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The High Schools : Hart Girls’ 5-A Title Punctuates a Season Dotted With High Points

How high is high?

Coach Pam Walker of Hart High, the Southern Section 5-A Division’s newly crowned girls’ basketball champion, is not sure.

A 25-2 record . . . a Foothill League title . . . an overtime win in the playoffs against powerful Buena . . . a 14-point win in the 5-A championship game Friday night at Cal Poly Pomona.

Indeed, how high is Hart High?

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Walker, despite all of her postgame talk of the American dream and team effort, was relatively subdued after her squad knocked off Santa Barbara for the school’s first basketball title--girls’ or boys’.

“You know,” Walker said, “I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t totally euphoric at the time. But I realized it’s just been a season of wonderfulness. This is super, but it’s been super all season. It’s a collection of tremendous moments.”

More such moments may be in store. Hart will begin play in the state Division I playoffs Tuesday. The site and opponent will be announced today.

Add Hart: Walker has been thrilled with the support shown by the Hart student body, the community and even other schools in the Newhall area.

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Such a display of spirit is a far cry from last season when the basketball team had to raffle off a compact-disc player in order to encourage people to attend the games.

No rivalry here: When Jim Benkert was named football coach at Westlake this week, he became the second Crespi assistant to land a head coach’s position in the past month. Tim Lins, who took over at Crespi when Bill Redell resigned, was the other.

Benkert and Lins coached together for four years, so the inevitable question was asked: “When is the first Westlake-Crespi football game?”

Neither jumped at the idea.

“That won’t happen,” Benkert said, “because I root for Crespi, too. As long as I have anything to do with it, and I do now, Westlake won’t play Crespi--in football or track.”

Benkert coaches the track team and also teaches at Crespi.

“I’ll pull for Crespi to win the Division I championship and Westlake to win the Division II championship,” he said.

Lins does not deny that it would be an interesting rivalry but also prefers the schools don’t tangle, at least for now.

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“I think for right now it would be in the best interest for both schools to avoid each other,” Lins said. “Things are a little awkward in the situation . . . with what has transpired over the last couple of weeks.”

1959 revisited: Poly Coach Jerry Cord was a freshman infielder at Occidental in 1959 when somebody came up with the crazy idea that Cord might make a good catcher.

The Tigers were short-handed at the position and Cord’s arm and instincts were such that he seemed a good candidate to replace Wayne Sink, the starting catcher who had just graduated.

Sink, who remained with the team as an assistant, schooled Cord in the fundamentals of the position. Sink must have liked it enough to continue his teaching career--he now coaches at Birmingham.

Thirty years after their initial tutorial sessions--thanks to the City Section’s recent realignment that placed Poly and Birmingham in the Valley Pac-8 Conference--Sink has another chance to teach Cord a thing or two. Birmingham and Poly will meet twice.

Add tutors: Rodney Beck of Grant, the 1986 City player of the year, has been working out with the Lancer varsity, recounting tales of his career in professional ball. Beck will play this season at the double-A level in Shreveport, La., an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.

Grant Coach Tom Lucero said that he hopes at least one player is listening to Beck’s sermons.

“He’s been telling everybody what it’s really like,” Lucero said. “About the 12-hour bus rides, about the $6 in meal money you get every day, about how most guys share an apartment with four other players just to make ends meet. It’s not what most kids think it is.”

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Beck signed with the Oakland A’s after completing his senior year at Grant.

Grant right-hander Javier Delahoya, who has attracted scouts by the busload after striking out 101 batters in 69 innings last year en route to a 7-3 record as a junior, has been spending time with Beck.

“I’m not saying that I want to steer Javier toward college or anything,” Lucero said. “I just want him to be sure what he’s getting into, so he has no delusions. He should know what lies ahead.”

East Coast-bound: Five members of the Oak Park boys’ track team will compete in the National Indoor high school track and field championships at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., next Sunday.

Rich Frank, Kent Richter, Jess Garner and Jason Stein will run in the 1,600-meter relay and Brian Kane will replace Garner in the 800 relay.

In individual events, Richter and Garner will compete in the 400, and Garner also will run in the 55-meter high hurdles.


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