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Leading Athletes Named to Times’ All-County Teams : Boys’ Volleyball : Wetzel Sets It Up for All to See in Leading Edison

Times Staff Writer

David Wetzel remembers a time when volleyball players at Edison High School were looked upon mostly as anonymous beachgoers who wandered in off the sands of Huntington Beach and played meaningless matches in front of crowds that were anything but capacity. This year, he said, all that changed.

“Yeah, it’s an actual sport there now,” Wetzel said with a smile. “We actually got big crowds out there for matches. Two years ago, you could have played them in a telephone booth.”

The reason for the change in attitude was Edison’s emergence as a volleyball power in Orange County in 1985. The Chargers (16-3) won the Sunset League championship, and reached the semifinals of the Southern Section playoffs.

And one of the reasons for the change in Edison’s fortunes on the volleyball court was the play of Wetzel, the team’s senior setter and floor leader. Wetzel, who gained recognition as one Southern California’s premier prep setters, has been named The Times’ Orange County player of the year for boys’ volleyball.

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Volleyball may be foreign to some of the students around Edison, but Wetzel was exposed to it early in life.

“I was born into it,” he said. “Uncles, cousins, friends, they all played. There was nothing I could do (to escape it.)”

Wetzel’s uncle, Bob, was the men’s volleyball coach at Orange Coast College before financial constraints forced the school to drop its volleyball program. His cousin, Tim, played at the University of Hawaii. His father, Bill, a vice principal at Estancia, also is a volleyball official.

“I remember a match during my freshman year when I actually called him ‘Dad’ on the court. He made a call against us that I didn’t like and I said, “Oh, c’mon Dad.’ That got a few strange looks from the players on the other team. He wouldn’t do our varsity games, though. We didn’t want any controversy.”

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Bill Wetzel won’t have that dilemma next year, because his son will have graduated. But one man’s solution is another’s problem. Edison Coach Dan Glenn isn’t exactly overjoyed to see Wetzel go.

“It’s like a football team losing its All-CIF quarterback,” Glenn said. “He won’t be easy to replace.”

Wetzel orchestrated the Chargers’ 5-1 offense, calling the plays and performing all of the setting duties. That meant he was not only responsible for providing accurate sets for Edison’s hitters, but he was naturally expected to assume a leadership role. But, according to his coach, that didn’t come naturally.

“At the beginning of the year, I had a problem because he was my 5-1 setter, but he wasn’t really a team leader,” Glenn said. “He wasn’t very vocal. But as the season developed, he became a team leader by his actions, by example.

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“He really blossommed this year. We came around as a team at midseason, and that was due to him maturing as a player.”

FIRST TEAM

Name School Pos. Class Larry Barnett Woodbridge MB Sr. Kurt Blanton Laguna Beach MB Sr. Adam Lockwood Estancia OH Sr. Adam Mathieu Dana Hills S/H Sr. Jon Schisler CdM S Sr. David Wetzel Edison S Sr.

SECOND TEAM

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OH: Chris Carpenter (Edison) Sr., Peter Nourse (Corona del Mar) Sr., Mike Stafford (Laguna Beach) Sr. MB: Scott Burch (Woodbridge) Sr., Don Moomaw (Dana Hills) Sr. S/H: Carlos Briceno (Fountain Valley) Sr.


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