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Moments That Helped Shape the Prep Sports Year : A Gallant Effort

June 13, 1995|ERIK HAMILTON

As graduating seniors across Orange County prepare to toss their mortarboards and face the future, it's time to take a look back at the people, events and issues that helped make 1994-95 a remarkable year in county high school sports.

Few prep sports fans are likely to forget the accomplishments of Mater Dei in football and boys' and girls' basketball. The Monarchs won Southern Section titles in each sport, won the boys' Division I State championship in basketball and came within three points of winning the girls' Division I State title.

The football team finished 14-0 and ranked No. 1 in the nation.

Or the Woodbridge girls' basketball team, which returned to Oakland and avenged a 71-38 drubbing last year by beating Sacramento El Camino, 55-40, to win the Division II State championship.

Or Misty May, the most sought-after volleyball recruit in the nation, leading Newport Harbor to its first Division I State title. Or the girls' soccer team at Marina, extending its unbeaten streak to 61 matches in winning its third consecutive Division I championship.

Or the county record-breaking feats of track and field youngsters Bryan Harrison (Dana Hills sophomore, 100 meters) and Ashley Bethel (Mission Viejo freshman, 100 hurdles). Or Esperanza senior Courtney Pugmire's shattering of the 3,200-meter record by nearly 14 seconds.

Or the playoff success of the county's baseball teams, winners of four of six section titles. La Quinta and Fountain Valley became the first county teams to win back-to-back championships, on the same day at Anaheim Stadium. Or Marina and Woodbridge's victories in the Division I and II softball title games.

Or the continued domination of county schools in swimming and diving, with Mission Viejo and Laguna Hills earning Division I and II boys' championships.

Or Garden Grove breaking Alhambra Keppel's 115-match winning streak in badminton. The Argonauts ended Keppel's five-year reign as section champions with a 10-9 victory in the Division I title game.

County schools won 29 section titles and three State titles.

Members of The Times Orange County prep sports staff share their memories about the people, events and issues that made the greatest impression on them in the last 10 months.

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A Gallant Effort

The two-day State wrestling championships at the University of the Pacific in March had everything: drama, color, thrills, outstanding matches and some surprises.

Maybe the biggest surprise was defending champion Calvary Chapel failing to win its third consecutive title. The Eagles battled valiantly, but there were too many obstacles.

On the micro front, a flu bug paid no mind to Calvary Chapel's mission and had a devastating impact. Then there was the hostile crowd at Spanos Center that showed little love or respect for the Church Boyz.

Calvary Chapel's leaders were defending State champions Josh Holiday and Ed Mosley. The two seniors wanted to finish their prep careers on top. Two other seniors, Matt Van Hook and Mike Aguirre, were also determined to help the team defend its title.

Van Hook, who came back from a shoulder injury suffered mid-season, finished seventh. Aguirre, who many believed had a shot at a title, was pinned by the flu and eliminated in the second round.

In the second day's championship round, Holiday began to feel the first pangs of the flu and appeared sluggish. He won his matches, but the victories didn't come with the usual ease. Mosley, meanwhile, was healthy and got stronger with each ensuing match. Both reached the championship final.

Trailing San Jose Independence by six points in the team competition, Calvary Chapel not only needed pins from Holiday and Mosley in their final matches, but also needed Independence's Tony Gomez and defending State champion Eric Guerrero to lose.

Calvary Chapel Coach John Azevedo is a realist, and he knew there was no way Gomez or Guerrero would lose their matches. He was right.

Holiday beat Mario Castillo of Watsonville, 20-11, and Mosley beat Jason Webster of Corona Centennial, 8-6, in overtime. But Gomez won, 6-4, in overtime, and Guerrero pinned his opponent in 1 minute 64 seconds.

The Eagles finished second, but Azevedo was proud of his wrestlers, especially sophomore Joe Calavitta, who might be Calvary Chapel's truest champion.

It was Calavitta who suffered the worst of the crowd's abuse when he wrestled Gomez in a 125-pound semifinal match.

There's no doubt the crowd affected Calavitta. After all, it's hard to block out the boos of 7,000 spectators. Though Calavitta lost, 10-7, the true sign of a champion is the ability to overcome setbacks.

Calavitta did just that. It would have been easy to pack his bags and walk away, but he had enough class to come back and win his third-place match. The look of pride on his face after that victory was unforgettable.

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