Sports DIGEST : Express Sees Pierce as a Swell Place to Visit--Not to Live

The first professional football game ever played in the San Fernando Valley may well have been the last.

Although L.A. Express officials were impressed with the accommodations and field at Pierce College during their team's 38-17 victory over the Portland Breakers before a capacity crowd on Saturday, spokesman Bob Rose said the team has no immediate plans to move to the Valley.

"For 1985, I can say we're in the Coliseum," Rose said.

"I think we were very encouraged by the kind of support that the Valley demonstrated at the game . . . and we would like to cultivate that kind of enthusiasm throughout the L.A. area. But it's premature to say any plans are being designed for us to move out to the Valley.

"It just gets us all thinking. They don't have any Division I college teams in the area and no pro teams. And yet, they support their high school teams very well."

Pierce Athletic Director Bob O'Connor has expressed interest in having the team move to Pierce, but Rose said the college is not yet ready for a professional team. Pierce's Shepard Stadium, which is used now by the college's football and rodeo teams, has only 5,500 seats. It would need more than 30,000.

A standing-room-only crowd paid $4 each to watch the Express Saturday. All proceeds from ticket sales went to the Pierce athletic department.

CSUN Dives Into Championships

When the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. stopped sponsoring its annual swimming and diving championships six years ago, Cal State Northridge had won the title 10 consecutive times. The Matadors go after their 11th conference title when they travel to Cal State Bakersfield for the CCAA Swimming and Diving Championship today through Saturday.

The CCAA stopped sponsoring the event in 1979 because it did not have a minimum four schools interested in competing for the championship. After Cal State Bakersfield joined the conference, the CCAA was able to resume the meet. Cal State Los Angeles and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo will round out the competition.

The Matadors, who are 8-3 this season, have won four consecutive national championships and eight titles in the last 11 seasons. Sprinter Bruce Parker is among the 17 swimmers and four divers from CSUN who have already qualified for the nationals. Parker was honored as an All-American in six events last season.

CSUN Women Hit the Track

Back on dry land, the Cal State Northridge women's track team is optimistic about this season. Returning to the team are one All-American and two runners who scored in national competition last year.

Nena Manriquez, who finished fifth in the nation last season in the 5,000-meters, has been named All-American four times in cross-country and twice in track. Julie Middleton, who was a member of the CSUN 400-meter relay team that finished 12th in the nation last season, will compete in the sprints. Jenny Stachura, an 800-meter specialist, is also returning this season. She finished 12th in the nation last season with a time of 2:12.26.

Although Leslie Pratt, who finished fourth in the nation last season in the 1,500 as a freshman, is redshirting, CSUN Coach Don Strametz said he thinks his team will continue to be hard to beat.

"This is the best overall team we've had since I've been here," said the coach, who started at Northridge in 1981. "There is a lot of quality, although there is little depth. Compared to last year, we are stronger in every event with the exception of the 400."

Senior League Baseball Tryouts

Boys aged 13 to 15 who are interested in playing senior league baseball in the west San Fernando Valley have one more chance to join a team.

The West Valley Little League will hold its final tryouts and draft Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the West Valley senior field at 17300 Victory Blvd. in Reseda.

Learning to Call Strikes

Men and women aged 18 and older are being sought by the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation Department to become softball and baseball umpires.

An officials school will be conducted at the Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Recreation Center at 14201 Huston St. in Sherman Oaks.

A $30 instructional fee must be paid to attend the courses. Baseball officials are paid $28 per game to work behind the plate and $18 for minding the bases. Softball officials are paid $16 per game for fast-pitch and $14 per game for slo-pitch.

The softball officials school begins Feb. 28 and continues for the following four Thursdays. Courses for baseball officials begin March 12. All classes are being taught from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Information: 783-0738.

Studio City Little League

Registration for tri-league baseball, T-ball and softball will be held until March 9 at the North Hollywood and Studio City recreation centers. The North Hollywood center is located at 11430 Chandler St., while the Studio City center is located at 12621 Rye St. There are leagues for youths aged 6 to 15.

Information: Studio City, 769-4415. North Hollywood, 763-7651.

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