There were hurdlers and shortstops, freestylers, plus guys that could swing a club or a racket. There was a sprinter, a distance runner, a shortstop and a back stroker.
Throw in a setter, a .500 hitter and a doubles team.
Yucaipa High School, dead set on making serious claims for Citrus Belt League championships in at least baseball and softball, plus a track squad knee deep in talent didn’t have much of a chance to finish off its 2020 spring season.
By March 13, barely into the spring sports schedule, a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic slashed athletics everywhere. It came from all angles, including pro and college, to high school and youth level sports.
Spring sports coaches, meanwhile, got together to form a Dream Team. It replaces the customary all-league teams that regularly conclude each season -- except this one.
“The reach-out,” said Yucaipa baseball coach Ralph Grajeda, “came from (Citrus Valley baseball coach) Jon Austin. Everyone thought it was a good idea.”
The “Dream Team” designation, of course, was first linked to the 1992 USA men’s basketball team led by Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, among others. They not only landed a gold medal, but extended their legendary status beyond comprehension.
That was, of course, the ultimate Dream Team.
Yucaipa had just started into its six-team CBL schedule. The COVID-19 shutdown eliminated championship finals in swimming, track, golf and tennis -- not to mention all-league selections onto a handful of other sports.
Driven by CBL baseball coaches but extended to all other spring varsity sports, Yucaipa’s Dream Team included a .549 softball-hitting sophomore, Emma Martinez, to last year’s distance-running star, Dani Gee.
An early-season duel between Citrus Valley’s Cieanna-Norman Thomas and Yucaipa’s Eryn Burke - 1-2 finishes in both the 200 and 400 - might’ve been a nice setup for the May CBL finals.
Both were Dream Team picks. Different coaches used a varied approach to pick their Dream Teamers.
“I wanted to recognize my four seniors,” said Grajeda. “Other schools decided not to do it like that.”
Ross Sibley and Erik Gordon, a setter-to-outside hitter combination of seniors, helped propel the T-Birds’ boys volleyball squad to a 9-5 record. That included two straight CBL triumphs to start this season.
There were plenty of top-level athletes that didn’t get Dream Team designation.
Explanation: It was a four-person maximum selection process, except for tennis and golf, which had just two picks apiece.
Senior Karly Vizzini, a CBL swimming finalist in last year’s individual medley and backstroke championships, was joined by junior Taylor Poskitt and a pair of sophomores.
Tennis coach Scott Salinas noted the quick start of his top doubles team, seniors Taku Gavaza and Brett Thompson, which coursed through six unbeaten CBL sets before the season was shut down.
The Gavaza-Thompson doubles combo was likely to get first-team All-CBL honors “for sure,” said Salinas, “and had a really good shot at being the No. 1 seed for the upcoming CBL individual tournament.”
Except for this: Everything got canceled on March 13.
CITRUS BELT LEAGUE
(Cajon, Carter athletes not listed)
Citrus Valley - Ethan Zander (11), Zachary Jellsey (10)
Redlands - Kamron Hopson (9), Cameron Hartling (11)
Redlands East Valley - Luke Campos, Timmy Cavarno
Yucaipa- Sergio Nunez (10), D.J. Swift (10)
Citrus Valley - Leif Tillman, Luke Burroughs
Redlands - Danny Bohen, Erwan Friche
Redlands East Valley - Isaiah Green, Jon Jones
Yucaipa - Brett Thompson (12), Taku Gavaza (12)
Citrus Valley - Jacob Rembulat (12), Samuel Felix (12)
Redlands - None announced
Redlands East Valley - Garry O’Brien (12), Nathan Olsen (12)
Yucaipa - Ross Sibley (12), Erik Gordon (12)
BOYS SWIM TEAM
Citrus Valley - Memphis Gile (11), Brayden Taulli (10), Timothy Le (12), Tristan Barlow (10)
Redlands - Cade Wingo, William Do, Fletcher Dementyev, Matthew Le
Redlands East Valley - Aidan Catren, Kyle Dennert, Joshua Perez, Jude Williams
Yucaipa - Dabin Kim (12), Frankie Tucci (11), Luke Franklin (11), Zach Ibarra (12)
GIRLS SWIM TEAM
Citrus Valley - Chaselyn Wheeler (9), Fernando Calderon, Allyson Barlow, Emily Walos
Redlands - Sydney Weissman, Serena Plumb (12), Allison Keeling, Arielle Cunanan,
Redlands East Valley - Ashlynn Griffin, Ella Martinez-Spencer, Liberty Williams (12), Samantha Nickell (12)
Yucaipa - Alyssa Nunez (10), Karley Vizzini (12), Sierra Love (10), Taylor Poskitt (11)
Citrus Valley - Juan Montes (9), Warren Navarre (11), Jake Caliva (10), Dominick Arriaga (11)
Redlands - Jamal Hines, Kevin Character, Willie Brisco, Marcus Brisco
Redlands East Valley - Derrick Davis (12), Jacob Herrera (12), Cole Cooper (12), Matthew Casillas (12)
Yucaipa - Kyle Urban (12), Zach Wagner (12), Brady Woods (11), Gavin Mink (11)
Citrus Valley - Kamryn Hughes, Cieanna Norman-Thomas, Amanda Earl, Alanna Barger
Redlands - Chelsey Romo, Madelyn Winter, Everlyn Martinez, Katherine Thompson
Redlands East Valley - Laya Mora (11), Ashlyn Walker (11), Alexandria Lopez (12), Veronica Asueleme (12)
Yucaipa - Eryn Burke (11), Dani Gee (12), Brooke Dalgity (11), Madison Henderson (12)
Citrus Valley - Jaelyn Hayes (10), Anessa Jimenez (10), Mika Lee (11), Ella Nadeau (11)
Redlands - Naya Holshoe (10), Jacey Leyvas (11), Nahri Tath-Slezak (12), Lindsey Cabral (11)
Redlands East Valley - Karissa Gonzalez (11), Kylie Johnson (11), Amaya White, Sarah Rosales
Yucaipa - Esperanza Coe (12), Emma Martinez (10), Aneesa Arredondo (11), Emily Gonzalez (10)
Citrus Valley - Blake Griffin (11), Devin Martinez (11), Alex Sandoval (12), Jared Snyder (10)
Redlands - Adam Valencia (12), Grant Ojeda (12), P.J. Ledesma (12), Zachary Chonkich (12)
Redlands East Valley - Bubba Correa (11), Chase Dabbs (11), D.J. Adalian (11), Josh Ross (12)
Yucaipa - Bradley Heacock (12), Daniel Garcia (12), Dawson Kalapaca (12), Jordan Andrade (12)