May 19, 2024

It’s time to peer into my crystal ball to see what 2024 has in store for the Southland’s high school athletes (and a few former ones), coaches and fans.

Get ready for lots of fun and dead batteries in high school baseball as coaches break out their one-way walkie-talkies to instruct catchers what pitches to throw while worrying about hackers and lip readers trying to steal signs in the first season that electronic communication devices will be allowed during games.

Harvard-Westlake pitching coach Joe Guntz talks about the communication technology the team will deploy this upcoming season.

Harvard-bound JT Kraemer of Long Beach Wilson will set a school record in the 800 meters while dancing his way around the track remembering he once was a football player until turning into a track sensation overnight and going from 177 pounds to 163.

Bill Redell, Kevin Rooney and Mike Herrington, Hall of Fame high school football coaches, will come out of retirement to coach a youth football team, though who will be head coach is to be debated.

Junior quarterback Brady Smigiel of Newbury Park will pass for so many touchdowns that Dr. Pepper will create a commercial featuring Fansville holding a parade for him.

Bryce Rainer of Harvard-Westlake will be a first-round MLB draft choice and celebrate with a bat flip that travels from Studio City to Simi Valley.

Former La Mirada pitcher Jared Jones and former El Toro pitcher Paul Skenes will be rookie stars for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Invisible jersey numbers like this one from Stockton Edison in 2019 are officially outlawed in high school football in 2024.

Invisible jersey numbers like this one from Stockton Edison in 2019 are officially outlawed in high school football in 2024.

(CalHiSports)

Jersey numbers that are almost invisible will be officially banned from high school football and basketball uniforms, causing grandparents and sportswriters everywhere to dance and scream for joy.

Former Lakers teammates Robert Horry and Derek Fisher will talk smack on Jan. 10 when Harvard-Westlake, featuring Christian Horry, faces Crespi, featuring Drew Fisher and coached by Fisher.

Former JSerra shortstop Cody Schrier, back from injury, will have an All-American season for UCLA.

Jaden Soong competes during the U.S. Open qualifier at Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles

Jaden Soong competes during the U.S. Open qualifier at Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles

(Brody Hannon)

Jaden Soong, one of the top eighth-grade golfers in America, will select a Mission League school, causing the head coach to celebrate with a bottle of apple cider.

UCLA coach Mick Cronin will show up on Jan. 9 to watch the matchup of future Bruin Eric Freeny of Corona Centennial playing against Eastvale Roosevelt’s Brayden Burries and dream of having both.

The top five high school football teams next fall will look like this: 1. Corona Centennial, 2. St. John Bosco, 3. Mater Dei, 4. Mission Viejo, 5. Orange Lutheran.

Trent Mosley of Santa Margarita will score touchdowns returning a kickoff, returning a punt, catching a pass, running and throwing a pass — in a single game.

Center fielder David Mysza of La Salle will go five for five in a game.

Ventura County football fans will be going bonkers over brothers Kaden and Koen Glover at St. Bonaventure and twins Brady and Beau Smigiel at Newbury Park.

Granada Hills pitcher Easton Hawk will sign an NIL deal with Easton bats after the Highlanders win the City Section championship at Dodger Stadium.

Nearly two years after El Camino Real’s football field was declared defective (melting turf), parents, players and coaches will hold a parade to celebrate the miraculous ability of LAUSD to finally figure out how to hire the right contractors and fix the field.

Sean Kelly is a 6-foot-7 UCLA-bound senior volleyball player at Loyola considered the best in the nation.

Sean Kelly is a 6-foot-7 UCLA-bound senior volleyball player at Loyola considered the best in the nation.

(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Loyola volleyball player Sean Kelly will force his athletic trainer to break out the gauze pads after one of his spikes causes a nose bleed for a helpless opponent.

JuJu Watkins of USC will replace Caleb Williams as the most recognizable celebrity on campus.

Former Etiwanda baseball players Brady, left, and Trey Ebel have transferred to Corona.

Former Etiwanda baseball players Brady, left, and Trey Ebel have transferred to Corona.

(Don Furnald)

Get ready for the year of the brothers in high school baseball — Dylan and Gavin Fien of Great Oak, Brady and Trey Ebel of Corona, Bryce Rainer of Harvard-Westlake and Colton Rainer of Royal.

Angel Cervantes of Warren will strike out 18 batters in a seven-inning game.

Quarterback Wyatt Brown of Santa Monica will head to the Santa Monica Pier and throw a football over the Ferris wheel for a school project demonstrating gravity and arm motion.

AAA, known as Triple A, will sign USC outfielder Austin Overn to an NIL deal after he sets a college record for most triples.

Alyssa Thompson and Gisele Thompson of Angel City FC at Nike LA on December 08, 2023 in Playa Vista, California.

Alyssa Thompson and Gisele Thompson of Angel City FC at Nike LA on December 08, 2023 in Playa Vista, California.

(Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)

Alyssa and Gisele Thompson will sign a documentary deal with Disney to focus on life as teenage soccer stars.

Corona will win the Southern Section Division 1 baseball championship, with Garden Grove Pacifica winning the Division 1 softball title.

USC commit Diego Velasquez of Crespi will be the Shohei Ohtani of high school baseball as a two-way standout in pitching and hitting.

Freshman guard Kaleena Smith of Ontario Christian has been one of the top players in girls basketball.

Freshman guard Kaleena Smith of Ontario Christian has been one of the top players in girls basketball.

(Craig Weston)

Freshman Kaleena Smith of Ontario Christian will be the next big-time girls’ basketball player to gain national attention.

Two pitchers who have never played high school baseball, senior Cade Townsend of Santa Margarita and junior Seth Hernandez of Corona, will be breakout stars.

Pitcher Cambria Salmon of Beaumont, a Texas softball commit, will be so dominating that when a batter doesn’t strike out, there will be dugout high-fives.

The best lacrosse player in Southern California will be Luke Stickler of Loyola as he leads the Cubs to a Southern Section title.

Shohei Ohtani will make an appearance at a local high school to teach hitting and Japanese.

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