Neezer Tarleton, Notre Dame High girls’ soccer coach, spent her off-season crashing through windows and getting blown up by explosives--not to mention getting tackled by Jerry Seinfeld’s eccentric TV neighbor, Kramer.
Tarleton has worked as a stuntwoman since landing a small role in the movie, “A League of Their Own,” and was kept particularly busy in 1993. She recently worked in six movies, including the not-yet-released “Naked Gun 33 1/3.”
And in a fall episode of “Seinfeld” set at the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Tarleton briefly appeared as tennis star Steffi Graf. In the episode, Kramer (Michael Richards) gets a job as a tournament ball boy. During Graf’s match, Kramer runs onto the court during play to retrieve a ball and inadvertently knocks down Graf (Tarleton).
Tarleton appears only for a few seconds and her face is not shown--but her legs are.
“The stunt coordinator said, ‘The only requirement they have is that you have to have athletic looking legs,’ ” Tarleton said. “It’s the only interview I’ve ever been confident going into.”
One Man’s Opinion
So which team should be No. 1 in college football, Florida State or Notre Dame? Who better to ask than Hart tight end-linebacker John McLaughlin, who was being recruited by both schools until last week.
“Florida State,” McLaughlin said. “I got to say Notre Dame wouldn’t want to play Florida State again. They’d be afraid Florida State would whup up on them.”
The Fighting Irish, who beat Florida State, 31-24, on Nov. 13, could finish ahead of the Seminoles in a recruiting battle for McLaughlin, however. Florida State stopped recruiting McLaughlin last week because the Hart standout said he wanted to stay closer to home.
After losing his top two players to graduation, Hart basketball Coach Mike May knew his team would need a different style this season.
No longer could the Indians rely on the scoring of standout forwards Matt Steffe and David Sanders, so May laid the groundwork for the transition during the summer.
So far, so good.
The Indians (16-1) took over the top spot in The Times’ regional poll this week after defeating City Section power Manual Arts, 67-55, in the championship game of the Hart tournament last week. Hart, which also won the Beverly Hills tournament, lost its only game Dec. 4 to Santa Barbara, 71-61, in the championship game of the Simi Valley tournament.
“Some people are probably pretty surprised at what we’re doing but I’m not,” said May, who is in his second year. “We played well in the summer, so I thought we would be strong again.”
Swan Song Blues
The envelope, please.
The early hands-down winner for area underachiever of the year is . . . San Fernando.
Despite having three three-year lettermen back from last season--in which the Tigers advanced to the City Section 3-A Division semifinals--San Fernando (6-8) can’t seem to get it together.
So Coach Dick Crowell is taking it all apart.
“Wait till you see who starts (tonight),” Crowell said.
Crowell is threatening to bench several key players for tonight’s Northwest Valley Conference opener with Cleveland in an attempt to light a fire under the team, which he says refuses to practice with intensity. When the team shows up for practice at all, that is.
Crowell said he called a series of practices during the holiday break and had no more than six players show up at any session.
Senior guard Javy Ramos, an All-City pick who averaged 17.5 points as a junior, is struggling to find the range from the perimeter, once his offensive strength. Ramos, the North Valley League’s most valuable player last season, is averaging 12.2 points and seems reluctant to shoot from outside.
“I’ve told him that shooters shoot their way out of slumps,” Crowell said. “The last game, he wouldn’t shoot at all.”
Returning front court starters Jerome Elliott and Barry McWright also have been inconsistent, Crowell said. Elliott, though, has raised his point production from 14.1 points a year ago to 15.8.
Crowell, who is resigning at season’s end, said this isn’t the way he envisioned things in his final campaign. In fact, he stuck around the past two seasons so he could reap the fruits of the senior trio.
“So far, it hasn’t been as fun as I thought,” he said.
Earlier this week Taft Coach Jim Woodard, who watched Reseda beat Grant in the final of the Birmingham tournament, predicted the Regents might finish the season unbeaten.
Reseda Coach Jeff Halpern didn’t take this compliment, well, lying down.
“We’re breaking out the hip boots,” Halpern cracked. “I’m carrying a big shovel for all the bull. It’s a war of psychology and we see it as exactly that.”
Don’t wish Granada Hills boys’ soccer Coach Pete Mabie luck by saying, “Break a leg.” It might happen.
Three Highlander players sustained broken legs during the first four days of practice last month.
