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High Schools:

Tars’ Whiteside throws a curve

February 08, 2010|By David Carrillo Peñaloza

Instead of throwing a discus, you might see Cecil Whiteside fire a different object this spring.

The UC Berkeley-bound football player is embarking on a new varsity sport at Newport Harbor High.

The senior’s decision to forego his final boys’ track and field season for baseball has thrown throwing coach Tony Ciarelli a curveball. The 6-foot-3, 222-pound Whiteside said he tried out for the baseball team in hopes of participating in his fourth sport at the school.

The move is one Ciarelli said he couldn’t understand. Last season, Whiteside finished third in the discus throw at the CIF State track and field championships after defending his CIF Southern Section Masters meet title.

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“I’ve never had a guy who has put so much time into throwing quit in his senior year,” said Ciarelli, who has been a throwing coach since 1979. “A lot of times you have a junior who wants to come out and try the sport and he doesn’t return the following year. Cecil’s been doing it since his freshman season. He made it to CIF every year, went to state the last two years and placed each time.

“My disappointment comes from how much he committed [to throwing] and how much time we put into each other. The reason he was noticed in football was because of throwing. When a college [football] coach sees someone throw 187 feet, they know that’s a great athlete.”

The day before Whiteside signed his letter of intent with UC Berkeley on Wednesday, he said Ciarelli wasn’t too happy with his decision to end his throwing career.

Whiteside, the Daily Pilot Newport-Mesa Football Player of the Year, said he turned to baseball because it was one of his favorite sports before enrolling at Newport Harbor. The idea of playing alongside his childhood friends also induced Whiteside to try out.

Ciarelli said Whiteside, who has also played basketball at Newport Harbor, gave him other reasons for not coming out for track and field.

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