Randy Angel

Sports Highlights of the Year

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Olympians and professional stars weren’t the only local athletes to make news in 2012. Following are month-by-month highlights of sports stories in the world of sports and the issue dates they appeared in the Easy Reader.

January

12 – Mira Costa’s boys water polo team handed Palos Verdes its first league loss since 2007 to move into the driver’s seat in the Bay league race with the 8-6 home win.

19 – Mira Costa setter Corie Bain was named the Bay League’s MVP in girls volley while Redondo libero Tiffany Morales was selected the league’s Most Outstanding Player Both were named to the All-CIF Division 1-AA team. In boys water polo, defender Matt Thornton was named to the All-CIF Division 3 team after earning the Bay League’s Most Outstanding Player award. In football, Redondo linebacker Ryan Spiwak was named the Bay League’s Defensive Player of the Year and was selected to the All-CIF Northern Division team.

26 – Mira Costa alum Dan Tobias was named the new Director of Coaching for the South Bay Force girls program.

February

2 – In basketball and soccer action, Mira Costa and Redondo had equal success during rivalry week. Mira Costa boys basketball team rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat Redondo 67-57 while Redondo’s girls team had little trouble beating the Mustangs 51-34. On the soccer field, Mira Costa’s boys defeated Redondo 4-1 while host Redondo upset Mira Costa 4-1, the only league loss the Mustangs would suffer in the 2011-12 season.

9 – Redondo Beach’s Chris Foster, a two-time winner of the Redondo Beach Triathlon, added another title to his resume by winning the 34th Annual Redondo Beach Super Bowl Sunday 10K with a time of 30 minutes, 34 seconds. Mary Akor, of Hawthorne, won the women’s competition.

16 – Three decades after first running in the John Hales Memorial Sand and Strand Run in Hermosa Beach, local running icons Jeff Atkinson and Annie Seawright-Newton captured first place in the male and female divisions. Atkinson, 48, of Manhattan Beach completed the 2.5 mile course in 15 minutes, 11 seconds. Seawright-Newton, 46, of Hermosa Beach was the first woman to cross the finish line posting a time of 18:16.

23 – After nearly three decades away from competitive surfing and two hip replacements later, Mike Purpus returned to the podium winning the legends division of the Dive N’ Surf South Bay Boardriders contest at 45th Street in Manhattan Beach. Rich Silva won the Men’s Open division and former South High surfer Natalie Anzivino captured the Women’s Open division. The Junior boys title went to Kelly Zaun while Rachel Tominaga won the girls event.

March

1 – Mira Costa’s Rachael Tominaga won the shortboard and longboard divisions in the South Bay Surf League All Star Individual Championships.

8 – Redondo Union’s boys volleyball team won its own tournament, successfully defending its title in the 32-team tournament. Sea Hawk sophomore Louis Richard earned MVP honors.

8 – The Laker’s Metta World Peace was on hand at Redondo Union High School’s Sea Hawk Pavilion to commemorate the opening of the renovated gym.

22 – Competing in the 122-pound division, Hermosa Beach’s Hunter Ladnier captured the California State Folkstyle Championships.

22 – Redondo Union’s girls track and field team won the 2nd annual Redondo Nike Invitational. The boy’s team placed second behind Loyola.

22 – Christian Hesch, 33, of Hollywood and Redondo Beach running icon Nathalie Higley won the men’s and women’s divisions of the Village Runner St. Patrick’s 5K.

29 – The AYSO Manhattan/Hermosa Beach Girls U10 All-Star Team made history becoming the first Region 18 Girls U10 team to reach the State Championships.

April

5 – Longtime Redondo Union boys basketball coach Tom Maier was unexpectedly fired despite posting a 197-111 record as head coach of the Sea Hawks.

5 – Redondo Union’s Kayla Ferron was named the Ed Austin Female Athlete of the Meet after winning the 1,600 meter race and joining teammates in setting meet records in the 4×400 and 4×800 relays.

12 – Hermosa Beach’s Fredric Aasbo, a Norwegian Formula Drift racecar driver competed in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

12 – Redondo Union’s 4×800 relay team of Amber Gore, Kayla Ferron, Rachel Bush and Lyndsey Mull recorded the fastest time in the nation at that time with a mark of 9:05.85.

19 – Former Mira Costa girls volleyball standouts competed in the USA Volleyball Collegiate Challenge in Hermosa Beach. Kendall Bateman represented USC while Steve Robinson played for Pepperdine.

