinger is a star tight end and defensive end at Venice High.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Venice football coach Angelo Gasca, after seeing defensive end Thomas Kensinger’s blond hair grow so long that he started calling him Thor, predicts, “Maybe he’ll bypass college football and go straight to action hero.”…

Tight end Matayo Uiagalelei will eat so many baby back ribs during Bellflower St. John Bosco’s trip to Texas in August that his new nickname will be “Baby Matayo.” …

Juju Watkins of Chatsworth Sierra Canyon will be the first high school girls’ basketball player to sign a six-figure NIL deal. …

Studio City Harvard-Westlake will have so many quality pitchers for the baseball season that pitching coach Joe Guntz will have the slowest fastball on campus. …

Ella Parker of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame will hit for the cycle in softball, causing uncle Dave Roberts to brag in the Dodgers dugout about her hitting prowess. …

Quarterback Nicholaus Iamaleava of Downey Warren will woo college football scouts with his volleyball skills in the spring, then provide oohs and ahhs by throwing 50 touchdowns in the fall. …

A new trend will emerge — playing for your neighborhood high school instead of being second string for a powerhouse program far from home after realizing you can get a scholarship and have fun with your best friends growing up. …

Rodrick Pleasant of Gardena Serra shows off his medals at Arcadia High School during summer track meet.
(Dylan Stewart / PrepCalTrack)

The 100 meters in track and field will produce the most exciting moment at the Arcadia Invitational and state finals, with the likes of Rodrick Pleasant (Gardena Serra), Patrick Ize-Iyamu (West Hills Chaminade) and Max Thomas (Anaheim Servite) doing their best imitation of Usain Bolt. …

Newbury Park cross-country/track coach Sean Brosnan will have so many top runners that he’ll need to buy another set of uniforms to handle the stampede of students wanting to join the Panthers. …

Chatsworth will win the City Section championship in boys’ volleyball. …

The City Section baseball championship will return to Dodger Stadium after a two-year absence with fireworks and an appearance by the new mayor of Los Angeles. …

Corona Centennial football coach Matt Logan will need an agent to negotiate his future job at Santa Ana Mater Dei. …

Freshman JD Wyatt and his father, Joe.
Freshman JD Wyatt and his father, Joe, after JD made 10 threes and scored 33 points in El Camino Real’s overtime loss to San Diego.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

El Camino Real freshman JD Wyatt will be carried off the court on the shoulders of a teammate after making a three at the buzzer in a West Valley League basketball game. …

A sellout crowd will see Sierra Canyon take on Corona Centennial for the Open Division boys’ basketball championship and more people will be talking about Drake than LeBron. …

Standout receiver Drake London of USC will be a first-round NFL draft pick, then create a camp to help develop future Drake Londons. …

The Notre Dame vs. Harvard-Westlake basketball game on Jan. 7 will produce such a demand for tickets that someone will offer to trade their Air Jordans for a parking space and two bleacher seats. …

LaMelo Ball will become such a huge fan attraction that he’ll be guest host on “Saturday Night Live,” with his father pleading to be in the audience for a cameo appearance. …

In a one-on-one game for charity, high-scoring Gabriela Jaquez of Camarillo will take on big brother Jaime Jaquez of UCLA, and the outcome will come down to who can make more threes. …

After receiving a raise for the first time since 1999 and doubling coaching stipends in the Los Angeles Unified School District, coaches will switch to eating at Chick-fil-A instead of McDonald’s. …

History will be made when the CIF starts to crack down on high schools engaging in illegal recruiting (April Fool’s Day joke). …

Birmingham’s boys’ soccer team will win City and regional championships, causing coach EB Madha to wear his lucky blue suit for all games in the future. …

Dorsey football coach Stafon Johnson will meet a running back at his school who never knew that he once starred for USC, causing him to click on YouTube to prove it. …

After going 17-0 as a starting quarterback in his first two seasons of high school, Elijah Brown of Mater Dei will be listed as the Heisman Trophy favorite for 2026. …

Lawyers will take center stage in high school sports, filing lawsuits, defending lawsuits, threatening lawsuits, then ask for free tickets and free parking.


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