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Laguna Beach Cross Country Team proves they belong among the elite programs in the nation

By Scott Wittkop

As the sun set behind the hills of Norco on September 18, the Laguna Beach Cross Country team arrived at the Silver Lakes Sports Complex for their second meet of the 2018 season, the Woodbridge Invitational. The 38th Annual Woodbridge Sketchers Cross Country Classic is the largest cross country meet in the nation, with over 350 schools across 15 states. 

The pinnacle of the two-day invitational was the Dough Speck Sweepstakes Race, which had 9 returning state champions and four national qualifiers, making this year the most competitive race in the meet’s 38-year history. Among the nation’s best teams was Laguna Beach High School. 

First up were the boys. At the start of the race, the leaders went out in a blistering 4:32 mile. Seniors Sebastian Fisher and Ryan Smithers ran side by side the entire race, averaging just under 5:53 per mile, throughout the 3-mile course. Both Fisher and Smithers finished in the top 35 and ran well under the modern school record, clocking a 14:38 and 14:40 respectively. Following closely behind was Senior Zack Falkowski (15:08), Sophomore Mateo Bianchi (15:20), and Senior Cal Neilson (15:21), all posting times that would leave their mark on Laguna Beach High School’s all-time top ten 3-mile list. 

Laguna Beach Cross group

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Boys Cross Country Team in record books as fastest team in LBHS history

In his second cross country race ever, sophomore Will Compton closed out the Breakers’ top six by running a phenomenal time of 15:51, solidifying his spot on the CIF Southern Section’s number one ranked team, LBHS. 

As a team, Laguna Beach ran a team time of 1:15:07, establishing themselves as the fastest team in LBHS history. The Breakers were the top Orange County team, as well as fastest small school (Division 4/5) team in the 38 years of the meet’s existence. Coaches Scott Wittkop and Tommy Newton-Neal were very pleased with how the team stayed relaxed and competed in the electric environment of the Sweepstakes race. 

Coming off of a meet victory up in San Francisco, the LBHS girls cross country team was also invited into the Sweepstakes race at Woodbridge. They also clocked the fastest team time in the school’s history with a time of 1:31:21. Senior Hannah Konkel broke the school record in the 3-mile running a time of 17:31. 

Both cross country teams are currently ranked in the top 5 of CIF Southern Section and will run their next race in Central Park at the Sunset League Prelims meet on Sept 25. 

LBHS Boys Water Polo falls to Newport Harbor, looks to rebound this weekend

By Will Clark, LBHS Boys Water Polo Captain

On Monday, September 17, the Laguna Beach High School Boys Varsity Water Polo team fell to CIF-SS second ranked Newport Harbor by a score of 11-7. 

After goals from junior James Nolan and senior Will Clark, the Breakers led at the end of the first quarter by a score of 2-1. After an unlucky tip shot, the Breakers went down 4-2 at half. The Sailors took control in the third and fourth quarter with dominant center play and a quick counter attack. The Breakers would stay within a few goals thanks to the help of senior Colton Gregory (finished with two goals) and three more tallies from Nolan (finished with a game high four goals). 

The Breakers will look to bounce back this weekend in the highly competitive South Coast Tournament hosted in South Orange County.

Laguna Beach Cub Scouts Pack 35’s kick-off meeting will feature a reptile show on Sept 25

Interested in learning more about Cub Scouts? Then check out Laguna Beach Pack 35’s kick-off event on Tuesday, Sept 25 at 6:30 p.m. at Laguna Presbyterian Church, 415 Forest Ave, inside Tankersley Hall. Children and their parents will have a chance to learn about all the fun things Laguna Beach Cub Scouts do including camping, swimming, making s’mores and so much more.

Laguna Beach Cub Scouts fire

Laguna Beach Cub Scouts enjoy a delightful visit to the Laguna Beach Fire Station

Cub Scout Pack 35 is chartered by the Laguna Presbyterian Church and is part of the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America. A highly active and progressive group, Pack 35 draws members from both Laguna Beach and surrounding cities. Its leaders have a combined experience of nearly 50 years as Scouting volunteers and have been trained and recognized for volunteer service at Scouting’s highest levels.

What do Cub Scouts in Pack 35 do? Just about everything from A to Z – that is archery to zip line! And in between the group does BB gun shooting, biking, boating and sailing, climbing, exploring nature, fishing, map and compass, photography, tomahawk throwing, sports, and video games, just to name a few. 