26 – Redondo Beach’s Nathalie Higley set a new women’s record at the 6th Hermosa Beach 5000, shattering the record of 17 minutes, 20 seconds she set in 2010 with a time of 16:56.

May

3 – After months of searching, Redondo Union hired Matt Ballard as its new head football coach. Ballard left his alma mater at Half Moon Bay High School where he enjoyed many successful seasons.

3 – Mira Costa’s boys volleyball team won the talent-laden Redondo Varsity Classic, handing San Diego Section powerhouse Otay Ranch only its second loss of the season in the championship match.

3 – Redondo Union girls soccer star Samantha Witteman and girls basketball standout Annie Park were named to the All-CIF teams.

10 – i-ACT, a South Bay non-profit grassroots organization, held a fundraising event and exhibit entitled “One Strong Kick” in Manhattan. The event raised money for the Darfur United All-Refugee Soccer Team to help the team compete in the Viva World Cup in Iraqi Kurdistan. The team was coached by Mark Hodson of Manhattan Beach.

17 – Mira Costa’s girls team placed second in the inaugural season of the Southern Pacific Volleyball Committee’s Interscholastic Beach Volleyball League.

24 – The third time was the charm for Mira Costa’s boys volleyball team. The Mustangs defeated Loyola for the first time in three attempts to win the CIF Division 1 championship and seventh CIF title in 12 final appearances.

31 – Mira Costa’s boys volleyball team finished its season with 19 straight wins, capturing the Southern California Regional Championship with a thrilling five-set victory over Oak Park. The Mustangs finished ranked No. 2 in the nation.

31 – Redondo Union boys volleyball player Jesse Conner was selected as a 2011-12 Discus Award winner for his achievements in academics, athletics and community service.

June

7 – More than 900 entrants finished the Grand View Gator 5K. The 17th annual event raises money for Manhattan Beach schools.

14 – Mira Costa senior Ryan Reede won his first Redondo Beach Triathlon completing the 1/2-mile swim, 6-mile bike and 2-mile run in 41 minutes, 55 seconds.

21 – Manhattan Beach resident and Loyola High School boys volleyball standout was named the CIF Southern Section Division 1 Player of the Year. Mira Costa’s Jackson Carr, Brooks Varni, Karl Acres and Scott Stephanoff made the All-CIF Division 1 team. In softball, Mira Costa catcher Katie Saunders earned All-CIF Division 3 honors after being named the Bay League’s Most Outstanding Player.

28 – Manhattan Beach residents Patrick Sweeney and Kristina Fernandez were the top male and female runners in the 11th annual Manhattan Beach Summer 5K.

28 – Eleven athletes from Manhattan Beach Karate and Yoga brought home medals after competing in the U.S. Junior Karate National Championships.

28 – Redondo Union teammates Abril Bustamante and Tiffany Morales won the Amateur Athletic Union’s Pairs Championships held at Dockweiler State Beach.

July

5 – Manhattan Beach’s Patrick Sweeney shattered his own Guinness World Record for Greatest Distance Running in the Sand for 24 Hours. Competing in the third edition of the Hermosa 24, Sweeney logged 87.36 miles on the 3.36-mile soft-sand course.

12 – Cyclist Ken Hanson, 30, of Santa Barbara won the 51st annual Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix. Long Beach State student Shelby Reynolds, 21, captured the Women’s Cat 1-3 title.

12 – Brian Murphy and Alison Riddle won the men’s and women’s title, respectively, at the South Bay Dozen. The event tests the speed and endurance of competitors through 12 types of ocean races.

19 – More than 150 teams from across the country hits the sands of Hermosa Beach to compete in the AAU Junior Beach Volleyball National Championships. Twenty eight local athletes medaled in the tournament.

19 – Teammates Weston Carico, Kevin Cleary, Denny Smith and Michael Lennon won the BarryBob Invitational beach volleyball tournament.

26 – Top seeded team reigned at the Jose Cuervo Hermosa Beach Open. Sean Scott (Redondo Beach) and John Hyden captured the men’s title while Jenny Kropp (Holly Glen) and Whitney Pavlik won the women’s crown.

26 – The El Segundo U12 Girls All-Star Softball team won the Amateur Softball Association “C” State Championship.

26 – Top seeded Vishnu Nardhan, of India, won the Men’s Open Singles Division of the Manhattan Beach Open Tennis tournament.

August

2 – Jack Bark, 18, won the Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard World Championship.

