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Hicks Leaving Northridge to Join Syracuse

Cheree Hicks of Cal State Northridge, school record-holder in the women’s discus, has transferred to Syracuse, where she will train under former Northridge assistant Candy Roberts.

Hicks, a 1996 graduate of Littlerock High, improved her school record to 188 feet this season after raising it to 180-2 as a freshman last year.

She ranks third on the Northridge list in the shotput at 52-7 1/4.

“Kind of and kind of not,” Hicks said when asked if she transferred to Syracuse because of Roberts. “If it hadn’t been there it would have been somewhere else. . . . I’ve lived in the [Valley area] all my life and I just wanted to go somewhere else. I wanted to go outside of California.”

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Roberts, the Pacific 10 Conference champion in the discus as a UCLA senior in 1994, was the Northridge throws coach for the last four seasons.

During her tenure, Matador athletes set school records in all four women’s throwing events.

In addition to Hicks’ school record in the discus this season, senior Beth Burton put the shot a school-record 54-8 3/4 and sophomore Christina Tolson threw the hammer a school-best 196-9.

Kristin Dunn set a school record of 176-4 in the javelin in 1995.

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“It’s always hard to lose somebody,” Northridge head Coach Don Strametz said of Hicks transferring. “But if everyone else comes back and [all the recruits we’ve signed] get in, we should have our best women’s team [since moving to the NCAA Division I level in 1991].”

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Kelly Watson of Milpitas High and Mary Alessi of La Mesa Helix signed letters of intent with Northridge.

Watson placed seventh in the girls’ 100-meter high hurdles in the state championships at Cerritos College last month. She has a best of 14.54 seconds in the highs and 43.55 in the 300 lows.

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Alessi has bests of 40-6 in the shotput and 134-7 in the discus.

SOCCER

Robert Benavidez, involved with the Hart High boys’ program for the last 17 years as a player, assistant and coach, has been replaced as coach by Ron Linberg.

Benavidez, the Indians’ walk-on coach since 1989, said Hart officials told him last month he was being replaced by Linberg, a science teacher at the school.

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“They could never get me an on-campus job and they wanted a coach who was on campus,” said Benavidez, a physical education teacher at Olive Vista Middle School in Sylmar. “I’m upset about it because of all the time I put into that program.”

BASEBALL

Mark Hubbard, junior varsity coach at L.A. Baptist, has been promoted to varsity coach. He replaces Mark Bates, who will focus his time on coaching football and other duties.

The Southern California Mariners, a 17-and-under team that includes high school players from Quartz Hill, Highland, Paraclete, Palmdale and Littlerock, will compete in the Amateur Athletic Union national championships beginning next week in Des Moines, Iowa.

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Players from Highland High include Jon Anello, Daniel Cahmiepux, Rob Cowan, Brandon Golphenee and Jason Kubel. Delwyn Young Jr. will represent Littlerock, Travis Allen is from Quartz Hill, John Felkins from Palmdale and Coley Delaney from Paraclete.

AUTO RACING

Keith Spangler of Chatsworth finished third in the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour’s Coors Light 100 at Cajon Speedway Saturday in El Cajon.

Fourth-place finisher Dennis Dyer of Palmdale was the only other driver from the region among the top 10 in the event.

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Ed Patterson III of Oakview finished 10th in the Sprint Car Racing Association 30-lap main event race Saturday at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Ariz.

Tim Huddleston of Agoura Hills claimed sixth place and Dave Phipps of Simi Valley was ninth in the 75-lap main-event race for the Winston Late Model Division at Mesa Marin Raceway.

GOLF

Don Fiala and Paul Holtby, both former Simi Valley High standouts, lost in the third round of the COBRA Golf match-play championship Tuesday at Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles.

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Fiala, a member of Wood Ranch Golf Club in Simi Valley, lost, 6 and 5, to Paul Dietsche of Indian Hills Golf Club.

Kelly Manos of Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach beat Holtby, a Moorpark resident and director of instruction at Los Robles Golf Course in Thousand Oaks, 1-up.

Justin Ohye of Calabasas is tied for third after a one-under-par 71 in the first round of the American Junior Golf Association tournament at Twelve Bridges Golf Course in Lincoln, Calif.

In the girls’ division, Julie Park of Granada Hills shot an 83 and is 10 shots off the lead.

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