San Pedro High School and L.A. Harbor College have had a symbiotic relationship ever since the junior (now community) college opened in 1949.
Pirate athletes who didn’t have the grades, finances, or skills to go straight to four-year colleges after graduation often found a welcoming atmosphere at Harbor, and many used the opportunity to get their grades up to university level, as well as develop scholarship-worthy athletic talents.
The success of that system will be on display this fall when both the Harbor College and San Pedro High School’s Athletic Hall of Fame inductions shine the spotlight on cross-country.
Harbor College will honor its 2018 state champion girls cross-country team at its September 20 event, while on November 2, the Pirates will salute six cross-country teams—three boys’ and three girls’—that swept City titles from 2002 to 2004, including the man who coached them, Bruce Thomson.
Three of Thomson’s protégés were members of the Seahawks’ team, the first state championship for the school since women’s basketball in 1994. This team and nine individuals will be honored at the 13th Annual Hall of Fame banquet, which is being held for the first time at the location of the hall, within Harbor’s physical education building.
Alumni who haven’t been to Harbor recently won’t recognize the campus, which has undergone a nearly complete makeover in the past decade. Among the many new buildings are a state-of-the-art library, brand-new student center, and modern P.E. and wellness center that includes the new gymnasium, site of the banquet. With new multi-story parking structures, ample parking is available. Catering the affair will be the school’s culinary arts program, which was ranked 21st in the state last year.
Joining the cross-country team in the 2019 induction class are athletes Mike Young (baseball, 1983), Mike Baumgarner (football, 1967-68), Sam Martin (basketball, 1971-73), Marvin Benard (baseball, 1990) and Dave Elecciri (football, 1968-69); and four individuals who are being recognized for meritorious service to the school’s athletic program, Vera (Gascon) Rader, Lynn McGuire, and Marty and Kathryn Blankenship.
Rader graduated from San Pedro High School in Summer 1949, promptly enrolled in the new junior college in Wilmington, and became the school’s first women’s softball and basketball coach. At the same time she was the school’s first athletic secretary, helping Coach Selwyn Yancy recruit his first football team. McGuire has been the school’s athletic secretary since 1987. The Blankenships were high school sweethearts at Carson. Marty played football at Harbor in 1967, suffered an injury, and returned to play again in 1971. Kathryn attended Harbor at the same time, and both later graduated from Cal State Long Beach and began highly successful high school coaching careers.
Members of the cross-country team are sophomores Brenda Rosales-Coria (Long Beach Poly), Olivia Quezada (POLA), Cynthia Melendez (SPHS), Andrea Gonzalez-Macias (Millikan) and Estrella Montiel (Maya Angelou) and freshmen Samantha Deroo and Alexa De LaPena (SPHS). Rosales-Coria was the individual state cross-country champion, with coach Geoff Skarr, and assisted by Melissa Cortes, Chris Pinelo and Brandon Bernasconi.
For more information and tickets, go to lahc.egu, click on the community button or contact Sylvia Files at (310) 233-4011 or email@example.com. Tickets are $75 ($25 children under 12).
Black and Gold
One of the hottest tickets in town every year is for the San Pedro High Hall of Fame ceremony, which returns to the Dalmatian-American Club for year six.
This year, there will be eight athletes inducted for individual achievement, six for lifetime achievement, three sets of siblings, three families, and eight posthumous honorees.
These athletes are Bobby Sandoval (baseball, 1964), Dominic Furio (football, 1998), Vic Nomaaea (basketball, 1984), Karyn Bolger (basketball, 1986), Jess Withey (swimming, 1993), Heather Rosas (cross country, 2001), Perlini Koria (softball, 2008), and Katherine Bjazevich (softball/soccer, 2000).
Lifetime honorees are Otis Livingston (basketball, 1985), Bruce Thomson (cross-country coach), Ralph DeQuebec (football, 2001), Caitlin Ursini (soccer, 2004), Jerry Rodich (football/baseball, 1961) and Richard Johnson (football, 1978).
The families are four generations of Potters: Tommy (1938), Kenny Sr. (1960), Kenny Jr. (1980), and Kenny III (2012); three generations of Galosics: Joe (1955), Ron Sr. (1984), Randy (1987), Mike (2009), Ronnie (2010), and Annette (2012); and three generations of Spinosas: Sal (1953), Guy (1982), and Mike (2016).
Siblings being honored are Steve (2004) and Samantha (2006) Taylor; Mala`e (1981), Theresa (1984), and Carolyn (1986) Pele; and Alejandro (2005), Pablo (2010) and David (2011) Rosales.
John Misetich, Mel Bobich, and six Metzger brothers (Leonard, Tom, Gene, Cecil, Art, and Chet) will be honored posthumously.
Thomson, assisted by Sally Leonhart and Rogelio Flores, saw his boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams win City titles in 2002, and both teams went on to repeat in 2003 and 2004. The 2002 boys team was comprised of juniors Toji Sakamoto, Juan Pinedo, and Ricardo Ugalde, sophomore Johan Nava, and seniors Ricardo Diaz, Alex Diaz, Adrian Alanis, and Walter Gonzalez. Joining the team in 2003 were David Soto, Bryan Swartz, Alejandro Rosales, and Daniel Stancin. Teaming with Soto, Swartz, Nava and Rosales in 2004 were Steve Calise, Chris Franco, John Gil, and Juan Villagomez.
The 2002 girls team was comprised of seniors Cora Webber and Jeannette Blanco, juniors Lori Cardenas and Cygni Olivares, and sophomores Megan and Kirsten Adams, and Jackie Conlin. Joining the five returnees in 2003 were juniors Gabriel Rubi and Mavel Tortoledo and Lauryn Maes. The 2004 team added Terry Manqueros, Maddy Post, and Nora Traughber.
This event sells out quickly, with tickets going on a first-come, first-served basis. For more info, visit sanpedropirateboosters.com.
Steve Marconi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.