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Dalton Gang Rustles Up Wins

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The most memorable moment in Jenny Dalton’s still-burgeoning athletic career occurred three years ago, when she hit the first home run in the history of a national softball tournament at Kalamazoo, Mich.

Dalton, who was 14 at the time, knew going in that no one else had accomplished the feat. And as is her custom, she set out to do something and succeeded.

By the time she graduates from Glendale High next year, that home run will probably be overshadowed by her accomplishment of a rare triple. Already selected All-Southern Section in softball and volleyball, Dalton seems certain to achieve similar recognition in basketball this season.

A 5-foot-8 guard, Dalton has been instrumental in leading Glendale to a 14-5 record and 6-0 start in Pacific League play. She is averaging 21.6 points for the Dynamiters, who have not won a league title since 1980, when they were competing in the Foothill League.

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“She’s a pure athlete,” Glendale Coach Paul Broneer said. “She’s extremely smart and quick and she’s the strongest girl I have ever coached. If I could get her to throw the javelin, discus or shot, I think she would be a state champion.

Dalton’s development into the best all-around girls’ high school athlete in the Glendale-area began when she received a bat and a ball for her second birthday.

By the time Dalton was 3, she had appeared with the Glendale drill team during halftime of a football game. At 5, she was taking swings in the batting cage at the high school.

Dalton started playing soccer when she was 6, softball when she was 9 and basketball when she was 12. She also took tennis lessons and her father, Bruce Dalton, Glendale’s athletic director and its former football and baseball coach, says she shows good form off the tee in golf.

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“Jenny picks up things very easily,” said Bruce, who played baseball at Brigham Young University and Occidental. “She can watch it, see it and do it. She has the ability to draw from what she sees.”

Father and daughter agree that both benefit from seeing each other every day at school.

“It’s not very often that a father has an opportunity to get out of work and go to their children’s games,” Bruce said. “But it’s part of my job so it’s been super for me.”

Said Jenny: “I push myself pretty hard but he’s my second incentive. And it’s great because if I forget my lunch money, I run down to the office and say, ‘Dad, I need money.’ ”

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About the only thing Dalton lacked when she was installed on the varsity basketball team as a freshman was experience playing with and against older players.

Under the tutelage of Broneer and assistant Frank Kornblatt, Dalton molded herself into a defensive specialist who averaged nine points and nine steals a game for a Dynamiter team that advanced to the second round of the playoffs before losing to eventual champion Morningside.

Last season, Dalton expanded her game. She and four freshmen formed the nucleus of a team that struggled through a 7-13 season, including a 2-8 finish in league play. Dalton averaged 16 points.

This season, however, experience is paying off for Glendale, which was 26-1 during summer league play. The Dynamiters have perfected a zone press that creates numerous turnovers and easy scoring opportunities for Dalton and sophomores Tracy Young and Cyndee Bennett.

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“We’re young but our abilities and experience make us seem older,” Dalton said. “We’re capable, but our maturity and confidence are going to determine the end result.”


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