Compiled by STEVE GALLUZZO Once again, Palisadians thrilled us with their courage, amazed us with their skill and inspired us with their stories in 2004. Recounted here are some of the year’s finest athletes and their accomplishments… Cara Davidoff Cara capped off her prep career with a Post Cup Award as outstanding senior athlete at Palisades High, leading the Dolphins to second at the City finals. A three-time City champion in the 50 Freestyle and two-time City champ in the 100 Free, Cara volunteered to compete in different events this season to help the team’s chances. She clocked 1:54.54 in winning the 200 freestyle, then won the 100 butterfly in 58.71, just missing the City record in that event. Geoff Schwartz Our other Post Cup winner excelled at both football and baseball as a senior at Palisades High. He was a starting offensive and defensive lineman on the varsity football squad and the ace pitcher on a baseball squad that won the league title. Geoff played football at Oregon in the fall. Meg Norton No one’s story was as inspiring this year as that of 12-year-old Meg Norton, who recovered from a debilitating kidney ailment to win a national championship with her Sunshine Volleyball Club team. She also ran and finished the Palisades-Will Rogers 5K, was one of the leading scorers on her AYSO soccer team. Tyler Mellos A Highlands native, Tyler had a senior season to remember at Cate School. He co-captained the Rams’ varsity baseball team to the CIF quarterfinals and batted .474 with 37 hits in 78 plate appearances. In addition, he stole 13 bases in 21 games and slugged .705 with 19 runs batted in, 12 doubles and three triples. His achievements earned him a University President’s Merit Scholarship to Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. Lee Calvert Showing that age is a question of mind over matter, Lee won every event she entered at both the Canadian Open and United States National Badminton tournaments. Competing in the women’s 75-and-over division, she won the singles and mixed doubles championships in both tournaments. As an encore, she won the 120+ women’s doubles and served as an umpire coordinator at the U.S. Open Championships. D’Andre Bell A senior bound for Georgia Tech, D’Andre has had to sit out the first half of his last year at Palisades High with an injury. But no injury can diminish what he has accomplished so far on the basketball court. He averaged 25 points per game 10.8 rebounds in 2003-04 and was voted first-team All-City. Channing Grigsby Channing did it all as a junior at Brentwood School. She was a standout on the girls’ varsity soccer team and the starting setter on the Eagles’ varsity volleyball team, which reached the CIF semifinals. She also plays club volleyball for Sports Shack. Jake Meyer The Palisades High senior qualified for both the discus and shot put at the state track and field championships. Jake threw the shot 51 feet, 8 inches to finish second at the City finals. He achieved his personal-best of 53-0 at a league meet in October. He won the City in the discus with a distance of 129-5. Colette Rosenberg Practice payed off for this longtime Riviera Country Club member. Colette qualified for the United States Women’s Mid-Amateur Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee’the 10th time she has made the national cut. She has won the Riviera club championship eight times. Dylan Cohen Dylan was selected to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ junior elite team, an all-star squad for the top high school players in Southern California. He was an All-City short stop for the Palisades High varsity baseball team and the starting kicker/punter and quarterback on the varsity football team. He was chosen to Baseball Resource’s All-Southern California team for 2005-06. Hannah Wirth A senior quick hitter on the Brentwood varsity volleyball squad, Hannah was one of the Eagles’ go-to players, averaging double digits in kills and digs. She applied for early decision at Amherst College in Massachusetts, where she hopes to play with fellow Palisadian Kristin Quinn. Curt Toppel An example of how quickly things can change, Curt stood atop the volleyball world last year. He was one of the top college players in the country and had been selected to join the United States National Team to fulfill his dream of playing in the Olympics. He makes this year’s list because of his perseverance. He overcame a career-threatening injury to his foot to play in a professional league in Puerto Rico and made the league’s annual All-Star game. Alexa & Caroline Merz Caroline switched from gymnastics to fencing and took first place among Southern Californians and 32nd place overall in the Youth 14 Women’s Sabre competition at the USA Fencing Championships. Alexa won both the 50 and 100 meter Freestyle events at this year’s National Long Course Championships. She was a CIF Southern Section champion in the 50 Freestyle and competed at the 2004 