Youth Scene: Newport Hills defeats Lake Forest II

The Newport Hills Killer Whales Swim Team traveled south to the home of the Lake Forest II Dolphins Saturday, and if one did not realize it was a South Coast Swim Conference interleague dual meet, it could have been mistaken for the recent CIF Southern Section finals in high school swimming.

Newport Hills won the meet decisively, 803-461, due to great depth and a total team effort, but the day turned into one highlight reel after the next as its Corona del Mar High swimming stars put on a show not only for their younger teammates but also for all in attendance – with Killer Whale head coach Michelle Sperling beaming, as she has been head coach for these swimmers for the last eight years.

This past May, Killer Whales Christian Garkani and Blake Motal were part of the four-person CdM relay team that set a new 200-yard medley relay meet record (1:32.88) at the CIF Southern Section Division 1 finals. Garkani also took third place overall in the 100-yard freestyle and second in the 200 free and Motal swam to a fourth-place finish in the 50 free and sixth in the 100 free – and both were members of the 200 CdM free relay team that placed third at CIF.

In addition, Richie Barden, a member of the CdM 400 free relay team that took fourth at the CIF finals, and his sister Hollace Barden (11th in the CIF 100 free) were also swimming for Newport Hills. The star swimmers did not disappoint, as Motal took first in the 50 free and the 50 breaststroke, Garkani won the 50 butterfly, Hollace Barden swam to victory in the 50 fly and Richie Barden and Ian Givant (CdM swimming standout) helped win the 200 medley relay. Lake Forest II also had a star of their own, Rebecca Aguilar, who placed 16th at the CIF finals for El Toro in the 50 free and also won the 50 free at this meet.

Overall, Newport Hills were led by its under-6 girls, 7-8 boys and 11-12 boys – all of which won each of their individual stroke events as well as their two relays.

Three Killer Whale swimmers were three-time winners in individual events – Ryan McManigal in the 7-8 boys' division was victorious in the 25 free, 25 fly and 50 free; Jake Bays in the 9-10 boys was a winner in the 50 free, 25 fly and 100 individual medley; Henry Wilde in the 11-12 boys grabbed gold in the 50 free, 50 fly and 100 IM.

In addition to Motal, other Newport Hills Swim Team members that were two-time winners in individual events were Hadley Harbilas (under-6 girls) in the 25 breaststroke and 25 fly, Jacob Winn (under-6 boys) in the 25 free and 25 backstroke, Bianca Bays (7-8 girls) in the 25 free and 25 fly, Sophie Wallace (50 breaststroke and 25 fly) and Anna Wilde (50 back and 100 IM) in the 9-10 girls, Morgan Cortens (11-12 boys) in the 50 breaststroke and 50 back and Rourke Funke (13-14 boys) in the 50 breaststroke and 100 IM.

Additional individual event winners for Newport Hills were Charli Krotts (25 free) and Ivy Ziegler (25 back) in the under-6 girls, Riley Hult (25 back) in the 7-8 girls, Jack Pluma (25 breaststroke) and Ayden Ziegler (25 back) in the 7-8 boys, Speedy Laster (50 back) in the 9-10 boys, Chloe Harbilas (50 free), Hana Cloherty (50 fly) and Lauren Openshaw (100 IM) in the 11-12 girls, Natalie Wilde (50 back) in the 13-14 girls, Alex Munro (50 fly) and JT Russell (50 back) in the 13-14 boys and Danny Robertson (100 IM) in the 15-18 boys.

The Newport Hills Killer Whales will swim in the South Coast Swim Conference Relay Finals Saturday, June 23rd at Corona del Mar High – also participating will be the Harbor View Dolphins, the Greenbrook Gators, the Green Valley Dolphins, the Pacific Sands Penguins and the Lake Forest II Dolphins.

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The Newport Harbor Baseball Assn. 11-and-under All-Stars caputured the championship at the Placentia tournament. They also recently won the Memorial tournament.

The team features: Clay Liolios, Nolan Dunn, Alex Carpenter, Caleb Ricketts, Ethan Barnes, Finn Springston, Dayne Chalmers, Hayden Schott, Payton Jefferson, John Olmstead, AJ Stefano and Shawn Nielsen. Robert Stefano is the manager.

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The Newport Lightning Basketball Club (NLBC) will hold open youth summer team tryouts Sunday at Sage Hill School in Newport Coast.

The tryouts will be for:

Grades 2 and 3 (current grade) at 2 p.m.

Grades 4 and 5 at 3 p.m.

Grades 6 and 7 at 4:30 p.m.

Sage Hill is located at 20402 Newport Coast Drive.

More information can be found at

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