Breakers keep rolling, advance to semifinals

The Laguna Beach boys' tennis team is headed to the CIF Southern Section Division 4 semifinals.

The second-ranked Breakers earned a spot among the final four after defeating visiting Alhambra, 14-4, in a quarterfinal match Wednesday. Laguna travels Tuesday to play at third-ranked Santa Ynez in one of two semifinal matches that day. Top-ranked Viewpoint will host fifth-ranked La Quinta/Westminster in the other semifinal.

Laguna received sweeps in singles from No. 1 Jake Michaels and No. 2 Teague Hamilton and from the No. 1 doubles team of Benito Romeo/Hutton McKenna and No. 2 team of Morgan Lebby/Owen Weber.

"We have a deep and solid team and are looking very tough," Laguna Coach Peter Davidson said.

The Breakers had breezed past host Lynwood, 16-2, in a second-round match May 13. In singles, Michaels and Hamilton were dominant as each won three sets by 6-0 scores.

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Swimming

The Laguna girls' team finished second and the boys' team was fifth at the CIF Southern Section Division 3 Swimming & Diving Championships on Saturday at Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach.

The girls' team scored 192 team points and finished behind Mark Keppel, which won the team division title with 212 points. Laguna Coach Kari Johnson said that the Breakers scored the most points in the swimming portion of the finals, but Mark Keppel had four divers finish in the top 16, which garnered 50 points for the Aztecs.

Laguna's boys posted 158 team points in a division also won by Mark Keppel (258).

"I am proud to coach such an amazing group of young men and women at Laguna Beach High School," Johnson said. "Laguna Beach Aquatics has made history yet again and I feel privileged to be a part of it. Boys' water polo won their first CIF title ever, girls' water polo placed second at CIF, girls' swimming placed second at CIF for the second time in three years and boys' swimming placed fifth at CIF, the highest they've ever placed."

Both Laguna teams placed 15th at last year's CIF final.

"Many factors played into us placing much higher this year," Johnson explained. "We had the most depth at CIF on both sides than we've ever had in years' past. We took 19 swimmers to CIF prelims and 15 swimmers qualified for finals. Placing so high was truly a collaborative effort.

"All 15 swimmers contributed to our outstanding finish on both sides. Many girls moved up at finals to score us even more points than expected. The girls also had all three relays qualify to score points, which has never happened in years past. This is huge because relays score twice as many points as individual events."

Freshman Lila Vera was part of two CIF championship finishes. Vera won an individual title in the girls' 100 butterfly with a school-record time of 56.20 seconds. She also swam the fourth leg of the girls' 400 free relay team (Yoshi Andersen, Melena Masson, Jessica Shusko, Vera) that won a title with a time of 3:40.29. Vera also set a school record (57.97) with a second-place finish in the girls' 100 backstroke.

School-record times also were set at the finals by Nolan McConnell (57.05), who finished fourth in the boys' 100 backstroke and Billy Wild (52.43), who placed third in the boys' 100 butterfly.

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Boys' Golf

Andrew Palmer and Tim Peterson of Laguna Beach competed Monday at the CIF Southern Section Individuals at Skylinks Golf Course in Long Beach. Palmer shot 78 and Peterson shot 80. The cut was 77 and the top 37 among a field of 104 competitors advanced to Monday's CIF-SS Individual Final at Industry Hills Golf Course.

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