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The Colleges : Bridesmaid Revisited: CSUN Finishes 2nd for 12th Time Since 1984

Already this school year, Cal State Northridge has twice played for Division II national championships. And lost.

A stroke of bad luck?

Hardly. More like a continuing trend.

Since the beginning of the 1984 school year, Northridge teams have won 5 national titles--but placed second 12 times.

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That’s a dozen bridesmaids--enough to form the entire court at the largest of weddings.

The women’s volleyball team tops the list, having finished second in 4 of the past 5 years. Last week, the Lady Matadors lost the title match to Portland State in 3 games.

CSUN’s most frustrating year: 1985-86, when women’s volleyball, women’s tennis and softball lost in the finals and women’s cross-country and men’s and women’s swimming placed second in national championship meets.

In men’s sports over the past 4-plus years, Northridge has placed second 4 times without winning a title. CSUN women’s teams have won all 5 championships--including 2 each by softball and swimming--and placed second 8 times.

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The last CSUN men’s team to win a national championship was the 1984 baseball team that was coached by Bob Hiegert, now athletic director.

Wrestlemania: Moorpark Coach John Keever was as worn out as any of his wrestlers after Saturday’s state junior college championship matches at El Camino College.

“People don’t realize how tough it is on the coaches,” Keever said. “I wouldn’t have wanted a blood-pressure sleeve on my arm during those matches.”

Keever saw 2 of his 3 state finalists--heavyweight Vince Plymire and Eric Millsap (118 pounds)--win titles on dramatic overtime decisions. Serge Mezheritsky (142) lost a 6-4 decision to place second.

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Plymire’s match was even more dramatic because it decided the team championship. His 8-1 overtime decision over Randy Gonzalez of Cypress knocked Cypress out of contention for the team title, which went to Palomar. Moorpark placed fifth.

“It was one of the most dramatic state finals I have ever been to because the team score came down to the last match,” Keever said.

Add wrestling: Plymire, who became the first junior college wrestler in 10 years to win 2 consecutive state titles, has been selected the outstanding wrestler in the Western State Conference.

Plymire (19-4-2 in dual meets), set a school record with 10 pins this season. He is only the second wrestler in school history to win back-to-back state titles.

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Mezheritsky (32-3), who was selected the team’s most valuable wrestler, set a school record with 140 takedowns.

WAC attack: Former Granada Hills quarterback Jeremy Leach placed second--although a distant second--in voting for Western Athletic Conference football Newcomer of the Year.

Leach, who passed for 1,986 yards in setting a New Mexico freshman record, received 3 first-place votes in balloting by 36 sportswriters and sportscasters who regularly cover the conference. Wyoming running back Dabby Dawson, a junior transfer from Coffeyville (Kan.) Junior College, won the award with 27 first-place votes. He rushed for 1,125 yards.

Trophy dash: For the second year in a row, Texas A&I; running back Johnny Bailey has won the Harlon Hill Trophy as the best football player in Division II.

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Bailey, a junior from Houston, received the 2 1/2-foot, 63-pound trophy at an awards ceremony in Sheffield, Ala., last Friday. Bailey, who gained 1,442 yards in 10-regular season games, had 28 first-place votes and 158 total points in balloting by 90 Division II sports information directors across the nation.

Portland State quarterback Chris Crawford, the Western Football Conference Player of the Year, was second in the voting with 23 first-place votes and 125 points.

JC football awards: Larry Muir, a sophomore linebacker, was the MVP for Valley. Muir also received awards as most valuable linebacker and scholar-athlete.

Other team award winners included: Chad Pascua (offensive line), Roman Carter (offensive back), Sean Brown (receiver), Daryle Smith (defensive back), Gregg Wilson (defensive line), Marcos Buenabad (most improved, defense), Adrian Davis (most improved, offense), Rocco Cordola (offensive coaches award) and Bill Atwood (defensive coaches award).

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John Goslin, the top defensive player in the Northern Division of the Western State Conference, was selected as Moorpark’s player of the year.

Larry Roberts, a sophomore fullback who was third in the WSC in rushing, was the team’s most valuable running back.

Troy Thomas was selected as the top defensive back and Anthony Trueba and Greg Mattes were honored as co-captains. Sophomore lineman Johnny Ruiz was voted most inspirational player.

Volleyball awards: Sharri Gartland, a sophomore outside hitter for the Pierce volleyball team, was selected first-team All-Western State Conference. Gartland, who played at Calabasas High, averaged 16 kills a match for Pierce, which finished 11-7 and in a tie for fourth place in the WSC.

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Local flavor: Dawn Krenik, a freshman from Agoura Hills, played as a back-row specialist for Portland State in the Division II championship match against Northridge.

Former Hart High middle blocker Jill Daniels and former Burbank and Glendale College hitter Nicole Abernathy participated in the championship tournament for UC Riverside, which was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Regis College.

Staff writers Mike Hiserman, Gary Klein and Ralph Nichols contributed to this notebook.


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