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Bertsch Captures Body Surfing Title

Sonya Bertsch, a 36-year-old elementary school teacher from Corona del Mar, won the women’s Grand Champion title Sunday at the World Body Surfing Championships in Oceanside.

Bertsch had little trouble winning her two heats Sunday, including the 25 & older division final, 88-78, over two-time world champ Virginia Cartwright of Encinitas.

Bertsch defeated San Clemente’s Kris Kohlhase (18-24) and La Palma’s Mailei Robinson (12-17) in the Grand Champion final. It was Bertsch’s first Grand Championship in two tries. She also won her division in 1988.

In the men’s division, Hal Handley, 40, of La Jolla won the Grand Champions title, defeating San Clemente’s Niell Kohlhase (65 & older), Oceanside’s Jim Enright (55-64), Summerland’s Daniel Drown (45-54), Newport Beach’s Jeff Stevens (25-34), Leucadia’s Tim Casinelli (18-24), Cerritos’ Todd Kennedy (15-17), and Cerritos’ Vincent Trotter (12-14).

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