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The sports year that was

Mike Sciacca

Mario Morales, athletic director at Laguna Beach High School, said

he was pleased with where the teams had gone this year and the

direction in which the entire program is heading.

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“I am really proud of all of our teams,” he said. “We won a CIF

championship and had teams playing at new levels of CIF competition.

“This past year was one of growth for our entire athletic

department.”

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Here’s a look back at some of the more outstanding moments that

took place this past year in Laguna Beach sports:

Winter

The big news to hit the Laguna Beach High campus came last

February, when the boys’ soccer team laid claim to the CIF Southern

Section Division V championship.

Laguna, the No. 3 entry out of the Pacific Coast League, rose to

the postseason challenge and went on to edge Fillmore, 2-1, in the

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division title game.

Senior Ryan Wolfe was named the division’s offensive player of the

year.

Austen Ezzell and Patrick Bell were picked for All-CIF. Ezzell was

picked for the first team, and Patrick Bell was picked for the second

team.

Laguna’s girls’ water polo team also advanced to CIF play and

reached the quarterfinal round.

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Tracy Herdman and Lina Moore received All-CIF Division IV first

team honors, and Annie Preble was named to the second team in girls’

water polo.

Spring

Laguna’s boys’ volleyball team, the PCL runner-up, advanced to the

quarterfinal round of the Division IV playoffs.

Junior Matt Anderson and senior Ben Dwyer were picked for All-CIF,

Anderson to the first team and Dwyer to the second team..

Laguna had four of its athletes -- Ryan Simpson, Brendan Bowler,

Anil Adams and Addison Dowd -- qualify for the CIF track and field

finals meet.

Laguna’s baseball team was continually in the hunt for a

postseason playoff berth, but its bid fell just short.

Martina Speare and Jason Boyd were named Laguna Beach High’s

female and male athletes of the 2001-02 school year.

Summer

Laguna sophomore-to-be Shawn Pfendler, holder of two school swim

records, competed at the 2002 Long Course Junior Olympics.

Fall

What’s in a name?

A the start of this school year, the Laguna Beach High student

body voted to discontinue using the nickname, “Artists,” in favor of

the “Breakers,” the school’s original nickname.

Laguna’s football team earned the school’s first playoff berth

since 1987. The Breakers played top-seed La Habra tough in a first

round loss, and the Highlanders went on to win the Division IX

championship earlier this month.

Senior running back Donnelle Darling set numerous school records

during the football season.

Big jump

Laguna’s boys’ water polo and girls’ tennis teams moved up a few

divisions and played their first year at the Division I level.

The water polo team reached the quarterfinal round before being

eliminated by eventual champion Long Beach Poly, and the tennis team

advanced to the semifinal round.

“It was really nice to see those two teams make the move up to

Division I, and not skip a beat,” Morales said. “We are the smallest

public school in Orange County, and our kids took the move in stride.

They have plenty to be proud of.”

Laguna’s boys’ cross-country team won the Division IV race at the

prestigious Mt. SAC Invitational and went on to qualify for the CIF

Finals. Senior runner Brendan Bowler won the boys’ PCL individual

title.

Laguna’s girls’ water polo team, which hit the pool in November,

jumped up two divisions and competed in Division II.

* MIKE SCIACCA covers sports for the Laguna Beach Coastline

Pilot. He can be reached at 494-4321 or by e-mail at

michael.sciacca@latimes.com.


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