Senior Spring Nationals in the 50, 100 and 200 Freestyle. Kevin Seto Excelled in both soccer and baseball his senior year at Palisades High. Kevin was co-captain and led the varsity soccer squad in points, then led the varsity baseball team to the Western League championship. He led Pali in batting average (.460), hits (29), runs scored (24) and doubles (6) and was the only Dolphin named to the All-City team. Noelle & Madeline Amos Noelle was 57th in the Division II women’s epee at the USA Fencing Championships while sister Madeline placed first in the Southern California Youth 12 women’s epee and finished sixth overall. Matt Willig A 13-year NFL veteran, Matt helped the Carolina Panthers reach the Super Bowl in January. Now, the 6-8, 315-pound right tackle is trying to help his team secure an NFC wildcard berth. Stephanie Sommer The 5-4 freshman outside hitter paced Lighthouse Christian Academy to its first CIF championship ever. Stephanie led the Saints in both aces and kills, including 10 of each in the finals against Santa Maria Valley Christian. Peter Gilmore In an attempt to qualify for the marathon at the Athens Olympics, Peter clocked a personal-record 2:15.44’almost two full minutes faster than his previous best time. Oh, by the way, he also won the Palisades-Will Rogers 5K for the seventh time’finishing in 14:12, two seconds off of his own course record. Kara Barnard Three days before her 26th birthday, Kara gave herself an early present by winning the Palisades-Will Rogers 10K for the third time’her eighth Will Rogers win overall. She ran the 6.2-mile course in 35:24, the fourth fastest time in race history and bettered her previous-best time by over two minutes. Jon Leicester The ex-Palisades High baseball player and 1997 Post Cup winner established himself as a reliable middle reliever for the Chicago Cubs. Jon made his major league debut June 9 against the St. Louis Cardinals and earned his first win June 13 at Anaheim. Lizzie Kay A sophomore libero on the Johns Hopkins University women’s volleyball team, Lizzie earned Centennial Conference honorable mention after leading her conference in digs with 640 (6.67 per game) and shattering the school single-season record which she set her freshman year. Baxter Humby The ‘One-Armed Bandit’ continued his rise to the top of the kickboxing world with a unanimous victory over Canadian champion Alex Ricci (30-8) to capture the International Muay Thai Council super welterweight championship in September. He currently wears five world title belts. Kristin Quinn A sophomore outside hitter on the women’s volleyball team at Amherst College in Massachusetts, Kristin was named to the New England Women’s Volleyball Association Division III All-New England team. She was sixth in the nation in hitting percentage (.426) and 23rd in the nation in blocks per game. Walker Kehrer Along with doubles partner Michael Lin, Walker claimed his third successive victory in a National Open doubles final, winning the 14s Division at the USA National Open in Newport Beach. In singles, he is one of the top 25 players in the nation. Over the summer, he played five national events in four states, taking two first-place, two second-place and a third-place in singles, doubles and team competition while compiling a 34-9 record. Diana Grubb A senior setter for the Palisades High girls’ varsity volleyball team, she was named to the All-City second team. A three-year starter, Grubb averaged over 30 assists a match her senior season and was the Dolphins’ team captain. She is also a starter on Pali’s women’s soccer team. Tommy Marrone A sophomore at St. Monica High, Tommy stood out in both football and volleyball. He was voted most valuable player of the Mariners’ junior varsity football team, scoring 14 touchdowns as a running back and wide receiver. He also earned first-team All-League honors as the starting setter on the varsity volleyball squad. Hannah Kogan A swimmer for Team Santa Monica, this 10-year-old Palisadian placed fifth in the 50 Freestyle at the Southern California Festival in January. Hannah and her identical twin, Samantha, both participated in the Junior Olympics last summer. Teddy Levitt Has become a master at his craft’or at least a work in progress. His sport is fencing and he attained a rank of No. 6 nationally in the Cadet (under 17) division and No. 31 in the junior division (under 19). He won all of his bouts as captain of the Harvard-Westlake High team, which won the Mission League championship, and placed sixth in his division at the Junior Olympics. Erina Digby Making our list for the fourth straight year, Erina finished her Marlborough High tennis career with a flourish, leading the Mustangs to their third consecutive berth in the CIF semifinals. She also reached the semifinals of the Individuals Tournament and played doubles with Malibu’s Kelly Stewart at the USTA National Championships.
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