Wide world of North County sports shorts

Steve Ford checks out some soft opening action at Valley Center’s new Crows Nest Mountain Bike Park.

With all due respect to ABC’s Wide World of Sports…Spanning North County to bring you the constant variety of sports… the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat… the human drama of athletic competition… This is The Escondido Grapevine’s Wide World of Sports Shorts.

Play ball? Padres caravan rolls through Westfield North County, Escondido

Padres Caravan rolls through Escondido.

Padres Caravan rolls through Escondido.

Alas, 2016 has just begun and the Padres are million-to-one shots to make the National League playoffs.

A little roadblock like that certainly isn’t nearly enough to derail the Padres Caravan from rolling through Westfield North County.

Last stop before spring training begins, the Padres and fellow staff and travelers were all over the county the weekend of Feb. 11-13.

They hit the Escondido mall at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 12 with several key players, including Matt Kemp, Trevor Hoffman (retired, OK), new manager Andy Green and new announcer, Don Orsillo.

Oh yeah, lest we forget, the giant Friar mascot showed his humongous face delighting and scaring the kids in the same breath.

Unless anybody out there is planning a quick jaunt to the desert, in the form of Peoria, Arizona, for spring training,that was the last chance to see the boys in blue and gold in person before they open the season April 4 against the hated Dodgers.

Crows Nest Bike Park in catbird seat

The long-awaited Crows Nest Bike Park at Valley Center is just about good to go, according to organizer Steve Ford.

“We are down to discussing the gate, and $5 water bill,” Ford said. “Truly piddly stuff now. We’ll be ready to finish up this place soon.”

Ford along with many of the Gravity Cycling Pirates bike team have contributed a lot of time and energy to getting the project finished.  GoFundMe account has raised $7,330 of the $20,000 needed to finish the job. People have donated machinery and equipment even, just not enough.

Mountain bike enthusiasts came from near and even very far far to sample the facility at  28751 Cole Grade Road, just off Valley Center Road behind the softball fields.

“The feedback from all levels of rider has been encouraging,” Ford said. “And its been amazing fun testing it out.”

The park will be the first of its kind in San Diego County and one of the few such facilities in the U.S. About $10,000 and many volunteer hours have been sunk into the efforts. Ford said nearly $100,000 worth of park was built for the money and sweat equity.

Interested parties can help out by visiting http://www.gofundme.com/hhrkmw or by visiting GCI at http://gravitycyclinginc.com.

Road to spring football league started at Escondido

Read to the MLFB started at Escondido.

Read to the MLFB started at Escondido.

Baseball fans know the time for spring training has come as pitchers and catchers reported to camp this week. However, spring training now is in session for another, less likely sport, football. Huh?

The road to the newly formed Major League Football (MLFB) began at Escondido last November with the first open tryouts for the new spring league. Other local tryouts took place at Linfield Christian School, Temecula while kickers, punters and long snappers huddled up at San Diego’s Mesa College.

Rosters have 80 players with the first 40 picks coming through a territorial draft. held in January. The league also will allow free agency. While players can be any age, the league will cap their eligibility at four years

MLFB doesn’t have individual team owners. Instead, the league is publicly traded, and investors and shareholders own a proportionate interest in each team.

The league is billing itself as “The Fastest Game on Turf.”

Last week, the league suffered a financial blow when an expected $20 million investment failed to materialize, news the league is obligated to disclose as a public company. Chandler admits the loss is “unfortunate” but said MLFB is exploring several other viable funding options.

“I feel outstanding about our future and the state of Major League Football moving forward,” said Wes Chandler, former Chargers standout who is president of the league “If you think any new company won’t have bumps in the road, you’re mistaken. We’re going to do right by these players, agents and coaches.”

MLFB has yet to announce the home bases of its eight franchises, but it has been in negotiations for stadium leases for some time. Markets such as Akron, Ohio; Birmingham, Alabama; Eugene, Oregon; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Orlando, Florida, have been earmarked as possible destinations.

A 10-game schedule is planned to run from April to July and conclude before NFL training camps commence. Game schedules have yet to be determined.

The list of MLFB head coaches includes former Dallas Cowboys head coach Dave Campo, former University of Florida head coach Hall, longtime NFL defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell and veteran NFL quarterback Chris Miller.

