Laguna's Noah Blanton, left, and Austin Hillemann, right, team up to block the hit of a Santiago hitter in CIF second round playoff match at Laguna. (DON LEACH, Coastline Pilot / May 10, 2012)

The Laguna Beach boys' and girls' swimming teams nearly rose to the top of the Division 3 ladder at the CIF Southern Section Swimming and Division Championships at Riverside Community College.

The Laguna boys' team finished runner-up May 10 behind champion Mark Keppel of Alhambra. On the girls' side, Laguna placed third behind champion Mark Keppel and second-place La Serna of Whittier.

"I am very proud of what our teams accomplished this year," Laguna Coach Kari Johnson said. "We had the best combined finish at CIF in our school's history. Every member of our team did an excellent job. We all did our best and it paid off."

The Laguna boys' team won CIF Division 3 titles on two fronts. The Breakers' 200-meter relay team of freshman Erik Juliusson, junior Caleb Scott and seniors Billy Wild and Erik Henrikson won the event in a school-record time of 1 minute 37.82 seconds. Wild also won the 100 butterfly in 51.66 to set a school record, which he previously held.

Other school-record times were set at the finals by the Breakers. Juliusson did it in both the 500 freestyle and 100 backstroke, and also as part of the boys' 400 freestyle relay team. His time of 4:43.59 earned him a third-place finish in the 500 free. He went 51.84 in the 100 backstroke and was in second place. Juliusson had set the school record for both events just a week prior at the Orange Coast League finals.

The boys' 400 freestyle relay team of Wild, junior Riley Thomas, freshman Cade Baldridge and Juliusson swam a 3:17.67 to establish a school mark. The girls' 200 medley relay team of sophomore Lila Vera, junior Lexi Del Toro and seniors Yoshi Andersen and Melena Masson set a school standard at 1:52.23.


Track and Field

Three Laguna Beach athletes advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division 4 finals Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.

Natasha Strickland (girls' 1,600 meters), Spencer Anderson (boys' 110 hurdles) and Ricky Delatorre (shot put) all qualified after competing Saturday at the prelims at Carpinteria High.

The finals start at 11 a.m. with field events. Running events start at 1 p.m. The following times have been set for the Division 4 events that include Laguna athletes: shot put (11 a.m.); girls' 1,600 (1:35 p.m.); boys' 110 hurdles (2:40 p.m.).

The top 12 performances (all divisions combined) in the boys' and girls' 800, 1,600, 3,200 and all field events will advance to the upcoming CIF Masters Meet on May 26. The top nine performers in all other boys' and girls' events also move on to the Masters Meet.


Boys' Volleyball

Orange Coast League champion Laguna won its first two matches in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs, but Saturday their title bid came to an end following a quarterfinal loss at West Ranch of Valencia. The host Wildcats (23-9) held off the third-ranked Breakers for a 16-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-23 victory.

Weston Barnes had 17 kills and eight digs, Jackson Pries 13 kills, Austin Hilleman 10 kills and 10 digs, and Jack Winn (26) and Grifan Fair (16) combined for 42 assists for the Breakers, who finished 22-9 in Scott Panaro's first year as head coach.

It was the 16th straight quarterfinal appearance for Laguna.

West Ranch, the No. 2 team from the Foothill League, was swept Tuesday in the semifinals by No. 2-seed Corona del Mar. The Sea Kings will play top-ranked Oak Park in Saturday's division final at Cypress College.

"This was a heartbreaking loss," Panaro said. "We fought hard but came up short. I am proud of how hard my guys competed."

"I give West Ranch all the credit. They beat us. We came out on fire, playing with lots of confidence and won game one without too much opposition. But I knew West Ranch was capable of more than they showed us in game one."