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By Peter Diana/ Post-Gazette
BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
One of Bakersfield's biggest football names could soon become Joey Porter, high school football coach.
Foothill athletic director Scott Manzer confirmed Wednesday that Mike Gregg, the Trojans coach for the past four seasons, will leave at the end of the school year to take a teaching position at Centennial, where he'll serve on new coach Kevin Sneed's staff.
Manzer also said that Porter has "expressed interest" in the opening at Foothill, which happens to be the alma mater of the four-time All-Pro linebacker and member of the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 2000s.
Many schools have famous alumni, of course, but Porter seems more likely than most to take a job in his hometown. He has always kept a home in Bakersfield; he runs a youth football camp every summer with the help of various famous former teammates; and since his NFL retirement last fall, he's been a fixture at high school athletic events around the county.
Porter has no formal high school coaching experience, but his knowledge of the game goes without saying and his presence alone would create excitement around a program that hasn't had a winning season since 2007.
There is one major obstacle, however: Foothill has two open teaching positions, and the Kern High School District prefers on-staff coaches. If a candidate could also fill one of those, he could be picked no matter how much star power Porter could bring to the table.
Haney sets 2-mile record
Stockdale junior Blake Haney continued to make distance-running history Saturday night when he broke a 46-year-old Central Section record by running 8:48.58 in the 3,200 meters at the Arcadia Invitational.
Peter Romero of Reedley previously held the record at 8:49.4, a time so old (1967) that that time had to be converted from when the race was 3,200 yards.
Foothill's Chris Schwartz held the record for a race run in meters -- 8:51.60 in winning the 2009 CIF state title.
Strangely enough, Haney's legendary performance -- which included a lightning 4:16 second mile -- was only good enough for third place in the Invitational Race at Arcadia, which produced the fastest 10 times in the nation this year. Ben Saarel of Park City (Utah) ran 8:45.74 to win perhaps the deepest high school 3,200-meter race ever run.
Several other Kern County runners had performances in the past week that rank first in the section for the season: Luis Matos, Golden Valley, boys 100, 10.90; Ivan Gonzalez, Ridgeview, boys 800, 1:52.53; Gabriel Gaeta, Frontier, boys 300 hurdles, 40.37; Scotty Newton, Bakersfield, boys triple jump, 47-11.5; Matt Smith, Bakersfield Christian, boys discus, 170-0; Morganne Hill, Liberty, girls 400, 56.95; Hill, girls 100 hurdles, 14.87; Hill, 300 hurdles, 43.26; Kiare Tanner, Stockdale, girls triple jump, 37-5.
Many of those marks came at the prestigious Arcadia meet, but Smith's 170-0 mark in the discus came off the beaten path. It was at a dual meet in Taft, but the mark is significant: According to DyeStat, it's the best mark in the nation this year by a sophomore.
Bell threatens PSU records
Former Liberty softball star Cassidy Bell is having a senior season to remember for Penn State.
Her first-inning homer run Tuesday against Saint Francis (Pa.) was her 16th of the season, tying the Nittany Lions' single-season record. It was also the 33rd home run of her career, just one behind Shannon Salsburg's career record with weeks of games left.
On Wednesday, Bell was named one of 25 finalists for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, which will be announced at the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City in late May.
Another honor for McCall
Another MVP award has rolled in for Ridgeview senior Erica McCall. This time, it's the Cal Hi Sports Division II Player of the Year honor.
McCall has already been named a McDonald's All-American and the Gatorade State Player of the Year. The Californian's All-Area team comes out Sunday.
Hoops all-star games
Garces senior Rachol West scored 27 points to lead the South team in the annual North vs. South All-Star Game in Tulare on Saturday, but her team fell 75-63 to the North.
Stockdale's Nakia Page and Bakersfield's Tiana Henry each added 10 points.
The South won the boys game, 104-98 in double overtime, behind 25 points from Tulare Union's Keonta Vernon. Liberty's Jake Martin had 9 points and Stockdale's Keith McCants, Bakersfield's Stephon Newsome and Bakersfield's Steven Contreras all had 8 points.
This week, the All-Star scene shifts to Bakersfield High, where Kern County's All-Stars take on Antelope Valley All-Stars. The girls game tips at 5 p.m. with the boys game to follow at about 7.
Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for high school students, $3 for middle school students and free to age 10 and younger.