Prep Review : Leach, With Dedication, Has Bolstered Laguna Beach Tennis

After Jon Leach of Laguna Beach High School won the Southern Section Individual tennis tournament singles title Saturday, Bob Walton, the Artists’ coach couldn’t say enough about the freshman.

Leach was 65-1 in his singles sets during team competition, leading Laguna Beach to the 3-A semifinals of the team competition. Leach suffered his first loss Thursday when Laguna Beach was eliminated by San Marino, 10-8, in the semifinals.

Saturday, Leach became the first freshman since Jon Douglas in 1952 to win a Southern Section singles title.


In addition to tennis, Leach played on the freshman basketball team this season.

Walton thinks the experience of playing a team sport rubbed Leach the right way. He recently sacrificed a chance to travel to Mexico with an amateur team. He stayed home, instead, so that he could help his high school team, Walton said.

“Going to the (Southern Section) semis is not going to be the biggest thing in his career, but for the other kids it probably will be,” Walton said.

Tape delay: Esperanza Coach Al Britt said Aztec relay runner Danielle Reaves was in “a complete and massive panic” before the 400-meter relay Friday night in the Masters track and field meet at Cerritos College.

Reaves discovered, just moments before the race’s start, that she didn’t have a piece of masking tape needed to mark her take-off spot in her lane.

In a panic, Reaves began sprinting down the track screaming, “I need a piece of tape!! Get me a piece of tape!!”

As it happened, Reaves’ frantic pleas pierced a hushed silence that had just fallen over the stadium. The meet announcer had just requested that the crowd stand, and prepare for the Pledge of Allegiance.

Many in the stands, irritated by what they thought was disrespectful behavior, yelled at Reaves to be quiet.

Reaves, oblivious to the situation, continued yelling until a teammate delivered the tape.

With Reaves as their No. 2 runner, the Aztecs placed fourth in the 400 relay in 48.19, the fastest clocking by an Orange County team since Edison set the current county record (47.64) in 1983.

Season endings: Several county athletes had impressive personal bests Friday night, but did not qualify for the State meet. The first five finishers in each event advanced to this weekend’s state championships at Cerritos College.

Corona del Mar’s d'Layne Kerr, who had not run faster than 57 seconds in an open 400 meters, ran a 56.33 Friday night, but placed sixth.

Leslie Cashion, also of Corona del Mar, tied a school record with an 11:05 effort in the girls’ 3,200. The time was a five-second improvement on Cashion’s former best, but only good enough for eighth place.

La Habra’s Sita Jones ran the fastest girls’ 1,600-meter time in the county this season, 5:03.81, but was sixth.

Capistrano Valley’s Laurina Mulhaupt took three seconds off her former best in the 800 meters with a time of 2:16.62. Mulhaupt was eighth.

For some area athletes, Friday night didn’t go as planned.

Western high jumper Andy Lobpries, who leaped 6-10 last Saturday for the Southern Section 2-A title and 2-A record, cleared 6-6 Friday night, but placed eighth.

Four other jumpers also cleared 6-6, of which only Mission Viejo’s Eric Pryce advanced as he cleared all of his heights on his first attempts.

Lori Svoboda, the 1987 Masters high-jump champion from El Dorado, failed to qualify. Svoboda passed on the first three heights and then missed three attempts at 5-4.

Food for thought: Newport Harbor’s Jim Geerlings, who stunned many in winning the boys’ 1,600 meters, said he owes his most recent success to a change in diet.

Geerlings, who took six seconds off his career best in running a county-leading 4:09.54, said: “It’s the pasta I’ve been eating. Until last week, I normally lived on Twinkies.”

Master hurdler: When Anthony Hale of Garden Grove won the 300-meter intermediate hurdles, he became the first Garden Grove athlete to win a Masters meet title since Jim Straw won the 100-yard dash in 1974.

Hale’s winning time was 37.89.

Only two other Garden Grove students have won Masters titles.

The state leader in the intermediate hurdles is John Montgomery of Independence High in San Jose, who has run 36.60.

Canyon’s versatile Allison Franke, the girls’ Southern Section 4-A champion in the discus and the triple jump, was named the Century League’s most valuable field-event athlete by league coaches.

Franke, a junior, set a county best this season of 158-feet 4-inches in last Friday’s Masters meet. Franke improved upon her previous best of 155-11, set in last week’s 4-A meet, and qualified first from the Southern Section for this week’s state meet at Cerritos College.

Franke is No. 2 in the nation this season, behind Janet Hill of Shreveport, La., who has thrown 174-10.

Franke also won the 4-A triple jump last week with a personal best 38-1. During the season, she also competed in the long jump, shotput and 100-meter hurdles.

Maricela Benavides of Santa Ana Valley was named the Century’s most valuable athlete in distance events and Ashley Selman of Foothill was honored in the sprints.

For the boys, John Armstrong of Villa Park was named the most valuable athlete for field events, Brett Schultz of Canyon won for distance and Santa Ana Valley’s William Dancy won for sprints.

Where-are-they-now dept.: Frank Hinman, a former player at Corona del Mar, was on the winning doubles team at the NCAA Division III championship last Sunday at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va. Hinman teamed with Lance Au of Hawaii.

Hinman, who graduated from Corona del Mar in 1984 and helped the Sea Kings win the 1983 4-A team title, graduated from Claremont-Mudd last month. He was named to the Division III all-American team four straight seasons.

Add where-are-they-now dept.: Mike Willes of Brigham Young, a former football and baseball star at Fullerton High, was named the Western Athletic Conference baseball player of the year.

Willes, a senior designated hitter, hit 35 home runs this season, the second straight season he led the NCAA. Last season, he hit 31. He also had a .550 batting average this season.

Willes also played catcher and third base for BYU.

Prep Notes

Aimee McDaniel, sophomore point guard at Brea-Olinda, has been invited to the Blue Star National Team Tournament scheduled for July 10-14 at William & Mary University in Williamsburg, Va. McDaniel, The Times’ Orange County player of the year, was one of seven California girls invited. . . . Debbie Bellony of Buena Park has been added to the North girls’ team and Jeff Springfield of Mission Viejo has been added to the South boys’ team for the 23rd Orange County All-Star basketball games scheduled for Saturday, June 25, at UC Irvine’s Bren Center. Tickets for the game go on sale Tuesday at the Bren Center or at Ticketron outlets.

Bob Flint, who will coach the South team in the 21st Orange County All-Star baseball game, has named Ken Millard of Estancia and Bob Ickes of Mater Dei his assistant coaches. . . . Steve Hiskey, Brea-Olinda athletic director, is accepting applications for a varsity wrestling coach. For information, contact Hiskey at 990-7887. . . . Bill Cunerty, Saddleback College assistant football coach, will host the 1988 West Coast Passing School on July 11-15 at Saddleback College. . . Ocean View has been seeded seventh and Tustin ninth in the 128-team L.A. Games boys’ basketball tournament June 18 at seven sites throughout Southern California. Prime Ticket will televise the championship game scheduled for 3 p.m. June 26 at El Camino College.