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September 23, 2004|Martin Henderson; Lauren Peterson; Dan Arritt

FOOTBALL

RANDY TYLER

Sr., Diamond Bar

Then: Sat out four games as a sophomore defensive back because of concussion and back injuries, and luck didn't improve as a junior. He was kicked in the jaw on the second day of conditioning drills and sat out four games -- one for each tooth that was pinned backward. Coach Manny Saiz says Tyler was lucky not to lose them completely. Tyler eventually returned to the lineup and led the team with 24 catches for 429 yards and six touchdowns in seven games.

Now: The slot back had five catches last week for 197 yards and four touchdowns as the Brahmas defeated La Habra Sonora, 49-13, to improve to 2-0. Tyler (5 feet 9, 155 pounds) accomplished all this in the first half, catching scoring passes of 70, nine, 70 and 43 yards. Tyler needs 376 yards to break the school's record for career receiving yards (1,035) and 682 to break the season record (913).

Quote: "It was a very explosive performance," Saiz said. "Watching him in practice and watching some of the things that kid can do, nothing really surprises me."

-- Martin Henderson

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GIRLS' TENNIS

NAZLIE GHAZAL

Sr., Temecula Chaparral

Then: Advanced to the quarterfinals of the Southern Section individual tournament last season. The 5-foot-4 left-hander also placed third in the U.S. Tennis Assn. Southern California Sectional Championships girls' 18 division singles competition in June. In July, Ghazal was a singles quarterfinalist in the USTA National Open in El Monte, and she and Cosmina Ciobanu of Fullerton Troy advanced to the doubles quarterfinals in the USTA Super National Clay Court Championships in Memphis, Tenn.

Now: Expected to be a leading contender for the Southern Section singles title. At No. 6 in current Southern California Tennis Assn. girls' 18 division standings after finishing 2003 at No. 10, Ghazal has gone 6-0 in sets in the only two matches she has played so far for the Pumas (2-3). Ghazal has taken recruiting trips to Virginia, Michigan and Princeton and has one to Northwestern planned for next week. The attention has been a byproduct of an improved all-court game built upon her natural foot speed and an increasingly aggressive game plan.

Quote: "No matter who we play, Nazlie's not going to have too many girls who are going to give her much trouble," Coach Ray Fisher said. "I can't imagine a team where Nazlie wouldn't be the No. 1 player."

-- Lauren Peterson

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BOYS' CROSS-COUNTRY

BRANDON BETHKE

Sr., Lake Forest El Toro

Then: Won the Southern Section Division I title last year by nine seconds over favorite Dylan Jaedtke of Simi Valley Royal. A week later, Bethke finished third at the state finals. He also placed second in the 1,600 meters at the state track and field championships last spring, losing the lead to Los Angeles Loyola's Mark Matusak with 100 meters remaining. Bethke still finished the season with the state-leading time of 4 minutes 9.53 seconds.

Now: Defeated a strong field Saturday night at the Irvine Woodbridge Invitational, finishing the three-mile course in 14:22. His time was eight seconds faster than second-place finisher Brett Campfield of Temecula Valley and bettered his year-old school record on the course by eight seconds. Bethke is scheduled to race in a South Coast League dual meet today against Mission Viejo before leaving to run in the prestigious Stanford Invitational on Saturday.

Quote: "There will be some fast times," El Toro Coach Rick Hagin said of the Stanford Invitational. "Hopefully, he can get out and run with them."

-- Dan Arritt

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