From the desk of Dr. Tuin, Tustin High Principal

January 28, 2022

As January wraps, the winter high school sports picture really starts to develop. Each sport is on a second round of competitions with league opponents and jockeying for potential CIF participation. In high school athletics, wins, losses, and even ties are recorded, but there is so much more that happens. Over the past seven days, we experienced all the above. In each result, there was so much to be proud of in our Tillers. They competed hard and gave their best effort. At the end of the day, that is one of the most important lessons from competing, to push yourself and offer your best. Possibly an even more important lesson is learning to work with others to achieve a common goal. I could see our athletes doing both this week.

It started last Friday evening when both our boy's soccer and basketball teams won home games. Our soccer team finally got some of their players back from injury or sickness and started to show glimpses of how good they might be moving forward. Not too long after their victory, the boy's basketball team found themselves in quite an intense game against a difficult league opponent they hadn’t beaten in a few years. A somewhat comfortable lead disappeared in the final 4.7 seconds, only to have our boys run down the court and score with no time remaining. Coach Boss had our boys hustling and battling the whole game, and the hard work paid off.

There were more challenging games this week for other sports as well. Girls basketball hosted a special home event to remember and honor Coach Neal’s brother Tony who recently passed away unexpectedly. There were family members and even former opponents of Tony Neal who showed up to support. The girls and coaches wore their Tony Neal shirts as a way to honor his legacy. The girls also responded with a close victory of their own, learning to fight through adversity and prevail.

Boys soccer traveled to play one of the best soccer teams in Orange County, Valencia, and ended up with a 2-2 tie. Again, most of their players were back and they showed a preview of how they are coming together as a dynamic team.

That same day at home, girls soccer played one of the league opponents who had beaten them the first time around. The girls competed with incredible focus and determination tied at the half. Coach Evelyn has done an amazing job of growing this team and getting them to compete. While they didn’t win, there showed continued signs they are growing and learning, lessons that will extend far beyond high school.

That brings me to girls water polo who played an important game yesterday after school in our home pool. Many of these girls didn’t have a lot of experience before high school with water polo. Watching them this year, it is obvious they were learning the game. Despite challenges this year, they approached the game yesterday with intensity and determination. When the game ended, the score was tied. It took two overtimes to determine the winner. The girls were exhausted and learned so much about what it means to push through. Although they ended up on the short end of the 9-8 game, I was so proud of our girls for competing. It was also special to see the boy's water polo team gathered with current and former tillers to cheer on their friends. While we don’t always win, it is still great to be a Tiller.

Go Tillers!

Dr. Jon Tuin

Tustin High School Principal