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Seniors Leaving Their Mark

September 17, 1996

The Class of '97 comes from nearly every corner of Orange County. They come from public and private schools, large ones and small. They are the players to watch because of their talent, potential or the intriguing circumstances in which they find themselves.

Each will say this is the year they have waited for. They are seniors. It's their year. Finally. And their resumes bellow the same thing: "Look at me!"

And so we do.

BADMINTON

Joyce Cabuhat, Magnolia

Cabuhat, a senior at Magnolia, plans to study medicine in college and doesn't think she'll have enough time to play badminton after she graduates. Opponents will be glad to see her leave. She was The Times' Orange County badminton player of the year in 1996 and led the Sentinels to the Division II finals, where they lost to Loara, 11-8. It marked only the second time in school history that a Sentinel athletic team advanced to a section final. The baseball team got that far in 1977.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

Jennifer Saari, Brea Olinda

After a Jan. 21 loss to Mater Dei in which she took some heat for not shooting enough, Saari (13.3 points per game) averaged 18 points and shot nearly 50% from the three-point arc over the next 11 games. Her overall ballhandling (5.6 assists) was invaluable to the Ladycats, and any hopes of returning to a state title game after a two-year absence rests with her recovery from a strained knee suffered in the playoffs that affected her play. That's the question: Is she the same player this year that she was before the injury?

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday September 24, 1996 Orange County Edition Special Section Part V Page 3 Sports Desk 4 inches; 123 words Type of Material: Correction; Prep Sports
Baseball--In the Sept. 17 Prep Extra, the baseball portion of the Class of '97 article was inadvertently omitted.
BASEBALL
Mike Kolbach, Mater Dei
A rich crop of seniors will patrol county baseball fields next spring.
Eight of them were on The Times all-county first or second teams in 1996 as juniors.
Choosing among them became so difficult, their coaches were contacted and asked to vote. No coach could pick a player on his team.
Mater Dei's Mike Kolbach won.
"I think he's easily the best," La Quinta Coach Dave Demarest said. "He has a huge impact on the mound and at the plate; in a two-game series he has a lot to do with the outcome."
The left-handed Kolbach, 17, had a terrific junior year. He batted .443 with eight home runs and 38 runs batted in. As a pitcher he was 10-1 with a 2.27 earned-run average. He helped the Monarchs end the regular season as the county's top-ranked team.

BOYS' CROSS-COUNTRY

Michael Murray, Santa Margarita

Murray, the defending Sea View League champion won his second consecutive Southern Section individual title, taking the II-A honors as a junior.

Swept through league dual meets undefeated a year ago before placing fifth at the state Division II finals in 15 minutes 41 seconds.

GIRLS' CROSS-COUNTRY

Katie Nuanes, Santa Margarita

The lone area athlete to qualify for the Foot Locker National Championships last fall, Nuanes led the Eagles to the Southern Section Division II-A team title as a junior.

Nuanes won the Sea View League in a personal-best three-mile time of 17 minutes 8 seconds, then finished second in the section finals and third at the state Division II finals.

FOOTBALL

Greg Cicero, Servite

Cicero injured his throwing hand in Friday's 24-20 victory over Esperanza, but he remains, nonetheless, the most highly touted quarterback in the county. Despite the injury, which happened late in the first half of the season opener for the third-ranked Friars, Cicero completed 20 of 34 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 180-pound senior tested his hand in practice Monday and coaches were still trying to evaluate the severity of the injury.

Cicero passed for 2,360 yards and 28 touchdowns in leading Servite to the 1995 Southern Section Division V championship game.

GOLF

Jin Park, Sunny Hills

When the PGA Tour stopped in Los Angeles last February, Park qualified for the field, at 16 to become one of the youngest to play in the event.

He struggled at Riviera, missing the cut with a 156 total, but no county golfer was more consistent in the high school postseason.

Park, who as a freshman helped the Lancers to a Southern Section team title, was a total of one-over par at the three major postseason events. His 72 in the CIF-Southern California Golf Assn. Championship helped Sunny Hills to fourth place.

BOYS' SOCCER

Albert Mendez, Santiago

Mendez, a first-team Times all-county selection last year, will be going for his third consecutive county scoring title and his third straight Garden Grove League MVP award. Last year, Mendez scored 52 goals and had 16 assists in leading Santiago to a 20-2-1 record and a second seeding in the Southern Section Division III playoffs. As a sophomore, Mendez scored 41 goals.

GIRLS' SOCCER

Riki Ann Serrins, Santa Margarita

Tactical, experienced and tough, Serrins is one of the top goalkeepers in the county. She led her under-16 club team, the Mission Viejo Shamrocks, to the 1995 national final. Last season for Santa Margarita, Serrins gave up seven goals and shut out eight teams in 21 games to help the Eagles maintain their No. 1 ranking throughout regular season. Santa Margarita lost to Los Alamitos, 1-0, in the quarterfinals of the Southern Section Division I tournament.

SOFTBALL

Toni Mascarenas, Pacifica

She is no longer the best pitcher on her team, giving way to junior Amanda Freed, but Mascarenas is perhaps the best all-around player in the county. A three-time Times all-county selection as a utility player, she was 10-1 with a 0.28 earned-run average last year, played spectacular at shortstop and batted .411, scored 33 runs, hit six home runs and drove in 21--from the leadoff spot. Although Mater Dei is favored to win another section championship, Pacifica would love the chance to meet the Monarchs along the way.

BOYS' SWIMMING

Philippe Demers, Santa Margarita

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