Two Carmel Valley high school stories to watch in 2014

By Karen Billing

Canyon Crest Academy

2014 will be a big year for the San Dieguito Union High School District’s Canyon Crest Academy as it celebrates its 10-year anniversary. Since opening, the school has proven excellence in academics, the arts and athletics. Already on the books is a celebration gala event on May 16 called “Across the Universe,” which will include an “Envision Showcase featuring songs from the Beatles.”

CCA’s most humble beginnings date back to 2004 when 364 students attended school in 19 trailers in the parking lot. Now CCA is a campus of about 1,800 students and the campus keeps on growing and improving. Last year the school opened its new track and athletic field and, in 2014, student athletes will play on new baseball and softball fields, lacrosse and soccer fields. The class of 2015 will be the first to hold graduation in the new stadium,which starts construction next year.

CCA has become well-known for its Envision arts program and next year figures to be big as its talented students will take on “Les Miserables.” Rehearsals are already underway for the spring production.

Torrey Pines Hoops

Heading into January, the Torrey Pines Falcon basketball team is ranked number three in the county and (at presstime) has only lost one game, to the number one team, St. Augustine, by just 5 points.

The Falcons have returned an entire team from last year, a team that was league champions and made a deep playoff run, losing to El Camino in the semi-finals of the CIF Championships.

“We were very good last year and expect to be good again this year,” said Coach John Olive.

The road to a championship this year won’t be easy as for the first year in CIF there will be an open division where the top eight teams will compete.

“We’ll be playing teams that we’ve never seen before and everyone will be very, very good,” Olive said,

The Falcons have two senior starters and the rest are underclassman. You can’t miss the team’s sole freshman player — Jake Gilliam tops out at 6’8”.

Brandon Cyrus, a Canadian import and only a sophomore, is attracting a lot of attention from coaches in college programs across the country.

The Falcons have developed a bit of their own Lob City, often with junior Dominic Hovasse tossing the lofty pass and Brandon slamming it home — Olive said the boys developed this bit of trickery on their own time and have gotten a knack for it.

In addition, 6’5” senior forward Sam Worman is attracting the attention of college recruits — “he does a little bit of everything for us,” Olive said.

In more than 17 years of coaching at Torrey Pines, Olive has had a lot of special players come through and this team is no different.

“I love them,” Olive said of his team. “They’re good kids and they get along well together, follow directions, they’re coachable and I enjoy being around them.”

Students have taken to calling the Torrey Pines gym “The Olive Garden” as a tribute to the longtime coach and Coach Olive just has to laugh at how it’s catching on.

“That’s wonderful,” he said.