Prep Rally: Replace Ezra Miller? Max Thomas could be the next Flash

Max Thomas, left, of Servite, wins the boys' 200-meter dash at the Arcadia Invitational.
(Michael Owen Baker / For The Times)
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Hi, and welcome to another edition of Prep Rally. My name is Eric Sondheimer. It was like old times at the Arcadia Invitational, with a crowd of more than 7,000 filling the bleachers. Max Thomas of Servite, Dalia Frias of Mira Costa, Sadie Engelhardt of Ventura and Colin Sahlman of Newbury Park were the stars.

Max Thomas is fast

ARCADIA, CA - APRIL 9, 2022: Max Thomas, left, of Servite, wins the boys' 200 meter dash at Arcadia.
ARCADIA, CA - APRIL 9, 2022: Max Thomas, left, of Servite, wins the boys’ 200 meter dash at the Arcadia track and field invitational. (Michael Owen Baker / For The Times)
(Michael Owen Baker)

USC is getting a fast one in Max Thomas, the Servite senior who won the 100 and 200 in loaded fields on Saturday at the Arcadia Invitational.

It was quite a night bringing together top athletes from around the country converging at Arcadia High.


Thomas ran 10.40 in the much anticipated 100 final, holding off Rayshon Luke of St. John Bosco. There certainly will be a rematch at the Southern Section Masters Meet and state championships, but Thomas let everyone know if you want to win in the sprints, you’ll have to beat him.

The 3,200 races in boys and girls at the end of the meet brought fans to their feet encouraging the runners to break records.

Here’s the complete report from Arcadia.


Grant Gray of Norco went four for four on Monday to lead his team to an 8-7 win over Corona.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Three cheers for the two-sport athletes making an impact in baseball. Three top junior football players showed last week they’re pretty good baseball players, too.

Norco receiver Grant Gray went four for four in the opening game of a three-game series against Corona. Santa Margarita defensive back Blake Wilson had seven RBIs in a game of the National Classic. Cypress quarterback Matthew Morrell had four hits in one game and threw five innings in another at the National Classic.


That kind of athleticism impresses college coaches for football and baseball. They like multisport athletes.

Top 25

Orange Lutheran won three of four games in North Carolina during its trip for the National High School Invitational. The Lancers remain No. 1 in this week’s Times top 25 rankings, but unbeaten Sierra Canyon (20-0) has moved to No. 2, and the Trailblazers could get to play Orange Lutheran in next week’s Boras Classic.

Here’s the link to top 25 rankings.

Baseball rewind

Isaiah Magdaleno of Crespi, a junior committed to Hawaii, has been one of the best pitchers with a 3-0 record.

Isaiah Magdaleno of Crespi is making a push for Mission League player of the year after his latest shutout over Chaminade. Crespi is in fourth place, and if the Celts make the playoffs, they could be a strong contender in Division 4.


Sherman Oaks Notre Dame finished Mission League play last week and now must wait to see what first-place Harvard-Westlake does with its remaining six league games. The Knights trail by one loss in the win column.

Norco came through with a three-game sweep of Corona, putting the Cougars in first place in the Big VIII League.

Cypress won the National Classic, defeating Bishop Amat in the final.

Orange Lutheran and Huntington Beach were beaten in the semifinals of the National High School Invitational in North Carolina. Making the all-tournament team were Louis Rodriguez (Orange Lutheran), Jarrod Hocking (Servite) and Luke Scherrer (Yucaipa).

Mission Viejo pulled off a South Coast League surprise with a three-game sweep of Tesoro.

This week is spring break for City Section teams. Granada Hills remains the team to beat for the City Open Division championship after splitting a two-game series with Birmingham.


Eastlake Roosevelt is 16-2 overall and holding down first place in the highly competitive Big VIII League. The Mustangs knocked off Corona Centennial 7-5 last week and have a showdown game with Norco on Wednesday.

Unbeaten Oaks Christian (19-0) has taken over as the No. 1 team in Southern California. Here’s the link to the top 20 Southern California softball rankings.


El Camino Real continues to be the team to beat in the City Section. The Royals are 16-5 overall and 4-0 in the West Valley League.

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Fighting to be official

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 5, 2022: Home plate umpire Jim Trentin
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 5, 2022: Home plate umpire Jim Trentin works a recent high school baseball game at Savanna High School on April 5, 2022 in Anaheim, California. Trentin is autistic and has been umpiring for 30 years in Southern California.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
(Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

As Jim Trentin grew older, the bullies did too.

When the now-high-school sports official was young and uncoordinated, he’d always be the last one picked for teams at recess. Peers would laugh at him. The more cruel ones would beat him up.

Schoolyard games turned with the years into referee politics. Twenty years ago, Trentin walked into a meeting for a basketball referee association that he’d been told he was too late to sign up for. The group “literally chased him away,” friend Tony Mannara said.

