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Playing in high school is no longer vital for college scholarship seekers

ERIC SONDHEIMER / ON HIGH SCHOOLS

Some athletes are giving up playing for their school teams and joining club teams that participate in showcases attended by college recruiters. But college coaches say they are by no means ignoring players in high school programs.

January 31, 2012|Eric Sondheimer

"It changes the whole landscape of the sport, where it's often individualized," USC baseball Coach Frank Cruz said. "You don't care if you win or lose. You're trying to throw 90 mph and run fast. People tend to dismiss the team game, and I don't think that's good for the game."

USC football Coach Lane Kiffin said high school games remain "the No. 1 evaluation tool."

"Game film. That's real ball with pads on," Kiffin said. "All of the other stuff is part of a process. But our No. 1 thing that we're always going to go back to in evaluations is game film."

However, the train has already left the station for sports such as softball, where Ellie Manriquez began playing travel ball when she was 10 in the San Gabriel Valley. She signed with Appalachian State, which is 2,336 miles from her high school, Alhambra Ramona Convent.

"A scout told me it doesn't matter what high school you go to," said Manriquez's mother, Kristen Villa. "What matters is the travel ball team."

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

Staff writer Gary Klein contributed to this story.

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