Prep Rally: The greatest wind-legal 100 meters in California history

Moorpark, CA - May 21: Rodrick Pleasant of Gardena Serra High, center, is out in front to win the 100 meters.
Rodrick Pleasant of Gardena Serra High, center, is out in front to win the 100 meters.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Prep Rally. My name is Eric Sondheimer. It doesn’t get any better than to be on hand to witness the greatest wind-legal 100 meters in California history. Rodrick Pleasant of Gardena Serra pulled it off at Moorpark High. It was so great.

A remarkable performance

It was in 1985 when Henry Thomas of Hawthorne set the state record in the 100 meters at 10.25 seconds. It took 37 years for someone to finally run faster in a wind-legal time. Rodrick Pleasant of Gardena Serra pulled it off on Saturday at Moorpark High in the Southern Section Masters Meet. And he didn’t just break the record, he obliterated it. He ran 10.14 seconds.


It was only a month ago that Pleasant was disappointed after finishing third in the Arcadia Invitational. He wasn’t 100% healthy and knew that the biggest races would be ahead. He just needed to train, take care of his body and he’d be ready to show everyone how fast he could run.

Here’s the report on a day to remember in California high school track and field one week before the state championships are held at Buchanan High in Clovis.


The Roosevelt duo of pitcher Lino Zepeda (left) and catcher Matias Nolasco.
The Roosevelt duo of pitcher Lino Zepeda (left) and catcher Matias Nolasco will try to lead the team in the City Section playoffs that begin on Tuesday.

There should be excitement and lots of fans at USC’s Dedeaux Field this week for the City Section Open Division and Division I semifinals, because the winners will qualify for Saturday’s championship game at Dodger Stadium. The dogpiles at USC will be true celebrations.

The matchups on Tuesday for Division I: Taft vs. Narbonne, 3 p.m.; Bell vs. Garfield, 6 p.m. The matchups on Wednesday for the Open Division: Chatsworth vs. Roosevelt, 3 p.m.; El Camino Real vs. Birmingham, 6 p.m.

If Garfield and Roosevelt each reach Dodger Stadium, imagine what kind of crowd from East Los Angeles College will come out on Saturday. Their fans might actually root for each.


JSerra triumphs

FULLERTON, CA - MAY 20: JSerra Catholic teammates rush the mound.
FULLERTON, CA - MAY 20: JSerra teammates rush the mound after relief pitcher Tyler Gough (12) recorded the last out in the top of the seventh inning in the Lions 3-1 win over Notre Dame (SO) in the Southern Section Division 1 baseball final played at Cal State Fullerton on Friday, May 20, 2022 in Fullerton, CA. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
(Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

After 17 years, JSerra coach Brett Kay finally has won a Division 1 championship. The Lions have been so good and so successful through the years, but that championship has eluded them. A 3-1 win over Sherman Oaks Notre Dame finally ended the drought.

Here’s the report from Cal State Fullerton on JSerra’s night to remember.

Perhaps the best pitching performance of the weekend was turned in by Pepperdine-bound Gunnar Nichols of Burbank Burroughs, a 1-0 win over Moreno Valley. When he wears sunglasses, teammates call him “The Terminator.”


Etiwanda won the Division 2 championship on Saturday but the real focus was on the first girl to start on the mound in a championship, Jillian Albayati of Anaheim in the Division 6 final. Here’s the report.


Eastvale Roosevelt was trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the seventh to Los Alamitos in the Southern Section Division 1 championship game. And somehow won.

Emily Carr cleared the bases for a dramatic 5-4 victory.

Here’s the report from Irvine.

In the City Section, El Camino Real won its 18th championship in the Open Division with a 12-6 win over Kennedy. Here’s the report from CSUN.

More track

Dijon Stanley of Granada Hills (right) ran the second-fastest 400.
Dijon Stanley of Granada Hills (right) ran the second-fastest 400 by a City Section athlete this century. He passes Jaden Rattay of Lincoln to finish in 46.94.
(Craig Weston)

In the 21st century, only one City Section athlete has run the 400 meters faster than what Dijon Stanley of Granada Hills pulled off at the City Section track and field championships.

Stanley’s time of 46.94 seconds equals the fastest in the state this year and was an exhilarating moment for himself and the fans who showed up at Lake Balboa Birmingham High to witness the City’s most accomplished 400 runner since David Gettis of Dorsey ran 45.84 in 2005 to win the state title.