“Here’s our vice president yelling at this guy, ‘Get away from here, we don’t want you here!’” said Mannara, who was an association member then. “Like chasing away a stray dog.”

He was known as the “crazy guy,” Mannara said.

“Crazy,” of course, was coded language for Trentin’s actual condition — autism.

Now 61, Trentin has been a varsity official for 15 years. He’s manned numerous Southern Section playoff games, shows up early, and is widely praised for his work ethic.

At the same time as he’s rounded into a dependable referee while associations around the area have seen a precipitous drop in their numbers. Suddenly, after years of feeling pushed away, Trentin’s become accepted.


“I’ve been a fighter all my life,” he said.

A profile on his bid to be a sports official.


There was an impasse involving the Southern Section and lacrosse officials who decided to take a work action over their disagreement with a new fees proposal that was passed at the Southern Section Council meeting.

It left schools scrambling for officials and threatened the boys’ lacrosse season.

The Southern Section statement:

Representatives for the officials met with the Southern Section and agreed to return to work with the understanding the Southern Section would support changes in the fees structure in August.

More trouble for Mater Dei

Months after allegations were made in a student lawsuit alleging a culture of hazing within the Santa Ana Mater Dei High football program, the school is facing an investigation by the Santa Ana Police Dept. involving allegations of hazing within the boys’ water polo program.

Sgt. Maria Lopez, spokeswoman for the Police Department, said Friday detectives from the Special Crimes Section were expected to wrap up their investigation this coming week. It has involved interviewing multiple people. The findings will be forwarded to the Orange County district attorney’s office to decide whether charges should be filed.


The school hired a law firm in December to investigate its safety practices as directed by the former school president, Walter Jenkins, following the filing of the student lawsuit in November. The new school president, Michael Brennan, said in a February statement, “This is an assessment of Mater Dei’s culture and not a further investigation of the incident.”

The school has not provided an update on whether the assessment has been completed and offered no comment regarding the allegations involving water polo.


Three friends transfer to Wyoming

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - NOV. 19, 2019. USC head coach Andy Enfield talks with guard Ethan Anderson
USC head coach Andy Enfield talks with guard Ethan Anderson.

(Luis Sinco)

Going from Los Angeles to Wyoming, basketball players and good friends Ethan Anderson, Jake Kyman and Max Agbonkpolo are reuniting from their AAU days.

Anderson and Agbonkpolo are coming from USC and Kyman from UCLA. Kyman and Agbonkpolo were teammates on a championship team at Santa Margarita. Anderson led Fairfax to the City Section Open Division championship. As high school players, they played together on the same club team.

Leaving Los Angeles will be much easier when you have friends joining you on the journey.

Notes . . .

St. John Bosco has become the transfer destination for former Mission Hills Alemany defensive backs. The Braves will have three in the secondary in the fall after the arrival of sophomore Khristian Dunbar-Hawkins. He joins RJ Jones and Jshawn Frausto-Ramos. . . .

Bret Fleming has resigned as boys’ basketball coach at Laguna Beach. He won 13 league titles and had nearly 450 wins. . . .


Jason Miller is returning to Southern California as the new football coach at Bellflower High. He went 25-10 for Gunn High in Northern California. He was previously head coach at Dominguez . . . .

David Wilde is the new football coach at Sunny Hills. He was an assistant. . . .

El Camino Real basketball coach Joe Wyatt said he was fired on Friday. He had been head coach for eight years and with the program for 15 years. His son, JD, had a promising freshman season for the Royals.

From the archives: Kevin Pillar

New York Mets' Kevin Pillar bats during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals
New York Mets’ Kevin Pillar bats during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Monday, Sept. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
(Nick Wass / Associated Press)

Kevin Pillar wasn’t a highly recruited baseball player out of West Hills Chaminade in 2007. He went to Cal State Dominguez Hills and developed into a standout hitter.

He had to work from the ground up (32nd round selection by the Blue Jays in 2011) to make the major leagues and did just that, becoming a standout defensive outfielder and good hitter.

He’s a nine-year veteran who signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers and will likely be brought up at some point to help out. He once had a 54-game hitting streak at Dominguez Hills.

Here’s a story about his days in high school and college.



From News-Press, an opinion piece supporting a former public school football coach taking his case to the Supreme Court on praying after a football game.

From the San Fernando Sun, a story on Sylmar’s baseball program.

From the Daily Pilot, a story on the Los Amigos baseball team learning to win while its coach fights cancer.

From, a story on the MLB debut of former SO Notre Dame pitcher Hunter Greene.

Tweets you might have missed


Until next time...

Have a question, comment or something you’d like to see in a future Prep Rally newsletter? Email me at, and follow me on Twitter at @latsondheimer.

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