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Stories written by bsands

Bulldogs prepare for next level

   Two Bulldogs who are dual sport athletes and good students are having
a busy summer. They are preparing not only to compete for the Dawgs but
both would like to play football at the next level.

Kwayde Miller

   The big man, Kwayde Miller, will only be a junior next school year,
but the 6’8” tight end in football and center in basketball has been to
three football camps conducted at Division I universities.
   Miller has been to camps at San Diego State University, the
University of Southern California and the University of Notre Dame. San
Diego State has offered to save a scholarship for Kwayde. USC and Notre
Dame are among the elite football schools in Division I, which is now
called the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Backstretch Bob loves running

  Backstretch Bob Verhoest loves running. He still runs competitively.
He has coached cross country and track. He loves to watch thoroughbred
horses run. Running is and always has been a part of his life.

   Del Mar has also been a big part of his life.

   As a youth, racing was always a part of Bob’s life. His father,
Raymond, and his mother, Madeline, were in the military. When Bob’s
father left the military, he had a job working on a top secret aircraft
and went to work on Monday morning and returned on Friday evening.

Del Mar thoroughbred racing season begins

  Del Mar opened its thoroughbred racing season Wednesday, July 21.

   Del Mar has more than one local connection. Ramona’s Golden Eagle
Farm is one of the premier thoroughbred breeding farms in the nation.
Founded in 1972 by John and Betty Mabee, Golden Eagle has produced such
racing greats as Best Pal, General Challenge, Dramatic Gold and
Excellent Meeting.

   Best Pal was elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame
in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. this year. For many years the bay gelding held
the record for money earned, $5.7 million, by any California bred race
horse. His record was beaten by Tiznow.

Willingham: Louisville Slugger All American

   Ramona High School’s senior left-handed pitcher, Cody Willingham is a
Louisville Slugger All American. The team was announced in the June 18
issue of Collegiate Baseball.

   Willingham, who graduated from RHS in June and has twice been named
as the Pitcher of the Year in the Valley League, received honorable
mention. Louisville Slugger has been sponsoring high school baseball 
All American teams for 14 years.

   Willingham also received All State honors by Cal-Hi Sports, which has
been naming All State teams for 30 years, and he was named to the third
team All State team.

Iron Mountain, Mt. Woodson, Cedar Creek Falls: Three hikes to take after you’re in shape

   A couple of summers ago, former Sentinel owner and publisher Keith Hanson told me to take a hike. Just last week Sentinel
editor Maureen Robertson made the same suggestion. So I took more than
one hike. Next time I am going to make sure that they are not speaking

   Iron Mountain, Mt. Woodson and Cedar Creek Falls are all rigorous
hikes. They are all something one builds up to. Don’t hike any of them
them to get into shape. Hike them after you are in shape.

   Iron Mountain recently opened a parking lot, which will cut down on
the tickets that were issued to overzealous hikers who were pulling
illegal U-turns to park on Highway 67. Now hikers or mountain bikers can
park off  the highway and go up the mountain.

Ramona’s baseball alumni

   Thirteen former Ramona High School baseball players played college baseball in 2010, the most ever.

   More RHS Bulldogs go on to play in college than any other sport. The
Bulldogs carried 16 players on their 2010 roster so almost as many
Bulldogs went on to play in college as played on the varsity.
   Six former Bulldogs played Division I ball in the NCAA.

   James Meador completed his stellar college career at the University
of San Diego in grand fashion. The 2006 RHS grad was named to 2010
Louisville Slugger All American team. The Toreros were ranked 15th in
the nation and advanced to the NCAA playoffs.

All Stars play in Football Classic

   Five Ramona Bulldogs were selected to play in the 20th Annual Alex
Spanos All Star Football Classic and were instrumental in the North’s
27-3 win on Friday.
   Running back Ryan Morgan, offensive lineman Spencer Johnston,
kicker-punter Rocco Hemphill and defensive back Seth Drake played in the
game. Offensive lineman Justin Godes was also selected for the all-star
team but was unable to play due to enrolling at West Point.
   The Bulldogs played for the North squad, which was coached by Danny
Williams from Vista High School.
   “I want Ramona kids because I know they will be dependable and they
know how to practice hard and play the game,” said Williams. “They were
the first to arrive at practice every day and they worked from the
beginning to the end. They got along well with everybody.”

Tennis camp stresses fun, fundamentals

   Doug Failla is a busy man this summer. The boys and girls varsity
tennis coach at Ramona High is as much of an ambassador for the sport as
he is a coach and professional.
   Failla, a certified tennis professional in the United States
Professional Tennis Association, is the tennis professional at Riviera
Oaks Resort and Racquet Club in San Diego Country Estates in Ramona. He
also runs tennis camps and tournaments during his spare time.
   Failla is in the fourth of five weeks of conducting summer tennis
camps. He has been running morning camps from 9 to 11 a.m. and evening
camps from 6 to 8 p.m.
   It doesn’t take a tennis aficionado to appreciate one of Failla’s
sessions. He has campers from ages 5 to 17 of all skills levels. He
starts each session with a sincere welcome, stretching and warm-ups, and
some games. He stresses fun, fundamentals and sportsmanship.

Most popular sport

   I root for America no matter what. I rooted for Bobby Fisher when he
played Boris Spassky in chess. When I watch the Olympic sports that I
don’t understand or even like, I root for the USA.
   It is the same for Ramona High School. If the Bulldogs are playing, I
root for them. I have tried to support as many Bulldog activities as
   Before I started covering sports for the Sentinel, I attended and
announced whenever possible. Before cable TV and satellite TV, RHS was
the only show in town. When we had to rely on the good old antennas up
here on the mountain, the coverage was horrible. I remember watching
Monday Night Football and seeing number 1-1-1 2-2-2 throw three
footballs to number 8-8-8 5-5-5, and I loved it.

Fun fundraiser will help Rattlers get to Triple Crown World Series

   The Ramona Rattlers 13 & Under (13U) baseball team is going to
Steamboat Springs, Colo. The Rattlers qualified for the Triple Crown
World Series that will be held from Aug. 3 to  8 in the resort town.
   The Rattlers earned a spot in the Triple Crown World Series by
winning a qualifying tournament in Palm Springs during the Thanksgiving
   Since then the boys have been playing in recreation leagues and in traveling tournaments to keep in shape.
   The team is managed by Glenn Hall. Hall’s coaches are Jeff Benke, Keith Jones and Tim Doulgeropoulos.