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Further proof that we’re far from perfect

I already know what you’re thinking.

What could this guy possibly be writing about this time?

In case you didn’t see the paper during the past week, on

Wednesday and Saturday, I put together a pair of columns that are


becoming more or less an annual tradition of highlighting the

graduating classes from Crescenta Valley, Flintridge Prep, Flintridge

Sacred Heart Academy, Glendale, Hoover, La Canada and St. Francis.

In those columns, this reporter highlighted more than 200


student-athletes who had made a profound impact on the area sports

scene during the past four years, offering those individuals one last

tribute for their contributions since the fall of 1998.

But as is the case with any tribute or any attempt to highlight

local athletes, somebody is going to be overlooked, or perhaps even

inadvertently left off.

That’s why I can say thank goodness for Glendale High’s Pat

Lancaster, because he genuinely saved this reporter from major league



Although a number of Nitros were mentioned, two of the best

student-athletes from the Class of 2002 were completely overlooked by

yours truly.

It wasn’t done intentionally, but when you’re skimming over seven

different graduation lists, there’s bound to be a name or two that

doesn’t get highlighted.

Jerry Sung and Jonathan Lee were those names.


Since Lancaster is the fountain of all information at Glendale, he

was courteous enough to send me an E-mail alerting me to this


In the case of Lee, this reporter neglected to mention that he was

a first-team All-Pacific League and News-Press All-Area second-team

selection for the Nitro boys’ water polo team, in addition to being

one of the school’s top swimmers, along with graduates Matt Hahn and

Lars Speer.

In the spring, Lee was a CIF Southern Section Division II

qualifier in swimming, after excelling at the league final. That came

after a productive 2001 campaign, when he teamed with Hahn to break a

school record in the 200-yard medley relay.

But perhaps the most impressive accolade for Lee was the fact that

he graduated as the No. 3-ranked member of the Nitro senior class

with a 4.4 grade-point average.

When you’re talking about impressive accolades, it doesn’t get

much better than Sung.

In addition to winning the Pat Navolanic Memorial Award, which is

only the school’s most prestigious honor recognizing its most

outstanding overall senior, Sung boasted a 4.2 GPA.

In the fall, Sung was an All-CIF and All-Area selection as a

goalkeeper in water polo, helping guide Lancaster’s squad to a

third-place finish in league and a berth in the CIF Division III


Both Lee and Sung were also recipients of the Gary Nelson Most

Inspirational Award, which is the most coveted award an individual in

the Nitro water polo program can receive.

So to say that the omission of Lee and Sung in Saturday’s column

has left egg all over my face would be a major understatement.

It was the same way I felt when I realized that I had slighted St.

Francis boys’ soccer goalkeeper Sean O’Connor by not mentioning him

with teammates Austin Cyr and Daniel Paladini in the body of

Wednesday’s column.

O’Connor was an outstanding athlete for Glen Appels’ squad, as

well as a strong student, as evidenced by the scholarship he is

receiving to continue his soccer career in college.

So to Lancaster, Lee, O’Connor and Sung, and anybody else who

might have felt slighted or overlooked Wednesday or Saturday, here’s

to saying that we’re all human and we all make mistakes.

It just so happens that mine are sometimes more magnified than


ERIK BOAL is a staff writer. He can be reached at 637-3225 or by