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JC NOTES : New Coach Puts El Camino in the Swim for State Meet

Corey Stanbury, El Camino College’s enthusiastic swimming and water polo coach, has proven that with enough dedication, any program can be upgraded in a short time.

In only his second season as head coach, Stanbury has made contenders out of the once-ailing El Camino men’s and women’s swim teams.

In last week’s South Coast Conference meet at Golden West College, the El Camino men finished second and the women third. Seven Warriors--two divers and five swimmers--qualified for the state meet, which started Thursday at Mt. San Antonio College and ends Saturday.

Last season only one El Camino swimmer, Todd Douglas, and three divers qualified for the state meet.

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Douglas, an all-American last year, will compete in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke and the 400-yard medley relay. Sophomore Dan Wilkinson qualified in the 500- and 1,650-yard freestyle, the 200 freestyle relay and the 400 medley.

Palos Verdes High freshman Scott Peppard will compete in both relays and the 50-yard freestyle. Freshman Bill Johnston will swim the last leg of the 200 freestyle relay.

The only woman swimmer to qualify is Nicole Standardi, a sophomore from Rolling Hills High. Her outstanding performances in the 50-, 100- and 200-yard freestyle have earned her spots in all three races at Mt. SAC this weekend.

“I think we’re poised to do quite well,” Stanbury said. I think both men and women can finish in the top 10.”

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Stanbury is also confident in his two divers, freshmen Michelle Zimmer and Ed Bangaster. Both have qualified on the one- and three-meter boards. Zimmer is from North Torrance High, Bangaster from St. Bernard.

Though it won’t be official until after next week’s Southern California Championships, it appears that El Camino is sending at least five athletes to Santa Barbara for the state track meet May 18-19.

On the women’s side, Sharette Garcia is a sure bet in the 800 and 1,500 meters unless unexpected injuries hamper her. The petite sophomore from Belize is the defending 800-meter state champion and the state runner-up at 1,500 meters. She was also on El Camino’s championship 4 x 400 relay team last year.

This season Garcia’s marks in the 800 and 1,500 rank among the state’s best. At last weekend’s SCC meet she swept the 1,500 in 4:49.56 and the 800 in 2:16.68.

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Diana Tracy also had impressive performances at the conference meet in Walnut. The 37 year-old won both the 3,000 and the 5,000 meters. Her 17:27.00 mark in the 5,000 set a new league and school record. It’s also a personal best for the freshman from Hermosa Beach.

“We have a lot of quality athletes,” said El Camino assistant coach Dean Lofgren, “but unfortunately we don’t have much depth.”

That mostly applies to the field events, though Tiesha Holmes leads Southern California in the long jump and triple jump. The freshman won both events at Mt. SAC with marks of 18 feet, 8 1/2 inches in the long jump and 37 1/2 feet in the triple jump.

The El Camino men also have a pair of leapers who should qualify for the championships in Santa Barbara. Sophomores Ron Martin and Curtis Mitchell rank among the state’s best in their events. Last week Martin broke the SCC long jump record with a leap of 25 feet, 1 inch.

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Mitchell leads the state in the triple jump. He swept that event at the conference finals with a mark of 52 feet, 5 1/2 inches. Coach Bill Moreno says Mitchell is being highly recruited by top schools such as Louisiana State University and UCLA.

SCC track coaches couldn’t decide on a conference athlete of the year when they met Wednesday, so they took the easy way out and picked four. Garcia, Tracy, Jakki Henderson and Crystal Irbing were named co-athletes of the year in the conference. Henderson is a sprinter at Mt. SAC, and Irbing is a sprinter at Long Beach City College.

There’s nothing new about Harbor College’s baseball team making it to the playoffs, this year’s club is even more impressive than usual. The Seahawks, 41-5, have broken the school record for victories in a season.

Granted, Harbor is in a weak league, but the Seahawks also have solid tournament victories over top-notch teams such as defending state champion Cerritos.

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Remarkably, the Harbor players have managed to get pumped up for all 19 games they have played in the six-member Southern California Athletic Conference, despite the lack of competition. They finished league play 19-0.

How much of a cakewalk has it been? Only one regular starter--center fielder Mike Murphy--played in Harbor’s last conference game, against Barstow on April 26, and the Seahawks still won, 13-3. Coach Jim O’Brien, sure there was nothing to worry about, was at a coaches’ meeting in San Francisco while his reserves nailed Barstow.

The playoffs should provide more excitement for the confident Seahawks. Post-season action starts May 11 against a team yet to be determined.

At the state championship tournament, scheduled May 25-27 at UC Irvine, Harbor looks as if it’s equipped to improve on last year’s third-place finish.

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