Throughout the years, Laguna Beach High has boasted some talented
track and field athletes, all of whom, at one time or another, have come
up with some outstanding individual efforts.
In team competition, though, the school, with an enrollment of 870 for
the 2001-02 academic year, has found the going tough as it competes
against other school’s with large enrollment numbers.
“We’re a small school and it’s hard to get the numbers out for the
team,” said Dave Brobeck, who has coached the varsity track and field
program for the past five years. He also heads the cross country program.
“At most big schools, you get more than 100 students who come out for the
team. We’re lucky if we get 80.”
Still, Brobeck has been blessed with terrific individual talent this
For the first time in his five years, he had four team members qualify
for last weekend’s CIF Southern Section prelims: senior Anil Adam, the
Pacific Coast League champion in the 100 meters; senior Ryan Simpson in
the 800 and 1600 meters, junior Brendan Bowler in the 1600 meters and
freshman Addison Doud, who qualified in the 300-meter low hurdles.
A fifth, junior Marc Todd, finished second in league in the triple
jump. He traveled with Simpson, Bowler and Doud to Veterans Stadium in
Long Beach last Saturday in an attempt to hit the qualifying standard in
the triple jump. Adams did not make the trip.
“I have learned how to shift my perspective from winning as a team, to
finding joy in our individual performances,” Brobeck said.
His CIF qualifiers matched up very well.
Simpson finished second in the PCL’s 800 and 1600 meters, a difficult
task considering that the league was stocked with talent in the distance
Brobeck has coached Simpson, who is pushing 6-foot-4, for four years,
both in track and field and cross country. He says the senior’s drive in
the weight room, combined with “high mileage” in the off-season months,
has resulted in his dramatic improvement.
“He is perhaps the most mature 18 year old that I have ever coached,”
said Brobeck, who added that Simpson has been admitted to the University
of Southern California for the Spring of 2003 and hopes to walk on with
the Trojans program.
Bowler was Brobeck’s top cross country runner this past season and the
junior matched Simpson, step for step, on the track. He finished less
than a half-second behind Simpson in the league’s 1600-meter final.
“Brendan has been taking an astronomy course at a local college this
semester and had to hold himself accountable to running many of the daily
workouts in solitude,” Brobeck explained. “Often times he would be in the
darkness at the school track, entirely alone, hitting his 400 interval
splits as his wrist watch beeped every 62 seconds.”
With Simpson set to graduate in June, Bowler will be one of the
Artists’ senior leaders next school year. Beyond that, the future is in
the hands of Doud, who will only be a sophomore.
Brobeck calls her “The Franchise.”
“This girl is just lights out,” he exclaimed.
Doud did indeed do it all her freshman year, running the 200-meter
sprint, 300-meter low hurdles, the anchor leg on the 400-meter relay and
She qualified for CIF in the low hurdles -- beating a pack of
18-year-old league competitors along the way. She just missed qualifying
in the discus, and made it to the finals heat in the 200 meters.
With a 4.3 grade-point average, Doud lettered in track, tennis, water
polo and softball during her freshman year.
“I have never seen an athlete quite like her before -- and may never
see again,” Brobeck said.
“Before she’s done at Laguna Beach High, it wouldn’t surprise me in
the least if she takes several school records with her.”
With the 2002 track and field season now complete at Laguna Beach
High, Brobeck looks back with fondness on the individual efforts of his
“As a coach I try to judge my athletes more by their character than
natural ability,” he concluded. “I am blessed in this case that Ryan,
Brendan and Addison are overflowing with both attributes. Dedication is
the common thread linking these athletes together.”