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Alex Sarkissian’s game stacks up at next level for Pepperdine

The following are updates on local athletes at the collegiate level.

Alex Sarkissian (Glendale Community College, 2011) redshirt junior, Pepperdine University men’s tennis: After blowing away the competition with the Vaqueros, Sarkissian has shown he stacks up against NCAA competition at Pepperdine.

The Waves are currently on a four-match winning streak and ranked sixth in NCAA Division I with a 14-4, 1-0 in West Coast Conference record and Sarkissian, a Glendale native, has also been in top form as of late with wins in his last four singles matches that have him at 11-3 on the year.

Pepperdine opened conference play with a win over Loyola Marymount, 4-3, on March 20 and has also defeated No. 15 California (4-3), Princeton (5-2) and No. 11 Oklahoma (4-3) in its win streak. It will resume action Friday against conference-foe San Francisco.

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The Waves shot up from No. 11 to sixth in the NCAA with its victory over Oklahoma Saturday. Sarkissian gave his team a 3-2 lead in the match when he defeated the Sooners’ Axel Alvarez Llamas, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.

Sarkissian and Francis Alcantara later fell to Llamas and Guillermo Alcorta in doubles, 8-2.

After starting the season on a 7-1 run, Sarkissian dropped consecutive matches to Alex Petrone (6-2, 6-1) of No. 30 Michigan and Yannick Hanfmann (6-4, 6-4) of No. 3 USC on March 6 and 8, respectively.

He got back to his winning ways against California’s Gregory Bayane (6-4, 7-5), Loyola Marymount’s Nicholas Bjerke (6-0, 6-2) and Princeton’s Zack McCourt (6-4, 6-4).

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After entering the season unranked by the Intercollegiate Tennis Assn., Sarkissian has climbed as high as 73rd in singles rankings and currently sits at 94.

In doubles, Sarkissian’s overall record is 6-10. He’s teamed most often with Sebastian Fanselow and the duo is 6-8 this year.

Chris Stroh (Glendale Community College, 2012) junior outfielder, Westmont College baseball: Among the team leaders in batting average, stolen bases, runs batted in and slugging percentage, Stroh has continued to find a number of ways spark a Westmont team’s offense.

The Warriors extended their winning streak to four games Wednesday with a 12-9 extra-inning win in the opener of a doubleheader on the road at Vanguard. Their streak ended later that day in a 6-1 loss in the finale.

Westmont (19-17, 10-15 in Golden State Athletic Conference) began its streak Saturday when it swept a conference doubleheader at Biola, 16-3 and 5-1. It snapped an 2-7, 0-7 in conference slide over a 15-day span for Westmont. The Warriors will need to get hot again, as they’re in sixth place in their conference.

Stroh was key in turning things around for Westmont, as he went five for nine with two runs scored and three runs batted in in the two games with Biola. He continued his solid play with a five-for-11, two-double performance Wednesday.

The Crescenta Valley High graduate got off to a hot start in his first season at Westmont and has only increased those numbers to a .330 batting average (44 for 133) and his 13 doubles are No. 1 on the team.

Stroh has also scored 23 times, recorded two triples, stole six bases and hit a home run in his junior campaign.

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Katie Park (Crescenta Valley High, 2010) junior, Occidental College golf: After winning a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference individual title in 2012, Park has continued to lead the Tigers as a junior.

Park has been the top golfer in all three events the young Occidental team has competed in so far this season.

She most recently placed 14th individually at the Spring Fling Invitational with a two-round 20-over-par score of 164 after shooting 10-over 82 Friday and March 14 and 15, at the Classic Club Golf Club in Palm Desert.

Park, a first team all-conference selection in 2012, had her best showing at the fourth annual Shootout in Arizona, put on by Lewis University March 7-9.

While Occidental placed last, Park was a bright spot as she finished in a two-way tie for third place with a two-round score of 115 — five shots off the leader — at the Aguila Golf Club. She shot a 77 in the first round and 38 on the final nine holes, as what was scheduled to be a 36-hole event was trimmed to 27 due to inclement weather.

“Katie really stepped up and I believe this event can be a spring board to a second conference title and hopefully an NCAA trip,” Occidental Coach Andrew Larkin said. “Katie played very well. If the event had gone the final nine holes, I have no doubt she would have caught the leaders and taken the win.”

Park also tied for sixth in the conference’s season-opening tournament with a 12-over 84 at Empire Hills in Rancho Cucamonga Feb. 23.

Park and Occidental will resume play in the conference’s second tournament April 6-7 and conclude the regular season at the conference championship at Oak Valley Golf Course April 27-29.

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Alexander Najarian (St. Francis High, 2012) freshman, Occidental College swimming: Najarian’s first appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament didn’t quite go as he hoped.

The Glendale native took 26th in the 200-yard butterfly in one minute 52.10 seconds Friday and 39th in his signature 100-butterfly event Thursday with a time of 50.99. He also placed 45th in the 50-freestyle (21.67) preliminary Wednesday in Shenandoah, TX.

Najarian’s 100-fly time was most disappointing after he won the event at the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship with a mark of 49.33, which also broke a 21-year-old school record on Feb. 17. He also took fourth and broke Occidental’s 36-year-old 200-fly record with a 1:51.69 finish on Feb. 16.

He was also part of a trio of relay teams that set school records. Along with Steven van Deventer, Kevin Kuwata and William Westwater, they finished the 200-freestyle relay in a record 1:25.10 (fourth), the 400- and 200-medley relays in 3:26.84 and 1:33.78 (third place), respectively.

The 400 medley time broke a 36-year-old school record by more than four seconds and earned them all-conference honors in the event.


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