9 – In International Surf Festival competition, Adam Buckley won the Velzy/Stevens paddleboard race; Jeff Atkinson outpaced fellow Manhattan Beach resident Patrick Sweeney in the Dick Fitzgerald 2-mile Run; the L.A Country Central Team won the Taplin Medley Relay; David Schlesinger and Dawn Hickman won the men’s and women’s divisions of the Dwight Crum Pier-to-Pier Swim and, in the Charlie Saikley 6-man beach volleyball tournament, Spyder won the Men’s Open division while Rusher Air Bacchus captured the Women’s Open title.

16 – Hermosa Beach’s Zana Muno became the first player to win the Amateur Athletic Union’s “triple crown” of beach volleyball. In the span of sour weeks, the 16-year-old won the AAU National Championship, the AAU Junior Olympics and the Best of the Beach tournaments – all with different partners.

30 – The prestigious Jose Cuervo Manhattan Beach Open had repeat winners this year when third-seeded Sean Scott (Redondo Beach) and John Hyden won the men’s title and top-seeded Jenny Kropp (Holly Glen) and Whitney Pavlik were champions in the women’s bracket.

September

6 – Bishop Montgomery volleyball coach Kevin Norman teamed with Derek Levy, Danny Boehle and Joe Rumsey to win the 55th Annual 17th Street Labor Day Weekend Volleyball tournament.

13 – Mira Costa’s girls cross country team won the Laguna Hills Invitational and Redondo’s boys and girls teams each placed second in the Great Cow Run in Cerritos.

20 – Redondo Union’s girls volleyball team finished third in the nationally-acclaimed Durango Fall Classic in Las Vegas.

27 – Redondo girls volleyball coach Tommy Chaffins led his Sea Hawks to the championship of the Dave Mohs Memorial Tournament in Orange County.

27 – Jenny Kropp (Holly Glen) and Whitney Pavlik completed a sweep of the six Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball tournaments by winning the women’s title at the National Championships in Huntington Beach. Redondo Beach native and Hermosa Beach resident Sean Rosenthal teamed with Jake Gibb to capture the men’s title.

October

4 – Hermosa Beach sportswriter Michael McKnight celebrated the release of his book Intercepted: The Rise and Fall of Cornerback Darryl Henley that told how temptation and hubris brought the NFL player to ruin.

4 – Redondo Union’s girls and boys cross country teams placed second and fourth, respectively, at the 27th Annual Roy Griak Invitational at the University of Minnesota. Mira Costa’s girls team finished 10th at the Stanford Invitational.

4 – Redondo Beach’s Danny Ching won both elite stand-up races in the Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez Battle of the Paddle held at Dana Point.

11 – Tito Lezama, of Gardena, and Nathalie Higley, of Redondo Beach, were repeat winners of the Manhattan Beach 10K.

18 – Mira Costa’s girls golf team won the Knabe Cup at Lakewood Country Club. Redondo’s Robynn Ree shot a birdie on the final hole to win the individual title with a 7-under-par 67.

25 – Mira Costa’s boys water polo team swept Palos Verdes with a 10-7 home victory, putting the Mustangs in the driver’s seat for the Bay League title.

November

1 – Beach tennis star Marty Salokas teamed with Pauline Bordet to win the Mixed Doubles championship at the Subaru Hermosa Beach Open. Salokas and partner Donny Young formed the United States’ top men’s doubles team.

8 – Mira Costa’s girls cross country team won the Bay League title while Redondo runners captured individual championships. Kayla Ferron and Evan Malone-White won the girls and boys titles for the Sea Hawks.

15 – With most of its team playing tackle football for the first time, the Redondo Beach Pop Warner Mitey Mite White team went 11-0, winning the L.A. County Championship.

29 – Redondo Union’s girls volleyball team saw its record-setting season come to an end with a loss to rival Marymount in the finals of the CIF Southern California Regionals. Loyola, which had several players from the South Bay on its team, defeated Redondo in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship match.

29 – Redondo Union’s boys cross country team placed third in the CIF Division 2 State finals in Fresno. Mira Costa’s girls team finished fifth, edging Redondo on a sixth-runner tiebreaker.

December

6 – Palos Verdes High School ended a 47-year drought on the gridiron, winning the CIF Southern Section Northern Division championship with a 35-14 win over Bay League rival West Torrance.

13 – Distance runner Kayla Ferron ended her prep cross country career competing against the nation’s top runners at the Footlocker National Championships in San Diego. The Redondo senior qualified for the event with a 10-place finish in the West Regional.

20 – Boys and girls from Redondo Beach Youth Football & Cheer capped off successful seasons competing in the Pop Warner National Championships in Orlando, FL. The Jr. Midget football team was a consolation champion while the Midget cheer squad finished seventh in the nation.

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