Mira Costa High senior Chris Fischetti is still most of the school year away from graduation, but unlike most of his companions he has a pretty good idea what he'll be doing for a living.
The 17-year-old won the expert division of the World Jet Ski Championships last weekend at Lake Havasu. He'll probably become a professional jet skier next spring.
Fischetti has made a rapid rise in the sport--considered a boating competition--since taking it up three years ago. He had never water-skied but had enjoyed motorcyling until a couple of accidents convinced him water might provide easier landings. He took up jet skiing. After riding as a novice, he was upgraded to expert for the just-completed May-to-October season and had a successful year, which culminated last weekend when he won titles in the expert 500 overall, closed course and freestyle.
Fischetti, who said the International Jetski Boating Assn. championships drew about 500 entries from as far as Japan and Australia, started out doing demonstrations on a special jet ski modification designed by his sponsor, Funteck of Hawthorne. He did so well "that they said keep going."
Fischetti spent most of the summer making his way across the country on the jet ski tour, including a five-week stop in Florida, where he placed second in the Florida World Cup. That featured flat-water as well as offshore racing. "That really gets radical. Having grown up near the ocean I like the roughness," he said. "It's all good competition."
Fischetti said his fame has begun to spread through high school and he is hoping to come up with clothing and wet suit sponsors for next season. "Now I have something to show them," he says.
Former South Torrance High and El Camino College soccer star Tim Graefe is doing so well in an instructional league in Germany that he will probably be drafted by a pro league there before Christmas, according to his father, Dave.
Graefe, 18, was spotted by a German scout last summer in an Orange County tournament and was invited to play for DJK Franz-Sales-Haus in a league from which players are drafted for the pros. Since arriving in Essen the first week of August, Graefe has taken over the league scoring lead with 11 goals--including three in one game--and has been working out with professional teams.
He is expected to be drafted during the Christmas break, when he will be forced to make a career decision: if he turns professional, he will not be able to play collegiate soccer in the U.S.
"I am very proud of what (Tim) is doing," said his father. "I guess it would be like a young German boy coming over here and doing well in baseball or basketball or football."
When 14-year-old Lizzie Luna joined the Westchester High B- football team in the fall, Coach Bill Gino got more than he bargained for.
The tough-talking coach gained a dedicated player who rose above a sea of skepticism to win a spot on the boys team. He also gained the kind of media attention normally reserved for superstar players and championship teams.
Problem is, all those flashbulbs and spotlights last week, when Luna saw her first action, can be distracting for a team of 60 freshmen accustomed to playing before a handful of fans who attend the B-squad game before the varsity contest.
While the cameras zeroed in on Luna, other players waved and posed for the camera--much to the chagrin of Gino, who had to remind players of their duties on more than one occasion.
Gino, who let nose guard Lizzie play five downs during the third and fourth quarters, said in a postgame interview the attention wasn't so bad after all.
"Aw heck! This should just make the players work that much harder. They'll all want equal time now," Gino said.