By DAVE THOMAS | La Mesa Courier
As fall turns to winter on the calendar, a number of Helix High winter sports teams are heating up.
Once tournament play is over for some of these teams during the holiday break, they will turn to league action in January.
In boys’ soccer, the Highlanders finished 5-5-9 a season ago.
According to head coach Joaquin Huertero, some key players this season look to include senior holding midfielder Jeremiah Frias, senior winger Danny Nunez and senior center back Allesandro Flores.
“Our goals for this year are to improve our record from last year and put ourselves in a position where we are competing in the postseason,” Huertero commented.
Helix will return to action after the holiday break to play at Granite Hills on Jan. 7.
In girls soccer play, the Lady Highlanders went 11-10-1 a year ago (10-1 going into league). Helix ended up getting a bye for the first round of CIF but lost a quarterfinal match to Bonita Vista.
According to head coach Jeff Kepper, some key players this season look to be returning captain Reina Oliver (she played as a midfielder and defender and was on second All-Grossmont Hills team) and senior midfielder Makaia Saucier (first All-Grossmont Hills team).
“It is great getting to play teams in the East County,” Kepper noted. “The teams are very competitive and full of talent. You just have to look at the number of teams that were in CIF finals or Open. The competition makes your team get better as the season progresses, and we want to be playing our best at the end.”
The Highlander girls return to play after the holidays with a Jan. 2 home match versus West Ranch.
In boys basketball, the Highlanders have a senior-laden team this year.
According to varsity assistant coach Ryan Silva, four-year letterman Maurice Holmes leads the way this season.
Holmes was first team All-league last year and has already signed to play his college basketball at Fresno Pacific University in the fall of 2020.
The Highlanders will also be relying on senior point guard and captain Jayden James to help lead. Others expected to contribute include seniors, Keishon Trice, Nick Carlson, Jahari Hill and Sammy Stewart.
Boys basketball is back in play after the holidays with a Jan. 10 game at Valhalla.
— Dave Thomas is a San Diego-based freelance sports writer. If you have an idea for a sports article, reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.