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Breakers boys' and girls' programs captured Orange Coast League championships.

June 11, 2010|By Mike Sciacca

Another season has gone into the history books for the Laguna Beach High track and field program.

Both the Laguna boys' and girls' teams won an Orange Coast League championship. Several individuals won league titles in their respective events, and several qualified for the CIF Southern Section Division IV meet and CIF finals at Cerritos College.

Both teams will lose key senior members to graduation in the next week, but despite that, the track and field program is showing no sign of a let-up.

When Scott Wittkop became head coach of the boys' program three years ago, he said approximately 100 athletes came out for the track and field season. That number has nearly increased by half.

"The total track program has grown to 140 athletes," he said. "I believe that each year the program has grown stronger and we have become a better team from top to bottom."

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Numbers-wise, the program is strong. Tradition-wise, the program continues to make its mark.

But winning league titles and individual accolades doesn't come without a price.

It comes with complete dedication, said Wittkop who coaches varsity boys and girls' sprints in a well-rounded program with a staff that includes Steve Lalim (head varsity girls'/distance coach), Mark Harris (long and triple jump), Fred Pichay (high jump), Carista Strickland (distance), Jeff Bockert (hurdles), Judd Binley (throws) and Jonathon Todd (throws).

"Our entire coaching staff is really supportive of us," senior Brett Linkletter said.

Linkletter, who will compete next year at USC, qualified for CIF in all four of his events: 400-meter dash, long jump, triple jump and 1600-meter relay.

"When I came into the program three years ago, Coach Wittkop had just started. He has been so committed to the program. He brought back the Trophy Invite, which hadn't been held at the school in a really long time."

"I think one of the things that the coaching staff showed me was that you can't be competitive in a competition if you're not competitive in practice. We had some great practices. Every year, it's been a leap forward for our track program."

The tradition-rich program brought back the Trophy Invite a few years ago. Laguna hosted the first "minor" division track meet in 1937 and thus began the annual Trophy meet which was held nearly every year until 1983. Next year's event, set for March 19, 2011, will start at the traditional time of 8:41 a.m., the two-mile time for Laguna's state champion, Eric Hulst.

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