Tuesday’s meeting will also feature an incredible reptile show performed by the Lizard Wizard and friends. The Lizard Wizard offers children of all ages and abilities a hands-on journey into the fascinating world of reptiles, amphibians and arthropods. It’s a great event you won’t want to miss, so be sure to stop by.

LBHS Football upsets #3 ranked Bellflower, 17-14

LBHS Football notched another historic win on Friday, defeating number 3 ranked Bellflower High School in a thriller at Guyer Field, 17-14. The game was highlighted by two touchdowns by Junior Raul Villalobos, and a critical 39-yard field goal by Senior Noah Handel.

LBHS Football Raul

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Junior Raul Villalobos scored 2 TDs for the Breakers on Friday night against Bellflower

“I’m so proud of Raul. He really stepped up for our team tonight,” said Receiver’s Coach Nate Ball after the game.

LBHS Football Noah

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Noah Handel winds up to kick a critical 39-yard field goal in the 3rd quarter

According to a report, Laguna was ranked 37th out of 46 teams in the Division to start the season, and was predicted to go 1-9. Beating number 3 ranked Bellflower along with the team’s strength of schedule will most likely jump the Breakers up to one of the top spots.

This week, LBHS Football takes on Estancia in the team’s first away game of the season. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

LBHS Student receives valuable training while interning at the Clinic

Kaitlin Ryan, a junior at Laguna Beach High School, is interning at the Laguna Beach Community Clinic. She’s off to a busy start, organizing the patient waiting room, assisting the admissions staff, and getting to know the Clinic’s medical providers and their duties. 

Kaitlin will also receive training on the various functions of the Clinic’s electronic medical records system, something every aspiring medical student will be expected to know.

LBHS Student receives office

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Intern Kaitlin Ryan assisting Kaylin Miller, RN at the Clinic

“I’m interested in becoming a physician, thinking about sports medicine or pediatrics”, said Kaitlin.

For more than 15 years the Clinic has been providing clinical medical education programs for nurse practitioners, medical students, and residents that rotate through the Clinic from Western University and UCI.

“I’m proud of the role the Clinic plays in helping to train and inspire the next generation of medical providers”, stated Dr. Jorge Rubal. “Actually, I rotated through the Clinic as a medical student in 2002, clearly it made a lasting impression,” continued Rubal, who now serves as CEO and Medical Director.

“If we help inspire Katlin to continue on the path to becoming a physician that’s one more way we are serving our community,” added Rubal.

For more information on the Clinic, visit or call (949) 494-0761.

The Laguna Beach Clinic is located at 362 Third St. 

LBHS Football scores monster win against Dana Hills, Kai Ball makes record-breaking 98-yard reception

It’s looking like a season to remember for the Laguna Beach High School Football team, following a monster victory on Friday against neighboring Dana Hills Hill School, a school two-and-a-half times its size, 34-8. 

LBHS Football Kai

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Senior Kai Ball scores on 98-yard reception in the 3rd quarter, breaking school record for the longest reception ever

Quarterback Andrew “AJ” Johnson was lights out again on offense, throwing for 293 yards and 3 TDs, which earned him a 141.5 QB rating (the highest possible rating is 158.3) – including the play-of-the-game pass to Kai Ball, a 98-yard reception which broke the record for the longest reception in LBHS Football history.

 “Sean and Shane both had another stand out game. Conner Fink and Jake Harper were beasts on defense. Casey Sorensen made a great play for a big yard reception energizing our offense. Jack Piggott had an interception and he and Kai shut down their outside game,” said a fan after the game. “AJ Johnson had his best performance, yet, firing the ball off fast and connecting with the receivers. Our O and D-lines were in beast mode holding tight and attacking the middle.”

LBHS Football Sunset Victory

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It was another sunset victory for the Breakers, who face tough Bellflower opponent on Friday at home

The team’s next game is on Friday night at home against a very tough Bellflower team (4-0). Bellflower is ranked #387 in the California state rankings, while Laguna Beach is ranked #540.

There will be food trucks beforehand again too, so bring the family out and come give our boys a cheer!

LBHS Class of 1968 holds 50th Year Reunion

Photos by Tracy Sizemore

LBHS Class robe

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LBHS Class all who showed

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It was a 50th Year Reunion for the Class of 1968, held at Bluebird Park on Saturday, Sept 8. Tracy Sizemore, LBHS graduate and Laguna local, has photographed many LBHS reunions.

