UCLA Goes for Distance in Herrera, Gastelum

UCLA cross-country and track Coach Bob Larsen has landed a pair of nationally renowned high school distance runners.

Brian Gastelum of Birmingham High signed a letter of intent Monday and Hoover’s Eliazar Herrera has orally committed to the Pacific 10 Conference school.

Gastelum said he chose UCLA over Cal State Northridge, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and UC Santa Barbara because of the team’s camaraderie and the school’s rigorous academic standards.

“When I went to visit, everyone on the team walked with me and made me feel at home,” said Gastelum, who will study psychology. “I was looking for a school that had a balance (between school and athletics) and it fit.”


Gastelum, who won the City Section 1,600-meter title Thursday and will compete in the state preliminaries Friday at Cerritos College, ranks fourth nationally in the event in 4 minutes 9.87 seconds.

Herrera, who said he chose UCLA over Northern Arizona because of its proximity and prestige, placed third in the Southern Section 4-A Division cross-country championships and 11th in the Kinney national championships last fall.

Herrera will compete in the 3,200 in the state championships Saturday night after placing third in Friday’s Masters Meet in 9:00.29. The time ranks fourth in the nation.

Camarillo’s Derek Kite, who won the Southern Section 4-A Division 1,600-meter title two weeks ago, has signed a letter of intent with Lubbock Christian College in Lubbock, Tex.

“I really wanted to go to a Christian college,” Kite said. “They have a good team, they have a lot of Kenyans and I like the coach.”

Oklahoma Christian, Abilene Christian and Nebraska also expressed interest but Kite wanted to attend a smaller school.

“He’s getting what he wants,” Camarillo Coach Mike Smith said. “Obviously, he got a lot of attention from bigger schools but he and his family wanted him to go to a small, Christian school.”

Kite, who will run the 1,600 in the state preliminaries Friday, has a personal-best 4:15.02 in the event. He also has run 9:20.09 for the 3,200.

Mike Lieberthal of Westlake High has been named to the 17-member All-American high school baseball team selected by Collegiate Baseball magazine.

Lieberthal led Westlake to the school’s first Marmonte League title and a No. 1 ranking in the nation by USA Today. The senior catcher batted .500 (42 for 84) through the regular season and led area players with 42 runs batted in. He also hit 13 home runs and had nine doubles.

Gary Morgan, a College of the Canyons outfielder, has signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, according to his father, Gary Sr.

Morgan will report to Philadelphia’s Class-A affiliate in Clearwater, Fla., on Friday for three weeks of conditioning. He then will report to Batavia, N.Y., of the New York-Penn League.

Morgan (6-foot, 190) batted .446 and stole 24 bases in 26 attempts.

A funeral service for Patricia Kyman will be held tonight at 7 at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, 15950 Chatsworth St., Granada Hills.

Kyman, 47, was the wife of Cal Lutheran assistant baseball coach Bernie Kyman and the mother of Coley Kyman, a Cal State Northridge volleyball player. She died Saturday, 1 1/2 weeks after suffering a severe stroke.

She also is survived by daughters Cassi, 24, and Jodi, 21, and Coley’s twin brother, Bobby, 19.

Registration for the 16th American Roundball Corp. basketball summer league for boys grades 3-12 and college women will be held Sunday at noon at North Hollywood High.

ARC has seven divisions: boys aged 7-9; boys grades 5-6; boys grade 7; boys grade 8; junior varsity; varsity; and college women. Players may sign up as individuals or as part of a team. Games are played at North Hollywood High on Saturdays and Sundays beginning June 16.

Information: 818-995-3761.

A retirement dinner will be held June 9 for Taft High’s Ray O’Connor, who has taught and coached in the L. A. Unified School District for 30 years.

Information: 818-880-9556.