Colonna: No drought in Southland regarding future sports stars

If you’ve been involved with high school sports long enough, no matter where you live in America, there’s a good chance at least one athlete will reach the professional ranks.

The exception is Southern California, where there are so many future stars living among us that you can visit a T-ball court, swimming pool, gym, park, beach, golf course, or soccer field. to find a singular talent.

No wonder predictions of greatness start at age 5, pick up momentum at 10, catch on at 13, then the surreal life begins dealing with college recruiters, choosing a high school, choosing a private coach. , learn about the rankings and plan for the future.

As the 2021-22 high school sports season draws to a close, Southern California fans are in luck there is no drought in talent. The trajectory continues to be infinite. COVID-19 presented unprecedented challenges. Some families have left California, but many have remained while others may return.

Let’s take a look at what 2022-23 has in store in terms of who we can watch:

  • Juju Watkins of Chatsworth Sierra Canyon and Alyssa Thompson of Studio City Harvard-Westlake are the best in the nation for their age: Watkins in basketball and Thompson in football. They are rare high school athletes already with NIL agreements. We will see and hear about it on ESPN in the coming years. Thompson is busy at Stanford. Watkins will soon make a decision for college. They are elders with extraordinary abilities.
  • Malachi Nelson of Los Alamitos is the quarterback Lincoln Riley took with him when he moved from Oklahoma to USC. He will be an elder who has stayed all four years in the same public school. He still has his best collection of talent around him.
  • Elijah Brown of Santa Ana Mater Dei is entering his junior year and has never lost a game as a quarterback. As turbulence continues to engulf the monarchs, Brown remains above the fray, navigating a pressure-filled position at a school that has produced three Heisman trophy winners.
  • Peyton Woodyard of Bellflower St. John Bosco is a junior defender who is being courted to leave Southern California by seemingly all of the top college programs. His character is off the charts, his work ethic is unwavering, and his understanding of how to treat others is a case study of what happens in the world of recruiting when coaches see talent that matches character.
  • Brady Smigiel of Newbury Park is an incoming 6-foot-4 freshman quarterback and the son of new manager Joe Smigiel. He looks like part of a phenomenon. Let’s see how it ends.
  • Bronny James of Sierra Canyon is entering her senior year of basketball. Injuries over the past couple of years have prevented major leaps in development, although there have been flashes of what could be. It’s a key year to show where he could be headed on and off the pitch.
  • Gavin Grahovac of Villa Park will be talking about baseball in high school in Southern California. He’s the best pro prospect, an amazing hitter with the power and friendly personality to make others like him. San Juan Capistrano manager JSerra Brett Kay called him “the best player on the planet”.
  • Rodrick Pleasant of Gardena Serra is the fastest teenager in California. He broke a state record of 37 by running 100 meters in 10.14 seconds. He also loves football. He is a cornerback and receiver who should be thrilled to return to kickoffs this fall.
  • Dijon Stanley of Granada Hills has made it his passion to prove that you can be an athlete in the City section and grab attention. He was the third classified in the state meeting in the 400 at 47.51. He’s going to pick up that speed and go back to running football for the Highlanders. Scholarship offers start piling up.
  • Ella Parker of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame is an Oklahoma softball saleswoman who is always good for a home run or two if the opponent chooses to throw them. You have scored 11 home runs this season. Her uncle is Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
  • Twin brothers Leo and Lex Young of Newbury Park are distance runners who continue to chase records set by their older brother, Nico, who runs for Northern Arizona. In their senior year, anything will be possible.
  • Rex Maurer of Los Angeles Loyola came close to setting a state record in the 500 freestyle by winning three Southern Section Division I championships as a junior in swimming. He thinks about the Olympic future.

There are many other athletes to be seen in water polo, volleyball, golf and lacrosse. Enjoy your summer vacation, because the next school year will have a chance to be fun and enlightening.

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