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Many of the County's Best Will Sign in the Next Week


Marcy Crouch could be Orange County's finest all-around high school athlete. Last season, she helped Marina win Southern Section championships in softball and soccer.

And she's not a bad student either. Crouch has a 3.96 grade-point average and scored 1,250 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

Stanford recruited Crouch, who is also a standout on the volleyball team, and the senior is expected to sign with the Cardinal this week.

Wednesday is the first day of the early signing period for etters of intent, and many of the county's top athletes have made oral commitments and plan to sign between Nov. 9-16.

Although Crouch, an outside hitter, couldn't help the Vikings secure an automatic bid for the volleyball playoffs, she impressed coaches and recruiters.

"Marcy and our setter, Jessica Lyon, always stepped up in the big matches," Marina Coach Jason Bilbruck said. "This is her third sport; that's kind of scary."

After earning all-county honors in softball and soccer last season, Crouch, a pitcher, will sign a letter of intent to accept a softball scholarship with Stanford. She has not decided whether she will play collegiate soccer or volleyball.

Other Pac-10 schools expected to land top Orange County players are Arizona (Foothill's Michelle Churnock), Arizona State (Ocean View's Kathy Ponce) and UCLA (Cypress' Julie Adams).

Although Wednesday is the first day of the early signing period for most sports, the signing period for football is Feb. 1-April 1. The signing period for field hockey, soccer, women's volleyball and water polo begins Feb. 8.

At least six Orange County boys' basketball players are expected to sign early this year.

Last season, only Arizona's Miles Simon (Mater Dei) signed early. Tony Gonzalez (Huntington Beach) could have signed early, but waited to sign in February so he could play football and basketball at California.

Here are the boys' basketball players who have made oral commitments:

--Tustin's Doug Gottlieb, Notre Dame. Gottlieb, a 6-foot point guard, was a Times first-team all-county selection and Sea View League MVP last season. He averaged 18 points and 8.1 assists.

--Servite's Mark Seaton, Stanford. Seaton, a 6-foot-9 forward and second-team All-Sunset League selection, averaged 10 points last season and helped the Friars reach the Southern Section Division III-AA championship game.

--Mater Dei's Clay McKnight, UC Irvine. McKnight, a sharp-shooting guard and son of Monarch Coach and Athletic Director Gary McKnight, averaged 14.6 points and made 49% of his three-pointers last season.

--Also expected to sign early are Mater Dei's Shaun Jackson (Wyoming), a 6-7 forward, Sonora's Craig Clark (San Jose State), a 7-foot center, and St. Margaret's Damian Raibon (San Francisco), a 6-3 swingman.


Huntington Beach's Jeremy Bart, who helped the Oilers win consecutive Southern Section championships in boys' volleyball, will sign early with Stanford.

Bart, a 6-3 outside hitter, was an All-Sunset League selection last season. He was also a first-team All-American selection at the Junior Olympics last summer, playing for the Balboa Bay volleyball club.

San Clemente's Gabriel Gardner, a 6-9 outside hitter who is also a standout water polo goalkeeper, is expected to sign with either UCLA or USC.

Although the signing period for women's volleyball doesn't begin until Feb. 8, many of the county's top players already have made oral commitments.

Newport Harbor's Misty May, The Times Orange County player of the year last season, has committed to Long Beach State. May is considered by many to be the top recruit in the nation.

May's teammate, Melissa Schutz committed to Colorado. She is one of the county's top middle blockers.

Many of the county's top players have not made oral commitments, including Esperanza's Kristy Kierulff, an outside hitter who also won the State high jump championship last season.

Orange County High School Commitments


Player School Position College Eric Valent Canyon Outfield UCLA



Player School Position College Craig Clark Sonora Center San Jose State Doug Gottlieb Tustin Guard Notre Dame Shaun Jackson Mater Dei Forward Wyoming Clay McKnight Mater Dei Guard UC Irvine Damian Raibon St. Margaret's Guard San Francisco Mark Seaton Servite Forward Stanford



Player School Position College Amber Farroux Westminster Forward Long Beach State Shandy Robbins Marina Forward Oregon



Player School Position College Julie Adams Cypress Shortstop UCLA Michelle Churnock Foothill Shortstop Arizona Marcy Crouch Marina Pitcher Stanford Valerie Downen Pacifica Shortstop Creighton Jenny Foyle El Modena Shortstop Stanford Erryn Gutjahr Kennedy First baseman San Diego State Nikki Hart El Dorado Shortstop Oregon State Brandee McArthur Villa Park Pitcher Pacific Kathy Ponce Ocean View Pitcher Arizona State Michelle Schneider Los Alamitos Shortstop Stanford



Player School Position College Jeremy Bart Huntington Beach Outside hitter Stanford



Player School Position College Laura Echolds Esperanza Middle blocker Santa Clara Mary Heinecke Woodbridge Middle blocker Tennessee Lynn Lovingier Calvary Chapel Outside hitter Tennessee Chrissie Lukasiewicz University Middle blocker Duke Misty May Newport Harbor OH/setter Long Beach State Courtney Owens Calvary Chapel Outside hitter Colorado Melissa Schutz Newport Harbor Middle blocker Colorado

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