LBHS Class Tiner

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Peter Tiner, LBHS graduate who later taught art at LBHS 

LBHS Class 4 ladies

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(L-R) Dana Tompkins Lane, Karen Wilson Turnbull, Susie Tompkins Corbett, Susie Ross

LBHS Class Campbell

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John Campbell (right) and Susan Axelrod

LBHS Boys Water Polo earns 4th place in Santa Barbara Invitational

LBHS Boys Water Polo participated in high-level competition over the weekend at the 8th annual Santa Barbara Invitational.

Hosted by Santa Barbara High, the three-day tournament featured 24 traditionally strong programs from the Southern, San Diego and North Coast Sections of the CIF. Among the tourney entries were Loyola, Mater Dei, Orange Lutheran and Santa Margarita, who were all CIF-SS Division 1 elite-eight playoff teams last season. 

LBHS Boys pool 1

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LBHS Boys Water Polo finished 4th out of 24 teams in the Santa Barbara Invitational

After starting the tourney off strong with victories over Righetti (15-7), Cathedral Catholic (8-7), and Dos Pueblos (15-9), The Breakers fell to Los Angeles Loyola 13-5 in the semifinals, then dropped their third-place match to powerhouse Mater Dei 13-9. Still, the Breakers’ fourth-place finish was their best finish since participating in this tournament. 

Colton Gregory and Logan McCarroll each scored twice for Laguna Beach (4-2) in the Loyola match, and Will Clark added a goal. McCarroll drew five ejections, and Caden Capobianco made 10 saves.

LBHS Boys pool 2

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LBHS Boys Water Polo is now 4-2 heading into the team’s home opener today against Damien

Gregory led the scoring against Mater Dei with five goals, while McCarroll scored three and Clark also scored. Capobianco made seven saves.

Laguna returns to action today, Tuesday, Sept 11, in their home opener against Damien. Action begins with Frosh/Soph at 3:15 p.m. and Varsity at 4:15 p.m., followed by JV at 5:15 p.m. The Breakers play again on Wednesday, same times, at home against Orange Lutheran. Come cheer them on!

LBUSD to launch its 2018-2019 Learning Link program Oct 2

On Tuesday, Oct 2, LBUSD will launch its 2018-2019 Learning Link program for early learning with its first session from 9 to 11 a.m.

Learning Link supports early childhood education, fine and gross motor skills, speech and language development, family literacy, and school readiness. The program also provides health and development screenings and referrals to community resources at no cost to parents.

“The social, cognitive-linguistic, emotional, and physical capacities that emerge in the early years are all important prerequisites for success in school,” said Laguna Beach Unified School District Director of Special Education Irene White. “Research is clear, the human brain develops the vast majority of its neurons, and is at its most receptive to learning, between birth and three years of age. Therefore, the district’s ongoing commitment to offering services, including Learning Link, through our School Readiness program remains strong. It is critical that parents and caregivers embrace this time and focus on providing quality learning experiences,” she concluded. 

LBUSD Early Learning

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LBUSD Early Link Early Learning Program will kick off on Oct 2

The program provides hands-on learning opportunities for children ages 2.5 to 5 years old that encourages both parent and child to participate in dialogue and interaction at various learning stations during each session.

For the 2018-2019 school year, the Learning Link will be offered from 9 to 11 a.m. on the following Tuesdays for Session 1 in 2018: Oct  2, 9, 16, and 30, Nov 6, 13, and 27, and Dec 4, 11, and 18; Session 2 is in 2019: Jan 8, 15, and 22, Feb 5, 12, and 26, and March 5, 12, 19, and 26.

Due to limited class size, the district recommends that parents pre-register for Learning Link to secure a spot. The Learning Link is located in Room 90 in the offices above the Laguna Beach Community Pool at 811 Manzanita Drive. Parent participation is required. For any questions contact Early Learning Specialist Sandee Bandettini at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

School Board meeting tonight will feature No Place for Hate presentation 

The agenda for tonight’s regular LBSUD Board meeting (Tuesday, Sept 11) has been posted online here.

Open session will begin at 6 p.m. The Board will receive a presentation regarding the district’s No Place for Hate designation. Action items include routine business and policy items.

School Board meeting mural

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The mural at Top of the World Elementary reminds students to Act Responsibly in line with the district’s No Place for Hate designation

Please note the following change for the calendar agenda item: At the last Board meeting on August 21, the Board directed staff to bring calendar action items to the Board at its next regular meeting on September 11. Since that meeting, it has come to the Board’s attention that not all Board members will be able to attend the September 11 meeting. 

Since this topic has been carefully studied by the Board over the last six months, it is important that all Board members are present when considering action on the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school calendars. Therefore, the action item will be considered at the following regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept 25 at 6 p.m. in the District Office Board room.

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