As a third-grader, Jill Angel would run three miles before school alongside her father.
She has continued that athletic conditioning throughout her life and recently parlayed it into a victory in the women's division of the Toughest Cop Alive state competition.
Angel has been with the California Highway Patrol for five years. Before that, she was a high school physical education teacher, and also coached soccer and softball at Fullerton College. She said that being "physically competent" got her the CHP job.
"Physically competent" is clearly an understatement. She runs marathons, competes in triathlons, lifts heavy weights for upper body strength and once was offered a contract to play professional softball.
She works out two hours every day, but when she is in training for competition, "I kick it up to four or five hours a day."
The Toughest Cop Alive competition lasted eight hours and included a 3-mile run, a 100-yard dash, shot-putting, a 100-yard swim, rope climbing, bench-pressing weights, pullups and an obstacle course in which 6-foot walls had to be scaled.
"The competition was tough for me, but the greatest part is when you run out of (energy) and come up with more," she said.
But being fit is meant more for her work as a CHP officer than for that kind of competition, said the 5-foot-3, 120-pound Costa Mesa resident.
"Upper body strength and running is very important to my job," said Angel, a graduate of Orange Coast College and Cal Poly Pomona who wound up in law enforcement after taking a job as a civilian teaching physical education to officers at the Orange County Police Academy.
"I wasn't there a week before I knew in my heart I wented to be a police officer," said Angel, "and suddenly at age 26 I didn't want to do what I was doing."
She currently has a desk job, working with the media, and can be heard on several radio stations alerting drivers of freeway tie-ups. She expects to be back full time in a patrol car within a year.
"Being with the CHP is the greatest job in the whole world," said Angel, "and right now my career is coming together. I'm getting better as an officer, and I'm in the best physical condition in my life."
She uses that conditioning in her recreation time and her current interest in mountain rock climbing.
"I like dangerous activities that get your Adrenalin pumping," she said. "At work I like a high-speed pursuit because there's a danger involved. And I like to make a drunk-driving arrest. Every time I bring in a drunk driver, I feel I've saved a life."
Admittedly hyper with a lot of energy that keeps "me going all the time," Angel noted: "Someday I'll slow down and pick the flowers on the way."
Kristy Watkins, 19, of Downey had a knack for fixing and cutting the hair of her high school friends. Now, the hearing-impaired teen-ager, who communicates with sign language and a guttural speaking voice, has graduated from the Golden West College cosmetology school.
She is only the second deaf student to graduate in 18 years, according to Paula Mucharo of Seal Beach, the school's supervisor for disabled students services. Mucharo, who is also an interpreter for the hearing impaired, has worked with Kristy.
"Kristy will be successful in whatever she chooses because she is wonderfully artistic and creative," Mucharo said. "When instructors got their hair done here, they always asked for her."
Kristy's current goal is to work with professional models, but she said her long-range plan is to become an interior designer.
With luck in the winds, the balloon that 7-year-old Christine Beck released from the roof of the Anaheim Hilton & Towers traveled farther than any other, ending up in Grants Pass, Ore. That made her parents and the finder happy.
The prize--courtesy of the hotel, which sponsored the contest--was a two-night stay for two adults and two children.
Sandra Mazurek of Grants Pass, who returned the balloon, got the same prize.
Acknowledgments--Explorer Scouts Steve Dulmage of Garden Grove; Hanna Lee, Laguna Hills; Juan C. Vega, Santa Ana, and Sue Cleland, Irvine, are part of the 24-member U.S. contingent at the Seoul Olympic Youth Camp in South Korea. The camp is designed to create better harmony between youths of all countries. A total of 1,000 scouts from around the world are at the camp.