“I’m loving it right now,” Stanley said.

He led Granada Hills to its first City title in boys’ track and has put himself in position to be a contender at this weekend’s state championships in Clovis.

Here’s the report.

Fifth-grader with future

Ryan Zurn, the 10-year-old son of La Mirada coach Jimmy Zurn.
Ryan Zurn, the 10-year-old son of La Mirada coach Jimmy Zurn, has been universally praised for his public address announcing at games.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

The young voice on the public address system at La Mirada High baseball games makes you turn your head to see if the voice matches the person.

It does.

Ryan Zurn, the 10-year-old son of head coach Jimmy Zurn, handles the job with the professionalism of someone much older.


“He’s wise beyond his years,” his father said. “He’s like a 59-year-old man reading the newspaper with a cup of coffee. His idea of a birthday is him and five adults at Chili’s.”

He performs his job so effectively you wonder if he has a future as an announcer. His voice is confident and clear. He pronounces names correctly. At the end of innings, he recaps what happened with the precision of a computer. At the same time, his young friends gather and eat popsicles and drink sodas next to the snack stand. He stays focused and embraces the responsibility entrusted in him.

A profile on the fifth-grader.

Nike signs Thompson sisters

Harvard-Westlake soccer players Gisele and Alyssa Thompson.
(Photo courtesy of Nick Koza)

The Thompson sisters from Studio City Harvard-Westlake, Alyssa and Gisele, are two of the best soccer players in America. Now they’ve become the first high school athletes to be signed by Nike for name, image and likeness representation.

The announcement was made Monday night at a dinner in Los Angeles.

Evan Sroka, managing partner of Everest Talent Management, is representing the sisters along with A&V Sports. He said Nike had signed them with a “multiyear” commitment involving monetary compensation.


Alyssa, a junior, and Gisele, a sophomore, helped their respective USA national soccer teams win competitions this year. Gisele started for the team that won the U-17 CONCACAF championship in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in May. Alyssa started for the U-20 team that won the CONCACAF gold medal in March in Santo Domingo. Alyssa also won the Division 3 100 meters last week at the Southern Section track and field championships.

City golf champion

Sophomore Turner Osswald of El Camino Real won the City Section golf championship with a 4-under 68.
(Eric Choi)

“He’s on fire right now.”

That was the description by El Camino Real golf coach Eric Choi as he kept track of his No. 1 golfer, sophomore Turner Osswald, making one birdie after another on the back nine Wednesday at the City Section golf championships at Griffith Park’s Harding Golf Course.

Osswald had five birdies over the final eight holes, leaving him tied for first place going to the 18th hole at three-under par.

Osswald reached the green in two for the par-five, 467-yard final hole, allowing him to putt for an eagle. He made a four-foot birdie putt that let him finish with a four-under 68, one shot ahead of Palisades’ Gavin Loughran.


He ended up winning the City championship. The Southern California Golf Assn. regionals are this week.

Enjoying this newsletter?

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a Los Angeles Times subscriber.

Basketball transfers

Oak Hill's Caleb Foster #3 in action.
Oak Hill’s Caleb Foster is transferring to Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.
(Gregory Payan / Associated Press)

Mission League basketball, expected to be loaded with talent next season, is about to get even stronger.

Sherman Oaks Notre Dame is the apparent destination for Duke-bound Caleb Foster and Houston-bound Mercy Miller, both transfers from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va. Notre Dame coach Matt Sargeant confirmed on Friday that they have been accepted and are officially enrolled.

Foster is 6 feet 3, Miller 6-4. Miller is a junior and the son of Percy Miller, known as rapper Master P. Foster is a pass-first point guard and Miller a top shooter. Their families are moving to Southern California. Miller has two brothers — Hercy plays for Xavier and Romeo used to play at Mar Vista Windward High and USC.

Here’s the report.

Home run hire

Keith Ramsey is leaving Mira Costa to become baseball coach at Loyola.
(Keith Ramsey)

Loyola High is bringing home one of its own to be its next baseball coach.

Keith Ramsey, who helped Mira Costa become a competitive team in Division 1 of the Southern Section, has agreed to return to his alma mater as head coach. He’s a 1998 Loyola graduate who was head coach at Mira Costa for the last six years.

“It’s a chance to come home,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey said he has been given assurances that the school wants to upgrade its program, from its facility to the performance on the field.


