If the 32 current and former UCLA athletes who competed for the United States in the 1988 Olympics had been a national team by themselves, the 23 medals they won at Seoul would have given them 11th place among countries in total medals.
Former Bruin Florence Griffith Joyner, who won three gold medals and a silver, did better than some nations. If she were a country, she would have finished in a five-way tie for 25th place with Denmark, Finland, Spain and Switzerland.
The brilliant performances of those athletes were the most remarkable of any by athletes from the Westside in 1988, but there were other notable achievements by local performers.
In intercollegiate athletics, the UCLA men's teams, which captured NCAA championships in track and field and golf, won the Knoxville (Tenn.) Journal's All-Sports Survey award for the third consecutive year. In 18 years of the survey, the Bruin men have won nine firsts and seven seconds and have never finished below fourth place.
The UCLA women's softball team, which won its fifth NCAA title, led the way for the Bruin women, who had five teams that finished among the nation's top 10 squads and won the Knoxville paper's intercollegiate competition award for a second time as well as a similar award from the Copley Newspapers. It was the seventh time in the last 11 years that the UCLA women took first place in the Copley survey.
All told, UCLA had 15 teams that finished in top 10s in NCAA tournament play and polls. The Bruins were second in women's track and men's water polo, third in men's and women's gymnastics, women's tennis and women's volleyball and fifth in men's volleyball. UCLA also placed seventh in men's swimming and ninth in women's swimming, men's tennis and men's soccer and football. In women's volleyball, UCLA finished with a 34-1 record.
The national championships in men's track and golf, gave the UCLA men a record nine NCAA championships in different sports. UCLA's last NCAA title in basketball was in 1975, and the others were last won in gymnastics (1987), soccer (1985), swimming (1982), tennis (1984), volleyball (1987) and water polo (1972).
It was also another good sports year for Pepperdine University.
Three Pepperdine teams finished among the nation's top 20: baseball (No. 12 in one poll, No. 16 in another), men's tennis (No. 5) and women's tennis (No. 17). Robbie Weiss of the Waves won the NCAA singles championship. Dave Gorrie retired as Pepperdine baseball coach after 10 successful years and was succeeded by Andy Lopez of Cal State Dominguez Hills.
In men's basketball, Coach Jim Harrick's Pepperdine team went to the National Invitation Tournament, the sixth postseason appearance by one of his squads in nine years at the school. Last April Harrick went to coach at UCLA and was succeeded by his chief assistant, Tom Asbury.
Pepperdine won West Coast Athletic Conference championships in baseball, men's and women's tennis and women's volleyball. The women's volleyball team also swept the conference's top honors as Nina Matthies was named coach of the year, Lisa Bevington the outstanding player and Cari Delson the best freshman.
Kari Baerg of the Pepperdine cross-country team finished first at the WCAC championships.
In prep football, the year's top story probably was the resurgence of the St. Monica High football team under first-year head Coach Angelo Jackson. The Mariners, who hadn't had a winning season since 1981, finished with a 9-2 record and lost their last two games by a total of 3 points. It may have been the best St. Monica team in two decades.
Jackson and his running back, Mike Wagner, and Santa Monica High lineman Kevin Kelly won the top Westside honors at the annual Times high school football awards brunch. Jackson was named coach of the year, Wagner top back and Kelly best lineman.
In eight-man football, Brentwood School won the CIF-Southern Section Large Division championship. Brentwood's Pat Brown was named the division's coach of the year, and his running back, Jay Langan, player of the year.
In The Times prep basketball awards, Trisha Stafford of Westchester High and Chris Mills of Fairfax were named the Westside's top players and Beverlie Pendleton of Westchester and Jim Nakabara of University High the area's coaches of the year.
Los Angeles City prep championships went to Westchester and Coach Pendleton in girls 4-A basketball, to Crenshaw and Coach Willie West in boys 4-A basketball, to Palisades and Coach Howard Enstedt in 4-A boys volleyball, to Palisades and Coach Bud Kling in 4-A girls tennis, to University and Coach Frank Cruz in 3-A baseball, to Palisades and Coach Dave Anderson in boys swimming and to University and Coach Tom Anderson in 4-A boys tennis.
Individual City singles tennis titles were won by Heather Willens of Palisades and by Jason Clark of University.