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Moments That Helped Shape the Prep Sports Year : Another Perspective

June 13, 1995|MARTIN HENDERSON

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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Another Perspective

I'm sitting at my desk at Scapegoat Central, asked to write about my most vivid recollection of the past year. "Hmmm," I say to myself, "I'm kind of on Marcy Crouch overload right now--can't really recall anything but that smile she flashed after Marina won its second straight Southern Section softball title over the weekend."

"Think hard," my boss says. "And please, no more Marcy!"

So I think hard, and three days later realize that for every Marcy Crouch who wins the big one, there are hundreds who lose. Believe me, I've dealt with my share of losers the past year. Now, that's loser as a noun, not an adjective. Big difference.

I'm fond of losers because they're usually better quotes--they offer a perspective that's more insightful (truthful?) than a winner, whose primary concern is to keep his or her comments off the locker room wall.

Over the last 3 1/2 weeks, I've interviewed San Clemente's Heather Hollis, El Dorado's Nikki Hart, Kennedy's Lisa Pitt and Los Alamitos' Michelle Schneider within a few minutes after their seasons ended. Yet they stood in and answered some pretty pointed questions; they took responsibility for their A) failure at the plate, B) failure in the field, or C) failure, period.

Not one blamed an official. Not one blamed society. Not one blamed the media.

Interviewing losers isn't easy--believe me, it's difficult, but necessary. And these girls, by their answers, clearly didn't need to be protected from postgame interrogation.

Perhaps it's because they're girls in a low-profile sport, but too often in the big games, it seems there's too much protection out there. Coddling results in Daylon McCutcheon of La Puente Bishop Amat being spared answering questions after his team lost Mater Dei in the Division I football finals.

I've seen it in the past, too, in boys' basketball, where Mater Dei security blocked photographers from shooting Monarch players after losing to Crenshaw in a Regional Championship.

Pitiful.

This process of molding young people into adults should include all facets of life--including losing. It's through adversity that real learning takes place.

There are few places in the United States where the media create high school celebrities the way Orange County does. We are there when you win and everyone seems to like that. We are also there when you lose.

You can't have one without the other.

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