Many high schools started preparation for the football season with hell week on Monday.
For Costa Mesa High, it kicked things off with a lift-a-thon.
Forty-six players showed up to campus to see who could bench, power clean or squat the most weight on the team. Marco Zalpa, an incoming senior, topped everyone in two of the three competitions.
Zalpa easily benched and squatted his own weight, 265 pounds, before maxing out at 330 pounds on the bench and 405 on the squat. His strength bodes well for the Mustangs, who are counting on the offensive guard to pave the way for their ground attack.
The tailback Zalpa will block for, Oronde Crenshaw, finished first in the power clean. Crenshaw, a highly recruited incoming senior, cleaned 280 pounds. He finished second in the bench with two teammates, tight end Joseph Quiroz and wide receiver Quinton Bell, who each hit 300 pounds.
"It was our biggest turnout," said Coach Wally Grant, beginning his third year at the helm of the Mustangs. "We want to make this an annual event before we begin every season."
While Zalpa won two of the lifts, another factor helps determine who will be considered the strongest player on the team.
Grant said the amount of money each player raises in the next couple of weeks will factor into their total.
"We want to raise $4,000 for the program," said Grant, adding that players will seek donations for each pound lifted or just one amount for their lifts. "We feel we can hit that number."
Before the Mustangs do, they hit each other on Tuesday, their first day in helmets and full pads.
For the next three weeks, Grant said his players will experience hell week. Their days will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 6 p.m. All of the training, practicing and studying video is to prepare the Mustangs for their season opener on the road against Western on Aug. 30.
"My hell week is to get the kids into a routine," said Grant, whose Mustangs missed the CIF Southern Section Southern Division players after they finished 4-6, 2-3 in league, in 2012.
The Corona del Mar boys' and girls' athletic programs placed third and eighth in their respective CIF Southern Section Commissioner Cup competition, which recognized schools' comprehensive excellence for sports in which they competed during 2012-13.
The CdM boys finished with 20 points, behind Gardena Serra (20) and Los Angeles Loyola (21). Serra had a tiebreaker advantage against CdM.
The Sea Kings earned five points for winning the CIF Southern Division football title, five points for winning the CIF South Coast Team Divisional golf title, three points for a runner-up finish in the CIF Division 1 swimming and diving finals, three points for a runner-up finish in the CIF Section Division 1 tennis final, as well as two points for a CIF Division 3AA semifinal appearance in basketball and two points for a CIF Division 1 semifinal appearance in water polo.
The CdM girls finished with 10 points. Hemet claimed the title with 15.
The Sea Kings posted five points for winning the CIF Division 1 water polo title, three for a runner-up finish in CIF Division 1 swimming and diving, and two points for a CIF Division 1AA semifinal appearance in volleyball.
CdM incoming senior Tyler Duncan plans to continue his baseball career at Yale next season, Sea Kings Coach John Emme said on Tuesday.
If he does, Duncan will be the fifth CdM baseball player since 2006 to play at an Ivy League school. The other four are 2012 CdM graduate Brent Lawson (Yale), 2010 CdM graduate Brian Hurst (University of Pennsylvania), 2009 CdM graduate Danny Moskovits (Harvard) and 2006 CdM graduate Eric Eadington (Harvard).
"He has the athletic ability and the brains," Emme said of Duncan, who hit .338 with one home run and nine runs batted in, five doubles and one triple as a junior last season.
Aloha, Sage Hill School girls' volleyball team.
The Lightning players landed Saturday in Honolulu, Hawaii, where they will compete in the prestigious Ann Kang Invitational. The three-day tournament starts Thursday
Before the Lightning opens the tournament against Huntington Beach, Sage Hill Coach Dan Thomassen's team volunteered at a school.
The Ann Kang summer tournament features many of the elite programs in Hawaii and the country. The trip to the tournament is Sage Hill's first. The program received an invitation after Sage Hill's CIF Southern Section finals appearances each of the past two seasons.