Harbor Made It a Year to Remember : Community Colleges: Baseball team sent Coach Jim O’Brien out a winner by winning the state title and finishing 51-5.
South Bay community college teams saved the best performances for last during the 1989-90 athletic year.
Harbor College’s baseball team finished 51-5 and won its third state title under Coach Jim O’Brien, who resigned as coach after the season. He will remain as the school’s athletic director.
Left-hander John Ingram, who attended Leuzinger High, won the championship game against Chabot for an 8-0 record. The sophomore, who was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the fourth round of baseball’s free agent draft, also had six saves.
“We put a lot of pressure on ourselves from day one,” said O’Brien, who led Harbor to eight state tournaments in 15 years as coach. “We had one goal in mind, to win state, and we wouldn’t have been happy with anything less.”
Other South Bay coaches had lofty goals, but fell short.
Coach John Featherstone’s El Camino football team missed out on a possible state or national title after losing to Riverside, 21-14, in the Orange County Bowl on Dec. 2.
The disappointing ending however, could not erase memories of a great season. The Warriors (10-1) swept the Mission Conference Northern Division and were ranked third in the state and fourth nationally by the JC Grid-Wire. El Camino also had three first team All-Americans in quarterback Frank Dolce, defensive lineman Jeff Cummins and defensive back Niu Sale.
In basketball, El Camino made up for its worst league performance in history by reaching the semifinals of the state tournament. The Warriors, coached by Ron McClurkin, went 3-5 in the South Coast Conference but upset three higher ranked teams on the road to gain a spot in the final four at UC Irvine’s Bren Events Center.
“The best part of the season was the playoffs,” sophomore guard Frank Beatty said. “Everybody woke up and started playing cause everybody was asleep during league.”
El Camino’s playoff streak ended with an 81-70 loss to eventual state champion Rancho Santiago. The Warriors finished 24-11.
“We ran into a rough spot, but I think overall we had a great season,” McClurkin, in his second year, said. “We wanted to get 20 wins and we ended up with 24. So it wasn’t a bad season just because we didn’t win state.”
Rancho Santiago also eliminated Harbor in the second round of the playoffs. The Seahawks placed third in the Southern California Athletic Conference and finished 23-13.
Another state champion, Golden West, ended the season of the El Camino women’s basketball team. Second-year Coach Kristy Loesener led El Camino to its best season ever. The Warriors (22-8) reached the second round of the playoffs and finished second in the SCC.
Nine other El Camino teams made it to postseason play: women’s volleyball, women’s tennis, women’s cross-country, men’s soccer, wrestling, men’s and women’s track, and men’s and women’s swimming.
El Camino swimmers Nicole Standardi, Dan Wilkenson and Todd Douglas and divers Michelle Zimmer and Ed Bangaster were named to the state’s All-American team.
The women’s track team placed third at the state meet in Santa Barbara. Sharette Garcia defended the 800-meter title and won the 1,500 meters. The sophomore from Belize was also on El Camino’s state championship 1,600-meter relay team.
Diana Tracy, a 37-year-old freshman, was impressive in cross-country and track. She placed third at the state cross-country meet in November and won the 5,000 meters in Santa Barbara with a personal best of 17:05.
“I didn’t expect to consistently improve as much as I did,” said Tracy, who is married and has a daughter. “I guess I really wasn’t very confident. I’m really surprised and really excited at the way things turned out.”
El Camino soccer Coach Norm Jackson was also surprised at his team’s accomplishments. With only two returning players from the previous team, the Warriors (17-4-1) won the SCC title and made it to the second round of the playoffs.
Center-forward Raul Haro was the league’s most valuable player and Jackson was named the league’s coach of the year.
Henry Washington coached L.A. Southwest’s football team to its first bowl and a 7-3-1 finish. Defensive lineman Chris Mims was the school’s first football All-American.
“We were real pleased,” said Washington, who is also the school’s athletic director. “Out of 11 starters, nine got athletic scholarships, five to Division I schools. We had scouts from all over the country here. Since I’ve been here, it’s the first time we’ve had those type of people out here watching. I guess word got around that we had talent out here.”
Don Weems, a former Nevada-Las Vegas assistant coach, took over Harbor’s football program. He helped the Seahawks improve from 1-10 in 1988 to 3-7.