Lee Trepanier, Point Loma High School girls' basketball coach, should be overjoyed to have his team going to Oakland next week for a shot at another Division I state championship.
Trepanier is happy to be back in the final. But the price of success bothers him.
Even with budget fares, it cost $3,000 to fly the Point Loma entourage to Oakland. The CIF reimburses participating schools at the rate of 20 cents per mile for a maximum of four cars. Point Loma expects to be reimbursed about $1,900. The remainder must be raised by the team. So far, none has been raised.
"Maybe they're penalizing us for being too successful," Trepanier said. "We've been going up there for the last few years. Most teams don't do that. They go one time and that's it. We've been a little more successful and (the cost) just gets bigger and bigger from one year to the next."
Fund raising is nothing new at Point Loma. The players raise money throughout the year by holding bake sales and selling refreshments at other campus sporting events. However, most of the funds go toward sending players to summer basketball camp and paying tournament travel expenses.
This postseason has been particularly costly for Point Loma. The team had to travel to Granada Hills to play Kennedy High and to the Los Angeles Sports Arena for Saturday's game against Lynwood. Although the CIF reimburses teams for travel, hotel and food expenses, it takes weeks for the federation to disburse the funds, Trepanier said.
The Pointers hope to raise at least part of the needed $1,100 through donations from business and community leaders, an idea Trepanier supports.
"They're the ones receiving the accolades," he said. "When they read in the paper that Point Loma did this and Point Loma did that, it makes them feel proud."
Trepanier has even suggested moving the site of the state finals to reduce the financial burden of San Diego teams competing in state championships.
"They've had the playoffs in Oakland for the last five years," he said. "That's really not fair to us in this end of the state."
Trepanier said he has asked the San Diego Section Board of Managers to provide additional funds for section champions. According to Trepanier, board members believe it is the responsibility of each school district to help send teams to state playoff games. Trepanier has proposed that San Diego districts pool funds to cover expenses of playoff-bound teams.
"That hasn't gone over real well, either," he said. "Right now in in the school districts, athletics is not a high priority. Academics is the big thing now."
Last week's storms played havoc with the county's various prep baseball tournaments.
The Crawford, Warhawk, GMC and Hilltop-Moose tournaments were scheduled to be played over a two-week period. But with much of the first week washed out and more rain expected, coaches and tournament directors are scrambling to reschedule games.
Mount Carmel High School has been among the hardest hit. The Sundevils played only one of three scheduled games in the Hilltop-Moose tournament. Only two of the 12 tournament teams have played all their scheduled games. And the prospect that the games can be made up this week appears as dismal as the weather forecast.
"We hadn't been rained out in three years before last week. The early season is a time to play a lot of games. It gets frustrating and a little depressing when you want to play and can't get your baseball fix," said Mount Carmel Coach Sam Blalock.
The bad weather has forced coach to find some alternative sites.
"We sometimes get in the gym to hit Whiffle balls; other times we practice in the showers in the locker room," Blalock said. "But that's not baseball. In the one game we did play, we made four gross mistakes running the bases. Our players looked awe-struck just to be out on the field. The reaction to certain situations is just not there. The kids' arms aren't ready. It's not fair to them. You're going to see a lot of inconsistencies early in the season."
Said Mira Mesa Coach Larry Elliot: "(The rain) has hampered us because we haven't had a chance to see all the players and get down to the size we normally carry. At this stage, we're usually down to 13 or 14 players. Right now, we've still got 22. I want to give everybody a fair look."
Since 10 of the 12 teams in the Moose-Hilltop tournament need to reschedule games, competition may not be completed until after spring break. Organizers of the other tournaments are hoping to conclude by next weekend, even if some teams have to play Tuesday through Saturday.
The rescheduling has many schools caught in a squeeze play. Most teams also are competing in next week's Lions' tournament, which will be played in three days this year instead of the usual four. Barring rain, the Lions' tournament has each team playing doubleheaders on Monday and Wednesday, with a single game Tuesday.
For finalists in this week's tournaments, this means 10 games in eight days.
"I think the kids love to play," Elliot said. "If they could play every day, I think they'd go for it. We're such a large school and we have so many kids trying out, it gives a lot of kids who normally wouldn't play a chance."
At least one coach says there could be a solution to scheduling problems.
"I think CIF should allow baseball earlier starting times," Blalock said. "One week of conditioning and one week of scrimmages isn't enough. And then it really stacks it up if you have bad weather. The kids' arms aren't ready. It's not fair to them."