He’ll be the latest top coach to join the Mission League, which is adding Sierra Canyon next season.

Bryce Young returns

It will be an official homecoming for Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young of Alabama on Tuesday when Santa Ana Mater Dei welcomes him for a celebration that will include adding his name to the “Heisman Lane” campus sign that already includes alumni Matt Leinart and John Huarte.

“This is an opportunity to just focus on great things that come from athletics,” his father, Craig, said.

Bryce will have his jersey retired and get to celebrate with lots of people who helped put him on a path to success in high school and college.

His father understands that Mater Dei has been under scrutiny after a lawsuit filed last November by the family of a former student who alleged a culture of hazing in the football program. And this past month, another revelation came out that a police report had been filed last August of an alleged sexual assault of a football player in the locker room.

Mater Dei's Heisman Lane sign will need to be updated by adding the name of Bryce Young '21.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

“I’ve learned not to talk about things I don’t know anything about,” Craig Young said. “That’s not the Mater Dei we experienced but doesn’t minimize what others might have experienced.”

Bryce grew up in Pasadena, played quarterback for L.A. Cathedral for two years before transferring to Mater Dei.


His father said coach Bruce Rollinson allowed his son to develop into the quarterback that he was and didn’t force him to conform into somebody who looked like past Mater Dei quarterbacks. He was the first Black quarterback in Mater Dei history and a rare outsider who had deal with expectations in succeeding quarterback JT Daniels, who was the Gatorade national player of the year.

“What he accomplished is remarkable and should be celebrated,” Craig said. “Bruce Rollinson is an amazing coach and he allowed Bryce to be Bryce.”

Here’s the report.


Newport Harbor blockers rise up against Loyola.
(Brody Hannon)

Newport Harbor proved its win over Loyola in the Southern Section Division 1 volleyball championships was no fluke by beating the Cubs again in the Southern California regional final.

The Cubs ended up losing two of three matches to Newport Harbor.

Here’s the link to complete regional volleyball results.

The Food Taster

Birmingham hot dog during track championships.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

I’ve been eating hot dogs at Birmingham High since the 1980s. They started with Hoffy, switched to Hebrew National and now it’s Costco.

In honor of Dijon Stanley of Granada Hills, I just had to have a hot dog at the City track finals with mustard. They didn’t have Grey Poupon, but it was still good. The buns are fresh and the hot dog had a good taste.

It was also preparation for Saturday’s City baseball final at Dodger Stadium, where a visit to the press box always includes a couple hot dogs.

Notes . . .

Landon Pluimer is the new boys’ basketball coach at San Clemente. . . .

Defensive back Daylen Austin of Long Beach Poly (Class of 2023) has committed to LSU. . . .

Logan Baltau is the new basketball coach at Thousand Oaks. He’s a former assistant. . . .

Eric Morton announced he is stepping down after 17 years as baseball coach at Great Oak. . . .

Ryan Moore, recently named basketball coach at Castaic, didn’t stay long. He’s now head coach at Oxnard Santa Clara. He was formerly head coach at Moorpark. . . .

James Mosley has resigned as basketball coach and athletic director at Santa Clarita Christian to begin a new program at Valencia Legacy Christian. . . .

Madden Ocko, one of the hottest hitters during the Division 1 baseball playoffs for Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, has committed to Fordham.


From the archives: Matt Cunningham

In 1994, a group of Little League baseball players from Northridge, nicknamed The Earthquake Kids, made it to the Little League World Series championship game in Williamsport before losing to Venezuela 4-3. Among the players was Matt Cunningham, who’d become a star catcher for four years at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, play for Rice and UC Riverside. His father, Tim, was an assistant coach on the team and is still an assistant with Notre Dame.

This fall, Matt will become a professor teaching math at the University of South Carolina. His father had a recurring role on the TV sitcom “Cheers,” which led to teams playing the Cheers theme song when Matt would come to the plate.

Here’s a story from 2000 entitled, “Happy Days for Cunningham.”


From the Los Angeles Times, a story on former Windward star Jordin Canada playing for the Sparks.

From, a story on Tony Thomas leaving the Compton basketball program for Rancho Dominguez.

From the Los Angeles Times, a story looking into Overtime Elite.

From, a story on a determined teenager to make it back on the track after three rounds of chemotherapy and 15 radiation treatments.

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.

Did you get this newsletter forwarded to you? To sign up and get it in your inbox, click here.