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Seniors Get Chance to Shine

September 23, 1997

The Class of '98 represents many of the diverse neighborhoods of Orange County. Its members attend large schools and small schools, public and private. They are some of the players to watch because of their talent, potential or intriguing circumstances in their lives.

They are seniors and they will tell you that this is their year. Their resumes bellow: "Look at Me."

Once again, we do.

BADMINTON

Phong Vo, Ocean View

Vo was the only junior named to last season's Times all-county badminton team and the Seahawks will rely on his leadership this year after losing four team members to graduation. Vo, not known as a finesse player, is one who depends on his power, slamming shots and long hits to keep his opponents off balance.

BOYS' BASKETBALL

Chris McMillian, Brea Olinda

McMillian matured as a point guard this summer. His stock rose dramatically among colleges after being named one of the top 20 players at the West Coast All-Star camp. "Potential-wise, he's as good or better than anyone else in the county," Wildcat Coach Gene Lloyd said. McMillian says he's looking forward to the start of the basketball season. "The guys will be looking for me to provide leadership," he said. "Its not easy, but it's something that, as a point guard, I have to get used to."

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

Heidi Hardeman, Troy

Troy is among the top 10 teams this season, so Hardeman won't be overlooked any longer. One of the county's most intriguing players, she fits into that Melanie Pearson (Woodbridge/UCLA) "tweener" mold between guard and forward. She is 6 feet tall with deft ballhandling skills and a nice shot, easily capable of 30-point games. She averaged 19.7 points and seven rebounds last season and, if a teammate develops into a second scoring threat, Hardeman will score even more.

BOYS' CROSS-COUNTRY

Mark Gleason, Mission Viejo

Gleason couldn't do much to improve the performances he turned in as a junior. The Times Orange County boys' cross-country athlete of the year in 1996 was the top junior in the state Division II finals (15:36), had the seventh-best overall time at the state finals and won the section Division II race in 14:20. Gleason also won the South Coast League championship and helped the Diablos to a 5-0 record.

GIRLS' CROSS-COUNTRY

Heather Garritson, Buena Park

With a second-place finish in last season's state Division III race, Garritson has emerged as the county's top senior girls' cross-country athlete. She was named to The Times all-county first team as a junior and her accomplishments last year included her third consecutive Freeway League title and a first-place finish in the Gold Division race at the Orange County Championships.

FIELD HOCKEY

Amber Puskas, Santiago

Puskas might be the best field hockey player Orange County has seen in awhile. Despite her team losing the Sunset League title to Edison last year, Puskas, a forward, led Santiago to theTournament of Champions final, where her goal and an assist gave the Cavaliers a 2-1 victory. As a junior, Puskas was selected to the all-league first team, as well as earning a spot on the all-tournament team. She is known for her speed and gritty determination, as well as having great field vision and a knack for getting to the goal.

GOLF

Tom Osseck, Santa Margarita

Osseck was only one of Santa Margarita's talented golfers on a squad that won the team title at the CIF-Southern California Golf Assn. championships last season. Osseck led the Eagles by shooting a two-under-par 70 at the SCGA Members' Club at Rancho California in Murrieta in the CIF-SCGA Championship.

GYMNASTICS

Tennli Ulicny, Brea Olinda

Ulicny returns this season to try and top last year's performance. The top gymnast on the Wildcat squad for the last three years, Ulicny was named the South Coast League gymnast of the year last season. Also a soccer player, Ulicny has a 3.67 grade-point average and plans on attending BYU next year to play soccer.

BOYS' SOCCER

Mario Gonzalez, Santa Ana

A first team Times all-county selection last year, Gonzalez is the county's top recruit this season. Though his best position is sweeper, Gonzalez played everywhere for Santa Ana last year, scoring 10 goals and adding five assists. Former Orange High Coach Kevin Esparza saw Gonzalez play this summer and he understands why so many colleges are on his trail. "He was amazing," Esparza said. "He did some things with the ball I've never seen a high school kid do. The kid's just got unlimited potential."

GIRLS' SOCCER

Kim Abbamonto, Capistrano Valley

Abbamonto's talents are no secret. "She's big time," Capistrano Valley Coach Jack Peterson said. Abbamonto has earned All-Southern Section honors the last two seasons and has made the All-South Coast League first-team in her first three seasons. She has orally committed to USC.

BOYS' SWIMMING

Steve Poling, Laguna Hills

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