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BOYS' TENNIS / DAVE McKIBBEN

Run for Division I Title Will Get Easier

March 28, 2000|DAVE McKIBBEN

Los Alamitos vice principal Jerry Halpin swears he did not have it in for Woodbridge and Corona del Mar's boys' tennis programs. It only seems that way. Halpin's proposal, approved overwhelmingly by the Southern Section council last week, prohibits programs from moving up to compete in higher enrollment-based divisions. It will take effect in the fall 2000 season, according to assistant commissioner Bill Clark.

If this rule had been implemented five years ago, Woodbridge and Corona del Mar would not have won three of the last four Southern Section Division I boys' tennis titles, and Los Alamitos might have won a few Division I titles. Woodbridge, which eliminated the Griffins' from the boys' tennis playoffs four of the last five years, did not move up from Division III this year, but the damage has been done.

"There's always [Palos Verdes] Peninsula in our division anyway," Halpin said. "I didn't even think of Woodbridge [beating us]. My feeling is, if we're going to have enrollment-based playoffs, let's make it enrollment-based."

Halpin said his proposal, submitted on behalf of the Sunset League, was unanimously approved in Orange County.

Tim Mang, who coaches defending Division I champion Corona del Mar, is miffed, but not surprised by the new rule.

"Thank God for our [national] tennis tournament," said Mang, whose team will play in Division IV next year. "That's the idea, to have the best teams play the best. It's very simple--teams are running away from the best teams. Maybe some of these teams need to get out and work harder."

Or maybe, as Halpin suggests, the Southern Section should get away from enrollment-based playoffs.

"Maybe this is the first step to going toward competitive equity playoffs," he said.

Woodbridge, which won Division I titles in 1996 and '97 and lost in the '99 finals to Corona del Mar, decided not to challenge the big boys this year.

"We lost six seniors," Woodbridge sophomore Brett Van Linge said. "We knew it would be tough to win Division I. We just don't have of the depth we used to have. It's probably the worst it's been here in about 10 years."

A PCL SHOWDOWN

Second-ranked University (7-0, 2-0) hosts No. 1 Corona del Mar (12-3, 2-0) in a Pacific Coast League match at 3 today.

The Trojans, led by singles players Aaron Yovan, Henry Mak and Jack Li, have not been tested this year. Their closest match was a 14-4 victory over sixth-ranked Dana Hills last Wednesday.

Two of Corona del Mar's losses came in its own tournament, the National High School All-American Invitational. The Sea Kings also lost Friday to L.A. Brentwood, 12-6. In that match, they lost five of nine singles sets.

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If you have an item or idea for the boys' tennis report, you can fax us at (714) 966-5663 or e-mail us at david.mckibben@latimes.com

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