Claremont Insider: The Local Sporting Scene

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Local Sporting Scene


Our apologies for our recent sabbatical. It being August and all, we ended up taking a brief hiatus to recharge our blogging batteries and to enjoy the end of summer. So, we gave the Insider staff some time off to live it up. The weather's been so great, we just needed to pack up and get away to enjoy the ocean breezes and sip fruity drinks from frosty glasses with little umbrellas.

As we try to ease back into the swing of things, in the spirit of the Summer Olympics we thought we'd start off with a couple notes about local sports.


Claremont High School has named as Steve Jackson as the replacement for former head baseball coach Mike Lee, whose coaching contract was not renewed after a contentious last season when Coach Lee clashed with a number of parent of CHS baseball players.

The CHS baseball team's website has the announcement:

The Claremont Unified School District Board of Education, at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 18, voted to approve the recommendation to hire Steve Jackson as new varsity baseball coach at Claremont High School.

Jackson played baseball at Chaffey College and the University of Northern Alabama. He also served as a student-assistant coach at UNA and brings 13 years of experience coaching American Legion and travel ball. Comments received by the school district describe Jackson as someone who has a thorough knowledge of the game and the ability to impart that knowledge and skills to his players. A local varsity high school baseball coach wrote, “In being associated with Steve on and off the baseball diamond, I have found him to be a true professional who possesses a genuine concern and ability to motivate athletes.”

Jackson’s full-time job is working for the City of Montclair Fire Department as a division chief, responsible for the supervision of emergency medical systems and training.

CHS Principal Brett O’Connor commented, “Whenever people talk about Mr. Jackson they talk not only about his baseball knowledge, but also his integrity, leadership and passion. I know Steve has the depth of knowledge to not only mentor young men in the game of baseball but, more importantly, as individuals.”

We've received some emails from CHS baseball parents who indicate that some of them don't approve of Jackson's hiring. Among the issues cited were the fact that Jackson has a son on the team, the fact that Jackson's job with Montclair FD might make it hard to devote enough time to his coaching duties, and that Jackson, who lives in Upland, has ties to other Upland youth baseball players and might encourage them to transfer to CHS.

On the other hand, Sid over at Sid's Side thinks Jackson is a good hire and that CHS baseball parents just need to give him a chance. Sid writes:
I’m simply not going to host another debate that knocks and bashes someone who deserves a fair chance. As I said before, this is a guy who is incredibly talented, bright and fair. That may not be what some people want. I don’t think their complaints are even about him, but, unfortunately, he will be the target. That’s too bad, because those people don’t yet understand how lucky they are. He absolutely will make a positive difference. I know he still needs to prove himself. So let him.


Congratulations are in order for the Claremont Crush under-12 team, which won the Cooperstown All-Star Village tournament in Cooperstown, NY, last week. The Claremont Courier had an article about the team's big win:
With the 24 teams consisting of squads from all across the country, Claremont was given the opportunity to play against unfamiliar competition. But it was just part of the fun for the Crush, who batted .545 for the tournament and mercied 5 of its 10 opponents.

The accomplishment of the 12U team led to the team receiving a 6-foot trophy and each player receiving a championship ring. The 6-foot trophy was an enigma to the players, who found the object to either be almost just as tall or even taller than they were.

The Crush are a travel ball team and practice at Claremont's College Park.


What is it with Claremont and hurdlers? The August 16th edition of the Claremont Courier had a story about Claremonter Richard Holmes, who at 41 won the 110-meter hurdles USA Masters Track & Field Championships.

Holmes, who is originally from Sacramento, competed for Fresno State University's track team as a collegian. The Courier article gave Holmes' backstory:
Relocating to southern California in 1991, Mr. Holmes tried his hand at writing and acting, even interning at Walt Disney Studios. He was featured in commercials and also played a track & field athlete in the movie Higher Learning. Meanwhile, Mr. Holmes still continued to train in hopes of qualifying for the 1992 Olympics.

The hurdler qualified for the B standard in the 110-meter high hurdles of the 1992 Olympics and was training to give the 1996 Olympics a shot when he fractured his hip at the Mt. SAC Relays that same year. Struggling to get his trail leg over the hurdle due to the pain, Mr. Holmes decided to move on from the sport, embracing married life with his wife Sabrina and taking on a sales career.

“I did not lift a weight for 4 years,” Mr. Holmes recalled.

But once his wife was pregnant with Arianna—the couple’s now 9-year-old daughter—the Claremonter decided to start training again in order for his daughter to have the chance to see him compete. He also went to see a sports orthopedist that showed him how to work through the pain and eventually found himself in better shape than he was in before he suffered his injury.

Holmes is Claremont's second hurdler to win honors this year. CHS sophomore Kori Carter won a state championship in the 300-meter hurdles and was fourth in the 110-meter race. Carter also placed second in 400-meter hurdles at the USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships in June.