The last time the Laguna Beach High cross country team won a
league championship was in 1989, when Dave Brobeck was a junior on
That same team, which had Earl Towner as an assistant coach, went
on to win the 1989 Division III state championship.
Fast forward to 2002. Brobeck is still with the program, now as
head coach of the boys’ team. Towner also is back, returning from a
four-year absence from coaching to lead the girls’ program.
“I am probably most excited about this season because I have lured
Earl, my coaching mentor, back into the fold,” Brobeck said. “Our
history goes back to 1989 when I was a pimply, 16-year-old junior at
Laguna Beach High and Earl helped guide our team to the state
championship. We lost touch until I was hired on as an English staff
member in 1998.”
Brobeck said that it was then that Towner decided he had had
enough of coaching and made the move to live in Calgary, making way
for Brobeck to become the figure head of the school’s cross country
Brobeck has coached the Laguna Beach boys’ team for the past five
years and the girls’ team, off and on, he said, during that same
“Despite having considerable success with both the boys’ and
girls’ programs, it was clear to me that there was a big void not
having Earl’s expertise and passion,” Brobeck said. “He is back now
and in charge of a very young and talented group of girls. He is
doing a tremendous job, but above all else, I think our coaching
styles really complement each other.”
The Laguna Beach cross country program has flourished in recent
years, evident by the fact that the boys’ and girls’ varsity teams
have qualified for four consecutive CIF Finals races at Mt. San
Antonio College in Walnut.
The teams currently are in training for the 2002 season, running
the entire summer, virtually, on the hills surrounding Laguna Beach.
“I have learned to do almost all of our training off of Laguna’s
streets,” Brobeck said. “Getting on the dirt has done wonders for our
team already. The normal aches and pains from pounding pavement are
down while core strength, mental toughness and levels of fitness are
“There are trail connections spanning from Newport Coast to Aliso
Beach that can be made where the only pavement touched is the 20 or
so yards crossing Laguna Canyon Road. There is no other cross country
program in Orange County with this kind of natural environment for
training -- what an advantage.”
That training regiment could be enough to give Laguna Beach
program the push it needs to win its first league title in 13 years.
“I see our varsity boys being right in the hunt,” Brobeck said. “I
believe we have an excellent shot at winning the Pacific Coast League
title if we stay healthy, train smart and have our numbers four and
five runners close the gap to our top three runners.”
Brobeck said his top two runners, Brendan Bowler and Nathan
Greene, are the best the school has had “in a decade.” Both, he
feels, have the ability to run three-mile races in the mid-to
upper-15 minute mark.
“I’m also excited to see how our frosh-soph and junior varsity
teams do this year,” he said. “The frosh-soph boys have won league
the past two years and the JV team has won it the past three years.
We have a glut of freshman talent.”
Brobeck, who was the No. 4 runner on Laguna Beach’s 1989 state
championship team and ascended to become No. 1 the following year as
a senior, sees the girls’ team right up there, too, this fall.
“The program is very strong, with the varsity making it to CIF
finals the past four years,” he said. “This year’s team is young but
high on talent and should do quite well. Newcomers Catherine Gordon,
Lauren Bosworth and Amelia Moore will add depth to strong returners
Kelly Jenett, Sara Stevenson, Carly Lojacono and Emma Proctor.”
Laguna Beach opens its 2002 campaign on Sept. 14 in the Laguna Hills Invitational. Other key meets during the season include the Mt.
SAC Invitational on Oct. 25, league rival Corona del Mar on Oct. 31
and the Pacific Coast League finals on Nov. 7.
If Laguna Beach has the good fortune of making the CIF finals race
for a fifth consecutive year, then the date of Nov. 23 -- the day for
the finals -- will be the most important date of all.
In addition to running toward a possible league title for the
first time in 13 years, both the boys’ and girls’ teams, despite four
straight trips to the CIF finals race, have yet to reach the state
meet in Fresno.
“This, of course, is one of our main goals with each new season,”