“Hey, we practice hard,” Mabie quipped, to ease the pain. “But the nurse got very tired of running down to the field.”
The three players--Julio Vasquez, Shane Oren and Keith Evans--all have had their casts removed and could return within two weeks.
In addition, Granada Hills goalkeeper Nevin Smith is recovering from a broken thumb, and Evan Bernstein likely will miss the remainder of the season because of a knee injury.
12 Years, No Rust
Call it the 12-year itch. Calabasas girls’ basketball coach Steve Padaro, who coached the Coyotes from 1977 to 1981 and guided the Coyotes to a Southern Section runner-up finish in 1981, is back at the Coyotes’ helm after a 12-year layoff.
A social studies and business teacher since leaving coaching a dozen years ago, Padaro contented himself with supervising players in his physical education classes. But a coaching vacancy in the fall prompted school administrators to ask Padaro to return to coaching.
He accepted a couple weeks before the season began and led the once-hapless Coyotes (3-17 last season) to six victories in their first nine games. His chief task: Raising his players’ self-esteem.
“They still see themselves as, ‘We’re Calabasas and we’re going to get our butts kicked,’ ” Padaro said. “They don’t believe they’re as good as they are.”
But that attitude is changing, thanks to Padaro and standout forward Melissa Krolik, who averages more than 20 points and 15 rebounds a game.
“Our next goal is to win a league game,” Padaro said.
Calabasas, which posted only one league victory last season, opens league play today against Santa Paula.
The Moorpark boys’ soccer team, which competes in tiny Division V, is playing like a giant. The Musketeers have won 14 of 16 matches, including convincing victories over Buena, Notre Dame and Chaminade, and won the Royal tournament.
Pat Russo and Brody Trejos each has 12 goals and seven assists. Paul Dojo and Curtis Silverest each has eight goals and six assists.
The Musketeers’ heady start has them wishing in vain for a matchup with nearby Division I power Royal.
“Our guys want to play Royal really bad,” Coach Mike Scanlon said, “because our guys know they can beat them.”
Life Goes On
The Thousand Oaks girls’ basketball team figured to experience a drop-off from last season, after losing Marion Jones, the state Division I player of the year, to graduation.
“It’s a young team that needs a lot of playing time to eliminate a lot of the young mistakes,” Coach Chuck Brown said of his Lancers (10-4). “But our young players like (sophomore guard) Nicky LaSala and (freshman forward) Jen Detmer have begun to play well.”
Those players will have a chance to learn from Jones this weekend. Jones is a starting guard for fifth-ranked North Carolina and the Tar Heels’ game against Northwestern will be nationally televised today.
Around the Leagues. . . .
* L.A. Baptist’s Landon LaPack, who is averaging 18 points a game, set a school record by making six of seven three-point baskets against Nordhoff in the Fillmore tournament. Teammate Jeff Baumsteiger set a school record with 12 of his team’s 32 steals against St. Bonaventure.
* Last month’s Bell-Jeff tournament was a festive affair for the fabulous Baker Brothers of Burbank. Senior Brian Baker made the all-tournament team for the varsity and his sophomore brother Matt was selected the most valuable player of the junior varsity tournament.
* How’s this for a youth movement? Brenda Escobar, a freshman forward, leads the Alemany girls’ soccer team in scoring with eight goals. Escobar skipped a grade prior to high school and is only 13. The Indians’ other forward, Alison Clapp, is also a freshman, and has three goals.
* Rachel McSorley has led the Nordhoff girls’ basketball team to 10 wins in its first 13 games, including victories over Hart and defending Division III-AA champion Inglewood Morningside. McSorley, a 6-foot-3 senior, averages 17.5 points and eight rebounds a game.
* The Newbury Park girls’ basketball team has three players averaging in double figures in points: Kara McKeown (10.9), Jann Thorpe (10.7) and Julie Wastell (10.6). The trio has powered the Panthers to a 11-2 record, both losses coming to Alemany.
* The Hart girls’ basketball team, defending Foothill League champions, appears to have turned around after starting 1-3.
Four of the Indians’ top six players missed those games, but after they returned, Hart won eight of 11. Point guard LaCresha Clark averages eight points and five assists.
Kennedy Cosgrove and staff writers Steve Elling, Jeff Fletcher, Dana Haddad, Paige A. Leech and Jason H. Reid contributed to this notebook.