MLFB has a two-year agreement to televise games via the syndicated American Sports Network, and its games will be officiated in similar fashion to NFL rules, with a few notable exceptions:

•The ground can cause a fumble.

•A 30-second play clock will be used, as opposed to the 40-second clock in the NFL.

•A single 10-minute period will be used for overtime. If the score remains tied, there will be alternating possessions from the 10-yard line.

•Field goals of 50-plus yards will be worth four points.

•Extra points will be scrimmaged from the 2-yard line but kicked from the hashmark on the side of the field where the touchdown was scored, making the angle more severe.

San Marcos signing goes viral

San Marcos high School football star Terrell Burgess goes viral.

San Marcos high School football star Terrell Burgess goes viral.

This just in, news from Utah — San Marcos High School defensive back Terrell Burgess headed to the University of Utah.

Burgess, a three star rated CB by Rivals.com and 247sports.com, chose Utah over Arizona, Cal and San Diego State.

While most prospects these days announce what college they’ll be attending via Twitter, Terrell Burgess of San Marcos High School in California went a step above Thursday night, going on live television to declare his decision.

“I just felt like that was the best decision for me,” Burgess said on KUSI in San Diego after announcing his choice.

Standing 6-feet tall and weighing 180 pounds, Burgess said on the live show that the plan for now will likely be to play at cornerback, with the possibility of seeing time at wide receiver down the road.

Changing of the Escondido H.S. football guard

After a disastrous 2015 campaign, Escondido High, which will play its 118th football season in 2016, has hired Jud Bordman as head coach.

Bordman teaches photography at Escondido, is the yearbook adviser and is in charge of Cougar University, the school’s before- and after-school activity program. He has been at Escondido High since 2008, served as the defensive coordinator for two seasons and coached the linebackers, offensive line and special teams last season.

“This is my first head coaching job, and it has been 15 years in the making,” said Bordman, 39. “I’ve always wanted to be a head coach, so this is the culmination of a lot of work and preparation.”

Bordman played one season of football at Washington State before transferring to the University of Portland, where he threw the javelin.

Bordman started his coaching career in 2000 at La Costa Canyon, working four years under Darren Brown.

After a stint with Nike’s Sparq program in Oregon, he returned to San Diego, working for Chris Hauser on the staff at Mission Hills. He moved to Escondido, working for head coaches Paul Gomes, Jason Texler and Steve Bridges.

Bridges, who is also Escondido’s athletic director and golf coach, stepped down as football coach after posting a 10-32 record in four seasons. The Cougars are 15-47-1 since their last winning season in 2009.

“The record doesn’t show it, but Steve Bridges had the program headed in the right direction,” Bordman said. “I’ve been fortunate to work for quality men and coaches. They’ve helped get me ready for this.”

San Diego Fencing Academy

(Sports shorts5)

Bolivian Olympian Saul Mendoza, co-founder of San Diego Fencing Academy.

Touché’? Say hey to the San Diego Fencing Academy. We’re not talking fences making good neighbors here in the Robert Frost version of the world. Instead, foil and sabre, Olympics and sport.

SDFC has its  own building at 1770 S Escondido Blvd, featuring a high tech sports floor, with performance and safety in mind. Whether on the fencing floor, in the locker room or in the reception area, both, fencers and their companies enjoy a very comfortable environment in our club, according to co-founder Saul Mendoza, a member of the 1984 Bolivian Olympic fencing team

SDFC fencers benefit from classes, private lessons, open fencing, in house tournaments, a fencing store “The Fencing Post”, as well as free internet access in our facility. Members range from young children to late bloomers, and they profit from programs meant for fitness, recreational or competitive training.

It is the goal of SDFC coaches to promote the Olympic sport of fencing by developing skills such as coordination, quick creative thinking and the use of strategy, according to Mendoza and company.

”These skills carry over into everyday life and help adults and children alike get into shape, have fun and relieve stress,” Mendoza said. “We have selected a highly professional and internationally trained group of coaches to meet our goals in educating members and helping all level of fencers to excel.

Mendoza and his wife, Vickie, opened their fencing studio in 2006. Fencers combine reaction time and coordination with physical fitness to attain a level of skill used in individual competition.

A fencer can choose from three main weapons: the foil, epee or sabre. Each weapon favors a different style of fighting, but the object is to hit opponents in the marked scoring area on their outfits.

For more information, visit http://www.sandiegofencing.com.

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